Practical Holiday House Cleaning Checklist

So here’s the deal…the holidays are quickly approaching and you want to get your home looking, feeling and smelling as good as possible but you don’t have a lot of time, right?

Have no fear! With this simple and practical cleaning guide, you’ll be set-up for holiday success! Set aside a Saturday or Sunday afternoon and get ready to shine bright.

  1. Infuse the Air with Goodness

First start with cleaning the air in your space. This can be done by simply adding water and your favorite essential oil to a diffuser. When I’m in the mood to get things done, I opt for a citrus brightening scent like lemon or grapefruit. If I’m feeling like creating a cozy chill vibe, spicy scents such as cinnamon and clove get me in the holiday spirit. Aura Cacia is my favorite go-to oil company! And you know how I feel about plastic (get it out of your house as much as you can) this new ceramic diffuser available at Nordstrom caught my eye! What a beauty.

  1. Clean your Oven

    4 shelves of cleaning products organized.
    Woven and wire baskets for cleaning products

Food always tastes better when it’s cooked in a clean oven. Avoid the total scrub down and opt for a steam bath instead:

Fill a casserole dish with water and ½ cup of vinegar. Heat the oven to 350, let the water boil for 30 minutes, then let it cool down. Grab a paper towel and wipe the grease away.

  1. Cabinet doors and light switch covers

While your oven is bathing, grab a rag and get to wiping down the front of all your kitchen cabinets. Over time grease and finger prints build up and while you may not see it, some of your more observant guests might. If you spot any grime around your door handles and light switches now would be the optimal time to get on it! A simple vinegar water solution will do the trick. If you’re not familiar with how to make your own cleaning products, Aura Cacia offers tons of DIY essential oil cleaning solutions. Check them out here.

  1. Clean out your fridge

No one likes seeing spilled salad dressing or moldy veggies in their fridge.

Cleaning products on a shelf
Cleaning Products

Take 15 minutes to empty the whole thing out. While it’s empty, I recommend wiping the interior out with a simple water and white vinegar solution. Take note of any condiment bottles that may also need your attention. Check expiration dates and toss out anything that is old and anything you and your kids don’t like. While you’re at it make sure to give your freezer a once over. You’ll want to have lots of open space to store holiday meal leftovers. If you have an older fridge/freezer and need to do a full defrost this may be something to consider during your house cleaning time block.

  1. Check your pantry

In a previous article, Prep Your Pantry, we stressed the importance of taking inventory. It’s important that you clear out any old or expired foods and get your staples on hand. If you know you use a lot of olive oil and cinnamon during the holidays then order extras today. You don’t want to have to rush out to the store at the start of baking your famous pumpkin pie or chocolate cookies.

Row of glass jars for food and spice storage.
Glass jars for spice and food storage.

Yes, you will need to take everything out of the pantry. Wipe down all the shelves. Check if any oils and vinegars may have spilled and wipe those bottles down as well. Then methodically and consciously place items back in the pantry in a way that works with how often you use them. I recommend the most frequent items going in around eye level and really make the space work for you.

If you are a saver and like keeping extra food on hand for “emergencies” consider setting aside a space in an upper cabinet or a space outside of your everyday working area. Your emergency supplies can live in a separate area making space for you holiday needs.

  1. Dust bunnies and cobwebs

We all have them! I love this duster for hard to reach places like ceiling fans and high corners. Yes, you should vacuum all your couch cushions and pillows but consider doing a deeper dive for all those pesky dust bunnies that may have evaded you in the past. Check behind all your toilets and bedroom doors. Pull out the stove and the refrigerator and get to trapping them! Run a microfiber towel across the top of all you baseboards for an added cleanse!

  1. Table Linens and Silver

If you plan on setting up a pretty table for your holiday meals, be sure all your table linens are in tip-top shape and that you have enough for all your guests. If anything needs to be pressed or dropped to the dry cleaner don’t wait until the 11th hour.

Teapot and sugar memorabilia
Teapot and sugar memorabilia

Polishing silver is a time consuming task. If you plan on using silverware or any silver serving pieces, consider polishing about a week out. You can reduce the amount of cleaning time by storing your items in a silver saver bag like this.



  1. Set your Sink up for Success

We love a well stocked and healthy sink area. I loathe doing dishes but having a wonderful smelling dish soap and the right tools does make it a little less painless. 

Products lined up above the kitchen sink.

One thing that saves my manicured hands is this Full Circle Bubble Up Soap Dispenser and Brush

The spring platform design creates suds that help to extend the life of your dish soap (hello, money saver) and it’s made from bamboo, our favorite sustainable and renewable resource (hi there, environmentally friendly). It doesn’t hurt that the brush and holder are pleasing to the eye either, because hey, if you’re going to have to do the dishes it may as well be with something pretty.

If you’re going to use a regular sponge, Pura is the only way to go. Their sponges never get that nasty stench as they are made from walnut shells. When paired with the delightfully scented Murchison-Hume soap line, it’s a combination sure to win your heart over.

5 bottle of puracy and pura naturals sponges.
Everything you need to wash the dishes.


  1. Guest Bath and Bedroom

If guests are staying with you, provide them with clean sheets and towels. I love washing my guest linens in the Myers Lavender Laundry Soap and stocking the bath with their seasonal hand soaps. Make sure the toilet bowl and sink are debris and dust free. Providing waste bins in guest bedrooms and baths also help to keep clutter at bay. When people know where to put the trash, there is a better chance that it will go where it needs to instead of piling up on counter tops and dressers. It’s the little things that make the biggest impact.

  1.  Windows and Floors

They need your attention! First vacuum and then mop the floors that you can. I’m a big fan of the Bona floor products for wood floors as well as good ole’ Murphy’s oil soap.

Cleaning products in a copper basket
Cleaning products in a copper basket

Nothing works better on the windows than vinegar and newspaper but if you have a lot of windows and not a lot of time, consider hiring a professional window cleaning service. Especially for those of you with skylights and hard to reach windows. There are so many resources nowadays for specialized cleaning services!

  1. Lastly take a look around…

Enjoy all the hard work you have done and pat yourself on the back. If there are any little tweaks and edits you didn’t get to, take 10-15 minutes to let go of anything else that may have been overlooked in your process.

I didn’t create this guide to stress you out but rather to give you a roadmap to success. The more you can do ahead of time, the easier it will be once the big day arrives. When you are prepared and planned you can fully enjoy your company and the holiday spirit has space to settle in.