Tidy-ings of Comfort and Joy: Holiday Deep Cleaning to Improve Air Quality

 In Air Quality, Winter Topics

Home for the holidays might look different this year, but whether you’re expecting guests at your front door or on Zoom, the holiday season is a great time to get your home in order. Deep cleaning for the holidays will help you feel more organized and prepared for the busiest time of year. Another bonus? It can improve the air quality in your home. Dust, pollen and pet hair build up quickly indoors and can be irritating to your respiratory system.

Like any big task, deep cleaning your entire home is a lot to take on in one day. Breaking it up into smaller steps makes the process more manageable. If you don’t know where to start, here’s a step-by-step guide to deep cleaning your home for the holidays.

Getting Started

It might be tempting to start with a trip to the store for specialty cleaners, but according to The New York Times, you don’t need a lot of supplies for holiday deep cleaning. Its simple list of what you need to get started includes a vacuum, mop, microfiber rags (or paper towels) and a multi-purpose cleaner. Be mindful of the types of cleaners you choose. Just because something is labeled green does not mean it is more eco-friendly or contains fewer strong chemicals. For better air quality, aim for cleaners without artificial fragrance.

Time to Declutter

Going room by room to remove unnecessary items is an important step in the deep cleaning process. Good Housekeeping provides a list of helpful items to declutter in each room. Start with the kitchen and take a look at your spice cabinets to remove expired spices. You’d be surprised how long that one spice jar has been hiding in the back of your cabinet (hint: A long time). The same goes for your bathroom cabinets – take a few minutes to toss any toiletry items that are past their best-by date.

Next, walk through each bedroom. Remove any out-of-season items from your closet. Purge unwanted items from your bookshelves, side tables and dressers. Finally, take a look at your living room areas. Good Housekeeping provides a rule of thumb: Coffee tables should be kept 75 percent clear at all times. Toss or donate any unwanted items taking up space in your home.

Holiday Deep Cleaning, Room by Room

Now that you’ve cleared out unnecessary items, it’s time to get to work. Here’s a list of what to tackle in each room to get your home sparkling clean (inspired by this checklist).

Kitchen: Clean the fridge and wipe down countertops; clean the stove and microwave; clean the oven; run the dishwasher on empty; clear crumbs from the toaster; wipe down cabinets, drawers and shelves; clean the coffee maker; sweep and mop the floors.

Living Room: Wash the curtains, clean carpets and rugs, dust wood furniture, wipe down light fixtures, wash the windows.

Bathroom: Clean the toilet; wash hand towels; wipe down mirrors; wash bath mat and shower curtain; scrub the sink, tub and shower; mop the floors.

Bedrooms: Wash sheets and pillowcases, clean mattresses, vacuum carpets and rugs, dust wood furniture, wipe down baseboards, wash the windows.

Laundry Room: Clean the washer and dryer, restock any supplies.

Whew! Sit down and enjoy glass of eggnog. You’ve earned it. You’re not done quite yet, though.


The key to keeping your house clean is having a routine. Some tasks are best tackled daily, while others only need attention once a year. According to Mental Floss, here’s how often you should be cleaning everything in your home.

Every Day: Make beds; wash dishes; wipe down tables and counters; sweep floors, wipe down bathrooms, squeegee shower walls and sanitize kitchen sinks.

Every Week: Mop floors, scrub bathrooms, clean mirrors, dust furniture, wash bedding, throw out expired food, clean inside the microwave, vacuum floors.

To improve air quality in your home, try a HEPA-filtered vacuum cleaner (HEPA: high efficient particulate air) which traps smaller particles than a traditional vacuum cleaner. This can reduce the airborne dirt, dust and bacteria in your home. Linens also tend to collect dust mites and release them back into the air. To improve air quality, aim to wash all linens weekly on a high heat setting.

Every Month: Dust light fixtures, dust blinds, clean dishwasher and washer/dryer.

Every 3-6 Months: Wipe down the inside of the fridge, clean the kitchen range, wash shower curtain liner, clean behind furniture, wash decorative pillows and comforters, vacuum mattresses, clean oven and freezer.

Every Year: Clean fireplace and chimney, deep clean carpets and upholstery, clean vents, wash drapes and curtains, clean out gutters.

As Needed: Clean air ducts. Keeping your air ducts clean is an important part of keeping your home comfort system running efficiently and keeping the air in your home free of dirt, dust and other airborne pollutants. This is a job for the professionals – consider arranging a professional examination if there’s mold growing in your insulation, if there’s vermin in your air ducts or if the air ducts are clogged with dust and debris. NADCA: The HVAC Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Association recommends hiring a certified professional, such as Barineau Heating & Air, to clean your system.

One simple way to keep your home feeling clean throughout the year is by incorporating house plants. Certain house plants are great at naturally purifying the air. Read our blog on 5 Houseplants for Improving the Air Quality in Your Home to find out which plants are best.

Enjoy Your Sparkling Clean Home

Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of holiday deep cleaning, you might find yourself asking Santa for a fancy vacuum cleaner or specialty laundry detergent this holiday season. If you’re ready to get your air ducts cleaned, Barineau can examine your system and provide you with a free estimate of how much it will cost to get your air ducts in order. Schedule an appointment today and save 15 percent on air duct cleaning when you sign up for the Total Comfort Service Program.

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