How Do You Clean Like a Pro?

My apartment was the absolute tidiest and cleanest when I was using what I learned when I worked for a hotel as housekeeping staff in hotel apartments in Cyprus. One of the first lessons I learned in school was "Cleanliness is next to godliness!" The first and most important thing I learned in hotel housekeeping was the ORDER of jobs. If you go through this routine once a week, you will be able to finish your entire apartment in two hours or less. If you don’t have too much time, divide and conquer: Do the kitchen and your living room one day and the bathroom and bedrooms on another day. Things I learned to watch out for: do NOT do laundry the same day as house cleaning—it will derail you! Do NOT cook on house cleaning day—order take out or drink a protein shake when you’re hungry. Wear tight clothes and shoes like workout gear, as they help me move faster.

What you will need:

A deep bucket
2 sets of kitchen gloves
3 sponges (one for the kitchen, another for the bathroom and a really big one for the tub)
3 sponge cloths or microfiber cloths for wiping down things
2-3 cloths such as old retired kitchen towels (for dusting or drying)
a broom and dustpan or vacuum cleaner
a mop and mopping bucket
a window cleaner
all-purpose cleaning solution or spray
furniture polish spray
descaler liquid (hard water remover)
soft scrub cream
paper towels (optional)
dish soap
floor cleaning solution or all-purpose cleaning solution
oxi-action spray or powder (optional)
window blade

First, put on your gloves. Keep them on unless you are sweeping/vacuuming or mopping. Fill your mopping bucket with hot water and a general cleaning solution. Rinse all your sponges and sponge/microfiber cloths with hot water.


  1. Wash and dry all the dishes. Put them away. Use the descaler and sponge over the dish rack and dish drain board. If you have a dishwasher, put away the dishes in it, load and run it.
  2. Spray the stove with a cleaning solution. While that is soaking the grease off spray the counters with the general cleaning solution and wipe down with the sponge/microfiber cloths.
  3. Scrub or wipe down the stove. Don’t spring clean. This is a once a week clean.
  4. Move the dish soap and all other bottles onto a cleaned counter. Squirt the soft scrub cream all over the sink and scrub with the sponge. Rinse. Beginning with the faucet, wipe dry with the sponge/microfiber cloths. Wipe all the bottle bottoms and return to the sink.
  5. Spray the kitchen table and appliance fronts with the general cleaning solution. Wipe dry with the damp sponge/microfiber cloths.
  6. Take off your gloves and sweep/vacuum the kitchen floor paying attention to the chair legs where lint is usually trapped and under appliances.
  7. Throw all the kitchen towels in the hamper and put out clean ones. Mop the floor while backing out.

Once a month...

...use the descaler instead of the soft scrub cream in the sink.


  1. Vacuum/sweep the floor first.
  2. Put on your gloves. Put all the towels in the hamper. Rinse your sponges and sponge/microfiber cloths with hot water. 
  3. Squirt soft scrub or oxi-action powder into the toilet bowl and spray the toilet seat and cover with general cleaning spray. Scrub the bowl with a toilet brush. Wipe down the toilet seat cover, then the seat, then the toilet rim, including the outside of the toilet bowl all the way to the floor. Put this sponge/microfiber cloth in the hamper. 
  4. Put the shower curtain over the curtain pole. Rinse your sponges and sponge/microfiber cloths. Rinse the shower walls and tub with hot water. Get some toilet paper and remove any hair from the trap. Using the soft scrub in the tub, faucet and walls of the shower. Use the big sponge to go over the faucet, then walls then the tub itself. A giant sponge makes everything go fast here. Rinse everything with hot water beginning with the walls, then faucet, then tub. Rinse the sponge and cloths and wring out all the water. Wipe everything down with the sponge/microfiber cloth beginning with the faucet first, then the walls then the tub itself. You may need to wring out the water from the cloth twice. 
  5. Rinse your sponges and sponge/microfiber cloths with hot water. Rinse the sink. Rinse all items, such as soap dispenser, toothbrushes, toothpastes, holders with hot water and put in a bowl or small tray. Use the soft scrub and sponge around the sink and faucet. Rinse your sponge, and the sink and faucet with hot water. Squeeze all the water out of all the cloths and sponges and wipe down beginning with the faucet. Wipe all items in the bowl/tray and replace on the sink surround. 
  6. Spray the mirror with window cleaner and wipe dry. Use the wet sponge/microfiber cloths and wipe the wall tiles around the sink. 
  7. Change your mopping water solution. 
  8. Remove your gloves and put fresh towels out. Sweep/vacuum the floor again if it’s not too wet and mop on your way out.

Once a month…

…use the descaler in the toilet bowl, bathtub and sink instead of the soft scrub. 
…put some oxi-action powder in the toilet tank. It’ll keep things cleaner for longer. 
…take off the shower curtain liner and wash it in the washing machine with oxi-action and detergent.


Change the sheets every other week if you want. Tackle one bedroom at a time beginning with your own. 
  1. Make the bed. 
  2. Put all clothes away or in the hamper. Put away all shoes. Take everything but the absolutely necessary items from the night stands, dressing table, chest of drawers and any other surfaces and put them in the top drawers. Using paper towels or the third of your damp sponge/microfiber cloths wipe down what items are left. OR you can use the window cleaner or general cleaning solution spray and clean and wipe the items dry. Place on the made bed. 
  3. Spray surfaces with furniture polish and wipe down with a cloth. Spray any mirrors with window cleaner and wipe dry with a clean cloth. Place all items back on the surfaces. Sweep carefully (you just dusted, don’t fling the dust back in the air!) or vacuum the floor. Mop on your way out.

Once a month…

…spray the windows with window cleaner and wipe down with a window blade. Wipe up any excess drips with a cloth.


Breathe! This too shall pass!
  1. Take a big box or a bucket and put in everything that does not belong in the living room. Take another box or bucket and put in everything from all the surfaces of furniture like the coffee table, the TV stand and so on, that is not absolutely necessary. Take a third box and put everything else that is on the floor. If there are clothes put them on the bed of their owners (chores!). Spray all furniture with furniture polish and wipe down with a cloth, including window sills. Spray all glass doors or other glass surfaces (except the windows) with glass cleaner and wipe dry. Vacuum the floor and any rugs/carpets. Mop on your way out.
  2. Once a month…
  3. …Spray the windows with window cleaner and wipe down with a window blade. Wipe up any excess drips with a cloth.


Remember this: cleaning day is for cleaning, not organization. Stay focused and do your organizing/decluttering another day. Perhaps the day after laundry day.

Next day…

Do the laundry. Put all items you used to clean together in a small load and wash with detergent and oxi-action powder using hot water and no fabric softener (use vinegar or citric acid in the fabric softener compartment). Dry in the sun or on a high heat setting in the dryer.

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