The American Cleaning Institute (ACI)

Holiday Cleaning Checklist

Holiday Home

Work through this checklist a few items idea, tackling a room at a time, and your home will be clean and ready for the holidays in no time!


  • If you plan on doing a lot of holiday cooking and entertaining, check your stockpile of aprons, potholders, dish clothes and dish towels. Make sure they’re clean and in usable condition.
  • Clean out the refrigerator to make room for holiday goodies. Remove the contents, checking expiration dates, and discarding anything whose time is up. Clean the shelves and wipe down bottles and jars before returning items to the refrigerator.
  • If the counter tops gleam, the kitchen immediately looks cleaner. Find the best spray cleaner for your particular countertop and use it regularly.

Dining Room or Area

  • For soiled table linens, get into the soaking habit. Once the meal is over, clear the table and pretreat any stains with a prewash stain remover. Fill the washing machine with laundry detergent, warm water and bleach that’s safe for the fabric, toss the linens in, and let them soak overnight. Same goes for your fine napkins and placemats.
  • To avoid beverage rings on your wood or glass top furniture, keep coasters out in plain sight.


  • Put a container of pop-up disposable wipes next to every bathroom and powder room sink. Encourage family members to use them every time they turn the tap water off.
  • Stock up on clean hand towels for the powder room and guest bath.
  • Place tissues and hand sanitizer in the bathroom for a quick pit stop.


  • Before the holiday rush takes over, give all the bed linens a thorough cleaning.
  • Inventory your laundry supplies so you don’t run out of anything at this busy time of the year.
  • Sort and discard old magazines and newspapers. Save a few interesting ones and leave them on a table in the guest room for your company’s nighttime reading.


  • Put mats and throw rugs at all entryways. This will help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home. You may also want a boot tray and a basket for hats and gloves if it’s cold.
  • Make room for guest’s gear by purging the coat closet of out-of-season items and stocking it with hangers sturdy enough for winter coats.

Common Areas and Floors

  • Vacuum carpets, floors and baseboards so you won’t have to count dust bunnies among your holiday guests! 
  • Add a telescoping dust wand to your cleaning supplies to banish corner cobwebs.
  • Give a clear view of your lovely outdoor decorations by cleaning windows. New varieties of glass cleaners offer a range of fragrances, including berry, orange and lemon, to spice up your holiday cleaning. Develop a sorting system for handling the mail so it doesn’t accumulate in piles.
  • Houseplants deserve a holiday spruce-up. Wipe down broadleaf plants with a damp paper towel. For plants with smaller leaves, mist with a spray bottle filled with room temperature water.
  • If your pets prefer the furniture to the floor, cover their favorite upholstered pieces with attractive, washable throws that can be whisked out of sight when guests arrive. See our pet cleaning guide for more tips.

Quick Fixes
For hassle-free cleaning once the holidays are in full swing, keep these items close at hand:

  • Have a multipurpose cleaner on-hand (but out of reach of children) as a quick cleaning tool.
  • Electrostatic dust cloths for spot dusting tabletops, TV screens, framed photos and knick knacks.
  • Toilet brushes with biodegradable pads are particularly handy when more guests mean more traffic in the bathroom. Just brush, then flush the pad away.
  • Disinfectant wipes at sink side in kitchens and bathrooms for quick clean up, and for disinfecting commonly touched, surfaces such as doorknobs and telephones.
  • Window wipes to make smudges on windows and mirrors disappear in a wink. Besides on glass, most are also safe to use on chrome, stainless steel, plastic and vinyl surfaces.
  • Having a small, hand-held vacuum on-hand for crumb cleanup can also be helpful.