10 Step Guide to a Clean Apartment

Nothing says “Welcome home!” after a long day or a late night then walking into a clean space.  A bug free space that smells good and looks good can promote better sleep, health, and (I find) a brighter attitude and outlook on life.  Not to mention it’s so much nicer to invite guests over into a home you would actually want to be in.

This weekend I spent about 3 hours cleaning every floor surface and countertop in my apartment and had a lot of time to think about what I was going.  Starting into a project like that can feel daunting and hard to start, but with the right tools and game plan, it can go from daunting to done a lot faster then we think.  So, I thought I would write out a little guide for all my friends and readers out there sitting in your living rooms watching the dust balls blow by or standing in the shower as the pink mold scales the walls.

Let’s start with my supply list:

  • bleach
  • scrub brush
  • rubber gloves
  • vacuum cleaner
  • swiffer
  • swiffer dry duster pads
  • swiffer wet pads
  • trash bags
  • paper towels
  • cleaning spray (I like Method brand)
  • Clorox wipes
  • Windex

(note, I have wood floors… so this list is tailored for that. If you have carpets-meaning wall to wall, not removable rugs- I would investigate a carpet cleaning as needed).

Also, I use basically every Swiffer product on the market.  I prefer them to a broom as they pick up and lock/hold dust, hair, and grit a lot better then a broom and stop stuff from flying into the air.  You can get everything you need for your first Swiffer experience in a starter kit,  and  I think you will be hooked if you are not already.

Before I get started I’ll say this:  I like to work in a “top down” and “back to front” format.  I want to avoid waling over clean floors or having to re-clean.  I’m lucky- my apartment is off one long hallway so I can work from one end to the other and room by room (closing them off once I’m done).  Each home is different- take from this what you will and adjust accordingly for you!

      1. Pick up and Remove Big Pieces

Before you can clean remove personal stuff, move furniture, and in general pick up.  This gives you full access to your floors and surfaces.  It allows you to clean under everything rather then just around it.  You can move larger furniture pieces throughout the cleaning process to get at every surface, but get most of it done before you are one deep in cleaning products.

      2. Wipe Down Counter Tops

It’s a work from the top down idea.  You don’t want to wipe bits and pieces of grit onto our clean floors, so clean down your counter tops and other surfaces before starting on the floors.  If you brush anything on the floor, you will get it later.  Now anything you set on the counter will be going on a clean surface and not spread dirt.

        3. Wash Dishes

I don’t know about you, but when I wash the dishes I tend to get water on the floor and all over.  To stay with the idea of a clean space, before you go all in on the floors have a clean open sink.  Now you can also dump out any used bleach without it going on your dishes.  When you have finished the dishes, clean out the drain and re-wipe down the counter so it’s dry.  Standing water attracts bugs and grows mold.

      4. Vacuum

This is your first step to clean floors- Start with the big bits.  Vacuum in all the corners and large surface areas to remove grit, sand, dust balls, hair, any food bits and trash.  You want to remove dust and hair as much as possible before introducing anything wet, it’s a lot easier to clean it up dry.  You also will not want to be walking all over your floors once they are clean and drying- so vacuum first!

      5. Dry Swiffer Floors

Swiffers have changed my life and the way I clean.   Start with a round of Dry Swiffer— you are going for a deeper layer of clean then the vacuum, picking up smaller pieces then your first round and targeting dirt and dust.  Again, can’t stress it enough, we want to get as much cleaned off the flood with dry cleaning products before we introduce anything damp.

      6. Dust Non Floor Surfaces

While we are at the dusting phase, let’s step away from the floors, grab your Swiffer Duster (I like to use the extend rod) and dust off shelves, dressers, TV stands, and and other furniture that attracts dust… Ceiling fan blades, molding, lamp shades, high up corners, and any other hard to reach corner.  Now is also a great time to break out the windex and clean your mirrors and windows.  Letting in that extra light will make your apartment not only brighter but fresher.

      7. Bleach Scrub Down

I like to hit up the bathroom first and get it done.   So far I have vacuumed and Dry Swiffered the bathroom floors and how we are getting down and dirty.  Like on hands and knees.  *wear gloves, glasses, and maybe a mask.  Protect your eyes and skin from bleach contact!*   Start with a generous bleach water mix in a pan (I like to get something out of the recycle bin that I can throw out after use).  Starting at the far end of he bathroom, scrub brush in hand, begin scrubbing roughly 6 inch sections of tile floor.  Pay attention to the grout between each tile and apply good pressure.  You don’t want to flood the floor with bleach water, so take it in small sections.  Then grab a few paper towels and whip down he section of floor you just bleached.  Move down and do the next 6 inch section, and so on till you scrub and whip your way right out the door.  LET IT DRY!  Try to avoid walking back over the tile till it it totally dry and be sure to keep pets out of the room too!

      8. Damp Swiffer Floors

While that is drying, move on to all the other surfaces.  Grab your Swiffer again and suit it up with a Damp Swiffer pad this time.  Again, working from that back to front idea, go over your floors for their 3rd and final round of cleaning.  This time we are going for disinfecting and any left over dirt and grit.  I like to do the kitchen and bedroom first, then leave those rooms alone… next hitting up the living room and working down the hallway till I’m out the door.  This step not only disinfects floors and surfaces, but it leaves your home smelling amazing.

      9. Allow it All to Dry

Now leave for a few hours and let everything dry.  Me? I take my computer and go down to my local cafe and blog.. oh!  haha!  (Yes, I wrote this whole post write after actually doing each of these steps).  You don’t want to mess up all your hard work right away!  Later you can spot clean if there are any places you missed or areas that need a little extra scrub.

      10. Replace Everything

Now you can put back your coffee table, area rugs (which can be washed and dried while you clean the floors), chairs… anything you moved during Step 1.  Now is also a good time to make your bed, organize your throw pillows, and rearrange your living space so it’s totally you and totally accessible.  Add in some fresh flowers, light your favorite candle or incense, and you are set to enjoy the place you call home!

Having trouble getting started cleaning? Let me know if this list helps you out next time!




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