The recommended plan of attack? Top-to-bottom, left-to-right. “I always start [in the upstairs bathroom],” says Romero. “It’s a good place to leave supplies.”
For each task, start at the highest point in the room (if dusting, this might mean high shelves), and move from left to right across the room. This way, you don’t miss anything, and you won’t accidentally knock dust onto already-cleaned lower shelves.
Step 1: Dust Your House
Dust each room, including the topsides of all the furniture, undersides of shelves, and all handrails, as well as picture frames, TV screens and knickknacks. “When it’s possible to dry-dust, I do—getting something wet makes it harder,” says Romero. To get rid of fingerprints, dampen a microfiber cloth with warm water.
Step 2: Clean Furniture Fabric
Go through the house and strip and remake beds; neaten any pillows or furniture blankets. Brush furniture surfaces with a vacuum extension as needed.
Step 3: Clean Mirrors and Glass
Wipe down mirrors and windows throughout the house.
Step 4: Clean Surfaces
Wipe down all surfaces and counters throughout the house, disinfecting as necessary.
Pro cleaning tip: Be sure to wipe down all places that fingers touch, like door handles, light switches, TV remotes and phones. “Those are the places that people forget, and they really hold germs,” says Payne.
Step 5: Clean the Kitchen and Bathroom
Walk through and spray cleaner on tubs, sinks and toilets. Return and scrub. Then, in the kitchen, wipe down the inside of the microwave, and cabinet and appliance doors.
Step 6: Clean Floors
Sweep, then mop or scrub the bathroom and kitchen floors, and any other floor that needs it.
Pro cleaning tip: “I always do bathroom floors on my hands and knees with a microfiber cloth and cleanser,” says Romero. “That’s how I know that I got every corner, even behind toilets, and that they’re 100% disinfected.”
Step 7: Vacuum the House
“I vacuum my way out the bedrooms, down the stairs, through the living room and out of the house.