The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Fast and Efficient Home Cleaning Guide

Man in wheelchair mopping the floor

Cleaning quickly is all about having a plan. You need to tidy up, go top down and focus where your cleaning has outsized effect in terms of looking good and keeping you and your family safe.

Get Ready

Prepare to clean so you don’t waste time or resources by accident. Gather your cleaning products. Read the directions so you know you are using them safely and effectively. The label contains important information about how much product you should use to get the best results. Following the instructions on the label will help prevent you from wasting the product. Make sure they are not within reach of children when stored or while you’re cleaning. Also gather cleaning tools, like paper towels or microfiber cloths.

Get Set

Cleaning efficiently isn't just about saving time, but also saving money, water and energy. For instance, the dishwasher takes 3.5 times less water than washing dishes by hand as well as less time, making it the more efficient choice. As you're getting set to clean, check out our Sustainable Cleaning Tips for more ways to save resources.


It will take less time and use less cleaning materials if you clean systematically instead of haphazardly. Here a process to follow for efficient cleaning:

  • Start by picking up. Work from one corner to the next, around the room. Trying to clean around the clutter will slow you down and this step will get your home looking better already. For now, focus on staging things in groups to go where they below. When cleaning the bedroom or bathroom, this is a great time to gather sheets and towels for the laundry. For the kitchen, put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. It can also help to bring a trash bag for emptying bins or collecting other items to throw out.
  • Work from the top down. For example, dust before you vacuum so that you don’t have to go back and reclean somewhere you’ve already been. Start in one corner and work your way around. When cleaning floors, start in the farthest corner and work your way back to the entrance.
  • Prioritize the kitchen and bathroom. These are the rooms that will take the most time. Pretreat surfaces with product that should sit for a bit to work, like the toilet cleaner. Again, work top to bottom and don’t forget to clean the appliances. For delicate flooring like tile or wood floors prone to scratching, get out the broom and sweep, before mopping.
  • Disinfect where needed. Now that things are clean, you may want to disinfect, using a spray or wipe. Focus on where hygiene matters, like frequently-touched surfaces that include doorknobs, light switches, tables, countertops, desks, handrails, and faucets. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning electronics.
  • Practice makes perfect. Now that you have your plan, set up a schedule to give your home this rundown. In addition to getting faster with repetition, the more frequently you clean will mean less need for deep cleaning to play catch up.

For more details on cleaning your home, check out our Cleaning Basics and Room-By-Room Cleaning Guide.