At McKinley Apartments, we know that giving your apartment a major clean-out is never anyone’s favorite task. We always put it off as long as we can to avoid the stress of cleaning, making our apartment messier and messier until we don’t even know where to start.

But taking on a major apartment cleaning doesn’t have to be a nightmare. And it doesn’t have to take up your entire weekend, either. On that note, we’ve created this guide on cleaning your apartment and having fun doing it. Put this checklist of ten tips to work for your next apartment cleanout, and you’ll have a sparkling clean apartment in no time at all.

How to Clean Your Apartment

1. Handle Clutter First

The biggest thing keeping many people from tackling a significant apartment cleaning project is that they don’t know where to start. So let us make this easy for you—hit the clutter first. You want to start with the things that have a place somewhere in the apartment but have formed piles on the floors and countertops throughout the apartment.

If you clean up apartment clutter first and put your things where they belong, you’ll immediately feel more at ease in your apartment and feel as though you’ve already taken a major step to clean, organized bliss. De-cluttering your apartment first also makes it easier for deep cleaning and vacuuming later, as you won’t have clutter and other items in your way.

Speaking of decluttering, read our ten small apartment bathroom ideas

2. Clean and Put Away Dishes

Once you’ve decluttered everything else, it’s time to move on to your kitchen. Those dishes that have been stacking up in the sink, growing who-knows-what on top of food stains? Now’s the time to get scrubbing. Unload your dishwasher, put all dishes away, and leave your sink and countertop clear. When you come back later for your kitchen cleaning and counter spray-down, you won’t have a bunch of plates and bowls getting in your way.

It’s tempting to leave big projects like your dishes for last. But you’ll feel much better if you tackle them early on and get them out of the way before moving forward to the next phase.

3. Do a Garbage Sweep

It’s time to grab a garbage bag. Do a sweep through the home and empty all garbage cans while also picking up any loose trash that might have ended up on the floor. Even if some of your bins aren’t full to the top, it will feel good to have a clean slate throughout your apartment.

Remember to leave your garbage bag somewhere in your apartment where it’s accessible. As you clean, you’ll gather paper towels and other trash that can go straight into the bag before it’s tied off and put outside.

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4. Gather Laundry

This step is the last part of our decluttering phase before moving to the actual spray-and-wipe, germ-fighting phase. Nobody likes doing laundry, but you might as well get it done while you’re in all-out cleaning mode. 

Gather up all the laundry in your apartment, including that shirt you’ve worn four times that you insist doesn’t have any stains, and throw on a load. This is a great step to start in the middle of your cleaning, as you can move on to other actions while loads are in the washer or dryer. Here are some additional laundry tips for washing your clothes.

5. Embrace All-Purpose Cleaner

Are you ready to get serious? Because it’s time to move to Phase II. We’ve de-cluttered every inch of the house, cleaned up trash, done laundry, and scrubbed the dishes to perfection. Now it’s time to introduce you to a cleaner’s best friend.

All-purpose cleaner. It’s a beautiful thing. There are multiple brands available and even some all-natural options (or DIY options), but what you want, in essence, is a spray cleaner that’s not specific to any one room. You want something you can use in the bathrooms, on the baseboards, on the countertops, the top of your stove, and literally, anywhere else you want to wipe down. Cleaning with an all-purpose cleaner will save you time and money swapping between multiple types of cleaners. 

Specific tasks will require a dedicated cleaner, like the toilets. But an all-purpose cleaner can handle the rest. 

6. Clean the Kitchen and Bathrooms First

We recommend starting with your bathroom(s). Why? They’re the least pleasant part of the apartment to clean, and it will feel great to have them done. With that approach in mind, we also recommend starting with the least-pleasant part of the bathroom—the toilet. Clean the toilet first, then move to the floor, then the shower/bath, and finally hit the countertop and mirrors.

This is a good cleaning strategy generally—start with the least enjoyable parts of a task, then move to the most stress-free. You’ll feel like you’re knocking away stress as you go.

After your bathroom, head to the kitchen. Wipe down countertops, clean out the sink, and scrub out any stuck-on particles from your last cooking adventure.

how to clean your apartment

7. Get Dusty

Next up, it’s time to do some dusting. You can use an actual feather duster, paper towels, or our personal favorite from childhood chores—a sock over the hand. Don’t forget to hit above doors, tops of baseboards, over cabinets, and in-between blinds. You don’t necessarily need to use a dusting spray for this part. A good wipe with your cloth of choice should usually do the trick. Though if it’s been months since your last clean, a little extra firepower may be in order.

8. Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum

You dust before you vacuum because a lot of that swept-off dust ends up on the floor. That’s when the vacuum comes in. Your vacuum can be your best friend, particularly if it has specific attachments like a brush-end. Such an extension can help you gather dust, get into tight spaces, and vacuum up those little nooks and crannies around your apartment. Don’t forget to make sure your vacuum bag is empty. If it’s full, you’ll just be moving dust and other items around—not vacuuming them up.

9. Make Cleaning Fun

We know, we know. This sounds like something your mom would say to you as a kid to trick you into wanting to do chores. But cleaning really can be an enjoyable experience if you let it. Blast some music as you go. Throw some Netflix on your laptop and bring it around with you as you clean different rooms. It is possible to make your day of cleaning less than miserable; you just have to be a little creative.

Another way of giving yourself the motivation to get through it is to promise yourself a reward once you finish. Whether that’s a meal from your favorite restaurant or an hour to chill and do nothing at all, give yourself something to earn—and go earn it!

how to clean your apartment

10. Clean as You Go

Our last tip isn’t necessarily for your cleaning day, but will help your task be less of an undertaking. We highly recommend cleaning as you go throughout your life, doing small things over the week so that you’re never stuck with a huge cleaning project all at once. Have five minutes to kill on a Tuesday? Wipe down the sink in your bathroom. Or quickly run the vacuum over your carpet in the living room. Hitting these small tasks during the week will keep them from piling up in one mega-cleaning day.

But if they pile up anyway, we hope these tips on cleaning your apartment will help you survive your ultimate apartment clean-out. And if you’re cleaning out your McKinley apartment because you’re ready to move on to a new place, we can help you get started on your apartment search today!

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