How to Clean Your Whole House in 2 to 3 Hours

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Yes, you really can clean your whole house in 2 to 3 hours! I know it sounds too good to be true. But I promise you it’s not, and in this post I’m going to show you how to do it. I’m not a house cleaner, I’m just a regular mom who was frustrated with how much time I was spending cleaning our home… so I found a better way. I figured out how to spend less time cleaning, and more time enjoying a clean house.

Keep reading for all the tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way. This post would have been a game changer for me a few years ago, and I hope it’s helpful to you today!

How to spend less time cleaning and clean your entire home in 2-3 hours - plus free downloadable printable cleaning checklist from White and Woodgrain
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From Forever Cleaning to Finally Clean

Does it take you forever to clean your home? Do you feel like you’re always cleaning but never quite get it all done? That’s exactly how I used to feel!

It used to take me forever to clean our home. I’m talking 2 full days of putting things back where they belong, vacuuming, scrubbing, dusting, and laundry, etc. Now it takes me a couple hours to get it all done. Sometimes it takes me 2 and 1/2 hours, and sometimes it’s closer to 3. But 2 ish hours is so much better than 2 ish days! Right?!

I’ve gotten a lot faster at cleaning these days… and if I’m being honest, I’ve gotten a lot smarter about how I approach cleaning and tackling household chores.

Now that I’ve got my system down-pat, I want to share what I’ve learned and what I’m doing differently these days to make it go a lot faster. I’m going to walk you through my cleaning process and show you how you really can clean your whole house in 2 to 3 hours, give or take.

How long should it take to clean a house?

Most cleaning companies allow 2 to 3 hours for a standard house cleaning appointment.

Obviously there are many variables to consider. The size of your home, how many bedrooms and bathrooms you have, kids, pets, whether you consider yourself a minimalist or a maximalist, etc. But 2 to 3 hours is a good baseline for the average size home.

antique laundry basket, laundry bucket, vintage amber clorox bottle, and a mason jar of wooden clothespins

Can you really clean your whole house in 2 t0 3 hours?

Yes you totally can! Honestly, I used to wonder how on Earth anyone could clean an entire house in under 3 hours. Then I hired a cleaning company. (Just temporarily though.) And that proved to me that it can be done!

We had an angel of a lady come out once a month to do a general cleaning. Kitchens, bathrooms, dusting, vacuuming, mopping, changing the sheets, etc.

She would arrive, clean the entire house, and be done in under 3 hours. Our house would look amazing in that short period of time! (For reference, our home is 2300 sq ft with 4 bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms.)

clean white kitchen with vintage kitchen decor, shaker cabinets, white subway tile backsplash, and open shelving

We no longer have a cleaning service. It was a temporary solution for our family, and quite the splurge if I’m being honest. Though it was well worth the investment for a time!

Hiring professionals taught me a lot about cleaning a home, and it proved to me that it is possible to clean our entire house in under 3 hours. It also taught me that in order to clean faster, I needed to be more diligent about tidying up on a daily basis.

Tidying Up vs. Cleaning vs. Deep Cleaning

It’s important to point out that “cleaning house” might mean something different depending on who you ask. But in my book, there’s three different kinds of “cleaning”: tidying up, cleaning, and deep cleaning.

Tidying Up

Tidying up includes things like washing dishes, folding laundry, making the bed, taking out the trash, putting shoes and coats and toys and mail away. It’s essentially just tidying up after your daily life and putting things away when you’re done with them.

freshly laundered sheets in an antique laundry basket in our white farmhouse cottage style bedroom

Tidying up is a constant thing. It’s all the little tasks that never stop, and these little tasks are the reason you feel like you’re always cleaning, but never have a “clean” house. However, tidying up different from cleaning your house.


Cleaning involves actually getting rid of the dirt, dust, crumbs, dog hair, germs, etc. in your spaces and in your home. I would consider things like wiping down counters, dusting shelves, vacuuming and mopping the floors, cleaning your toilet and shower, etc. to be cleaning tasks.

Cleaning should be a regular thing, but it shouldn’t be a constant thing. Once you check these things off your “to do list” they’ll be done for the week / the month depending on how often a particular chore needs to be done.

Deep Cleaning

Deep cleaning tasks are different from your regular weekly or bi-weekly cleaning. It’s the things that may only need to be done once a quarter, or even once a year. Washing windows, cleaning gutters, sweeping out your garage… I could keep going, but you get the idea.

Why does it matter? Isn’t cleaning just cleaning?

I promise it matters! Technically yes, cleaning is cleaning. But if you want to spend less time cleaning, and more time enjoying your nice clean house… it is important to distinguish tidying up from cleaning and from deep cleaning.

The thing is, these tasks stack and build upon each other. And that’s the key to being able to clean your whole house in 2 to 3 hours! Let me explain…

Tidying up daily will make Your home feel cleaner

When the dishes and laundry are caught up, and when things are put away instead of piled up, your home just feels cleaner over all. When there are papers and junk mail on the counters, dirty and clean laundry piled up, toys scattered, and the sink is full of dishes… not only does it make your home feel dirtier, but it can spike your stress levels.

This is why experts recommend making your bed every morning, and doing the dishes before you go to bed so you wake up to a clean sink.

ticking stripe sheets and a white quilt from Red Land Cotton

My goal is to tidy up daily to stay on top of things like dishes, laundry, sorting the mail and any papers that come home from the kids school, etc. I try to do a load of laundry every other day so it never gets too out of hand. We try to empty the sink before bed. I have the kids put their shoes and coats and lunch boxes away as soon as they get home from school.

I still get behind when life is busy or when we have schedule changes. And that’s ok. The goal isn’t perfection, the goal is just to get in the habit of tidying up so that it’s not piling up throughout the week.

Tidying up is the key to be able to clean your whole house in under 3 hours

When you try to clean your house, but you haven’t tidied up beforehand… it takes so much longer to finish the job. That’s because instead of just focusing on cleaning, you’re likely spending your time walking from room to room, putting things away instead of wiping down your surfaces and clearing away the dust and dirt.

Regular tidying will cut your cleaning time way down!

Just think about the difference in the amount of time it takes you to vacuum your living room when there’s toys scattered on the floor, and book bags, and shoes, and a basket of laundry by the couch waiting to be folded.

vacuuming our area rug in the living room of our cottage farmhouse style home

You can’t really vacuum until you put everything away. Unless you kind of scoot and shuffle the mess around and out of your way as you vacuum. Either way, that extra stuff is going to make the chore of vacuuming take way longer than it should.

This is just one example, but the same logic applies for the rest of your home. The dishes in the sink, the stack of mail on the counter, etc. Tidying up these things regularly will significantly reduce the amount of time you’ll spend actually cleaning.

deep cleaning in a tidy & mostly clean house will feel like a breeze!

When you’re regularly tidying your house, it’s easier and it takes you less time to clean it. So when it comes time to “Spring Clean” or deep clean your home… you’ll be way ahead of the game.

I used to think of “Spring Cleaning” as a time to clean everything. In my mind it was an event, something that should take up an entire weekend or more. Laundry, bathrooms, windows, dusting, etc.

But now I see it as just an extra day or even just a few extra hours to deep clean some of those hidden areas that don’t get as much attention throughout the year. I may wash windows, shampoo the carpets, or even clean out our closets. It all depends on what needs my attention the most. And I can fully focus on those deep cleaning tasks knowing that the rest of our home is already pretty clean and tidy.

Starting your “Spring Cleaning” with a tidy, and mostly clean home will give you the mental clarity, and the time you need to actually prioritize and tackle the deep cleaning tasks on your to do list. It will make your “Spring Cleaning” list feel so much less daunting!

How to Clean Your Whole House in 2 to 3 Hours

So how do you realistically clean your whole house in under 3 hours? The secret, is two fold. Stay on top of your tidying, and when you go to clean, treat it like it’s your job! Pretend you are the cleaning company and you only have a small window of time to get the job done. Show up, get to work, get in and get out.

Over time I’ve come up with my own process and flow for cleaning our house. It’s a process that works for me and makes it easier to clean our house fast. Do I always follow it to a “T”? No. Do I always finish in the same amount of time? Also no. But that’s really not the point of this.

The point is to figure out a system, a routine, or a flow that will help you clean your home in less time. The point is to streamline the process so that you can move through the list of chores and move through your house as quickly as possible.

Below I’ll walk you through the steps that I follow to clean our whole house in 2 to 3 hours.

how to clean your whole house in 2 to 3 hours
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Step 1: Tidy up before you clean.

In order to clean your whole house in 2 to 3 hours, you have to start by getting in the habbit of tidying up. Tidy up throughout the week. Whatever “tidy up” means to you and your family, spend time daily if possible tidying up after your life.

Do a load of laundry every day, or every other day. Take out the trash when it gets full. Spend 5 or 10 minutes after dinner putting shoes, toys, and anything that’s not in it’s proper place. Wash all the dishes at night so that you wake up with a clean and empty sink each morning.

fresh white laundry room with all white appliances and antique french laundry basket

These small tasks will make the biggest impact on the amount of time you spend cleaning.

Step 2: Get yourself ready.

Get dressed in comfortable clothing, something that you can move around in easily and something breathable. I like to wear gym clothes and tennis shoes when I clean. I actually have a pair of tennis shoes that I only wear inside our house so I’m not tracking in outside dirt and sand.

Make sure you eat before you start, and fill up a water bottle to carry around with you. The goal is for you to be able to clean until it’s all done, so the less things you have to stop for the better!

Step 3: Gather your cleaning supplies.

Before you start cleaning, go ahead and gather up all your cleaning products, rags, paper towels, dusters, extra trash bags, the vacuum, the mop, etc. This will save you so much time running back and forth to the laundry room or kitchen or wherever you keep your cleaning supplies.

You might even want to consider investing in a cleaning caddy, or a large bucket that can house everything. That way you can easily carry it all with you as you move from room to room.

I’ve been lugging around a big bucket filled with my supplies, but have been window shopping for a new cleaning caddy with dividers to keep things a little more organized. Here are a few I’m considering:

Cleaning Caddies

Step 4: Get everyone else out of the house.

If you can do it, get everyone out of the house before you start cleaning! You will be able to clean so much faster because you will be able to fully focus without interruption and without distraction.

I know this isn’t always possible. It’s not always possible in our house! And you may have to get creative depending on your family and your situation.

Put the dog in the kennel. Try sending the kid’s outside to play, or have them play upstairs while you clean the downstairs and then switch. Clean during naptime if you have little ones. Or knock it all out on a Saturday morning, or whichever day of the week you have help to keep the kids occupied. You can even split your cleaning time over 2 days. Or do half in the morning, and half in the afternoon so you’re only cleaning for around 1.5 hours at a time.

The key is just finding a time that works for you and your family, and a time where you can focus solely on cleaning with as little distractions as possible.

Step 5: Clean like it’s your job.

It’s go time! Clean like it your job. My mom actually used to clean houses for a living, and she’s shared a few little nuggets that help me remember where to start, what to focus on, and how to be as efficient as I can when I clean.

You always clean high to low – this rule applies to your house, but also to each room. So start upstairs, and then work your way downstairs.

Start in the bathrooms, clean high to low starting with dusting the light fixtures all the way down to the baseboards, and clean your way out of that room. Floors should be last as dust will settle while you work. You’ll want to mop backwards mopping your way out of the bathroom.

farmhouse bathroom vanity from reclaimed wood with a white cabinet skirt and fresh blue hydrangeas on the counter

Next you’ll clean the bedrooms. Clean high to low, starting by dusting the fan or light fixture. Floors should be last, and you’ll want to vacuum your way out of the bedrooms, then down the hall or down the stairs.

Downstairs, start in the bathroom again. Clean high to low, and clean yourself out of that room before moving on to the bedrooms, or down the hallway. The order and flow will vary depending on your home’s layout, but you get the general idea.

After the bathrooms and bedrooms are done, you’ll start on the living spaces. I like to clean the kitchen first since it usually takes me the longest. Clean low to high, finish with the floors, and then move on to the dining room, living room, and any other living spaces your home may have.

Step 6: Treat yourself for a job well done!

You did it! Now treat yourself for all your hard work.

Since we no longer have a cleaning service, I like to “pay” myself instead. It might be takeout for dinner, or a guilt free stop at one of my favorite antique shops. The way I look at it, is that it’s way cheaper than what we were paying for a cleaning service, so I consider it money saved!

Time-Saving Tips to Clean More Efficiently

Declutter your home.

Less clutter means less time spent managing the things in your home. Because as Allie Casazza (author of Declutter Like a Mother) says, “What takes up your space, takes up your time”.

Less clutter means less time tidying up, less time organizing your belongings, less time cleaning or even just cleaning around things that are no longer serving you.

Make it a habit to tidy up daily.

Tidying up daily will help you keep on top of those constant chores like dishes, laundry, sorting mail, etc.

Get your family involved, set a timer after dinner and work together. A little effort and a little consistency will go a long way.

Make Yourself a Cleaning Caddy.

Gather up all your cleaning supplies, rags, paper towels, duster refills, trash bags, etc. and organize them in a cleaning caddy. That way when it’s time to clean, you have everything you need ready to go! And when you move from one room to the next, you can easily carry all your supplies with you.

It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You can even just use a big bucket (that’s what I’ve been doing).

What to clean if I only have 1 hour?

In my opinion, an hour really isn’t long enough to clean your entire home. But it’s long enough to make a dent and make a difference! So pick and choose one area of your home, or choose to focus on the chores that need your attention the most.

frame tv with a gold frame and spring floral tv art over an antique mantel in a white cottage farmhouse living room

Here are a few different ways I might take advantage of that hour if I only had 1 hour to spend cleaning my home. (Note: this is assuming the spaces below are already tidied up.)

1 Hour Speed Clean:

  • Spend 1 hour cleaning the bathrooms only. – I know I can clean our 2.5 bathrooms in an hour, and for me when the bathrooms are clean, the house feels clean.
  • Spend 1 hour and focus on cleaning the living areas. – Kitchen, living room, dining room, playroom, etc. These are likely the rooms you spend most your day in… cooking, eating, relaxing, playing, and just LIVING. So take that hour and focus on cleaning your living spaces. You’ll get a lot of bang for your buck by focusing on these spaces!
  • Spend 1 hour and just clean the bedrooms. – With 4 bedrooms, I could spend 15 minutes in each room dusting and vacuuming, and going over the wood floor with a mop (at least the parts of the floor that aren’t covered by an area rug). Or, if I skip the mopping, I could swap out the bedding and put a fresh set of sheets on each of the beds. Yes this means extra laundry, but hey, all the beds will have fresh linens at the same time! I call that a win!

What to clean if I only have 30 minutes?

If you only have 30 minutes to clean before company comes over, just focus on the basics and tidy up the living areas and the bathroom guests will use.

tidying up the dishes and arranging them on our built-in open shelving area in the dining room

30 Minute Tidy:

  • 10 minutes – Wash the dishes and wipe down the kitchen counters.
  • 10 minutes – Look around the living area and put things away (toys, shoes, coats, mail, laundry baskets, etc.).
  • 5 minutes – Wipe down the bathroom counter and the toilet in the bathroom guests will use.
  • 5 minutes – Take out the trash.
  • BONUS – Light a candle! A house that smells good just feels cleaner, in my humble opinion.
clean burning Momma's Kitchen candle from Antique Candle Co makes our home smell so warm and inviting

Download your free printable cleaning checklist!

I’m very much a list person. So naturally I made myself a printable cleaning checklist, and I’d love to share it with you! Fill out the form below to subscribe to my email list, and I’ll send you my free downloadable & printable cleaning checklist.

All the chores and tasks on the cleaning checklist are organized into 3 categories – daily tidy, regular cleaning, and deep cleaning to help you keep track of what chores are done and what’s left to do.

free printable cleaning checklist to help you clean your whole house in 2 to 3 hours

Shooooweeee! I think that about covers it. If you made it to the end of this post God bless ya for hanging in there with me.

It used to take me so long to clean our home, but now I know that it doesn’t have to. And that’s what I hope you take away from today’s post. You really can clean your whole house in 2 to 3 hours!

I truly hope this post was helpful, and I hope the tips and strategies I shared here help you to spend less time cleaning and more time enjoying your clean home! Until next time…

Love, Brittany

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