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Cleaning Tasks to Suit Your Timeframe header image
Whether you have 15 minutes, an hour, or a whole day at your disposal, this cleaning schedule will help you make the most of your time.

 

Work smarter, not harder

The secret to a successful cleaning routine is ‘chore snacking’ – doing smaller jobs often. It’s about using the time you’ve got efficiently. Whether you have a half-hour or half a day, make a dent in your ‘to do’ list by tackling a task.

Choose a project based on the time you have available and set a timer to stay focused. Not in the mood or feeling time-poor? Tackle the most visible tasks first. This will help give you a mental boost.

We’re sharing a list of time-based house cleaning jobs to get you started – and inspired! Grab your cleaning supplies and watch how quickly chore snacking makes a difference to the look and feel of your home.

Safety tip: Always wear the appropriate safety equipment (safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and a mask, for example) and always follow the instructions for the product or equipment.

Hands wearing orange rubber gloves cleaning the outside of an oven

15-minute house cleaning jobs

Do a nightly reset. Many hands make light work, says cleaning and organising expert Chantel Mila Ibbotson (@mama_mila_au). She suggests the household spends 15 minutes after dinner sharing tasks like loading the dishwasher, putting away toys and schoolwork, and doing a quick vacuum of high-traffic areas.

Do a morning reset. “I do a quick tidy of breakfast dishes and load the washing machine, using the ‘delay’ function so it’s done by the time we finish work,” says Chantel. Add making the beds to this cleaning checklist and you’ll instantly start the day on the right track.

Do a quick mop. Use a damp flat mop (the ones that have a spray bottle built into the handle are ideal) to quickly slide around the messiest bits of the home, like the kitchen or entrance hall.

Chip away at the laundry mountain. To help contain the never-ending cycle of washing clothes, home organiser Carmen Strong of Little Strong Home (@littlestronghome and @strongcleaningco) suggests folding and putting away the previous day’s clean laundry, then sorting the dirty washing into loads.

Give the loo some love. Put toilet cleaner in the loo before bed, so it can work overnight, and then brush it first thing in the morning. This will take five minutes, tops!

Disinfect touchpoints. Use a disinfectant spray and wipe door handles, light switches and remotes to keep these high-volume touchpoints clean and germ-free.

Wipe out the oven. Sponging down the oven after every use will make a proper oven clean a much easier job.

Clean fridge shelves. A regular wipe means the fridge deep clean will be much easier. Plus, you can use the opportunity to assess your food supplies and plan the week’s meals to suit, helping avoid food waste.

Smarten up the kitchen sink. Sprinkle a stainless steel sink with bicarbonate of soda, then add a little dish soap and hot water to a sponge, and scrub. Pour bicarbonate of soda down a stinky drain, followed slowly by white vinegar (ratio of 1:2). Leave it for a few minutes, then flush with boiling water.

Target grotty bits. There are certain parts of the home that routinely attract mess, like the back door, bathroom sink, kitchen bench and around pet bowls. Set up a mini cleaning station near these areas – for example, a mini refillable spray bottle of cleaner and a stash of washable microfibre cloths in the bathroom vanity, or a spray mop in the cupboard by the back door. This makes it easier to do a swift scrub on the fly to prevent mess from building up.

Woman washing hardwood laminate flooring using water spray mop pad

Under an hour house cleaning jobs

Tackle a single room. “If you don’t want to spend a full day cleaning each week, try breaking the chores into 30 minutes on a room or space each day,” says Carmen. For example, make Monday kitchen day, bedrooms on Tuesday, and so on.

Bathroom break. You can knock off this job in a swift half hour. Spray everything with a bathroom cleaner (Chantel uses a D.I.Y. mix of a cup each of water and cleaning vinegar with four drops of eucalyptus oil). “Leave it to work for 10 minutes then use a scrub brush, or the Ryobi power scrubber, to cut through tough mess and grime easily,” she says.

Spot-clean walls. Do a walk-through of the house and use a damp microfibre cloth to wipe off fingerprints (and footprints, if you have small children), fly spots and smudges.

De-gunk the microwave. “Place water and lemon juice in a suitable bowl and microwave for five minutes – this helps to lift any dirt or grime that’s stuck on,” says Carmen. Let it sit for another five minutes, then remove and wipe clean. The steam loosens all the splatters, while the lemon leaves your whole kitchen fragrant.

Brave the ironing pile. Make this household chore fun by putting on the TV or listening to music or a podcast. Do this regularly enough and that one-hour job you used to avoid becomes a 15- or 30-minute task you (almost) enjoy.

Freshen the fridge. Empty everything out, then remove shelves and clean with a soft cloth and soapy water.

Wash wheelie bins. These can get very whiffy, particularly in summer. Put the bin on its side and sweep out debris. Pour a mix of detergent and warm water into the bin, scrub with a long-handled brush, rinse with a garden hose, and then turn it upside down to dry. Let it sit, right side up, in the sun with the lid open for a few hours to air out.

De-junk the junk drawer. An hour is more than enough time to wind up spare cables, pack up old batteries for recycling and bin takeaway menus. Wipe out the drawer and put everything back neatly. The same applies to the desk drawer, bathroom vanity, entrance console drawer or anywhere tiny items multiply.

Reorganise the wardrobe. “I see how many tasks I can get done while my linen washes and dries – one hour is the perfect amount of time to clear out and reorganise a wardrobe,” says Chantel. “Empty each drawer, one at a time, onto the bed and sort through what to keep and donate. Take before and after photos to keep yourself motivated to finish the task.”

Woman wiping white wall from dust with cloth

Half-a-day house cleaning jobs

Full kitchen reset. A deep clean of the kitchen can make a huge difference to how you feel about being at home, says Beth McGee, professional cleaner and author of Get Your House Clean Now: The Home Cleaning Method Anyone Can Master (getyourhousecleannow.com). “Soak items like microwave trays in a sink of hot soapy water,” she says. “Use a microfibre cloth to clean in, on and under small appliances and cupboards. Wipe down cabinet and large appliance fronts and then benches. Rinse, dry and replace soaking items. Vacuum the floor, then mop for a final shine.”

Take it outside. “If you have a spare half day, why not dedicate it to outside the house?” suggests Chantel. Starting at the eaves, use a long-handled broom to remove cobwebs and brush dirt from walls. Give the front door and porch a hose down.

Make windows sparkle. Window cleaning is a big job, but it has big rewards, such as letting in more light. Use a mix of 2:1 water and cleaning vinegar with a splash of dish soap, squeegee off excess and polish with a microfibre cloth. On grubby exterior windows, use hose-on 30 Seconds Window Wonder – it’s perfect for upstairs windows.

Deep-clean bedding. Strip beds and vacuum mattresses with the upholstery attachment. Blot away stains with upholstery cleaner or soapy water. Sprinkle with bicarbonate of soda, leave for a few hours, then vacuum. Take the opportunity to machine-wash mattress toppers and pillow protectors (check care instructions).

Close-up of hands putting freshly laundered sheet on bed

Whole day house cleaning jobs

Do a seasonal reset. Keep your cooling and heating appliances in good condition. “Be sure to get appliances serviced regularly,” says Beth, “but you can change or clean filters and wipe down units’ exterior surfaces.” Depending on which end of the season it is, unearth and clean any scum off pool toys and outdoor games, or air out blankets and throws as part of your cleaning schedule.

Serious decluttering. A free day in the new year is the perfect time to tackle big decluttering and tidying tasks. These include clearing out and reorganising the garage, a full wardrobe or linen cupboard sort and purge (animal shelters or vets may take old towels and blankets), and sorting and culling your bookshelves. Consider selling or donating items in good condition; for any large, cumbersome pieces, you may need to book a council clean-up.

Look up. Dust those ceiling fans by implementing the pillowcase trick – lightly spray inside an old pillowcase with a gentle cleanser (or equal parts vinegar and water), slip it over the blades and gently pull as you wipe to keep dust contained. Next, move onto light shades and vents. Evict spiders and their webs from corners. Scrub off fly spots with a damp microfibre cloth and run a damp microfibre flat or spray mop over ceilings. Spray greasy kitchen ceilings with a mild cleaning solution.

Wall wash. Make your interiors sparkle again – sugar soap does a brilliant job if it’s been some time since this was last done. Otherwise, a damp microfibre cloth or mild detergent works fine.

Power up. Set up the high pressure hose and spray mossy paths and driveways, fences and decks (be careful about the force you use on timber and painted surfaces). 

Hands in rubber gloves removing dust, cleaning yellow pendant lamp

Is your garage in need of an overhaul?

Check out our guide to organising your garage.

 

 

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.