Readers Digest
Magazine subscription Podcast
HomeLifestyleHome & Garden

Here's how often you should clean every part of your home


28th Jan 2022 Home & Garden

Here's how often you should clean every part of your home

By Joyce French, Cleaning expert from HomeHow

Although it might seem like a long way off, Spring is on its way and with this comes the Spring clean.

Below, cleaning expert Joyce French from HomeHow discusses how often you should clean every part of your home, from the sofa to the bathroom doorknobs.

Room by Room

Living room

Sofa and chairs – vacuumed every fortnight, deep cleaned every twelve months

As a lot of time is spent sitting on the sofa or in our armchairs, they can quickly become a breeding ground for bacteria and debris. Crumbs, dirt and dust can build up in between seat cushions of the chairs and cause bacteria to grow. “Vacuuming up the debris, which tends to accumulate under seat cushions, is a simple way to get rid of the dirt and reduces the chance of allergic reactions.” French explains.


Fridge – every three months, unless there’s a spillage, which should be cleaned immediately

Keeping your fridge clean and bacteria-free is the easiest way to reduce the chance of food poisoning and bacteria build-up, which can lead to mould growing in the fridge. “Simply using a warm water and washing up liquid solution for the shelves and drawers helps reduce bacteria build-up and keeps the fridge working efficiently,” French advises.

Oven – once a month

Cleaning the oven is often seen as a labour-intensive task that requires hours of work, however, cleaning can be done relatively quickly and easily. “The best way to avoid a big clean of your oven is to do regular maintenance, to avoid a dreaded grease build-up,” French advises. “Cleaning your oven should be done at least once a month, as the more grease there is, the less efficient your oven becomes.

If you haven’t cleaned your oven in a while and are put off by the amount of effort required, there are ways to help make the process easier. “Put a bowl of water in the oven and turn it up high for approximately 20 minutes, as the steam will help loosen the dried grease, making it easier to wipe clean.”

Washing machine – wipe down and vacuum every week. Vacuum behind and under every two months

Dust and dirt can accumulate both in, on and under the machine which can cause the machine to break down sooner, make the machine become less efficient and, in extreme cases, cause an electrical fire. To prevent this, vacuum around the machine every day and ideally behind and under at least every two months. Wipe down the front, sides, and top of the machine every week to avoid dust entering the system.

Bins – every fortnight, unless there’s a spill, which should be cleaned immediately

Even the tidiest of households can spill a bit of food or rubbish outside of the bin bag and onto the actual bin, and this can build up over time. Food left to become mouldy can be smelly, unhygienic and cause a health risk due to the bacteria which is produced. “If you spill any rubbish onto the actual bin then you should rinse it immediately with warm water and soap,” French advises. “Otherwise, a wipe down with disinfectant every fortnight should be enough to avoid a build-up of bacteria.”

Sponges – every few days

Although this might not seem eco-friendly, as many normal sponges aren’t biodegradable, it is recommended to replace sponges every few days. “Kitchen sponges can house germs and bacteria, which is unsurprising due to the nature of the product,” French explains. “If you are eco-conscious, then swap reusable sponges, which work just as good but don’t need to be thrown away after just a few days. Just make sure you clean the sponges in hot water to ensure all bacteria is removed.”


Bath mats – once a week

If bath mats are left damp, then they can develop mildew which can be incredibly dangerous to your health. “Although you may only step on bath mats when you are fresh out of the bath or shower, bath mats are a breeding ground for bacteria and germs,” French warns. “As they retain water, which is normally warm, bath mats can develop mildew and, in some circumstances, can cause bacterial and fungal growth.” Washing them once a week will help keep them clean and hygienic.

Toilet – wipe around every day, deep clean once a week

A deep clean once a week is sufficient in keeping bacteria and germs at bay, although if you live with lots of people then you may consider increasing this. “To deep clean your toilet, pour toilet cleaner or bleach under the rim of the seat and around the entire bowl and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Then, use a toilet brush and scrub away any stains and flush away.”

French continues “to make the weekly deep clean easier, and keep the toilet hygiene, use antibacterial wipes or disinfectant spray around the seat and flush handle or button every day to prevent a build-up of bacteria. Remember each time you flush the toilet the water from inside sprays into the air and spreads around the room, so take care to wipe any surrounding surfaces too.”

Shower curtain – once a week. Replace twice a year

French explains regular cleaning and maintenance of shower curtains may be an overlooked chore but is incredibly important in keeping your bathroom clean. “Mould is likely to build up after showers and baths, even if the bath or shower is clean, as it is caused by the humidity from the water,” French explains. “Regular cleaning prevents bacteria and avoids allergens.”


Bedsheets – every fortnight

Unclean bed sheets can be full of bacteria, which is often produced by oil from your skin and even saliva from when you’re sleeping. Dead skin cells also shed during the night and can accumulate onto bedsheets too. French advises changing bedsheets at least every fortnight, which will not only keep your bed hygienic, but can also help improve acne-prone skin and prevent dandruff.

Don’t forget:

Floors – vacuum at least once a week

French explains “the frequency of a light hoover depends on how how often the floors get walked on. Homes with pets and children should be vacuumed at least twice a week, compared to a home with a smaller family which can get away with just a weekly vacuum.” Frequent vacuuming reduces the amount of dirt and allergens, especially in carpet.

Carpet – deep cleaned every 3-6 months

While weekly maintenance is required, all floors will require a deep clean with specialist carpet shampoo at least once a year. Household carpets with pets and children, and homes with smokers, should be deep cleaned every 3-6 months to remove the build-up of dirt which vacuuming alone can’t do.

Tiles – deep cleaned at least once a week

In rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms, which naturally produce more bacteria, mopping at least once a week is important to keep the room hygienic and reduce the risk of dirt, bacteria and mould growth. “Again, the actual amount is dependent on how big your household is and how busy areas are,” French explains. “A downstairs toilet which is rarely used will not require as much upkeep as a bathroom which serves the entire family and will require at least twice-weekly cleaning.”

Curtains – once a fortnight

Curtains collect all the smells, dust and dirt which circulates around your home, so with this in mind French recommends a routine clean every couple of weeks to prevent a build-up. “Although cleaning curtains might seem like a mammoth task, simply vacuuming gently, with a brush attachment, is enough to remove any collected dust,” French advises. “If your curtains are stained, or start to smell, then a deeper wash will be necessary. Depending on your curtain’s care guide, some can simply go into the washing machine, whereas some are dry clean only.”

Doorknobs and light switches – once a week in “high traffic” areas

Doorknobs and light switches tend to accumulate more bacteria as the more they are touched, the more bacteria passed from hand to hand. “All doorknobs and light switches need are a quick wipe down with a disinfectant once a fortnight to help kill bacteria,” French advises. “However, doorknobs leading to kitchens, bathrooms or front and back doors and light switches which get used more than others, will require more frequent cleaning, such as once a week.”

Pet bowls – require daily cleaning, even just water bowls

Although this may seem excessive, both pet food and water bowls must be cleaned every day to avoid making your pet sick. “Unwashed food and water containers attract pests, even after just one day,” French warns. “Simply rinsing the bowls in between uses is not enough to keep pests and bacteria away, so ensure you use soap.

Towels – wash every few days

Every time you handle your towel, whether it’s a kitchen towel or your bath towel, you transfer germs onto it. Not only is this unhygienic but if left for too long, towels can cause bacteria to grow and can cause illness. Hand towels that are used by everyone should be changed at least every two days and washed in hot water and an eco-friendly detergent to ensure bacteria is killed. Bath towels should also be changed every few days and in between changes, should be hung up properly to be allowed to dry. “Towels which aren’t left to dry properly cause bacteria to grow faster,” French explains.

Taps – wipe down every day, deep clean at least once a week

Taps, whether in the bathroom or kitchen, must be cleaned frequently to avoid dirt build-up. “The more people who touch the taps, the easier for germs to build up,” French explains. “Taps can carry a lot of bacteria. Wiping down every day, with a disinfectant kills any bacteria build-up, and a deep clean of the entire sink once a week should be enough to keep them clean.”

Keep up with the top stories from Reader’s Digest by subscribing to our weekly newsletter.


This post contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you. Read our disclaimer

Loading up next...
Stories by email|Subscription
Readers Digest

Launched in 1922, Reader's Digest has built 100 years of trust with a loyal audience and has become the largest circulating magazine in the world

Readers Digest
Reader’s Digest is a member of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (which regulates the UK’s magazine and newspaper industry). We abide by the Editors’ Code of Practice and are committed to upholding the highest standards of journalism. If you think that we have not met those standards, please contact 0203 289 0940. If we are unable to resolve your complaint, or if you would like more information about IPSO or the Editors’ Code, contact IPSO on 0300 123 2220 or visit