Busy work, school, and sporting schedules often get in the way of daily cleaning tasks. When the general untidiness, clutter, and dirt start piling up, it can feel overwhelming to get ready for houseguests or holiday visitors. We’ve put together a holiday cleaning list of organization tips and ideas, and you can work through these to reach your holiday entertaining goals.

Take it one day at a time, hire a professional for some days, or double up on some tasks to make steady progress towards a cleaner holiday season. Here are some main categories to work through, in any order that makes sense for your home, family, and schedule.


The outside of your home can look clean and inviting with a fresh power wash to the siding. Be cautious of using the right pressure spray settings for the specific siding material, or hire a professional to take care of that task for you!

Windows are more appealing when bright and clean. The hard-to-reach second or third floor windows may be difficult for regular cleaning, but can benefit from seasonal scrubbing. A window washer has the right tools and technique to accomplish the task quickly.


Vacuum the mattress at least seasonally, and rotate or flip the mattress so it gets even use.

Use a fresh mattress cover if necessary, or launder the existing cover frequently to cut down on allergens.

Store off-season clothing to make room when guests are visiting and need extra drawer space.

Family Room / Living Room

Upholstery – start vacuuming the upholstered furniture more frequently. Use the upholstery attachment for soft cleaning weekly, use the crevice tool for fabric tufted areas or around seat cushions. Air the cushions – take them outside to remove extra dust and let them air out in a safe area away from direct sunlight.

Upholstery cleaning is a great way of getting a fresh, clean look to your furniture. Don’t be tempted to try it yourself, as manufacture guidelines often specify certain cleaning requirements for different types of fabric. Hire a qualified upholstery cleaner and mark that item off your cleaning list!

Curtains get dusty, and should be cleaned periodically using a curtain attachment on the vacuum. Do all surfaces of the curtains, not just the areas at eye-level. Launder or dry clean annually.

Dusting is often overlooked in daily activities, but if done regularly, it can make a difference in the cleanliness of the furniture. A lightly dampened cloth is safe for most sealed wood surfaces, but check manufacturer recommendations.


Conquer soap scum in the tub and shower and keep it away. Soap scum is alkaline, so clean with equal portions of water and vinegar. This is acidic, which cleans away the alkaline scum.

Shower curtain liners can get a buildup of mildew, but laundering them regularly will help prevent that. Some people like to spray the liner with distilled white vinegar after their shower, rinsing well and leaving open to air dry.

Mirrors can look shiny if cleaned properly using a solution of vinegar and water. Some people prefer wiping with crumpled newspapers to avoid streaking and smearing.


Stuck-on oven messes get worse as they are left to harden, so tackle spills and splatters right away. Use equal portions of baking soda and water to make a paste, apply to the stubborn area, and let set for a few hours. Wipe with a damp cloth.

Microwave ovens can sometimes retain odors and stuck-on food. Add water to a microwave-safe bowl and heat for a couple of minutes. Remove the bowl, and wipe the steamy surfaces with a damp cloth. You can also add lemon to the water for a fresh scent.

Some people like to deep clean the refrigerator before the holidays. Store all perishable food in a cooler, and clean all the interior surfaces. A mixture of water and white vinegar works well for this.

If you set your holiday table with fine china, silver, and crystal, it’s important to keep these precious items stored properly so pre-use cleaning is minimal. If they do look dingy, wash and carefully dry them days before the party, and store them away from moisture.


Hardwood floors need special care, and pre-holiday polishing adds a special shine to each room. If you don’t have time to care for hard floor surfaces, a floor care specialist can provide a quick cleanup.

Carpet cleaning can be done before or after the holidays, but call a carpet cleaner early to get the right schedule for your carpet needs.

Holiday preparation can be a stressful time. Remember that a professional cleaning service can tackle some of the holiday cleaning tasks in a single visit! Call ServiceMaster by the Border to schedule some holiday cleaning before the holidays arrive.