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The Ultimate Pre-Vacation
House Cleaning Checklist

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July 6, 2022

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Why would you need a house checklist before vacation? Because it’s hard to be organized before the trip, and you don’t want to leave your home dirty. There are family suitcases to pack, keys to leave for the neighbor, mail to check, and a host of other things to do before you head out for vacation.

We get it. You’re already transitioning into a beach mentality, but the last thing you want when you get back is to come home to a dirty, musty home. To help you get on the road and make the most of your vacation time, we created a pre-vacation cleaning checklist, so you return to a home that is fresh and clean.


It would be ideal if you could give your kitchen a quick but thorough cleaning before leaving for vacation. But if you’re anything like us, you’re probably running around at the last minute making sure you packed everything. If you don’t have time for a complete cleanup, use this kitchen pre-vacation cleaning checklist:

  • Fridge: No one wants to come home to last week’s lasagna or other leftovers on the brink of going bad. Ask yourself this question as you go through your refrigerator inventory: Will I want to eat this in a week? If the answer is no, throw the food away and clean the containers.
  • Coffee pot: Moisture and leftover coffee grinds and residue create the ideal breeding ground for mold quicker. Discard any used coffee filters or grounds and remove the coffee pot and other removable parts. Give the coffee carafe, removable parts, and the coffee maker a thorough cleaning. Let the coffee machine, pot, and other parts air dry before reassembling the coffee maker. Leave the lid of the coffee maker open to allow trapped moisture to dry.
  • Drains & Disposal: Just because you can’t see the food in your garbage disposal doesn’t mean it’s not rotting down there. Turn on the faucet and run the disposal to ensure any remnants are gone. Then, run lemon wedges through the disposal to create a pleasant aroma. If you do not have a disposal, be sure to run the faucet to clear the drains and pour a cup of distilled white vinegar in to remove odor-causing residue.
  • Counters & Floors: Wipe down the kitchen counters with a wet cloth and all-purpose cleaner. Sweep the floor and wipe up any sticky spots or residue with your damp cloth.
  • Trash & Bins: Take all the trash out of the house and put it outside. If you missed the bag and have some bottom dwellers, rinse out the garbage bin and disinfect it.
  • Sink & Dishwasher: Run the dishwasher, unload it, and leave the dishwasher door open to let things dry out. If you don‘t have a dishwasher, wash and dry all the dishes and put them away.


Bathrooms are breeding grounds for mold, mildew, and germs, and you don’t want to add to the problem by leaving a dirty bathroom in a closed-up home. If you don’t have time for a deep bathroom cleaning, these pre-vacation cleaning checklist items should hold you over while you’re on vacation:

  • Toilet: If your toilet looks less than shiny already, clean it inside and out, then spray it down with disinfectant. Remember to leave the toilet seat up to minimize the amount of moisture and prevent mold.
  • Shower and tub: Give your tub and shower a quick cleaning and disinfect the hardware.
  • Shower Curtain: If it’s washable, remove the shower curtain and wash it—if it’s not, close the shower curtain so it can dry properly.
  • Sink: Clean the sink and wipe down the vanity, then sanitize the sink hardware with disinfectant.


  • On your last day home, while working on your house checklist before vacation, open the bedroom windows and turn on the ceiling fan to air things out.
  • Make the bed: If you are really on a roll, put on clean bed sheets. Returning home from vacation is hard enough—you don’t need to be greeted by a wad of dirty sheets and pillows and a musty-smelling bedroom.
  • Wipe off the surface dust from the furniture with a damp cloth and sweep or vacuum the bedroom floor.

Knowing how to keep your house fresh while on vacation is a wonderful skill. It’s easy to neglect nagging details when the allure of R&R calls your name, but nobody wants to come home to a smelly, messy house. Use this pre-vacation cleaning checklist before every vacation to ensure your house feels like home when you return.

Want to skip those last-minute cleanups before vacation and other times you’re in a pinch? Check out affordable weekly, biweekly, and monthly residential cleaning services from The Maids®.

We’ll help you enjoy a cleaner home more often and give you more free time to enjoy the things you love—like getting a jump start on your next vacation! Get a free online estimate today for customized housekeeping services.

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