Image title reads "The Ultimate Fall Cleaning Guide (with Fall Deep Cleaning Checklist)" Background image is a house surrounded in fall colors on trees and other foliage

The Ultimate Fall Cleaning Guide (with Fall Deep Cleaning Checklist)

We’ve all heard about spring cleaning, but did you know that fall cleaning is also a thing? 

If you think about it, it makes sense. If you only deep clean once a year, the things you don’t clean on a regular basis are likely to get pretty dirty and grimy. This makes your cleaning jobs more difficult. It also offers an opportunity to declutter and get rid of the things you don’t want or need.

Since I pretty much hate cleaning, but I know it has to be done, I’m all about making cleaning easy. I try to make sure to get into those nooks and crannies more often than once a year, and I find spring and fall are the perfect times. 

I’ve put together this fall cleaning guide to help you get the most out of your efforts to deep clean your home and get it ready for colder winter days and indoor activities. Hopefully, these fall cleaning tips and tricks will inspire you to start your own fall deep cleaning routine. I’ve even created a fall deep cleaning checklist. This list can be used for spring cleaning, or anytime deep cleaning, as well.

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Table of Contents

What is fall cleaning?

Like spring cleaning, a fall deep clean is an opportunity to give your home a thorough cleaning and declutter it in preparation for the upcoming winter season. Summer activities and getaways may have put cleaning on the backburner, not to mention those sweltering hot days. As the days get cooler, you may find yourself more motivated to tackle those infrequently cleaned areas of your home.

Why is fall cleaning important?

  1. Fall cleaning makes it much easier to keep dirt and grime from building up in areas that aren’t cleaned on a regular basis. 
  2. Fall deep cleaning allows you to clear the summer sand, dust and cobwebs from your home and begin the (mostly) indoor season with a fresh, clean slate. 
  3. Fall cleaning is the perfect opportunity to declutter, make your home more cozy, and prepare for holiday decorations and guests. 
  4. Fall deep cleaning provides both physical and mental health benefits that help lead you into the winter season on a healthy note.
Image text reads "The ultimate fall cleaning guide" with fall cleaning checklist. Background image is a woman mopping a floor with a cleaning bucket beside her while following this fall cleaning checklist

When should you start fall cleaning?

The calendar says that fall begins every year between September 21-24 and ends between December 20-23, but there’s no reason to strictly follow this guideline. Some areas begin to cool down much earlier or later than others. Depending on where you live, you may want to start before the weather cools down to prepare for the holiday season. Ultimately, it’s up to you.

I like to start my fall cleaning using this fall cleaning list at the beginning of October when the leaves begin to drop, the days get cooler and shorter, outdoor activities are more limited, and the fall nesting instinct kicks in. This allows plenty of time to get ready for Halloween decorating, Thanksgiving celebrations and the Holiday season.

How do you start fall deep cleaning?

Pick a room and get to work! Make sure you have your cleaning supplies and tools on hand.

I find it very overwhelming to clean the entire house at once (and I’m pretty sure even the fastest cleaner can’t complete this fall deep cleaning checklist in one day), so I do my fall cleaning one room at a time in 10-15 minute chunks, although some aspects of fall deep cleaning require a little more time. 

It usually takes me 2-6 weeks (depending on how much cleaning is required) to complete the list, so don’t get discouraged if it’s not all done in a day or two, or even a week. Just pick a room, do a few tasks a day and keep at it. 

It’s important to remember that fall cleaning is more than just wiping down surfaces and tidying up rooms. This is a deep cleaning that will allow you to be comfortable in your home all winter long. Decluttering is also necessary to maximize space and remove dirt and grime from storage spaces and less used areas.

This post probably contains affiliate links. beinganadultishard.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see our Disclosure Policy for more information.

Image shows a fall themed background with a room by room fall cleaning checklist

Fall Deep Cleaning Checklist

Use this room-by-room fall deep cleaning checklist to help you deep clean the house while ensuring you don’t miss anything when working on your fall cleaning goals. This list of fall cleaning tips can also be used for deep house cleaning any time of the year.

If you’re really overwhelmed by deep cleaning, you can use this fall deep cleaning list as a year-round guide. Complete one or two sections a month in a way that works for you. See a sample deep cleaning schedule here.

Deep clean the bathroom 

Let’s face it – bathrooms can be gross. Don’t skip any of these areas to deep clean if you want to have that fresh, clean, sanitized bathroom feeling. The good news is that a bathroom can usually be deep cleaned in just a couple of hours. It’s a good place to start to build momentum to continue your fall cleaning.

Wash bathmats, towels, face cloths, shower curtain and window curtains

  • Take the window and shower curtains down (if applicable) and put them in a laundry basket.
  • Gather the bath mats, towels, face cloths and throw them in the basket.
  • Put the load in the washing machine and start the wash cycle.

Declutter medications, beauty products & makeup

  • Take everything out of your medicine cabinet, bathroom drawers and cupboards 
  • Lay them out on the counter or table
  • Throw away anything that has expired or that you don’t use or aren’t likely to use
  • Wipe down surfaces of medicine cabinet, drawers and cupboards 
  • Clean the pipes under the sink
  • Dust or wipe down items you are keeping
  • Organize and put away the remaining items 

Clear and disinfect the bathroom counter

  • Declutter the counter
  • Replace toothbrushes with new ones and clean accessories
  • Clean the countertop with disinfecting cleaning wipes 
  • Arrange the remaining items on the counter

Clean the bathroom vent cover

  • Remove the bathroom vent cover and clean it
  • Vacuum inside bathroom vent
  • Clip the cover back on

Vacuum the bathroom floor and other surfaces

  • Thoroughly vacuum the floor – make sure to get all around and behind toilet 
  • Vacuum the rim of the bathtub and/or shower door crevices 

Clean bathroom light fixtures

  • Remove and wash bathroom light fixtures
  • Wipe down light bulbs

Clean and disinfect the outside of cabinets, knobs, towel racks, light switches, electrical outlets and toilet paper holder

  • Use disinfecting cleaning wipes to clean and disinfect the outsides of bathroom cabinets, knobs, towel racks, light switches, electrical outlets and toilet paper holders.

Clean bathroom ceilings, walls, baseboards and door frames

  • Clean bathroom ceilings, walls and baseboards with a Swiffer Sweeper and a wet microfiber cloth to easily reach high corners 
  • Wipe down door frames

Clean the grout

  • Clean tile grout

Deep clean bathroom sink

Deep clean the bathtub or shower (or both)

  • Remove all products from ledges and shelves 
  • Wet bathtub or shower with hot water
  • Spray with your choice of shower and bathtub cleaner and let sit. 
  • If you have hard water deposits, rust stains or excessive soap scum, use this secret ingredient 
  • For mold or mildew, remove with hydrogen peroxide 
  • Scrub the tub, faucet and handles.
  • Give your bathtub or shower a final rinse with clean, hot water
  • Replace products 

Deep clean the toilet

  • Squirt toilet cleaning product into bowl 
  • Use disinfecting cleaning wipes to clean the rim, seat and toilet cover (both sides).
  • Clean behind the seat and hinges.
  • Clean the outside of the bowl and base
  • Clean the top and outside of the tank
  • Disinfect the flushing handle and underneath the back of your toilet
  • Clean the inside of the toilet 
  • For stubborn rust stains or mineral deposits in your toilet bowl, use this cleaning solution 

Deep clean mirrors, windows, window sills and window tracks

  • Thoroughly clean the mirrors, windows, window sills and window tracks 
  • Spray mirrors and windows with Windex Glass Spray and wipe dry

Clean and disinfect wastebasket

  • Empty and clean the wastebasket 

Wash and disinfect the bathroom floor

  • Mop and dry the floor
  • Disinfect the floor by spraying undiluted hydrogen peroxide on the dry floor
  • Let sit until almost dry then wipe

Deep clean kitchen 

The kitchen is the heart of your home and can be the dirtiest. We spend so much time in the kitchen cooking, washing dishes, surface cleaning and replenishing groceries, it’s hard to remember to clean everything else.

I find the kitchen to be the most labour intensive room in the house for fall cleaning. I usually dedicate at least 8-10 hours to this cleaning challenge over several days.

Clear countertops of clutter and dishes

  • Clear countertop clutter
  • Clean and put away dishes 

Deep clean mirrors, windows, window sills and window tracks

  • Remove curtains and wash them
  • Clean mirrors, windows, window sills and window tracks 

Declutter the fridge, freezer, cupboards and pantry

  • Take everything out of each space – one space at a time
  • Throw away, sell or donate anything you don’t want or need – be ruthless
  • Clean all shelves and drawers in the space
  • Return and arrange the items you will keep in the space

Clean the tops of cabinets

  • Dust or vacuum the tops of cabinets
  • Clean the area if there is any greasy grime

Clean kitchen light fixtures

  • Remove and wash light fixture covers or clean them with a damp cloth
  • Clean lightbulbs
  • Replace the light covers

Clean cabinet faces, knobs, towel racks, light switches, electrical outlets 

  • Clean the outsides of kitchen cabinets, knobs, towel racks, light switches, electrical outlets and toilet paper holders. 

Clean kitchen ceilings, soffits, walls, baseboards and door frames

  • Clean kitchen ceilings, soffits, walls and baseboards with a Swiffer Sweeper with a wet microfiber cloth to reach into high corners
  • Clean the door frames

Dust kitchen decor

  • Dust decorations, pictures and other assorted decor or wash them if grimy

Deep clean under and behind all appliances

  • Move your appliances
  • Vacuum floor
  • Vacuum the condenser coils
  • Clean back of appliances
  • Mop floors

Deep clean stove

Clean range hood and filter

  • Remove filter and clean
  • Clean the range hood and fan blades
  • Rinse and buff dry

Clean the microwave

  • Place a bowl of water in the microwave and use the high setting until boiling
  • Wipe out the interior of the microwave
  • Clean the exterior of the microwave
  • Buff dry

Clean the toaster

  • Unplug the toaster
  • Shake it upside down over the trash can
  • Clean the interior of the toaster – use a damp toothbrush for harder to reach areas. 
  • Let the toaster dry for at least 3 or 4 hours before putting it back together and plugging it in

Clean the fridge and freezer 

  • Clean the exterior of your fridge
  • Buff to remove streaks

Clean the dishwasher

  • Fill the detergent cup with citric acid, close it, and run a normal cycle without any dishes
  • Clean the exterior of the dishwasher
  • Buff to remove streaks

Wash and disinfect the kitchen floor

  • Thoroughly vacuum the kitchen floor 
  • Mop the kitchen floor 
  • Rinse with clean hot water and let dry
  • Disinfect with undiluted hydrogen peroxide spray and let sit for 10-15 minutes
  • Wipe the floor dry

Clean the sink and faucets

  • Fill the sink up with hot water and add ¼ cup of citric acid.
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes 
  • Scrub the sink, including the drain
  • Clean and descale faucets and taps
  • Buff with a soft cloth or paper towel

Deep clean living room and other common rooms

Common areas are rooms like living rooms, dining rooms, family rooms, entry ways and hallways that are frequently shared with other members of the household. Depending on the room, getting through this fall deep cleaning checklist should take anywhere between 4-8 hours. 

Pick one room and work through the fall deep cleaning checklist. Repeat for each additional common room.

Put washable items in the laundry

  • Gather all washable items in a basket
  • Start a load of laundry before decluttering the room

Coat closets and linen closets

  • Take everything out of the closet and place it on a clear surface, like a couch or chair
  • Wipe down closet cabinets, drawers, shelves, ceiling, walls and even the hanging rod 
  • Vacuum the closet floor and mop it
  • Inspect each closet item to determine whether to keep it, sell it, donate it or throw it away before you return it to the closet

Declutter the room

  • Take everything out of each shelf, cabinet or drawer 
  • Sell, donate or throw away anything that isn’t needed
  • Do the same with your knickknacks and decorative items. 
  • Clean the space you just emptied, including shelves and drawers
  • Put the items you will keep back in the space
  • Take a look around the room and determine if you can get rid of anything else

Clean Ceiling Fans

Clean the tops of high furniture

Clean light fixtures and lamps

  • Remove and wash light fixture covers or clean them with a damp cloth
  • Clean lightbulbs
  • Replace light covers
  • Wipe down lamp bases and use a lint roller to clean the lampshades.

Clean fireplace, hearth and fireplace tools

  • Sweep ashes into a can 
  • Vacuum the remaining ashes
  • Clean the hearth
  • Clean fireplace grate and tools

Clean window blinds

  • Vacuum the blinds
  • Set the blinds completely down and use a damp cloth to gently clean the slats 
  • Set the blinds completely up and use a damp cloth to gently clean the slats

Dust mantles, wall art and other decor

  • Run a duster over each item on the wall to clean it
  • Remove items from the wall, if possible, in preparation for the next step

Clean ceilings, soffits, walls, doors and baseboards 

  • Clean ceilings, soffits, walls and baseboards with a Swiffer Sweeper with a wet microfiber cloth to reach into high corners
  • Clean the door frames 
  • Put wall art and other decor back on the wall

Clean and disinfect remotes, light switches, outlet covers, door knobs and door frames

Clean TV screens

Clean mirrors and windows

  • Vacuum window tracks and window screens
  • Clean the mirrors, windows and window tracks

Vacuum floors and carpets

  • Vacuum all floors and carpets
  • Move large furniture and vacuum underneath and behind it
  • Vacuum stairs if there are any

Vacuum couch and chair surfaces

  • Pull off the couch cushions if you can 
  • Vacuum the entire couch surface
  • Replace cushions and vacuum the tops 
  • If you can’t remove cushions, vacuum in between and behind them

Vacuum and wash air vents

  • Remove vent covers and clean
  • Vacuum out vents
  • Place vent covers back on the air vents

Wash hard floors

  • Thoroughly mop floors
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Let dry
  •  If you have special flooring, follow manufacturers’ directions for washing

Spot clean carpets and furniture

Re-hang cleaned curtains

Replace batteries in smoke detectors & carbon monoxide detectors

  • Put fresh batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

Replace HVAC Filters

  • Change your HVAC filters according to manufacturer’s instructions

Deep clean bedrooms

Sleep is crucial to optimal physical and mental health and the bedroom should be a calm and relaxing space to retreat to. It’s hard to be calm and relaxed when the closet is jammed full of clothes and shoes, clothes are hanging out of dresser drawers, dirty dishes are piled on your bed, and various items are strewn around the room. 

Depending on how long it takes you to declutter, you should be able to complete the bedroom portion of your fall cleaning in 4-8 hours per bedroom, including laundry time. More time will be needed if you need to do extensive decluttering. Here’s how to deep clean the bedroom and get that calming feeling that comes from a clean bedroom. 

Start a load of laundry

  • Gather all clothing, towels, and other dirty washable items in a laundry basket
  • Take it to the laundry room, put it in the washing machine and start the washing cycle

Declutter the bedroom

  • Take everything out of the closet and place it on the bed
  • Wipe down closet cabinets, drawers, shelves, ceiling, walls and even the hanging rod 
  • Vacuum the closet floor and mop it
  • Inspect each closet item to determine whether to keep it, sell it, donate it or throw it away before you return it to the closet
  • Move on to dresser drawers and night tables
  • Empty one drawer at a time onto the bed
  • Wipe down the inside of each drawer
  • Inspect each item before you return it to the drawer to determine if you should keep it, sell it, throw it away or donate it
  • Repeat the process for all the drawers
  • Take a look around the room and see what else you can declutter
  • Remove all items that don’t belong in the room and put them away

Take curtains down to wash

  • Take your curtains off the curtain rod and put them in the washing machine or get them ready to take to the dry cleaner
  • Flip the original load of clothing from the room to the dryer

Clean ceiling fan

Dust mantles, wall art and other decor

  • Run a duster over each item on the wall to clean it
  • Remove items from the wall, if possible, in preparation for the next step

Clean ceilings, walls, doors and baseboards 

  • Use a lightweight Swiffer Sweeper with a damp microfiber cloth to clean ceilings, walls, doors and baseboards 
  • Put decorative items back on the walls

Clean window blinds

  • Vacuum the blinds
  • Set the blinds completely down and use a damp cloth to gently clean the slats 
  • Set the blinds completely up and use a damp cloth to gently clean the slats

Clean TV screens

Clean mirrors and windows

  • Vacuum window tracks and window screens
  • Clean the mirrors, windows and window tracks

Vacuum floors and carpets

  • Vacuum all floors and carpets
  • Move large furniture and vacuum underneath and behind it
  • Vacuum stairs if there are any

Clean the tops of high furniture

Clean light fixtures and lamps

  • Remove and wash light fixture covers or clean them with a damp cloth
  • Clean lightbulbs
  • Replace light covers
  • Wipe down lamp bases and use a lint roller to clean the lampshades

Launder bedding

  • Strip the bed completely
  • Put sheets, pillows, pillow cases, mattress cover, comforter, etc. in a laundry basket and bring it to the laundry room
  • Start a load then return to the bedroom with the clothes from the dryer

Clean and disinfect remotes, light switches, outlet covers, door knobs and door frames

Clear surfaces and clean them

  • Take everything off dressers, shelves and night tables
  • Wipe down knick knacks before placing them on the bed
  • Clean and dust the surfaces 
  • Allow time to dry and then place items back on surfaces

Rotate and vacuum the mattress

  • Vacuum the mattress 
  • Rotate the mattress 
  • If your mattress doesn’t have a topper, you can also flip it 
  • If you have flipped the mattress, vacuum it again
  • Spot remove stains 
  • If the mattress has an unpleasant odor, sprinkle baking soda liberally all over the surface. let it sit and then vacuum

Vacuum floors and carpets

  • Vacuum all floors and carpets
  • Move large furniture and vacuum underneath and behind it

Make the bed

  • Cover the bed with a mattress cover 
  • Put the fitted sheet on the bed
  • Put the top sheet on if you use one
  • Put the comforter or duvet on 
  • Put the pillow cases on the pillows, fluff them up and place them on the bed

Put the curtains back up

Now that everything’s been cleaned and put away, it’s time to enjoy your sanctuary!

Deep Clean Laundry Room

Most of us don’t venture into our laundry room more than we have to, but it’s the room that gathers the most dust – it’s everywhere! My partner does the laundry, so empty detergent bottles and used dryer sheets have a way of collecting in mine, making a laundry deep clean a fall cleaning necessity. I usually spend 2-4 hours deep cleaning the laundry room.

Deep clean the washer and dryer

Declutter the Laundry Room

  • Get rid of anything that shouldn’t be in there
  • Make sure the top of the washer and dryer are clear. 
  • Take everything out of shelves or cabinets, one at a time, and place it on the top of the washer and dryer. 
  • Wipe down each laundry cabinet and door, drawer, and shelf as you go.
  • Inspect everything before you put it back and determine if you want to keep it, trash it, donate it or sell it. 

Clean window coverings and wash windows, window sills and window tracks

  • Take curtains down and, if they’re washable, put them in the washing machine. If not, hang them outside in the sunshine
  • Run a wash cycle. 
  • If you have blinds, vacuum them
  • Set the blinds completely down and use a damp cloth to gently clean the slats 
  • Set the blinds completely up and use a damp cloth to gently clean the slats
  • Wash window sills and window tracks. Vacuum tracks first if excessively dirty.
  • Wash and dry the windows

Clean ceilings, walls, doors and baseboards 

  • Laundry rooms are prone to excessive dust, so sweep ceiling, walls doors and baseboards before moving on to the next step
  • Use a lightweight Swiffer Sweeper with a damp microfiber cloth to clean ceilings, walls, doors and baseboards

Clean light fixtures 

  • Remove and wash light fixture covers or clean them with a damp cloth
  • Clean lightbulbs
  • Replace light covers

Clean dryer vent

  • Pull the dryer away from the wall
  • Locate the dryer vent on your dryer and disconnect the duct
  • Pull out all the lint you can by hand and discard it
  • Vacuum the lint from the duct
  • Reconnect the duct
  • Locate the outside vent for the dryer, remove it and wash it 
  • Vacuum the duct from the outside
  • Replace the vent cover
  • Move the curtains from the washer to the dryer

Clean irons and steamers

Wipe down the exterior of washer, dryer and countertops

  • Clean the exterior of your washer, dryer and countertops
  • Vacuum dust from the back of the appliances

Vacuum and wash the floors

  • Vacuum the floors 
  • Mop the floors 
  • Rinse the floors 
  • Allow to dry

Put the curtains back up

Yard and patio fall cleaning

You’ve spent a great summer outside in your backyard and it shows! But not a lot of your patio furnishings are made to spend the winter in sub zero temperatures. It’s time to clean it all up and secure everything. We usually spend a few weekend afternoons slowly working our way through yard and patio fall cleaning.

Remove window air conditioning units

  • Clean the filter 
  • Removing the unit and store it
  • Put the windows back in

Check weatherstripping

  • Check weatherstripping on all windows and doors
  • Replace if dry, brittle or cracked

Clean the gutters

  • Set up a ladder
  • Clean the gutters
  • Determine if maintenance is required. If so, arrange it 

Clear out flower beds

  • Pull out the dead annuals and weeds
  • Cut back any dead perennials and remove debris. 
  • Remove remaining dead leaves and stalks
  • Spread a 2 inch layer of mulch on the bed

Mulch the lawn

  • When leaves start falling, remove the leaf bag from your lawnmower
  • Mulch the leaves every time you mow

Wash outside light fixtures

  • Remove and wash light fixture covers or clean them with a damp cloth
  • Clean lightbulbs
  • Replace light covers

Powerwash

  • Powerwash driveways, patios, porches, and other stone surfaces 
  • Powerwash wooden decks 
  • Powerwash shaded areas of your house’s exterior that have developed mold or mildew
  • Powerwash window exteriors to clean the dirt, dust, and grime accumulated over the spring and summer

Winterize the pool and/or hot tub

  • Winterize the pool when the temperature is consistently below 65 degrees
  • Winterize the hot tub if it will not be used over the winter

Garage fall cleaning

I don’t know about you, but we have a tendency to let the garage get very messy during the summer months. It becomes a dumping ground for recreational items, boxes, coolers, chairs and cushions and other clutter. And our snow blower and winter tires live there in the summertime.

This becomes a problem because we like to park our cars in the garage for the winter months, but there’s no room for them! Our garage fall cleaning is a family affair and usually takes us a weekend afternoon. If your garage has been a dumping ground for years, it could take longer to make your way through this garage deep cleaning checklist.

Empty it

  • Remove everything from the garage and put it in the driveway

Sweep and hose down the garage floor

  • Use a large, stiff bristle broom to sweep the entire floor
  • Hose the floor to remove dirt

Declutter the garage

  • Create piles to keep, trash, sell and donate

Get rid of cobwebs

  • Use a regular broom to brush down the garage walls 

Wipe down surfaces and dirty items

  • Use a damp cloth to wipe down all surfaces
  • Clean items that are dirty

Organize the remaining items and put them back in the garage

  • Determine your organizational strategy
  • Install shelving, hooks or other storage options 
  • Bring in the items and put them away according to the organizational plan

Have a fall cleaning garage sale

After following this fall cleaning list, it’s time to have a garage sale. You have cleaned and decluttered your entire home and now is the time to get rid of everything.

I hope this list has helped tame the overwhelm that comes with deep cleaning. When you only tackle a few items a day, they become much more manageable. Before you know it, you’ve worked your way through the list.
Let me know in the comments if this Ultimate Guide to Fall Cleaning helped you achieve your cleaning goals. And please let me know if I missed anything.

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