Thanksgiving is one the best times of year to celebrate with family and friends, enjoy delicious food, and express gratitude for all the blessings in life. But if you volunteered to host this year, getting ready for turkey day can bring on on some serious stress.
After planning your menu and shopping for your feast, cleaning your home from top to bottom is the next major task. And we all know that can be a colossal undertaking.
That’s why we created this ultimate downloadable Thanksgiving Home Cleaning Checklist!
It outlines everything you need to do and simplifies cleaning your house in the three days leading up to Thanksgiving. Follow these steps, and you’ll have a sparkling clean home that will make you feel proud and impress your guests without the overwhelm.
What You’ll Need
Before you begin cleaning, make sure you have the following supplies on hand:
- Sponges, cloths, and brushes: You’ll need these to wipe, scrub, and dust various surfaces. Choose microfiber cloths for a lint-free and streak-free finish. Use different colors or labels to avoid cross-contamination between rooms or areas.
- Vacuum cleaner: A vacuum cleaner with attachments is essential for cleaning carpets, rugs, drapes, upholstery, and hard-to-reach areas. Choose a model with a HEPA filter to trap allergens and dust mites.
- Mop and bucket: A mop and bucket are useful for filling with hot water and soap for cleaning hard floors, such as tile, wood, or laminate. You can also use a steam mop for a deeper and chemical-free clean.
- Broom and dustpan: Handy for sweeping up dirt and debris from hard floors and outdoor areas.
- Duster and microfiber cloths: A duster with a long handle or an extension pole can help you dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, walls, and other high places. Microfiber cloths are great for picking up dust on furniture, picture frames and mirrors.
- Spray bottles: A spray bottle is convenient for applying cleaning solutions, such as vinegar, water, or for making your own homemade cleaners. More than one can be useful for making different cleaning solutions.
- Cleaning products: You’ll need various cleaning products for different purposes, including all-purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, wood cleaner, metal cleaner, disinfectant, degreaser, stain remover, mold remover, etc. Go with “green” non-toxic ready-made products, or make your own with natural ingredients. See below for some recipes and recommendations.
- Gloves: Gloves are important for protecting your hands from harsh chemicals, dirt, and germs. And they can also protect your nails from breakage and wear. Choose disposable or reusable gloves that fit well and are comfortable to wear.
- Cleaning Rags: These can be used to wipe up dirt and grime and shine surfaces around the house.
- Garbage Bags: Trash bags are necessary for collecting and disposing of garbage, clutter, and unwanted items. Use different sizes and colors to sort your trash according to your local recycling rules.
3-4 Days Before Thanksgiving: Declutter Your Space
The first step to a clean home is to get rid of the clutter that accumulates over time. Clutter makes your space look messy, takes up valuable storage space, and makes it harder to clean.
Here are some tips to declutter your space:
- Start with the areas that your guests will see, such as the living room, dining room, kitchen, bathroom, and guest bedroom. You can leave the other rooms for later, or close the doors if you don’t want anyone to peek inside.
- Focus on one room at a time, and one category at a time. For example, you can start with the books, then the magazines, then the papers, and so on. This will help you avoid getting overwhelmed and distracted.
- Use boxes, bags, or baskets to sort your items into four piles: keep, donate, sell, or toss. Label them clearly and put them in a designated area, such as the garage, basement, or spare room. Don’t mix them up or leave them lying around.
- Be honest. Ask yourself if you really need, use, or love items you come across, but don’t know what to do with. If you hesitate or the answer is no, let it go. Don’t hold on to things that you think you might need someday, but you haven’t touched in years. Remember, less is more.
Other Tasks to Get Done:
- Remove cobwebs in corners and along ceilings.
- Vacuum under furniture and corners to remove dust and dirt.
- Dust the shelves, bookcases, tables, and mantels with a microfiber cloth or a feather duster. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove any dust or cobwebs.
- Clean ceiling fans and lamp shades.
- Clean windows inside and out.
2-3 Days Before Thanksgiving: Clean the Bathroom
The bathroom is one of the most important rooms to clean before Thanksgiving, because it’s where your guests will freshen up and feel comfortable. You want your bathroom to look and smell clean, and to have all the essentials that your guests might need.
Here are some tips to clean the bathroom:
- Start by removing everything from the counters, shelves, and shower. Put them in a basket or a bag and set them aside. This will make it easier to wipe down and sanitize the surfaces.
- Spray the sink, faucet, tub, shower, and toilet with a disinfectant cleaner like a lemon-scented one and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, scrub them with a sponge or a brush and rinse them with water. Don’t forget to clean the drain, the shower head, and the toilet seat and lid.
- Wipe down the mirror, the light fixtures, the door handles, and the switch plates with a microfiber cloth and a glass cleaner. Polish them until they shine.
- Use a small brush or cotton swabs to clean tile grout.
- Clean out corners, crevices, and any mildew in the shower/tub area.
- Sweep and mop the floor with a broom and a mop, or use a vacuum cleaner if you have one. Make sure to get into the corners and under the furniture.
- Clean and replace the towels, the bath mat, shower curtain, and restock the toilet paper and hand soap if needed. You can also add some extra touches, such as a scented candle, a vase of flowers, or a basket of toiletries for your guests.
💡 Tip: The bathroom can be cleaned the same day as you clean the kitchen if you’re short on time.
1-2 Days Before Thanksgiving: Prepare the Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of the home and the center of the Thanksgiving celebration. You want your kitchen to be clean, organized, and ready for cooking and serving.
Here are tips to get your kitchen clean:
- Start by emptying and cleaning the fridge and the oven. Throw away any expired or spoiled food, and wipe down the shelves and drawers with a damp cloth and a mild cleaner. For the oven, you can use a self-cleaning feature if you have one, or spray it with an oven cleaner and let it sit overnight. Then, wipe it with a damp cloth and rinse it with water.
- Clean the stovetop, the microwave, the toaster, the coffee maker, and any other appliances that you’ll use. You can use a damp cloth and a mild cleaner, or a vinegar and water solution, to remove any grease, crumbs, or stains. Don’t forget to clean the knobs, buttons, and handles as well.
- Wash and dry the dishes, utensils, pots, pans, and bakeware that you’ll need for cooking and serving. You can use the dishwasher if you have one, or wash them by hand with hot water and soap. Make sure to rinse them well and dry them with a clean towel. Store them in a safe and accessible place, such as a cabinet, a drawer, or a rack.
- Wipe down the countertops, the backsplash, the sink, and the faucet with a disinfectant cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Sanitize them and remove any dirt, spills, or stains. You can also use a baking soda and water paste to scrub away any stubborn spots.
- Clean the oven hood and fan filters.
- Organize cabinets, drawers and pantry. Toss expired food and wipe down shelves.
- Do a final vacuum run and mop the floor. Be sure to get into corners and under the furniture.
The Big Day: The Finishing Touches
On the day of Thanksgiving, you don’t have to do much cleaning, because you’ve already done most of the work. You just have to do some finishing touches to make your home look and smell festive and inviting.
Here are some tips to put on the finishing touches:
- Fluff and arrange the pillows and cushions on the sofa, chairs, and beds. You can also add some throws or blankets for extra coziness and warmth.
- Decorate your home with some seasonal items, such as pumpkins, fall foliage, candles, wreaths, or garlands. You can also use some personal items, such as photos, artwork, or souvenirs, to add some character and charm.
- Set the table with your best tablecloth, napkins, plates, glasses, and silverware. You can also add some centerpieces, such as a vase of flowers, a bowl of fruit, or a basket of bread. Don’t forget to add some place cards if you want to assign seats to your guests.
- Sweep debris from porches, decks, patios and entryways.
- Light some candles, spray some air freshener, or make a DIY Simmer Pot with spices and citrus fruits on the stove to create a pleasant and welcoming aroma. You can also play some music or turn on the fireplace to create a cozy and festive atmosphere.
This can all be done the night before Thanksgiving if you’re having guests over early.
Checklist + DIY Cleaning Recipes
To help you keep track of your cleaning progress, we’ve created a printable Holiday Cleaning Checklist that you can print and use as you go.
The checklist covers the main tasks for each room and area of your home, but you can add or modify them as needed. You can also check off tasks as you complete them, so you don’t miss anything.
For some simple, easy and healthy cleaning recipes check these links:
Enjoy Your Thanksgiving
Now that you’ve cleaned your home and made it ready for Thanksgiving you can relax and enjoy the holiday with your family and friends.
Celebrate a job well done and be thankful for all the good things in your life. Happy Thanksgiving!