The Ultimate Holiday Cleaning Checklist for the Happiest Season of All

Alison Kasch
Written by Alison Kasch
Updated November 29, 2021
A Christmas decorated room with wooden wall and a wreath above the fireplace
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Follow this checklist to get your home sparkling like a winter wonderland

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‘Tis the season to feel overwhelmed by the tasks that need to get done before company arrives. Preparing your home for holiday guests can seem daunting, but if you break it up by task, you’ll have everything done in two shakes of a reindeer’s tail. Here’s your holiday cleaning checklist.

Clean the Windows

Even the most sparkling-clean home loses its luster when windows are dotted with fingerprints, doggy nose prints, and everyday grime. Use either a glass cleaner or a solution with equal parts of water and vinegar. Oh, and save your paper towels—a balled-up newspaper makes the perfect tool for that streak-free shine.

  • Front door/entryway

  • Parlor

  • Living room

  • Dining room

  • Kitchen

  • Bedrooms

  • Bathrooms

Declutter Your Space

Get your home ready for the holidays by finally tackling the ever-multiplying piles of stuff that you have collected throughout the year. Ideally, you’ll find a place for everything—but if that’s not in the cards, there’s no shame in tucking the clutter away in a closet until you have more time.

  • Entryway (junk mail, unnecessary coats/shoes, snow shovels, toys, sports equipment, backpacks/purses)

  • Coat closet (leave enough space and hangers to accommodate guests)

  • Dining room (clear the tabletop, buffet, and any other surfaces)

  • Kitchen (remove papers/mail/clutter, put away unnecessary appliances, toss expired food from the fridge, clear as much counter space as possible)

Wipe Down Surfaces

Wipe down all surfaces with a microfiber cloth and disinfectant cleaner. Don’t forget to hit commonly touched surfaces to keep everyone safe from any nasty viruses going around.

  • Walls

  • Windowsills

  • Tabletops

  • Furniture

  • Countertops

  • Baseboards

  • Doorknobs

  • Light switches

  • Hand soap dispensers

  • Fridge

  • Faucets

  • Ceiling fans

  • Stovetop

  • TV

Clean the Bathroom(s)

It’s everyone’s least favorite job, but it’s one of the most important. Here’s your bathroom cleaning checklist:

  • Wipe down the sink, countertops, tub, and toilet

  • Scrub the toilet

  • Wipe mirrors to remove streaks, smears, and toothpaste spots

  • Stock the space with extra toilet paper and hand soap

  • Put out clean hand towels

Vacuum/Sweep/Mop Your Floors

A woman cleaning under the christmas tree
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A day or so before guests arrive (or even the day of), vacuum, sweep, and mop all the common areas of your home. Take any rugs or doormats outside and beat them to get the dirt out (this doubles as an outlet for any holiday-related frustration, too!).

  • Entryway

  • Parlor

  • Kitchen

  • Bathroom

  • Living room

  • Guest room

Get the Laundry Done

The holidays come with a whole laundry list of, well, laundry. Here’s your checklist of what to tackle:

  • Table linens

  • Guest sheets

  • Throw blankets

  • Furniture covers

  • Bathroom towels

  • Bathroom rugs

  • Hand towels

  • Kitchen towels

  • Potholders

  • Your family’s holiday outfits

Wash the Dishes

Your holiday dinnerware probably wasn’t used much in the past year and may have collected dust. Wash everything in hot soapy water or run it through the dishwasher if it’s dishwasher-safe.

  • Wash plates, glasses, and serving trays

  • Clean and polish your silver flatware, serving utensils, gravy boat, etc.

  • Take care of any lingering dishes in the kitchen

Prepare the Guest Room

A tidy guest room in a house
Ursula Page -

When you’re entertaining, it’s always a good idea to prepare for overnight guests. Give your guest room some attention so it looks fresh and inviting. Don’t forget to hit it with the vacuum when you’re going around.

  • Dust and wipe down all surfaces

  • Put on a fresh set of sheets

  • Leave out additional blankets

  • Add nightlights

  • Clear the closet and dresser drawers

  • Clean and stock toiletries in the guest bathroom

Consider Hiring a House Cleaning Service

Between baking your famous snickerdoodles, wrapping gifts, and taking the kiddos sledding, it can be difficult to find time to clean. Hiring a house cleaner costs between $30 and $50 per hour on average, which is something to consider based on your needs and budget. Get in touch with a local house cleaner for an exact estimate.

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