We spend a huge amount of time in our living rooms (around four and a half hours a day, on average). So whether we're hosting guests or enjoying some time to ourselves, our living spaces quickly attract all kinds of dust, dirt and debris.
Knowing how to clean a living room efficiently makes the whole thing so much quicker and easier, but it's not always easy to know where to start in a space with so many different materials. What do experts recommend? Starting with your ceiling fan or lighting before working your way down from top to bottom.
This simple rule of thumb will be helpful when you're doing a weekly clean or if you just want to quickly spruce up your space before friends come over.
The first thing to clean in the living room
'When cleaning your living room, you should always start with the highest areas first,' says Justin from house cleaning and maid service Modern Maids (opens in new tab). 'This is because when dust falls down you do not want to re-clean areas.
'So, typically the first area we recommend cleaning is the ceiling fan. From there you work your way down and clean the lights, then windows, picture frames, tables and lastly your floors,' explains Justin. 'The top to bottom approach is necessary for saving time.'
Usually, we want to get the job done as quickly as possible, so it's tempting to clear the floor area first before getting to work with your vacuum cleaner. However, tackling the more fiddly, high-up areas first will mean you don't end up dusting things you've already dusted.
'When I'm cleaning my living room, I usually start with the ceiling light,' says Jennifer Ebert, Deputy Editor (Digital) at Homes & Gardens. 'I give the light fitting a good dust and then do the tops of picture frames and mirrors. I do this with my handheld vacuum, the follow up with a damp cloth. That way, I capture as much debris as possible without it falling on to furniture below, but any that does will be vacuumed or wiped up as I move downwards.
'Cleaning from top to bottom is a simple trick that gets you in a headspace to do the job more methodically. Once I've gone from top to bottom I usually work around the room clockwise,' says Jen. 'That way, nothing gets missed and it gets done that bit quicker.'
Living room lighting, especially ceiling lights, are something we often turn a blind eye to once we've got them installed. Focusing on the more intricate details, like ceiling fans, chandeliers and light fixtures as the first step should mean that when you finally get your vacuum cleaner out, every last bit of dust and dirt is removed.
Giving bookshelves, floor lamps and side tables a thorough dusting after cleaning the floors will stop things from feeling squeaky clean. It also compromises the air quality by releasing dust back into the air, which you definitely don't want if you suffer from allergies.
Next time you're doing a big clean, look up and see if there's dust or any cobwebs lurking up high. Glass and metal light fixtures can be real dust magnets, and as well as not being visible, a layer of dust will also be dimming the light coming from the bulbs.
It's sometimes recommended that you start by decluttering the living room before cleaning, but we'd argue that clearing out your living room is a task for a whole other day.
Just remember to go from top to bottom.
Millie Hurst is Section Editor at Homes & Gardens, overseeing the Solved section, which provides readers with practical advice for their homes. She has been in the world of digital journalism for six years, having previously worked as Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team two years ago, working across a range of homes brands. Millie formerly worked as Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles that help and inspire people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces. Millie has a degree in French and Italian and lives in North London.
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