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The Ultimate Holiday
Cleaning Checklist

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November 14, 2022

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Before, during, and after the holidays, housekeeping can be quite a challenge. Cooking, celebrating, and entertaining take center stage, and all that fun can put housekeeping on the back burner. Instead of choosing between having fun, holiday house cleaning, or guilty feelings, we have a better idea. Stop running yourself ragged during the holiday season and streamline your housekeeping with our proven cleaning checklist for holiday homes.

The Maids has decades of experience cleaning homes across North America, so we’re uniquely qualified to teach you how to clean your house for the holidays. When you approach your holiday home cleaning with a strategy to make it more manageable, you’ll have more time to enjoy family and friends and have a cleaner home to boot.

Holiday Cleaning Checklist for Living Areas

Before you dive into the holiday cleaning checklist, make the whole process easier by decluttering first.

  • Start in the kitchen and remove any appliances and other clutter you won’t use during the holidays.
  • Move on to the dining room and living to put away books, toys, and other items.
  • Empty the laundry basket from the bathroom and pick up the floor.

From the dining room to the kitchen to the bathroom, these holiday cleaning tips will keep every room guest-ready and sparkling clean throughout the holidays.

Dining Room and Living Room Holiday Cleaning Tasks

Your dining room and living room see a lot of traffic, especially during the holidays. Festive meals, drinks and appetizers, and other holiday goodies can cause a mess almost anywhere. From the dining table to your living room upholstery, start with a clean slate and be prepared for accidents with plenty of cleaning supplies. To get your living room and dining room clean for the holidays, use these tips to get rid of dust, dirt, and grime before the holidays and all season long.

  • Sweep and mop hard surface floors and clean the baseboards.
  • Vacuum the carpet and any rugs, and use an extension tool to get underneath furniture and into corners.
  • Spot treat any stains on the carpet, rugs, or upholstered furniture.
  • Dust surfaces like shelves, windows, and door frames, then damp wipe with a microfiber cloth to remove dust and dirt.
  • Remove and clean window screens, then clean your windows inside and out, including the window tracks.
  • Remove loose cushions and pillows and fluff them to remove dust.
  • Vacuum sofas and chairs before replacing the cushions and pillows.
  • Clean decorations and knick-knacks with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • Give your plants a good cleaning to freshen them up. (Yes, you really can!)
  • Eliminate any pet odors.
  • Place coasters on glass and wood-top furniture to prevent water rings and stains.

To keep your living room and dining room clean during the holiday festivities, enlist your guests and family to make the job easier. Ask everyone to return dishes and glassware to the kitchen when they’re done, and make sure everyone knows where the cleanup supplies are in case of a spill. To keep these busy rooms smelling fresh, light some scented holiday candles.

Kitchen Holiday Cleaning Tips

When you’re planning out your holiday meals and snacks, check your supply of dishcloths, scrubbers, and cleaning supplies. If you’re running low, be sure to replenish your stash for the inevitable holiday house cleaning that awaits you! Ensure you have paper towels and all-purpose cleaning sprays for quick cleanups of spills and other kitchen mishaps. Once you’re prepared for cooking and kitchen cleaning during the holidays, let’s get your kitchen sparkling clean for a fresh start for your holiday house cleaning.

  • Purge your refrigerator and give it a good cleaning before you stock it with holiday groceries. Leave an open box of baking soda inside to absorb any odors.
  • Deep clean your oven and stove top.
  • Wipe down counters, cabinet doors, and other surfaces with a damp cloth.
  • Clean your microwave and other small appliances.
  • Give your dishwasher a thorough cleaning.
  • Wash the windows, and be sure to wipe down the frame and clean the windowsill.
  • Sweep and mop the floor.
  • Wash and disinfect trash cans.
  • Purge and organize food cabinets.
  • Give your garbage disposal some extra attention. To cut down on odors, chop up a whole lemon and let the disposal go to work.

To keep your kitchen clean during the holiday festivities, get in the habit of cleaning as you go. Clear the table and counters after each meal to keep clutter to a minimum. Wipe up spills immediately, give the floors a daily sweep, and keep that dishwasher churning out clean dishes.

Bathroom Cleaning Tips for the Holidays

Nothing puts a damper on the holidays like a bathroom with mold, odors, and dirt buildup. And since your bathroom will get a workout during the holidays, you better get it nice and clean before the festivities begin. Use these holiday bathroom cleaning tips to get your bathroom sparkling clean before the first guest arrives.

  • Clean and disinfect the trash can.
  • Wash the shower curtain and liner or clean the shower doors.
  • Scrub and disinfect the toilet.
  • Wipe down the vanity, sink, and faucet.
  • Clean out cabinets and wipe them down inside and out.
  • Give your bathtub and shower a deep cleaning and purge shampoos and soaps.
  • Sweep and mop the floors.
  • Wash the bath rug.
  • Clean the mirror and window.

To keep your bathroom clean and smelling fresh, keep a scented holiday candle burning, and be sure to have plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and washcloths stocked up. Dump the trash can each day and give everything a quick wipe-down before bedtime.

Other Holiday Cleaning Tips to Get Ready for Guests

Room by room is a terrific way to approach your holiday cleaning checklist, but don’t forget other areas and items in your home. Holiday home cleaning should always include transition spaces and little details like clean bedding.

  • Touch up the entryway. This is the first place your guests will see, so dust all surfaces, polish the doorknob, and decorate the space with seasonal items. The same goes for hallways and other traffic areas.
  • Make room in your coat closet for your guests’ outerwear. Add extra hangers if necessary, and be sure to vacuum and dust to freshen things up.
  • Launder bedding for overnight guests and consider adding some soothing aromas. Make sure to leave clean towels in each guest’s bedroom and bathroom.

Have a big family? Plan ahead by moving furniture, like small end tables and large potted plants, to a spare room to allow for extra chairs and sitting space. Be sure to dust and vacuum the new furniture — especially if it hasn’t been used in a while.

Holiday Sights, Sounds, and Scents

These aren’t really holiday cleaning tips as much as they are icing on the cake after all your hard work! If you want your guests to feel welcome and full of good cheer, put the big three to work in your home. Savvy retailers and restaurateurs use sights, scents, and sounds to attract and satisfy their guests. You can do the same in your home.

To provide the ultimate guest experience during the holidays, you can’t go wrong with a trip down nostalgia lane. We all have memories of favorite holiday songs, enticing aromas, and sparkling decorations—and many of those memories are pretty common.


No matter which holiday you’re celebrating, decorations, and especially lighting, can really set the tone for your gathering. Stringed lights are an inexpensive and flexible solution for DIY holiday lighting, so grab a few boxes and get creative! Sparkling lights look festive and warm draped over mantels, trimming windows, and entryway spaces.

Add some twinkle to your front porch or door with string lights to create cozy curb appeal for your holiday guests. To give your home a festive look inside and out, your windows can pull double-duty when you hang reflective ornaments in them. The outdoor and indoor light give the ornaments and window glass a beautiful sparkle!


Keep in mind that music tastes vary and not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Choose music that has a wide appeal, and don’t be afraid to mix things up. No one said you can’t play traditional and modern holiday classics back to back or that you have to play classics at all. Just consider your audience, and put together a playlist that is flexible and varied.

Take time to create a decent size playlist and organize it so you can quickly match the mood or create a new one. If your guests are recovering from a heavy meal, upbeat dance music may not be the right choice. But don’t risk putting them to sleep with slow jazz or other mellow music! To make things easy, put technology to work and let your smart devices keep the tunes rolling.


If you’re already cooking desserts and appetizers for the holidays, your home will naturally fill with comforting and welcoming scents. Think fresh apple pies, peppermint candy canes, and pumpkin spice. These traditional holiday scents and many others are sure winners.

You can still give your home familiar holiday aromas naturally, even when the kitchen is out of the mix. Essential oils, potpourri, and aromatic herbs are safe and natural and make your home smell wonderfully inviting. Whether it’s the savory scent of your cooking or scented holiday candles, try to keep the aromas in your home low-key and well-balanced.

Use this holiday cleaning checklist so you don’t wind down before the holiday festivities do! But just because you know how to clean your house for the holidays doesn’t mean you have to do it, because you can always count on The Maids and our popular holiday cleaning service. We’ll get your home sparkling clean before, during, or after the holidays so you can enjoy them more and have a holiday home that shines.

Whether you need help with housekeeping during the holidays or maid service all year long, The Maids has your back. Choose our weekly recurring cleaning service to enjoy a cleaner home more often or one of our specialty cleaning options for unique cleaning jobs. Learn more about affordable holiday cleaning and our other residential services when you get your free estimate today.

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