How To Deep Clean Your Apartment

Updated on July 23, 2020 by Joseph D. Nielson

Table of Contents

picture of clean grey-themed apartment kitchen and living room

Even if you live in a relatively small space like an apartment, deep cleaning can still be a big job. For an extremely thorough deep clean, be prepared to dedicate a long weekend or to complete tasks over several weekends.

A deep clean is all about getting to those difficult or forgotten areas that don’t get cleaned during regular daily or weekly cleaning. There’s no way of getting around the fact that it is work, but the result is a fresh clean apartment that looks great and smells fresh.

The reality is, everyone’s space can use a good cleaning, regardless of your homeownership status. As a tenant, you may not take the same ownership over maintenance as a homeowner, but deep cleaning is still important to keep your living space clean, healthy and looking good.

Whether you do a big spring clean every year, or your home is just overdue for a tidying up,  we’re here to help you tackle a deep clean in your apartment or condo. The reality is, completing some of these tasks just once or twice a year goes a long way in maintaining the cleanliness of your apartment.

Chances are, you won’t have to go this alone. Got roommates? Awesome, you’ve got a cleaning squad. Get some drinks, snacks and music and make it a cleaning party. You’ll do less and get the job done in less time so you can all get on to enjoying your home again.

Got kids? Older ones can help with some of the tasks. Don’t be shy about getting them in on some responsibilities, especially ones using natural cleaning solutions. Of course, harmful cleaners should be kept away from children. [1

picture of white cleaning products

Get Started on Your Deep Clean

What you’ll need

While materials, fixtures and contents of apartments differ, most apartment dwellers will need the similar supplies to deep clean their apartment effectively. Armed with the right duster for your home and other home-cleaning appliances, you’re a step ahead of the game.

Prepare for your clean by making sure you have these when you’re ready to begin.

  • Vacuum with upholstery attachments
  • Mop (preferably steam type)
  • Microfiber cleaning cloths
  • Non-scratch scrub pads
  • Old toothbrush
  • Baking soda
  • Distilled vinegar
  • Gloves

In addition, and depending on your furnishings, you may also need:

  • Wood cleaner
  • Store-bought cleaner and/or disinfectant
  • Ladder

Before you begin

Before you dive into your deep cleaning, there are a few things you should do to help the process go smoothly.

First, do your research, Check out our vacuum cleaner reviews to find the right one that will help you clean the materials in your home, and get all those hard-to-reach spots.

Once you have everything you need, get all of your cleaning materials together – appliances, tools and cleaners. Next, secure your pets where they’ll be safe from chemicals and out of your way. Last, open your windows to help get rid of cleaning fumes and to allow fresh air into your apartment as you clean.

Keep in mind that you’ll want to clean from top to bottom – literally – in each room. Begin with ceiling lights, tops of shelves, and other places above eye level. Then finish with the floor so that any dust and dirt that has fallen gets vacuumed and mopped away. Just be sure you are using the right appliance for the surfaces in your home. For example, the best vacuum for hardwood floors may not be right for carpets.

After you have your appliances, you’re ready to begin.

picture of messy bedroom with big window

The 12 Steps to Cleaning Your Apartment

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1. Declutter the Apartment

Your first step is to declutter the apartment or room. Everything should be removed from the floor and anything on a surface should be organized. Doing this first will make cleaning easier and more effective. It will also be helpful, and this is a great opportunity to get rid of things you no longer need or use. Donate, recycle or throw away anything you’ve been hanging onto unnecessarily that is collected dust. [2]

2. Move Furniture

You’ll also need to move large furniture pieces and appliances like sofas, book shelves and refrigerators so as to clean them, and the areas around them where dust and dirt have gathered. Not taking the time to move pieces and get into these neglected spaces defeats the whole purpose of deep cleaning.[3]

3. Clean Top to Bottom

Whichever room you are cleaning in your apartment or condo, start with the highest points and work your way down.

Clean ceilings, ceiling fans, and light fixtures using the ladder to reach if necessary. Wiping these areas down with a spray of water and a microfiber cloth should be enough if the dirt build-up is not too thick. Use a bit of dish soap if the dirt is thicker and harder to clean. Walls should be easy to clean with a cloth and water as well.

4. Remove & Clean Windows & Window Treatments

Remove curtains and blinds so that they can be cleaned, and so that your windows can be cleaned. Vacuum the window sill and trim using a crevice or small attachment. Wipe the curtain rods and rings down with your wet cloth and squeegee the windows.

Curtains can either be washed in the washing machine or vacuumed using your vacuum’s upholstery tool. And blinds can be vacuumed or wiped down with a wet cloth depending on how dirty they are. If you wash your curtains, hang them immediately after drying to avoid wrinkles in the fabric. If your unit or building doesn’t have a washing machine big enough for curtains and large items, consider a trip to a nearby laundromat.

5. Clean Surfaces & Floors

In every room throughout your unit, you’ll have surfaces and floors to clean. Of course, this will be easier since you started by decluttering and moving furniture.

Wipe down shelves and the objects on them. Lamp shades should be vacuumed with a handheld vacuum or vacuum attachment. Lightbulbs should also be cleaned or replaced.

Since you’re following the top to bottom method, you’ll be cleaning the floors last. Vacuum dirt, debris and pet hair from floors and carpets. Follow that by using a wet mop with mild detergent or vinegar and water to wipe away excess dirt and add shine to your floors. A steam mop is a great option for deep cleaning and disinfecting floors if you have access to one. When cleaning your floors, make sure to get to those hard-to-reach edges and baseboards.

6. Deep Clean the Bedroom

The bedroom is a place of rest and perhaps, a place of romance. Either way, it’s a room you want to be fresh and clean, not musty and full of dust and allergens. If you or someone in your apartment do have allergies, however, you will want to check out our reviews of vacuums for allergies and asthma to identify the right model for your unique needs,

Start by stripping your mattress of all bedding. You’ll want to vacuum and flip the mattress and wash all of the sheets, pillowcases and other bedding. Wipe down the bed itself too, getting the headboards, bed posts and frame.

Any nightstands, wardrobes, dressers, chests of drawers or other bedroom furniture should be cleaned inside and out. Pay particular attention to dust stuck to the back of furniture.

7. Deep Clean the Living Room

The main living room or family room of your apartment undoubtedly gets the most use. Because we spend so much time relaxing, entertaining and eating in this room, dirt and clutter can really build up. And because we spend so much time in these spaces, we may actually stop noticing the dirt or odors lingering.

Deep cleaning the living room includes doing ceilings, walls and windows as with any room. It also includes vacuuming furniture and removing any stains from couch cushions or pillows.

Any photographs, art or decor on the walls should be taken down and wiped off. Same goes for any photos, memorabilia or other items on shelves or side tables. Clean all surfaces with a microfiber cloth as well under electronics.

And finally floors and carpets. On top of vacuuming, to clean your carpet, you should steam clean or iron out any stains. To effectively get rid of materials like pet hair and dust, however, it’s important to choose the right vacuum for carpets

8. Deep Clean the Kitchen

The kitchen may be the toughest room to tackle in your deep cleaning but also the most important. It’s uber important that the room where you are storing and preparing food be clean and hygienic. This is especially important if you have any pest control problems in your apartment unit or building. Break this one down into different days or have different people tackle different jobs.

9. Empty & Clean Cabinets, Drawers & Countertops:

Empty and wipe down all of your cabinets including the shelves and doors as well as drawers. Your cloth with mild soap or vinegar should do the job.

For countertops and backsplashes you may need a non-scratch scrub to muscle through any stuck-on messes, or an old toothbrush to get between backsplash tiles.

the refrigerator
10: Clean Refrigerator, Oven & Other Appliances:

Now the biggie – all appliances should be moved and cleaned. This includes your refrigerator and oven, as well as smaller appliances like your microwave, toaster or toaster oven. These are admittedly bigger jobs but well worth the time it takes to keep your kitchen clean.

Cleaning Your Refrigerator: Starting with the refrigerator, completely empty the fridge and throw out any food that has expired, wilted, is coated with fuzz, smells bad, etc. In order to keep your home smelling fresh & clean, be sure to wipe down all shelves, drawers and compartments on the inside of the door.

At the same time, you should turn off your freezer, allow it to thaw and clean all shelves with soapy water. This obviously isn’t a chore to do right after stocking up on groceries. Schedule your cleaning at the end of a grocery shopping cycle and consider ordering in or eating out until the kitchen is back in one piece.

Cleaning Your Stove & Oven: Next comes the stove and oven. Start with the stove top so food crumbs and stuck on messes fall to the oven. (Remember top to bottom cleaning). Make sure your gas or electric stove is completely cool before you begin. If you have a gas stove, take out the burner, knobs and all removable parts. If they are particularly grimey, you may choose to soak them in ammonia for 24 hours before wiping them down with soap. 

  • For electric stoves: you can clean the burners and around with a mixture of baking soda and water to remove stubborn stains. Always wear proper protection when dealing with chemicals and never submerge electric burners in water or get connection wet.


  • For the oven: You’ll know it’s in need of a deep clean if there’s been a burning smell whenever you use it. That’s the smell of carbon from burnt food and old grease – not a good thing. Start by removing the racks and anything else inside. To clean the oven itself you can use a homemade baking soda paste or a store-bought oven cleaner. Either cleaning agent will cut through the built up grease and grime in a matter of hours.

    After 12 hours, scrape away loosened dirt with a plastic spatula. The spray a solution of water and vinegar over the remaining baking soda and wipe the last of the mess away. You can however, bypass this chore if your oven has self-cleaning and isn’t too dirty. But whether or not you have self-cleaning, remember to clean behind and around the stove as well.

  • Small Appliances: Your toaster, coffee maker and other small appliances on your countertop should be moved and cleaned as well. Once crumbs, stuck on food, and burn marks are removed, your kitchen appliances will look shiny and new! 

    Lastly, be sure to give your garbage, recycling and/or compost bins a wash too which will certainly help freshen and remove odors in a small apartment.

11: Deep Clean the Bathroom

A sparkly clean bathroom doesn’t come easy. But the cleaner you keep your bathroom day-to-day and week-to-week, the easier deep cleaning will be.

Use a homemade or store-bought cleaner to clean tubs and showers. Scrub soap scum from tubs, curtains and doors. If you’re lucky enough to have a spa or jacuzzi tub (ahhh) you’ll want to clean mildew from the jets. Use an old toothbrush together with your cleaner to clean mould and mildew from grout.

Your sink, drains, toilet, mirror, cabinets, drawers and trash can should all be cleaned and your bath mats should be washed too.

12. Clean Your Balcony or Porch

It’s always nice to have outdoor space attached to your apartment, so you can enjoy some fresh air conveniently. But don’t forget about your balcony or porch when deep cleaning. Sweep the pavement and wash any outdoor furniture you have.

Deep cleaning any size apartment is admittedly not a breeze but well worth the payoff. Not only will you enjoy waking up in, and coming home to, a fresh clean apartment, you’ll enjoy sharing it with others as well. A sparkly clean home always makes a great impression!




[1] The ultimate list of age-appropriate chores (Child Development Institute)

[2] How to clear out sentimental clutter (The Guardian)

[4] 4 tips for moving furniture without back pain (The Joint Chiropractic)



Joseph and Family
About Joseph D. Nielson

Former journalist and editor for various press groups, I now dedicate my time to reviewing products for the home and family life. When I get time to myself, I enjoy rock climbing, taking my dirt bike for a rip, and most importantly providing my family with the best home possible!