How to clean a living room — give yours a refresh in 6 simple steps

Clean a living room with confidence with our expert tidying advuce

Modern bright living room with couch and light from window behind
(Image credit: The Good Brigade/Getty Images)

Knowing how to clean a living room is key to making yours a welcoming space.

Whether prepping for guests or simply seeking a refresh, our expert guide will help you transform your living room into a sanctuary you want to spend time in.

Learning how to clean a house begins with the most precious of spaces where your household comes together — the living room. Let's explore the six simple steps that will get yours back to its best...

How to clean a living room like a pro

How to clean a living room doesn't have to be complicated. Simply gather the best cleaning supplies, then follow our experts' simple steps. 

Where our experts have recommended products, we've sourced well-reviewed items from trustworthy retailers.

All prices were correct at the time of publication.

1. Gather supplies for your living room clean

Modern bright living room with white sofa, wooden floor and wooden cabinets

(Image credit: Morsa Images/Getty Images)

Before diving into cleaning, it's essential to gather all the necessary supplies. You don't want to interrupt your cleaning flow by hunting for a missing cleaning agent.

Here's a basic checklist to get you started:

Having these supplies handy will streamline your cleaning process and ensure that you have everything you need to tackle any mess.

2. Declutter your living room

Retro living room with orange couch and painting of a cat on the wall

(Image credit: Boris SV/Getty Images)

Clearing clutter is the first step to achieving a clean and organized living room. 

Start by picking up any items that don't belong in the room and returning them to their rightful places. 

Since hoarding unnecessary items is one of the most common living room decluttering mistakes to avoid, assess the remaining items and decide whether they should be kept, donated, or discarded. 

Will Cotter, owner of FreshSpace Cleaning, says, "Cleaning your living room can feel a little overwhelming, so I advise decluttering first. Get everything back in its proper place. 

"To stay on top, you can invest in storage areas for different types of items, like a basket for magazines or a decorative bin for remote controls. This makes it easier to quickly tidy up clutter on a daily basis. 

"If budget permits, furniture with built-in storage — like ottomans or coffee tables with hidden compartments — is a great way to maximize storage space and keep clutter out of sight."

Will Cotter, COO of HappyCleans, standing in sunshine in front of San Francisco Bridge.
Will Cotter

Will Cotter is the owner of FreshSpace Cleaning — which serves homes in multiple locations across the south and beyond — as well as other cleaning companies in Indianapolis, Oklahoma, Milwaukee, and Louisville.

3. Get dusting the living room

Modern living room with small comfy sofa with big orange cushion

(Image credit: Israel Sebastian/Getty Images)

Dust accumulates quickly, so regular dusting is essential to keep your living room looking fresh. 

Will says, "Work from top to bottom, starting with higher surfaces like shelves and ceiling fans, and gradually work your way down. This prevents dust from settling on clean surfaces as you work. 

"Ceiling fans are a bit tricky to clean but it’s still possible to clean fan blades without getting dust everywhere. Grab a pillowcase, slip over each blade, and gently pull it back. 

"For surfaces, I use a microfiber cloth. Start at one end and work your way across. If you encounter any tough spots, a spritz of all-purpose cleaner can help."

Will recommends these Amazon Basics Microfiber Cleaning Cloths. The Swiffer Dusters Heavy Duty Extendable Handle Dusting Kit from Target also does a great job and can attack those hard-to-reach spots.

For all-purpose cleaners, Will recommends this CloroxPro Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner from Amazon.

When it comes to cleaning radiators, pay close attention, as dust can accumulate both outside and inside too. Door handles are also commonly overlooked.

Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning, adds: "Since people are coming in and out of the room all the time, it's easy for germs to build up on living room door handles if you're not careful. 

"Scrub with a disinfectant wipe or a cloth dampened with a disinfectant cleaner. For the nooks and crannies, like around the edge of the handle or lock, an old toothbrush does the trick."

This three-pack of Clorox Bleach-Free Disinfecting Wipes from Target provides a safe and easy way to blitz bacteria from your living room door handles.

Profile photo of Karina Toner, operations manager at Spekless Cleaning
Karina Toner

Karina is an Operations Manager at Spekless Cleaning, a prominent cleaning company based in Arlington, VA. With over a decade of hands-on experience in the cleaning industry, she's honed her expertise in providing top-notch cleaning solutions tailored to meet the unique needs of clients effectively, and sustainably.

4. Freshen the living room furniture

Retro living room with blue sofas, slick wooden coffee table and light from back window

(Image credit: John Keeble/Getty Images)

Your furniture is the centerpiece of your living room, so it's crucial to keep it clean and well-maintained. 

First, wash and dry your couch cushion covers according to the guidelines on the label. Then grab your vacuum cleaner.

Will says, "Use the upholstery attachment and move it in overlapping strokes so no spot is left behind. For pet hair, use tape, a lint roller or disturb with a rubber glove. The friction will help loosen hair, making it easier to vacuum up."

Will recommends the Scotch-Brite Lint Roller Twin-Pack from Walmart

For leather or wood furniture, use a suitable cleaner and polish to restore shine and remove any stains or fingerprints. 

Fluff and rotate cushions for even wear and tear, then replace your pillow covers.

5. Blitz the living room floor

Boho living room with deep orange couch and fancy paintings on the wall

(Image credit: Boris SV/Getty Images)

Clean floors can instantly elevate the look and feel of your living room. 

After an initial vacuum to remove the carpets and any rugs of loose dirt and debris, it's time for the stardust. 

Karina says, "Sprinkle a few cups of baking soda liberally over the whole area. Wait at least 15 minutes, then vacuum it up to remove lingering smells like pet odor or smoke."

Hard floors require a slightly different approach, which begins with the right vinegar to water ratio. Amazon's 365 by Whole Foods Market Organic White Distilled Vinegar is a reliable, eco-friendly option. 

Karina says, "For a safe but sparkling clean, dilute a quarter cup of white vinegar in a gallon of water. Dampen a microfiber mop with the solution and mop the floor, working in the direction of the wood grain."

Be careful to avoid soaking the floor as this can cause warping or discoloration if oversaturated.

Karina adds, “Always dry the floor thoroughly after cleaning to prevent water damage and streaking.”

6. Wash the living room windows

Modern bright living room with sofa, big plant, and light from window

(Image credit: The Good Brigade/Getty Images)

Clean windows not only allow more natural light to brighten your living room but also enhance the overall cleanliness of the space. Start by removing dust and dirt from window frames and sills using a vacuum or damp cloth. 

Will says, "Simply spritz some window cleaner on a microfiber cloth and wipe in a zigzag or circular motion to avoid streaks. The same motion works for mirrors. If you have an old newspaper, put it to good use! Crumple it up, and buff the mirror. The texture of the newspaper helps to absorb excess moisture and leaves behind a sparkling shine."

Will recommends Target's Windex Original Blue Glass Cleaner Spray. It's also easy to clean windows with vinegar

Clean windows on a cloudy day where possible to prevent the cleaner from drying too quickly and leaving streaks behind.

By following our pro tips, you'll have your living room fresh and inviting in no time. 

Next, check out the best colors to paint your small living room and these easy upgrades for your small living room

Andy van Terheyden
Freelance Writer

I'm a senior writer with an English degree and NCJ qualification, plus years of experience writing news, lifestyle and consumer articles for the national and international press. I'm also a copywriter, working on a breadth of consumer and corporate projects, and a private education consultant. I live in the quiet of the countryside and spend my weekends mooching around homeware shops, completing DIY tasks to breathe life into my small, newly-built home.