Should I deep clean my home before or after Christmas? Professional cleaners share their routines

Save time and energy by timing your deep cleaning for your festivities with these expert tips

Christmas living room
(Image credit: John Lewis)

When you have guests coming for the holidays, it helps to have a clean home to welcome them. But then Christmas is one of the messiest holidays of the year – so should you deep clean your home before or after Christmas? 

Luckily, professional cleaners have tried both pre-Christmas cleaning and a big January reset to help decide which approach is best so we don't have to. 

These are the cleaning tips you need to know for the holidays, and how deep cleaning at the right time can help save you time and energy.

Should I deep clean my home before or after Christmas?

The short answer is that it is usually best to deep clean your home before Christmas to help avoid stress on the big day.

Pottery Barn cozy Christmas living room, decorated fireplace

(Image credit: Pottery Barn)

‘Holiday cleaning can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Avoid the rush of last-minute holiday home prep by deep cleaning ahead of time,’ says Maria Mooney, cleaning expert at Truly Free. ‘It's crucial to clean and organize your space to accommodate upcoming holiday guests. That way, you can enjoy the cozy, welcoming space you created long before your loved ones arrive!’

Maria Mooney
Maria Mooney

Truly Free has been a leading producer of eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products for family homes for over six years.

That being said, having a good clean-up after the holidays is still essential to restoring order, adds Alicia Sokolowski, cleaning expert and owner of AspenClean:

‘Well, if you hosted gatherings, you might be left with a lot of mess and clutter after the celebrations – deep cleaning afterward as part of a New Year's reset, helping you start the new year with a clean and organized home, would then be the key.’

Overall, it is up to you, Alicia adds, and it ultimately comes down to your schedule. 

Alicia Sokolowski
Alicia Sokolowski

Alicia is the President and Co-CEO at AspenClean. AspenClean provides all-natural, chemical-free cleaning services that have revolutionized the cleaning industry and changed the way people clean their homes. It was the first detergent to be certified by the EWG. With over 17 years of experience, Alicia specializes in creating a healthier, green alternative to chemical-based cleaning products and services.

With that in mind, here is how to break down your cleaning tasks around Christmas to help maintain your cleaning motivation and clean without feeling overwhelmed.  

Before Christmas

Christmas decor around a scented candle being lit with a match

(Image credit: Layered Lounge)

 1. Complete your pre-Christmas declutter 

No seasonal cleaning routine can start without a little pre-Christmas decluttering. Not only does it help to clear space for your Christmas decor, but makes it far easier to clean, says Alicia Sokolowski, a cleaning expert. 

There are plenty of things you can do with the items you declutter, from selling online to make some money for the holidays or donating to shelters and charities to help those in need.

 2. Prepare guest spaces 

No matter if you are having dinner guests or overnight guests, preparing your guests' spaces in advance will make anyone feel welcome in your home and take some of the stress away from hosting. Tackle your living room and kitchen, and prepare your entryway for Christmas guests.

When preparing a guest room for Christmas guests, Maria Mooney, a cleaning expert, recommends ensuring the spaces are clean and dust-free first and foremost.

‘Wash bedding, fluff pillows, and provide extra blankets and towels. Consider adding some thoughtful touches like fresh flowers or scented candles, or even a stuffed Christmas stocking,’ she adds.

Dr. Bronner Almond Pure-Castile Soap | View at Amazon

Dr. Bronner Almond Pure-Castile Soap | View at Amazon
I love how this soap smells so much like Marzipan. It is perfect for use as an all-purpose cleaner around my home for a festive fragrance that gets me a step closer to my home smelling like a bakery.

3. Dust to help prevent allergies 

Allergies are an issue even in winter, especially when people are in and out of your home and bringing dust and debris with them.

To help keep you and your guests happy and healthy, Alicia Sokolowski, cleaning expert reminds us to remove dust in our homes by working from top to bottom, wiping surfaces with a microfiber cloth, and finishing by vacuuming and mopping. 

4. Clean and polish your dinnerware 

Whether you go all out with your Christmas table decor or not, cleaning and polishing your dinnerware sets and flatware sets is essential before Christmas hosting to help impress your guests, suggests Maria Mooney, cleaning expert.

This is especially true when using special sets of tableware that you perhaps don't pull out very often and may have become dusty or smeared in storage. 

After Christmas

Christmas decor by The White Company

(Image credit: The White Company)

1. Wash and clean seasonal decor  

When taking down Christmas decor and organizing Christmas decorations for storage, it is helpful to give them a polish, or do laundry where needed, to ensure your decorations are ready to be put straight out next year, says cleaning expert Alicia Sokolowski. 

Even if you dread it, it will help you to decorate for Christmas without feeling overwhelmed next year, she assures.  

2. Clean up the aftermath of Christmas trees 

While the worst damage a faux tree can do is drop some plastic needles that need vacuuming up, a real Christmas tree can do serious damage to your flooring. 

The cleaning experts at Method suggest using a good floor cleaner to help clean up Christmas tree sap and pine resin and prevent staining. 

‘While Christmas trees are often a must for many people in terms of bringing the festive spirit into any home, no one enjoys the continual clean up that comes with having a real tree in your home throughout December. 

‘Method’s hard floor cleaner in lemon ginger, and the wood floor cleaner in almond, are perfect for keeping your tree floor in tip-top shape.’

Method Almond Wood Floor Cleaner | View at Target

Method Almond Wood Floor Cleaner | View at Target
This hardwood floor cleaner is free from harsh chemicals, but still tackles even the stickiest of messes.

3. Pay attention to forgotten spots for a fresh new start 

After Christmas is the perfect time to tackle the places you aren't cleaning but need to for a fresh start in the new year, recommends Maria Mooney, cleaning expert. 

‘Holiday cleaning isn't just about the obvious areas. Take a moment to clean overlooked spots once the holidays are over, including light fixtures, air vents, and even your washer and dryer. If you have any artificial plants, this is also a perfect time to dust them off or give them a gentle wash.’

FAQs

Why do we clean before Christmas?

Cleaning before Christmas can help to make room for new gifts and allow you to pause your chores and relax over the holidays without your home becoming too unruly. Clean and declutter before your decorations are put out to make it easier.

How do you clean your house after Christmas?

After Christmas, start your cleaning by removing your Christmas decor to give you plenty of space to work. Once this is all packed away, spend time cleaning all of your surfaces and floors, removing any glitter and pine needles before moving your furniture back into its original position.  


Cleaning may not be the most festive of tasks when getting your home guest-ready for Christmas, but putting on some festive music and using scented cleaning products to make a home smell good for Christmas can help to make your chores go by a little quicker while adding a fun touch to your to-do list.  

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, 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.