What Does It Mean To Deep Clean Your House?


I talk about deep cleaning in my business quite a bit.  Conducting a deep clean on your appliances, deep cleaning the bathroom, deep cleaning the kids’ bedrooms.

But…what exactly does deep cleaning mean?

Deep cleaning can sound like a big, arduous task.  It sounds like something that takes all day or all weekend.  How am I going to find the time for it?  How do I even do it?

I am here to clarify these assumptions and prove to you that deep cleaning is not only NOT super time-intensive, but highly gratifying and a great investment in your home.  The term deep cleaning also means that the task is completed infrequently, so you don’t have to think about it on a daily or weekly basis.

Deep Cleaning

It is essentially doing your normal cleaning, and then going a few steps further.  Let’s take your stovetop, for example.  Normal cleaning would be wiping the stovetop down with a sponge or rag.  Deep cleaning would be wiping it down, then removing the grates and burner tops, and washing those as well.  Maybe giving the range hood filters a visual inspection, and replacing a lightbulb.  You’re going beyond the everyday normal motions of cleaning, and doing the things that are more awkward, require a tool, requires movement of the device, and just cleaning any and all surfaces.  Top, bottom, sides, interior.

What can I remove and clean?  What does the user guide tell me to do?  I am a huge believer in referring to your user guide for care and maintenance because you learn so much about your machine, you learn the proper way to clean it, you get cleaning product recommendations, and you might even discover some features that you didn’t know about.

In this post, I’m going to walk you through several items in your home.  I will tell you what “normal cleaning” looks like versus “deep cleaning”. This is so that you can get a better idea of what’s required.  Assuring you that I won’t go into super crazy detail on the deep cleaning steps; I will let separate blog posts get into the nitty-gritty steps and details of how to deep clean each item.


Inspect Your Washing Machine if it Needs A Deep Clean

Normal cleaning is wiping the water out of the rubber gasket after each cycle.  Wiping up noticeable dirt and debris as needed.

Deep cleaning is running a tub clean cycle (I recommend monthly), wiping down the interior, cleaning the drain pump (twice a year), and cleaning the inlet filters (once a year).  Now, the drain pump and inlet filters take a little bit more time to complete, because you need a couple of tools, and you need to move the machine away from the wall.  But, those tasks are so infrequent that it doesn’t matter!  The tub clean cycle and interior wipe down take all of 10 minutes.  The tub clean just runs on its own for an hour, so you don’t actively have to do anything.  And the wipe down is a matter of unplugging your machine, taking a rag with a couple of sprays of white vinegar, and wiping out your machine.  Done and done.

Pay Attention to Your Dryer

Normal cleaning is removing lint from the lint screen after every cycle.  Yes, every cycle!  We don’t want lint accumulating and then posing a fire hazard.

Deep cleaning is washing the lint screen with soap and water, and using a handy tool like this to clean out the lint trap vent (make sure to unplug your machine before you do this!).  Once or twice a year, I recommend pulling your machine out from the wall and removing the vent that blows air outside.  You can vacuum this out since lint gets stuck in here as well.  Again, all of this lint build-up can pose a fire hazard, so be sure to stay on top of it!

Deep Clean Your Dishwasher

Normal cleaning is wiping the front panel with a rag and all-purpose spray, and pulling out any big/noticeable food chunks from the bottom!

Deep cleaning is cleaning your filters (if you have them!  Check your user guide), running a vinegar cycle, and wiping down the interior.  Cleaning the filters takes 5 minutes, once you know how to pull them out.  And the vinegar cycle is a “set it and forget it” task.  The machine does the cleaning for you, just like the washing machine!  Finish it all off with an interior wipe down (5 minutes tops!) and you’ve deep cleaned your dishwasher.


Conducting an Oven Deep Clean

Normal cleaning is wiping the exterior with a rag and all-purpose spray (daily or weekly basis), plus grabbing any large food debris off the bottom as needed.

OK, the oven deep clean can be a bit more time and labor-intensive.  Luckily, this deep clean only needs to happen twice, or even once per year!  As long as you stay on top of messes as you go (hello, cheese that just bubbled over.  Wipe it up!) you don’t have to deep clean as often.  Deep cleaning is pulling out the oven racks, running an oven clean cycle, washing the racks in the sink or your bathtub, and cleaning the glass on the inside of the oven door.  This deep clean is more challenging because the door makes it hard to access everything inside the oven (just do your best!)  You can also pull the oven away from the wall and vacuum behind the appliance.  It gets gross back there.

Examining Your Refrigerator

Normal cleaning is wiping the exterior, cleaning spills as they happen, and staying on top of food inventory.

The fridge is the other appliance that takes a little more time to deep clean, depending on how much you do at once.  A full deep clean is pulling the fridge out from the wall, vacuuming behind, wiping all exterior surfaces, pulling your food out and doing an inventory, wiping down the interior shelves (you can either keep them in, or pull them out to wash), and putting the food back in an organized manner.  Plus changing out your water filter (if you have one in the fridge).

Phew!  It can be a lot.

If you don’t want to dive into the whole thing,  maybe do the exterior one day, the fridge interior the next, and the freezer another day.  When you’re deep cleaning your freezer, be sure to empty out the ice bin, and wash it with soap and water.  We use our ice regularly, but there’s still way more ice in there than needs to be. Ice can take on the smell of the freezer after a while and large chunks can form that will eventually block it from dispensing.  So, I recommend giving this bin a wash every quarter or at least twice a year.

Deep Clean Couches

Ah, the couch.  We have cushions, pillows, blankets — all the things!  Normal cleaning is spot cleaning with an all-purpose spray and rag and vacuuming as needed.

Deep cleaning is pulling the couch away from the wall and vacuuming underneath, vacuuming the entire surface area of the couch, and washing the couch with a bowl of hot sudsy water and a rag (or clean with a leather cleaner if it is leather).  You could also call a professional upholstery cleaner to clean your couch (we do this about once a year for our fabric couch).  Deep cleaning is also washing your couch blankets and pillows.  Again, you can break up these tasks so they’re not all completed in one day.

Looking Into Beds

A bed deep clean means washing throw pillows and blankets that rest on top, pulling your bed away from the wall, if possible, and vacuuming underneath (or, if you’re like us and your bed won’t budge, you have to get very creative with your vacuum attachments!).  You’ll want to wash your bedsheets as well and put on a fresh set.

Then comes your mattress.  A mattress deep clean is, first and foremost, rotating your mattress!  Make sure you’re doing this quarterly, or at least twice a year.  I do it when the seasons change.  Then, you sprinkle baking soda on top and let it sit, then vacuum up.  You can also do a vinegar spray of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water (add essential oils, if you so choose) to refresh your mattress before you put your sheets back on.


Maintain Small Appliances

If you’re like us, you have a lot of “small appliances” in our home:  Keurig, toaster oven, air purifier, and humidifiers, to name a few.  These all require maintenance to keep them running in tip-top shape.  I consider deep cleaning on these small appliances to be whatever the user guide instructs me to do.  For the coffee maker, it’s descaling with vinegar and cleaning the pod insert, plus washing the drip tray.  For the humidifiers, it’s fully disassembling (again, sounds scary, but it’s not) and washing the parts with soap and water, and replacing the filter. 

We run our humidifiers every night because we live in Phoenix and we have 0 moisture in the air at all times.  For our air purifier, it’s making sure to change the HEPA filter and UV light bulb when the machine gives us a red light.

Check Your Walls & Baseboards

Yes, you can deep clean your walls, if you want.  This is something that you do maybe once a year or every couple. Maybe you need to do it quarterly because of pets and kids.  It all depends on what your home life requires.  I find the best solution for cleaning walls is a bowl of hot water with a cup of vinegar.  The vinegar will help clean and deodorize.  You may need to dust your walls before you wash, so give them a visual inspection first.

Don’t forget the Windows

Normal cleaning of your windows entails spraying the glass with vinegar or glass cleaner and wiping clean with a microfiber cloth.

Deep cleaning is vacuuming/wiping out the window tracks, removing exterior screens and hosing them down, and cleaning the glass behind the exterior screen.

Ceiling Fans Deserve Attention

Normal cleaning for ceiling fans is wiping the blades down with a pillowcase (this is such a useful hack, I encourage you to try it!  It prevents all of the dust and debris from getting all over the floor).  The pillowcase catches it all, and then you just throw the pillowcase right in the wash!

Deep cleaning ceiling fans would entail removing the fan blades and washing them with hot, sudsy water.  This is only necessary if the fan blades are super gross, and normal dusting isn’t cutting it.

Deep Clean Carpets

Normal cleaning is vacuuming frequently.  You can also sprinkle your carpet with baking soda to deodorize it, and then vacuum the baking soda up.  If you have stubborn stains, vinegar oftentimes does the trick. (always spot test before you spray product in a noticeable area!)

Deep cleaning is hiring a carpet cleaner.  I would do as many carpeted rooms as possible, to make the most of their journey, and so you get the most bang for your buck.  Moreover, I have tried at-home carpet cleaning machines, and they are not as efficient, can leave your carpet and pads with too much moisture, and they are a ton of work.  Therefore, I leave this job to the pros.  They have higher-powered tools, can get most stains out, and get the job done quickly.  We love using Zerorez for carpet cleaning.  We have a sinking fund that we send money to each month to ensure we have the dollars available when it’s time to call the pros.

While you have the pros at your house, see if they deep clean tile as well.  Most do.  If you have super dirty grout, you can have them deep clean your grout lines in the shower or on the main floor.  Again, trying to deep clean a lot of tile square footage on your own is laborious and tiring.  Even I believe some of these things should be justified to the pros!


Tidying Outdoor Patios

Deep cleaning the patio can be a big task!  It depends on how much furniture you have if it’s covered, and how often you clean.  I highly recommend purchasing furniture covers for your patio furniture; it will make your furniture last longer since it won’t be exposed to the elements.  First up, remove everything off your patio area, and sweep all the dirt and debris.  Then, you can hose the patio down (or power spray, if you have one!).  Remove the furniture covers and wash them if possible. 

Vacuum the furniture and then spray and wipe down with all-purpose spray, or wash with a bowl of hot, soapy water.  If your furniture has removable cushion covers, take those off and toss them in the wash.  Let everything dry properly, and then reassemble your patio as normal.  Save this big clean for a cool spring morning!  Also, consider storing your patio in a garage or shed during the off-season (for us, that’s summer.  No one is on the patio when it’s 115 degrees).

Checking the Hot Water Heater

Check your hot water heater’s user guide (if you don’t have yours anymore, search the make and model of your heater on the internet) for annual maintenance.  For ours, we need to do a flush once a year.  It’s not super hard to do, but it’s important because it flushes out sediment and build-up, and makes the heater last longer. You also likely need to replace the “Sacrificial” Anode Rod in the hot water heater – this device is meant to rust first so that your water heater doesn’t.  If it fully “dies” before you replace it, then your machine will start to rust.  This should be done every 3-5 years and is surprisingly simple if you have access and a good wrench.

HVAC Needs A Deep Clean Too!

I’m certainly not going up on my roof and servicing my HVAC, nor do I fully understand how it works, but that’s why HVAC companies exist!  Twice a year, we have a company come out and service our unit.  They spray down coils, check the amps, and do an overall check to make sure the unit is functioning properly.  If you get a quote for an expensive repair or replacement, don’t be afraid to get a couple of other opinions.  It can be hard with expensive items to know if the repair is worthwhile. I’m telling you, the larger and more expensive the appliance, the more you’re going to want to pay attention.  If our HVAC breaks down and we have to replace it, we’re looking at $5k – $10k.  That’s a grip of money!  Naturally, I want this unit to last as long as possible. 

Are you tired of talking about cleaning yet?  There are undoubtedly additional areas of the home I’m not mentioning, but this covers the bulk of it!  I wanted you to see the difference between normal cleaning and deep cleaning.  And to see that deep cleaning isn’t always a ton of work!  In some cases (read: the oven, the patio) your deep cleaning is going to be more labor-intensive, but for the most part, you can deep clean something in 10-20min.  The more you deep clean, the better and more efficient you will get.  You will understand exactly how to do it, what tricks work best for you and your house, and you will get faster and faster each time.  Plus, if you stay on top of cleaning, your things won’t get as dirty, and you won’t have to put as much elbow grease in!

Thoughts To Ponder:

What are you excited to clean?  Remember:  the whole point of doing this is to make sure that our appliances and our things last longer and work as well as possible.  We want to save money, be kind to the environment, and feel that pride of ownership!  You’ve got this!

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