How to spring clean your house in one day – 6 time-saving tips and mistakes to avoid

Tackle spring cleaning in 24 hours by planning out the day, prioritizing tasks, and keeping the goal of a cleaner, healthier home firmly in mind

three images with dining area, bedroom and shower
(Image credit: Little Greene / Catskill Image for Field Theory / Future PLC)

If spring cleaning isn't your idea of fun, you might decide to rip off the band-aid and get it over with in one day. Completing all your spring cleaning in one go is a big undertaking, but it's perfectly possible when you do the right spring cleaning preparation, as well as prioritizing tasks, and remembering why you're doing it in the first place.

We turned to professional housekeepers to find out how to spring clean your house in one day, and they shared their tried-and-true cleaning techniques, as well as some common, time-consuming mistakes to avoid.

The start of spring is the ideal time to clear away the cobwebs and refresh our living spaces for the new season, and a thorough cleaning session is one of the best ways to make our homes look better without buying anything, as well as making for a healthier, more hygienic home.

Spring clean your house in a day

Ask for help, get small children out of the way, put on a motivational playlist and note these ultra-efficient cleaning tips from the pros. And if you do run out of time, remember that a three-day spring cleaning blitz is also a great option. Cleaning supplies at the ready.

1. Make a plan

washing machine with cabinets and sink

(Image credit: Future PLC)

To clean quickly, you need to make a plan so that when one task is done, you can move straight on to the next. Make your own spring cleaning checklist, starting with the most heavily used areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom, as they will likely be the most labor-intensive. If there's a cleaning task you secretly quite enjoy, leave that til the end when you'll be ready to stop.

'Decide on the rooms you are planning to clean and then break it down into sections,' suggests Chris Willatt, the owner of Denver house cleaning service Alpine Maids. One time-saver is to start by doing laundry, running the dishwasher, and spraying down all bathroom surfaces before moving on to other tasks, so that things are being cleaned in the background while you crack on with the dusting and taking out the trash.

It's also a good idea to plan out the whole day, so think about what you want to have cleaned by lunchtime, and commit to a goal for the afternoon. Stock up on snacks, aim to get outside for some fresh air at lunch, and plan a reward for the evening.

Chris Willatt
Chris Willatt

Chris Willatt is the owner of Alpine Maids, a cleaning service in the Denver Metro Area. He started his business after realizing how difficult it was to find high quality cleaning services and decided to create a service in which transparency and staff training are key. They believe in providing excellent working conditions to their cleaners to ensure they treat your home with the respect it deserves.

2. Set a timer

yellow kitchen

(Image credit: Future)

Set a timer for an hour and 'employ yourself' to clean (a cash incentive always spurs us on), or simply break down cleaning into 25-minute bursts with plenty of breaks to rest and rehydrate. 'We recommend cleaning in parts, with a timer. The most effective way to clean is in 25-minute blocks, so we always advise our cleaners to set a Pomodoro timer,' says Delah Gomasi, CEO at MaidForYou.

'Work for 25 minutes then rest for 5 minutes, then get back to cleaning once the 5 minutes is up.' A timer keeps us focused as we know a break is coming and helps us spring clean without becoming overwhelmed.

3. Make piles of clutter

Colorful bedroom with fabric headboard

(Image credit: Future)

Clear your surfaces as much as possible so you can focus on cleaning – piles of clutter can be dealt with at a later date. Spring cleaning is not a time for tidying or decluttering, we're just removing dirt, dust, and debris and sanitizing our spaces here. For instance, when spring cleaning the bedroom, you could strip the bed, and put any stray items onto the bed before dusting and cleaning mirrors, surfaces, and floors.

'Clear the visual noise; remove knick knacks, benchtop equipment, and floor mess and put them in a convenient space away from your work area, agrees Jason James, the owner of organic cleaning company Dusptan & Brush. 'This is the most important first step, the idea is to create a canvas in which cleaning can be more easily visualized and performed.'

As part of my own spring cleaning this year, I spent around an hour deep cleaning my floors. I moved everything up and out of the way first, piling things on my bed, couch, and desk so the flooring was clear. With floors prepped, running my vacuum cleaner over the floors and baseboards was much easier. I moved furniture away from the walls too, to reach those hidden corners.

4. Work from top to bottom

living room with bookshelves, couch and ceiling fan

(Image credit: Future PLC)

It's obvious, but so easy to forget when cleaning quickly: let gravity do some of the hard work for you by working top-down (and go from left to right, or right to left to avoid cleaning areas twice by accident).

Interior designer and professional organizer Nicole Cullum's top-down approach includes starting up high by dusting ceiling fans and window shades. 'I like to wait to vacuum and mop the floors until all of my surfaces are done. This way no stray crumbs are falling onto my clean floors because I know my countertops and higher level areas have been wiped and dusted so my floors will be spotless,' Nicole says.

Nicole recommends moving from dry to wet cleaning, too, so wipe down any mirrors, countertops, and furniture surfaces before scrubbing the tub, shower, sinks, and toilets. Don't forget high-touch zones, like door handles, light switches, and appliances.

Nicole Cullum
Nicole Cullum

Nicole Cullum is an interior designer and professional organizer in Taos, New Mexico. Nicole is the Founder of Color Caravan, a charming hand-painted line of wallpaper, textiles, and pillows.

5. Focus on the areas you usually avoid

pink kitchen walls with a window banquette seat and cafe table

(Image credit: Neptune / Nigel Hunt)

Spring cleaning is all about tackling the cleaning tasks that generally go ignored during our normal routines because they feel more daunting. Choose a couple from this list depending on which most needs doing:

6. Finish with the details

Double vanity, tile floor

(Image credit: BC Designs)

Pay attention to the details for a sparkling clean finish. 'Look over all rooms with a handful of microfibers and a spray bottle with a 1:5 vinegar-to-water ratio. Look at places that need to shine, such as faucets, shower glass, taps, stovetop, oven door,' says cleaning expert Jason James. 

'Give them a good spray and polish and before long, you'll have finished your masterpiece.'


How should I map out my day of spring cleaning?

The experts at method and Ecover recommend following this schedule: 

8AM - 11AM 

First and foremost, prioritize your kitchen, and then the bathrooms to ensure that if you run out of time, the most critical spaces are already done. These rooms are the highest ‘touch’ areas of the house and they’re the ones you’ll want to use immediately. Clean all high fixtures before moving on to appliances, and finally countertops, drawers, and lower cabinets. 

11:30AM - 1PM 

Next, tackle the bathroom. Again, start high then low, before moving your attention to disinfecting the shower, bath, and toilet. Ecover’s Bathroom Cleaner is perfect for these tasks, and its eucalyptus mint fragrance will leave your bathroom smelling fresh. Once you’ve blitzed the bathroom, finish with an antibacterial all-purpose cleaner and wipe it all over to get rid of any lingering germs. 

2PM - 3:30PM 

Move on to the rest of the house. When it comes to bedrooms, hallways, and the rest of the house, save time and avoid chopping and changing between cleaning products and equipment by tackling them task by task, as opposed to room by room. Don’t forget the overlooked areas, like door handles.

4PM - 5PM

Save the floors for last. Working from top to bottom, leave the flooring until last. For hard flooring, like wood and tiles, start with a vacuum and thorough sweep – ensuring all corners, tight spaces, and hard-to-reach areas are covered. method’s Almond Wood Floor Cleaner is perfect for sealed hardwood and laminate floors and will leave flooring looking spotless.

What are the most common spring cleaning mistakes?

Chris Willat, owner of Alpine Maids, says that we often neglect to clean baseboards, even though these often-forgotten spring-cleaning dirt spots are easy to clean with dryer sheets available at Amazon.

'Use a dryer sheet to wipe the top of baseboards to get rid of dust and debris. The dryer sheets create a static reaction with dust, so when you wipe them down the dust and dirt are attached to the dryer sheet and aren’t just laying in a big clump at the end of the baseboard.' To make life easier, you can also find inexpensive long-handled microfibre dusters at Walmart, that can be used for cleaning walls and ceilings, too.

Ryan Knoll at TidyCasa adds that the top of doorways and the bottom of stairway poles often go uncleaned, particularly the area where they connect at the bottom of the handrail.

Mr. Clean Erase and Renew Magic Eraser, Original | $5.98 for two, at Amazon

Mr. Clean Erase and Renew Magic Eraser, Original | $5.98 for two, at Amazon
Quickly remove scuffs on walls, doors, and baseboards with a Magic Eraser, available at Amazon.

When you're done, reward yourself for all your hard work, and enjoy your sparkling clean home. Now's the time to think about some spring decor ideas and do some coffee table styling as a finishing touch.

Millie Hurst
Section Editor

Millie Hurst is a freelance lifestyle writer with over six years of experience in digital journalism. Having previously worked as Solved Section Editor at Homes & Gardens and Senior SEO Editor at News UK in London and New York, Millie has written for an array of homes brands including Livingetc and Real Homes and was formerly Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home. She has written and edited countless features on home organization, decluttering and interior design and always hopes to inspire readers with new ways to enjoy their homes. She lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, and loves to weave nature-inspired decor and nods to time spent in Italy into her own home.