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How to Clean Your Apartment Like a Pro

January 28th, 2019 - 3:25 PM

Cleaning your apartment

An apartment may not be as big as a house, but when it comes to cleaning, it requires the same attention to detail. There are many ways to go about cleaning, but we’ve streamlined the process so you don’t have to spend days scrubbing. Whether you’re looking to deep clean before moving in or moving out, or just want some pointers for fast spot cleaning and upkeep, follow these apartment cleaning tips to make sure you’re getting everything done well.

A mop and other household cleaning products are seen on a floor of a residence

Apartment cleaning checklist

First, you’ll need some supplies. Here’s a list of some cleaning essentials:

  • Baking soda
  • Broom/dustpan
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Disinfecting cleaners
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Dusting spray
  • Glass cleaner
  • Microfiber cloths/old wash rags (get a lot of these for use on multiple surfaces)
  • Mop/steam mop
  • Old newspaper
  • Paper towels
  • Rubber gloves
  • Sponges
  • Spot cleaner
  • Step stool
  • Toilet bowl brush
  • Trash can/bags
  • Vacuum/steam vacuum

How to clean an apartment

Now it’s time to come up with a game plan. Sometimes, it’s necessary to deep clean your apartment. If you’re just moving into an apartment, you want a fresh start. Or if you’re moving out, cleaning is often required to get your security deposit back. And sometimes after living somewhere for a few months (or a few years), everything just needs a good, deep clean. Take a look at this simple, effective room-by-room apartment cleaning guide to walk you through how to deep clean your space. We also offer tips below on how to perform some daily or weekly quick tasks that will keep your apartment looking fresh and clean.

The kitchen

Studies show that the kitchen is the dirtiest room in any living space (because of food bacteria), so it’s really important to do a good job in this particular area. Follow these tips to thoroughly clean and disinfect each surface and appliance:

  • Stove: Remove the burners/caps and soak them in warm, soapy water (or run them through the dishwasher). Spray the stovetop with a vinegar/water solution, and scrub until clean (don’t forget the area around the knobs and back panel).
  • Oven: Remove the racks, and clean them in the sink. Use a paste of baking soda and water to scrub inside the oven, and let it sit in the oven for a couple of hours to work on removing stubborn stains. Scrub burnt-on food, and make sure to wipe well with clean water and a clean cloth.
  • Microwave: Place a cup of water with a couple slices of lemon inside, and cook it for a minute, then let the steam sit for 1-2 minutes. Use a damp cloth to wipe it clean.
  • Refrigerator: Remove all food, shelves, drawers and parts from the inside. Work from top to bottom using a rag or sponge with some baking soda and warm water, and get into all the crevices on the inside. Use the sink to scrub the shelves and drawers from the fridge if needed. Once the inside is clean, turn off the power, move the fridge, and clean under it. Then empty and clean the drip pan, and wipe down the front and side panels.
  • Sink/disposal: Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply it to a damp cloth to scrub the sink. Pour more baking soda down the disposal, letting it sit for 10-15 minutes, and then run it with hot water.
  • Dishwasher: Fill a dishwasher-safe container with a cup of vinegar, place it on the top rack, and then run a hot-water cycle to remove any grease and odors. Wipe out the inside of the dishwasher with a damp cloth.
  • Countertops: Wipe everything down well. Make sure to use the right type cleaner for the type of counter top you have. For example, some experts say not to use ammonia, bleach or vinegar on granite.
  • Cabinets/drawers: Clean the fronts with soapy, warm water and a soft sponge or cloth, and then use a clean cloth and disinfectant inside.

The bathroom

According to WebMD, germs like norovirus, salmonella and strep can be lurking in your bathroom. Make sure to sanitize these areas, and wear gloves while you do it.

  • Toilet: Use a toilet bowl cleaner, applying it under the bowl rim and letting it drip down. While it soaks, clean the pedestal and seat with a disinfectant. Scrub the bowl with a bowl brush.
  • Sink: Use an all-purpose cleaner and cloth to clean surfaces. You may need to break out an old toothbrush or cotton swab to clean around the faucet base or other small areas.
  • Bathtub/shower: Start with an all-purpose cleaner, and then tackle stains with a scrub of baking soda and water. A spray of vinegar and water can help with mildew and soap scum.
  • Tile: Spray tiled surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner, and use hot water and a soft cloth to wipe it down. Add a grout cleaner for especially dirty areas.

The floors

Cleaning the rest of the apartment consists mostly of dusting and light cleaning, but you also need to clean the floors. A study from the University of Arizona found that bacteria from shoes transfer to the floors, so give them a heavy scrub. Here’s a few tips on how to clean them:

Cleaning carpets

If your floors are carpeted, vacuum well. If your vacuum’s height can be adjusted, make sure it’s set so that the beater bar is barely brushing the fibers of the carpet. Vacuum slow and steady and in different directions to get good coverage. Also consider having the carpet shampooed or spot-cleaned if you’re moving in or out. 

Cleaning hardwood floors

Hardwood floors are pretty durable, but be careful how you clean to avoid scuffing or damaging the wood, or using a product that will leave a residue. Sweep with a broom that doesn’t have frayed bristles, or use a vacuum to pick up debris. Then mop or polish with something very gentle and recommended for your type of flooring. It’s a good idea to avoid using products that contain ammonia, vinegar, wax, polish or oil-based soaps.

Cleaning tile, laminate or vinyl floors

Tile, laminate or vinyl flooring can be easily swept, but a deeper clean requires a little extra effort. A steam mop is a great way to sanitize them, or use a cleaner (check labels and make sure you choose one that won’t cause damage, or leave a greasy or oily residue).

Quick apartment cleaning tips

You don’t always have time for a deep clean, and that’s OK. Still, it’s nice to come home to a clean environment, and it’s easy to do a quick spot clean in about a half hour. Here are a few tips that you can follow for each room, and get the job done quickly.


Make your bed, freshen up pillows, put away laundry, and pick up any clutter like mail, bowls, mugs, books or magazines that you have lying around. This can make your room a lot tidier, and it only takes a few minutes.


Close the shower curtain, and use a glass cleaner and some of your old newspaper to wipe down the mirror (newspaper is great for glass since it won’t leave any lint behind). Then straighten up any toiletries, towels, makeup, electronics or other accessories that may be on the counter or lying around the bathroom. Wipe down the sink and countertop, scrub the inside of the toilet bowl, and quickly sweep the floor to get up any hair, dirt or other debris that may have collected. This all might take 15 minutes tops and makes everything look nice and neat.


Wash dirty dishes (or put them into the dishwasher), and put clean ones into the cabinet. Use disinfectant wipes or spray, and give the countertops, stove, fridge and kitchen table a quick surface clean. Toss a lemon peel into the garbage disposal, and run it to eliminate any odors that may have made it into the sink. Put away any mail or any other loose papers that may be piling up.

Living room

If you’re expecting guests, consider spending some more time in this area. Vacuum the floor, remove clutter from the coffee table or end tables, and straighten couch cushions and blankets. Straighten curtains or blinds, and put out some potpourri or light a scented candle to freshen the air. Also make sure to clear any bags, shoes or other belongings from the entryway, so your guests won’t have to step over things when they come in.

You may also want to take some dusting spray and some of your cleaning rags, and wipe down surface areas in each room. Don’t forget to dust around the air filters, and clean the blades on ceiling fans, as dust collects in those place, as well. Doing this will freshen up a room and make it look a bit cleaner without taking a lot of time.

What are your favorite cleaning hacks?

What did we miss? Do you have some tips of your own you’d like to add? Leave us a comment below!