Here's how to clean an apartment in 5 steps, so you can spend more time chilling

Step by step, room by room

A colorful living room with a yellow sofa and coffee table
(Image credit: Getty)

Let’s be real: apartments aren’t as big as a regular ol’ house. While this does mean there’s less space to actually have to clean (always a bonus), it also means that you really do notice when the grime accumulates.

I know how it feels to live in a tiny space and be overwhelmed as you try all your best cleaning hacks to stay on top of dirt and clutter. That's why it’s super important to make sure you’re properly cleaning your apartment more frequently. After all, not only are dust bunnies not as cute as the name suggests, but they really aren’t great to be breathing in. Gross.

If your apartment is in need of some TLC, I’ve got you. I’ll show you which cleaning tools and supplies you need, how to tackle each room in the house, and answer your commonly asked questions.

Get ready, as your apartment is about to get a serious glow up…

Good to know

Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes. This is broken down into 30 minutes for each room — kitchen, bathroom, living room, and bedroom — plus an extra 30 minutes for gathering all your cleaning supplies and tools. Depending on if your apartment is bigger or smaller, this amount of time may change.

Difficulty: Easy. While this may take a good chunk of time, none of the cleaning techniques used are complicated. Phew.

Helpful hints: A cleaning caddy will make this so much easier, so you have all your supplies in one place. If you have the budget, I recommend purchasing a cleaning caddy for each room and separating out the supplies. This way, you don’t have to carry the caddy in between rooms. 

Here's what you'll need

How to clean your apartment

Step 1: Gather your cleaning tools

Save yourself from dashing back and forth between your cleaning cabinet by gathering all the supplies and tools that you need in one place. You can either lay them out on a surface and move them around with every room, or you use a cleaning caddy to carry everything around. For room-specific tools such as the toilet brush, you can just put this in there, ready for when you need it.

Step 2: Start with the kitchen

The kitchen is the first room you should clean, as it’s the space that will need the most love, due to how much it’s used and how wet it can get. Start with dusting the tops of cabinets, the extractor fan, and the top of the fridge. Then, clean the cabinets — both the surface and handles — with a microfiber cloth and an all-purpose cleaner.

Continue using your microfiber cloth and cleaning spray to clean the surfaces, including countertops, the sink, and the faucet. Finish off with the floor, using a dustpan and brush to get rid of crumbs, before using your mop.

Top tip: Give your microfiber cloth a little rinse before you start to use it to loosen the fabric up and move the cleaning spray liquid around more effectively 

Step 3: Move to the bathroom

The bathroom is another apartment room that gets super wet (because obvi we clean ourselves in there), which means bacteria builds up quickly. Start with spraying the highest places with all-purpose cleaner — which in the bathroom are the shower head and the wall-tiles — and then wipe them down.

Follow this along with cleaning the sink faucets and basin, and then the toilet. Go all around the bowl with the toilet brush, scrubbing away any gross stains. Finally, sweep with a dustpan and brush, then mop the floor from the end of the room to the start of the room so you don’t leave any footsteps. Finish your cleaning with a spray of air freshener.

Top tip: Use a bathroom-specific cleaning spray for better results. 

Step 4: Head to the bedroom

No, it isn’t nap time (maybe after). Start by dusting the tops of your wardrobes, cabinets, lampshades, TV stand, and nightstands. Dust your headboard, too — this is one place I always forget to clean. Then, wipe down the surfaces with a microfiber cloth and spray. Make sure you remove any objects, such as night lamps and diffusers before you do this, so you don’t miss any spots underneath them.

Spray any nasty spots with an upholstery cleaner (I get so much makeup on my carpet, so I ain’t judging), rubbing them in with a scrubbing brush. Then, go over the whole floor with your vacuum cleaner or your mop, depending on if you have carpet or wooden flooring.

Top tip: If you have time and if they need changing (this is how often we recommend), swap out your bed sheets for an extra-fresh finish.

Step 5: Finish in the living room

This is the best place to finish cleaning. It doesn't have surfaces that need time to dry, like in your kitchen and bathroom. Plus, chances are this is where you’re going to go to chill out once you’re done. Dust bookshelves, picture frames, and light fixtures with the duster, before wiping them with a microfiber cloth and cleaning spray. Repeat this with your tables and chairs. Same as with the bedroom, either use a dustpan and brush and mop combo or a vacuum to clean the floor.

Top tip: For an extra deep clean, use a carpet or upholstery cleaner machine on your couch and cushioned seats.


What is the fastest way to clean a dirty apartment?

If you don’t have time to clean absolutely everything, just wipe down the eye-level surfaces, as this is what most guests will see when they enter. Also, walk around the apartment with a trash bag to declutter the space. 

How do you deep clean a dirty apartment?

How do I clean my apartment like a professional?

Cleaning like a professional is all about focusing on hard to reach areas and paying close attention to detail. Make sure to clean every single surface, both top and bottom, and declutter trash and miscellaneous items.

Eve Smallman
Staff Writer

Hi there! I’m a staff writer at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses.