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How to clean your apartment in 30 min or less
Cleaning hacks that even your mother would approve
We all enjoy living in a clean and tidy apartment. After all, what’s better than kicking back in front of the TV with a neatly folded, fluffy blanket and inhaling the clean aroma of your freshly cleaned abode? The end result is definitely awesome, but the process of actually cleaning your apartment… well, not so much. Maybe you’ve got a super busy schedule that doesn’t leave much time for cleaning, or perhaps you simply never learned to love vacuuming, mopping and dusting (and who can really blame you?). Whatever your situation, we’ll show you how to clean your apartment in 30 minutes or less. That’s right: In merely the time it takes to watch an episode of your current Netflix obsession, you can take your apartment from dingy and disorganized to delightfully neat and clean.
Got a guest coming over and need to make your place presentable, or just need a little mood boost after spending all day working from home? Here’s how to give your apartment the equivalent of an express car wash (tree-shaped air freshener not included).
What’s clean anyway?
First off, let’s establish what exactly “clean” means. A quick 30-minute cleaning blitz doesn’t really allow for the kind of deep cleaning that’s needed to ensure your apartment is totally germ-free and sanitary. If you’re concerned about germs (say, if it’s flu season and you just had a handyman inside your apartment sneezing!), you’ll want to take some additional time and care to use antibacterial and antimicrobial cleaning products, and/or some more serious equipment like a steam mop. But for most intents and purposes, a quick clean to get rid of visible clutter, dust and dirt will suffice.
Cleaning supplies you’ll need
Before diving in for a quick tidying session, you’ll want to gather everything you need first. Efficiency is key when you’re speed-cleaning, and your life will be way easier if you aren’t running back and forth across your apartment to grab paper towels or cleaning solution! We recommend having the following on hand but feel free to swap any of these items out based on your preferences and your apartment’s specific needs.
- A timer (you can also use the one on your phone)
- Paper towels or clean rags
- Glass cleaner
- Bathroom cleaner
- Multi-purpose cleaner
- Feather duster or dust cloth
- Toilet brush
- Vacuum or handheld vacuum
Don’t quite have your cleaning kit together yet? Check out our must-have list of cleaning essentials for every apartment.
Living room cleaning (10 minutes)
If you’re having company (or just hanging out solo), the living room is most likely where you spend most of your leisure time. After all, it’s where the big-screen TV and your comfy sectional with the fun throw pillows are! So naturally, you’ll want to focus your efforts here: A neat and tidy living room will give an impressive first impression. So set your timer for 10 minutes to keep you on schedule and… go!
• Pick up any clutter
The coffee table in particular tends to become a dumping ground throughout the week for random items. Take a couple minutes to pick up any stray mail, empty glasses, shoes lying on the floor, etc.
• Tidy up the coffee table
As one of the more heavily used furniture items in your apartment, your coffee table can definitely use some regular freshening up. If it’s glass, spray it with glass cleaner and use a paper towel to buff out any fingerprints and smudges. If it’s wood or another material, simply run a dust cloth or feather duster over it to get rid of that hazy layer of dust that tends to accumulate on things.
• Make the sofa look like an inviting place to sit
Fix any couch cushions that may be in disarray, and neatly fold blankets or quilts and drape them over the back of the sofa. Fluff up your throw pillows and arrange them in a way that’s pleasing to your eye — make it look GOOD! Track down those pesky TV remotes and place them on the arm of the sofa (or the coffee table or end table) for easy access.
Quickly running the vacuum over your living room floor will get rid of any stray crumbs, dirt that’s been tracked inside, etc. Because hey, there’s nothing relaxing about potato chip fragments between your toes.
If you have 5 more minutes: Neatly arrange the magazines on your coffee table, light a scented candle or place some essential oils in a diffuser, and put something soothing on the TV, like a nature show. Hello, zen palace!
Bathroom cleaning (10 minutes)
Apartment bathrooms typically have no shortage of white surfaces, so you’ll want to spend a little extra time here to ensure it’s looking clean and smelling fresh. Set that timer for 10 minutes, grab your toilet brush and get to work!
• Wipe down the countertops and sink
Toothpaste, hair and soap suds can leave counters and sinks looking gunky and gross. Spray the whole shebang with bathroom cleaner and then use paper towels to wipe it all down — don’t forget to get the faucets!
• Spray down the vanity mirror
We’re not exactly sure how so much toothpaste spray ends up on the mirror, but it’s easy to get rid of. Just spray the mirror with glass cleaner, grab a couple paper towels and wipe in circular motions until it’s clean and shiny.
• Clean the toilet
Hey, no one said cleaning the bathroom was going to be fun, per se. Squirt some toilet bowl cleaner inside the toilet and use the toilet brush to scrub off any water stains or other gunk.
If you have 5 more minutes: Grab your bathroom cleaner and hit the corners around the toilet, then wipe it up. These crevices have a tendency to accumulate a lot of grime.
Kitchen cleaning (5 minutes)
• Wipe down the countertops
Kitchen countertops tend to play host to crumbs, spills, and spots galore — it’s just a part of life. Spray them down with a multi-purpose cleaning solution and wipe it all down with paper towels or a rag so they’re looking and smelling fresh.
• Handle any dishes in the sink
Rinse out this morning’s coffee cup and cereal bowl and stick them in the dishwasher. If there’s a mountain of dirty dishes in the sink and company is coming over, simply stash them in the dishwasher and deal with them later. (The oven also makes a great secret hiding place if the dishwasher is full of clean dishes. Yes, the struggle is real.)
If you have 5 more minutes: Clean the stovetop. Start by removing the burner covers, then spray it with a cleaning solution appropriate for the type of stove you have and wipe it down with paper towels or a rag. Bam — it’s like last night’s spaghetti sauce boil-over never even happened.
Bedroom cleaning (5 minutes)
• Make your bed
Making your bed every morning is honestly a life pro tip, but if you didn’t quite get to it today, no judgment here. Tuck your sheets in properly, gently lay your duvet, comforter or quilt over the top, and neatly arrange your pillows. This is 100% the fastest way to make your apartment look like a real responsible adult lives there.
• Open the curtains
We like a pitch-black sleeping chamber as much as anyone, but it can get a little depressing during the daylight hours. Take a moment to open the curtains or raise the blinds and let some natural light in; it will make the whole room look better.
• Pick up any stray clothing
In the daily process of getting dressed, clothes somehow wind up on the floor, all over the bed, hanging from the ceiling fan (okay, hopefully not that last one). Grab any clothes hanging out in the bedroom and either toss them into the laundry basket or simply shove them in the closet to deal with later.
If you have 5 more minutes: Vacuum! Nothing says “clean” like those nice symmetrical carpet lines, and a clean floor feels a heck of a lot nicer on your bare feet.
So there you have it — a 30-minute plan to take your apartment from messy to magazine-ready. It’s maybe not quite Marie Kondo-approved, but next time you need to get your space presentable in a flash, our strategy for how to clean your apartment in 30 minutes less will definitely come in handy.
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