Keeping your apartment clean, when you initially think about it, seems quite simple and straightforward. That illusion gets shattered when you have to do it yourself.
Looking at apartment tour videos on YouTube or Instagram posts from influencers, you probably find yourself wondering—How do people possibly keep their apartment so clean, neat, and tidy!?
Seriously, some of the apartments I've seen on Pinterest look like they hire a professional cleaning service to come tidy up every day.
Surely, they must be hiding Marie Kondo in their home… or they secretly own Apartment Therapy. Those seem to be the only plausible explanations.
However, having a spotless apartment isn’t as hard as you might imagine. All it takes is finding the right magic lamp! No, just kidding. Below, we’ll cover all the essential tips and tricks you need to effortlessly keep your apartment clean.
12 Tips For Keeping Your Apartment Clean
Follow these tips to keep your apartment clean, whether you have a large or small space.
1. Make Sure You Have Cleaning Supplies Handy
Before you can begin tidying up, you’ll need to make sure that you have all the necessary supplies. Here are the cleaning supplies you’ll need:
- A good all-purpose household cleaner
- Window/glass cleaning solution
- Laundry detergent/liquid
- Baking soda
- Paper towels
- Trash bags
- Toilet cleaner tablet
- Vacuum cleaner
- Lint roller
- Broom, dustpan, and mop (we recommend this Swiffer instead of a mop)
- Sponge (or something else for scrubbing)
- Step ladder to reach those hard-to-reach places
- Rubber gloves
It’s worth mentioning that you can also make very effective cleaning solutions at home, easily replacing #1 and 2 on our list.
For example, baking soda mixed with lemon juice is very good at cleaning carpets and certain kinds of upholstery. You can also mix white vinegar with liquid dish soap to make a great glass cleaner.
Here's a great video from Clean My Space on how to make your own DIY cleaners.
2. Go Room by Room
Now that you have all the essentials ready, you should be ready to clean. But don’t try to clean the whole apartment at once. Try to be as methodical as possible. Start with one room, completely clean it, and then move on to the next.
Our suggestion would be to start with your bedroom, and then move on to your living room. According to various studies, people spend anywhere from 55 to 75 percent of their time in these two rooms of their house.
3. Start by Decluttering and Getting Rid of Unnecessary Stuff
While you’re cleaning, you might encounter a ton of clutter just lying on different surfaces, like your bed, the dining room table, coffee table, or just the floor. This is the part where you get rid of all that clutter. There are different rules that people use to declutter their place, but probably the easiest one is the three piles method.
As the name indicates, you make 3 piles (or toss your stuff into three baskets). Here’s the purpose for each pile:
- The first pile is for stuff you want to keep. This should be the smallest pile.
- The second pile is for things you need to donate or give away.
- The third pile consists of things you will recycle or throw in the trash.
You should make these piles when cleaning every single room of your house. Even when you’re cleaning your bathroom, throw out anything in your medicine cabinet that you no longer use or is near/past its expiry.
Another spot where clutter builds up in most apartments is in closets. When you're in a one or two-bedroom apartment with limited storage space, it's easy for your closet to turn into your personal self-storage unit filled with backpacks, shoe boxes, luggage, and random items you've collected over the years.
Here, you can use the 6-month rule. Anything that you haven’t worn or used in 6 months and don’t plan to use in the next 6 months, you should consider either donating or throwing it away.
4. Take Care of All Your Dirty Laundry
While making your 3 piles, you’ll undoubtedly collect a ton of dirty clothes around the house. We know, nobody really likes doing laundry. But your apartment won't be clean if you don’t do it.
There’s a silver lining to doing laundry; you can throw one load of clothes in the washer in between other tasks.
5. Dust off And Clean Your Surfaces
By now, your surfaces should be relatively clear and ready for some thorough cleaning. Start with your living room where dust is much more likely to get noticed by guests. If you're in a pinch, a regular old paper towel, or even an old t-shirt turned dust rag, will do the trick.
However, we highly recommend using a microfiber towel to wipe off dust. If you've ever tried to wipe dusty surfaces with a paper towel and felt like you're just spreading the dust around instead of actually getting rid of it, microfiber towels will become your new best friend.
Unlike cotton and paper, microfiber towels actually pick up the dust, leaving your surface dust-free.
These are one of the top selling microfiber towels on Amazon, and they're a great deal.
As for what product to use, most all-purpose cleaners will do the job. If you're trying to maintain a toxic-free home (which we definitely recommend), stick to plant-based cleaners instead of cleaning products loaded with chemicals.
6. Vacuum The Floor (And The Couch)
The reason we didn’t bring up vacuuming until now is because when you’re dusting surfaces, a lot of dust will then settle on the floors and into your upholstery. That’s why you should always vacuum after you’ve dusted off your surfaces.
Begin by giving the floors a sweep with your trusty vacuum, but also don’t forget your sofas. Sofas, and any other furniture with upholstery, are basically dust magnets and get filled with dirt over time. For those of you who have furry friends, use the lint remover to get rid of pet hairs stuck to your upholstery.
If you wear shoes indoors, vacuuming your floor is even more important. Your shoes pick up dirty bacteria, and all sorts of things from outside, and you don't want that stuff to fester in your carpet.
7. Organize Your Apartment by Designating a Place for Everything
This step will not only help you in tidying up your apartment but also with keeping it clean. Those 3 piles you initially made? Divide the first pile into categories, like books, electronics, toys, etc., then designate a place to store things belonging to each category.
If you need to, buy some shelves and baskets to keep everything organized. Once the system is in place, you’ll just need to adhere to it and you won’t have to declutter again.
8. Don’t Forget Your Bathroom
After doing laundry, cleaning the bathrooms is people’s least favorite chore. Almost no one likes cleaning their bathroom. But, as Thanos said, it’s a small price to pay for salvation (or a clean apartment… close enough).
You’ll need a mop, some microfiber cloths, and an all-purpose cleaner. Begin by removing all the products from the bathroom, then clean all the countertops and your faucet using the microfiber cloth and the cleaning solution.
For the floors, we recommend using a Swiffer Dry + Wet. However, you can also use a mop if you don't have a Swiffer.
Living in an apartment, I prefer using a Swiffer because it takes up less space and you don't have to deal with mop buckets and dirty water.
Lastly, tend to the toilet and the shower area. This is where the toilet cleaner tablet will come in handy; drop it in the bowl and use the all-purpose cleaner to thoroughly clean the toilet and the shower area. Use a brush if you have to get all the nooks and crannies.
If it's been a while since you last cleaned your tub, you might need to do some deep cleaning. Caked-on soap scum and stains can be tough to get rid of, but it's possible. Spray the area with a bathroom cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes. Then go in and scrub until all the scum is gone.
For really tough stains or mildew, you might have to repeat the process a couple of times before the surface is completely clean.
9. Clean the Kitchen
Do you know that the kitchen is one of the dirtiest places in a house? Considering that this is where you prepare, and probably even eat, every meal, that’s a pretty disturbing fact.
To start, wash any dirty dishes. If you have a dishwasher, that’ll be the best and quickest way to wash them.
But don’t forget that the dishwasher itself needs cleaning too. If the machine that cleans your dishes is dirty, your dishes won't ever truly be clean. To clean your dishwasher, fill a bowl with 1 cup of vinegar and run the dishwasher on a hot cycle. The rest will take care of itself.
Next, clean all surfaces with your all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. To finish things up here, remove all shelves and drawers from the fridge, then use a mixture of baking soda and warm water to clean the insides (don't forget the clean your refrigerator door as well).
10. Make a Cleaning Schedule
At the end of all this, your apartment should be looking pretty amazing. Now, you just have to keep it that way. If you don’t want to go through the harrowing experience of hours of cleaning again, it’s a good habit to do a little bit of cleaning every day.
All it takes is like 15-30 minutes of time every few days, and your apartment will keep looking like heaven. Since most people tend to forget to do this, you can even make yourself a task-list / to-do list to do certain cleaning chores every day.
You should still schedule a regular "cleaning day" once a month or so to tackle everything. However, since you've been maintaining your cleaning chores on a regular basis, your big cleaning day will be a lot less work.
11. Make the Place Smell Good
You know what’s better than a squeaky-clean apartment? A squeaky-clean apartment that smells good. There are plenty of ways to achieve this. From essential oil diffusers to scented candles to having plants/flowers and even deodorizing powder, the sky’s the limit. Just make sure to pick an approach that’s not toxic. A lot of air freshener sprays can be toxic to pets.
12. Maintain the Level of Cleanliness
We’re kind of repeating ourselves with this tip, but it’s worth stressing over. If you keep letting things pile up, sooner or later you’ll need to spend a whole day cleaning your apartment… again. But keeping your apartment clean only takes around 10 minutes of dedication daily; maybe a little more over the weekend, but definitely not hours.
Make sure to stick to your cleaning schedule and put things in their proper place once you’re done using them. If you make a mess, clean it up ASAP. Make your bed every morning. Once or twice a week, vacuum the floor. Wash your dirty clothes every few days.
Another tip to maintain the cleanliness of your apartment? Don't buy things you don't need. Every time you buy new clothes, knick-knacks or anything else, remember it's going to take up storage space in your apartment, which is likely limited. So think twice before going on shopping sprees.
You Don't Need Cleaning Services to Keep Your Apartment Tidy
Whenever you have a bit of free time, just engage in a little bit of cleaning. It can be rather therapeutic once you get used to it. Spend a little time on the weekend or at night to knock off a cleaning task or two. Eventually, it'll just become a habit and part of your daily routine.
Plus, there's nothing like coming home to a clean, clutter-free apartment every day.
How can I keep my apartment clean all the time?
If you want to always keep your apartment clean, then you have stick to a daily cleaning routine. That, or you can hire a cleaning service to do it for you.
However, keep in mind that some clutter is perfectly natural. The spotless apartments you see on social media don't look like that 24/7. Don't expect your own place to always look meticulous either.
Why is it so hard to keep my apartment clean?
The longer you procrastinate, the harder it will be to keep your apartment clean. We’re not saying it’s easy to take 15-30 minutes out of your busy schedule every day in order to clean, but it definitely beats the alternative.
How often should you deep clean an apartment?
It’s a good idea to deep clean your apartment 2-3 times every year. However, that frequency might increase if the area you live in is super dusty.
How do you deep clean a dirty apartment?
Deep cleaning a dirty apartment involves the same tips as we’ve mentioned above. The exception being that you’d go a little more in-depth by cleaning every surface, nook, and cranny with an appropriate cleaner, as well as steam/spot cleaning carpets, upholstery, and similar surfaces.
When is the best time of day to clean my apartment?
Most people who live in apartments like to clean in the morning. Since you have neighbors living on all sides of you, the last thing you want is to be the neighbor vacuuming at 10pm at night!
Plus, the earlier you knock out your cleaning chores, the more time you'll have to enjoy the rest of your day.