Most people assume the parallels between organization and cleanliness are indistinguishable, which in some cases may be true, but you know what they say about “assuming,” right? Today I share my ultimate cleaning guide with you.

As a professional organizer, I’ve met people whose homes were spotless, but whose organizational skills needed more than a little tweaking. And I’ve met people whose homes were organized down to the labels on their underwear drawer, but to whom the idea of cleanliness was as foreign to them as the fact that all homes harbor some degree of mold, no matter how clean you think your home is.

And while “bad” mold is typically more prevalent in a cluttered and dirty home, this in no way means that an organized and “clean” home or office is without its share of mold.

Below is an easy-to-follow schedule to help you keep your home in tip-top shape. And while I can’t personally attest to doing each and every one of the following tasks on a set schedule, I can assure you that I make my bed every day, clean the showers and toilets twice a week and wipe down the ceiling fans once a month.

If you’re lucky enough to have a housekeeper who come in periodically to help with the cleaning, this list should serve as a guide for them as well:

Monthly:

  • Dust first, then clean ceiling fans with disinfecting wipes
  • Either replace disposable air-conditioning filters, or wash washable AC filters
  • Clean oven, stove, microwave and refrigerator/freezer as needed
  • Wash all mattress and pillow protectors (note: bed linens should be changed at least once a week)
  • Vacuum mattresses
  • Thoroughly clean glass shower doors, tracks & sweeps, checking for soap scum and mold

Quarterly:

  • Dust tops of all picture frames, and clean glass
  • Remove rubber “baffle” (stopper) from kitchen sink and clean thoroughly
  • Remove and clean all removable faucet vessels (stoppers) from bathroom sinks and tubs
  • Remove faucet heads and washers from kitchen and bath faucets and clean thoroughly
  • Remove grease, detergent residue and hard water deposits from the dishwasher by running a quart of white vinegar through a full cycle (without dishes or detergents)
  • Wipe down ice/water dispenser, paying special attention to the dispenser for scale and dirt deposits
  • Wash indoor trashcans with soapy water; wash outdoor garbage and recyclable trash receptacles with soapy water and bleach

Annually or biannually:

  • Pull oven, stove, washer and dryer away from walls and thoroughly clean all exterior surfaces, as well as the floor beneath the appliances
  • Hire a professional dryer vent cleaning service to clean the inside and outside dryer vents, as well as replace the dryer hose. (Clean lint trap after every use.)
  • Remove washing machine odors, stains and detergent buildup, by pouring 2 cups of white vinegar into tub; then run a full cycle on the hottest setting. Clean bleach and fabric softener dispensers as well. (Please refer to washing machine instruction manual.)
  • Pull refrigerator away from wall and wipe down all exterior surfaces with soapy water solution or disinfecting wipes. Gently vacuum back panel and vent. Remove detachable vent (bottom/front) and clean with soapy water solution
  • Remove, empty and wash icemaker basket with soapy water solution
  • Replace refrigerator and/or sink water filters as per appliance instructions
  • Empty refrigerator/freezer. Clean all interior surfaces, including shelves, drawers and interior walls, with a soapy water solution
  • Sort through spices, canned and packaged foods and all perishable items. Dispose of outdated food products
  • Wash or dry-clean all decorative bed covers, blankets, quilts, bed skirts and pillow shams
  • Dust all closet shelves (cover clothing with a sheet while performing this task)
  • Have carpets professionally cleaned as needed
  • Have upholstered furniture professionally cleaned as needed (vacuum under cushions as needed)
  • Clean and condition leather furniture annually
  • Clean sliding glass door and window tracks, as well as windowsills, with an industrial-strength cleaner such as Greased Lightning.
  • Have windows and screens professionally washed
  • Empty and completely clean all kitchen, pantry and bathroom cabinets, shelves and drawers
  • Wipe down cabinet doors—inside and out—paying special attention to the raised panels for spills
  • Clean and dust all doors and doorjambs, floorboards and wood trim with disinfecting wipes. Remove scuffmarks with Mr. Clean Magic Erasers (test a small area first)
  • Hand-wash crystal stemware and polish silver
  • HVAC ducts should be professionally cleaned as needed

For those of you who are a bit freaked out by this comprehensive list, please remember this list is meant to be a guideline and not a rulebook.

Although I’m fanatical about protecting the environment, when cleaning my home, I prefer to use paper towels, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Mr. Clean Magic Erasers. In my opinion, reusable products, such as sponges and cloth towels, are not sanitary, as all you are doing is moving the germs from one surface to another.