Here are four cleaning plans you can accomplish in under an hour. 

By Natalie Ermann Russell
Updated March 23, 2018
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Blue Bucket and Clock
Credit: Chelsea Cavanaugh

Don't want to devote an entire spring weekend to spring cleaning? Divide the to-do list into manageable segments that can be accomplished in a short period of time. Set aside one hour of your day, then choose one task to tackle: clean the windows, deep-clean the kitchen, or dust the blinds. Do one routine each day, and before you know it, your entire home will be clean. Have a little more time on your hands? Skip down to our two- or three-hour cleaning sprees that tackle every last germ and dust bunnies hiding in your home.


In an hour, you’ll likely have enough time to clean the windows on only one floor. If you’re really pressed for time, clean just the outside, where most of the dirt is.

  1. Make your own cleaning solution for the interior. Vinegar packs cleaning power, and rubbing alcohol causes the solution to dry quickly and streak-free: Mix together 1 cups water, 1 tablespoons white vinegar, 1 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, and 3 drops of your favorite essential oil. Using a funnel, pour into a spray bottle.
  2. People tend to oversaturate a surface with cleaning solution. When you spray too much, you spend more time wiping off excess than actually cleaning. Instead, simply mist the windows, then wipe with a squeegee or a microfiber cloth folded into quarters. Quarter folding maximizes surface area, so when one side of the cloth is dirty and wet, you can flip it over to use the reverse side, then unfold and refold to use the other sides.
  3. You need a stronger cleaning solution for the exterior. Mix together 4 tablespoons Castile soap, 4 tablespoons rubbing alcohol, and gallon warm water. Using the sponge side of a double-sided squeegee, apply the solution (again, do not oversaturate). Roll up a towel and place it at the base of the window to catch excess drips as you wipe the window with the squeegee’s rubber edge. Work from left to right, top to bottom.


In addition to degreasing surfaces and clearing off the counters, tackle the inside of the fridge and freezer, the sink, and the countertop. Using a microfiber cloth moistened with hot water and a few drops of dish soap, wipe down refrigerator and freezer shelves and crisper drawers. The hotter the water, the less time you’ll spend scrubbing (wear gloves!). Deep-clean the sink using a cleanser like Bar Keepers Friend and a wet scrub brush. If your counter needs to be resealed annually, now is a good time.

Blinds & Curtains

Going room by room, swipe blinds with a dusting wand and vacuum drapes using the upholstery attachment.


Remove everything and wipe down the shelves. Toss any expired products, then restock the shelves, cleaning dust or drips from jars and containers as you do so.

Got 2 to 3 Hours?


Clean all the windows in the entire house, on every floor, inside and outside.

Behind The Furniture

In two hours, you can knock out many of the tasks already listed, plus deep-clean behind furniture. Move everything out of its usual spot and suck up hidden dust bunnies with your vacuum. If there’s tile or wood flooring beneath the piece, swipe with a microfiber mop. Don’t forget to wipe down the baseboards back there too.


After vacuuming, shampoo the carpets for a deep-down clean. You can hire out the job (the ultimate time-saver) or use a carpet-cleaning machine, which can be rented at a big-box store for about $30.


Most people consider dusting the surfaces of furniture but rarely the walls. To clean, run the dry head of a microfiber mop along the wall, starting at the ceiling and working your way down. You will be shocked at the amount of dust, fuzz, and pet hair you pull off. Much of the debris will fall to the floor, so do it before cleaning anything on a lower level.

Our Experts

  • Linda Cobb, New York Times best-selling author of the Queen of Clean book series (
  • Debra Johnson, cleaning expert at Merry Maids
  • Melissa Maker, cleaning expert and author of Simply Clean and founder of