Professional cleaners reveal the 8 cleaning tasks that are a waste of your time

Not every cleaning task is essential. Professionals suggest giving these eight a miss

 A standalone silver fridge in a white kitchen / family room breakfast nook with cream sofa and wood framed fireplace / grey blue kitchen with glazed wall cabinets, fluted tile wall, open shelving, quartz countertop
(Image credit: Future / Marco Ricca / Gunter & Co)

We are all probably tired of hearing that we need to clean more, more often, and with more intensity. It can leave us feeling like our chores will never be done. 

However, there are a few spots that even the professionals skip most of the time when cleaning their homes with very little consequence to our properties or our health. 

These are the eight cleaning tasks that are a waste of time in the eyes of professional cleaners, and how skipping them can save you time and energy. 

Cleaning tasks that are a waste of time

It is rare that cleaning tips tell you not to clean something, but we are certainly not going to complain if it means we can spend more time relaxing and even enjoy a chore-free weekend.  

1. Dusting every surface every time

should I use handles or knobs on kitchen cabinets, grey blue kitchen with glazed wall cabinets, fluted tile wall, open shelving, quartz countertop

(Image credit: Gunter & Co)

It is certainly important to remove dust in your home – especially if you have allergies, but there are some spots that are just not worth the time and effort every single week, begins Tina Priestly, home organizer and owner of Ready, Set, REFRESH:

‘While it's important to dust regularly, areas like the tops of kitchen cabinets or shelves that aren't touched often can be dusted less frequently. Focus on frequently used surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and countertops instead for a truly hygienic home.’ 

2. Vacuuming upholstery

family room breakfast nook with cream sofa and wood framed fireplace

(Image credit: Marco Ricca)

Similarly, removing the dust from your furniture and upholstery is another task you can probably cut back on, making it a monthly task rather than weekly to save time, adds Courtney Walsh, expert cleaner at Homeaglow

Vacuuming upholstery is often done constantly on short-form social media. While aesthetically appealing, it is probably a monthly task unless you have a particular mess to clean up. Similarly, vacuuming mattresses is overdone on socials - it needs to be done once or twice a year. If you use a mattress case like for dust mites, then you probably don’t need to vacuum your mattress at all.’ 

3. Washing your windows

Black kitchen with white brick walls and windows

(Image credit: Erin Little Photography/Moore House Design)

Unless you have recently had a dust or sand storm, cleaning windows every month is probably a little overkill, suggests Tina Priestly, home organizer. While it can help to increase natural light in your home, the effect is usually minimal, she says.

‘Unless windows are visibly dirty or in high-traffic areas, they typically don't need to be cleaned inside and out every week. Prioritize indoor surfaces and save full window cleanings for seasonal maintenance.’

Bosch GlassVAC $190 at Walmart

Bosch GlassVAC $190 at Walmart
To help save time and energy when you do clean your windows, consider using a window vac to limit how much water you use and the mess you make for a streak-free shine.

4. Cleaning baseboards

Living room with upholstered bench and chocolate colored walls, baseboards and trim

(Image credit: Crown)

‘While clean baseboards can contribute to an overall tidy appearance, they don't typically accumulate significant dirt or grime on a daily basis. Unless visibly soiled, wiping them down monthly or even bi-monthly should suffice,’ recommends Emily Adams of NW Maids. Not only will it save you time, but your knees and back as well. 

If you want to quickly freshen them up, a nozzle attachment on the best vacuum will likely collect most of the dust and debris for you more quickly and efficiently than with a cloth.  

5. Vacuuming every room regularly

Traditional bedroom with neutral carpet

(Image credit: Clare Garner Interiors)

Speaking of vacuuming, Tina Priestly, home organizer, suggests we are also doing this too often for certain spots. 

‘While vacuuming is key, not every room needs daily attention. Focus on high-traffic spots like living rooms and hallways, and adjust based on use. Bedrooms and guest rooms can be vacuumed less often,’ she says. Working out how often you should vacuum for every space to prevent visible dirt and dust mites will save you lots of time, and will also extend the life of your vacuum cleaner.  

6. Washing walls

A kitchen with white walls, dusty blue cabinetry and a red vintage rug

(Image credit: James Furman Colum / Allison Garrison for Allito Spaces)

You definitely need to clean walls before painting, but on a weekly basis they are best left as is, assures Emily Adams of NW Maids. 

‘Unless there are noticeable stains or marks, washing walls frequently might be excessive and could damage your paint or wallpaper with time – no matter which gentle methods you use. Spot cleaning as needed is usually adequate, with a more thorough wall washing reserved for occasional deep cleans.’ 

7. Cleaning light fixtures

entryway with round table and a low hung rattan ceiling light

(Image credit: Neptune)

Our lighting ideas are magnets for dust, but that doesn't mean we have to spend precious time cleaning them every single week, Emily Adams of NW Maids continues. ‘As long as they're not visibly dirty or affecting light output, a quarterly wipe down should suffice,’ she assures. 

When you do need to clean them, a quick wipe with a microfiber cloth or a rollover with a lint roller for fabric shades will quickly tackle build-up with very little effort. 

8. Cleaning behind appliances


(Image credit: Future)

Cleaning behind large appliances and underneath larger furniture pieces are some of the hardest household cleaning tasks – so don't break your back trying to tackle them every month, advises Yessica Bello, cleaning expert at Bello’s Cleaning:

‘Cleaning behind appliances like refrigerators or washing machines every week is overkill for most households. What’s more, our experience has shown that excessive moving of these appliances can also lead to wear and tear both on your floor and the appliances' moving parts.

Unless you are dealing with pest infestations or similar urgent situations, moving these heavy appliances to clean behind them quarterly or bi-annually is ample.’


Is it okay to not clean your house?

Although there are some small cleaning tasks you can usually skip with little consequence, it is not a good idea to stop cleaning your house entirely. Keeping a clean house is vital to protecting your health and wellbeing. Not cleaning will lead to a build-up of bacteria, mold, and even pests that will make every day life not only disgusting, but more difficult too. 

This is not to say that these areas of your home should be completely abandoned and never cleaned again. Dusting high cabinet tops and light fixtures can help to make a home smell nice when done infrequently, for example, while washing windows can boost your curb appeal. It is more about relaxing on some tasks and completing them as part of infrequent maintenance than stressing about getting everything done every month – helping you to rest and reset each week.  

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.