Countdown To The Holidays: A Thanksgiving Cleaning Checklist

Every year the holiday season seems to sneak up on us, and this year is no different. There are only nine weeks left before Thanksgiving! If you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, that statement probably induces a small feeling of panic.  There is always so much to do and so little time to do it. We have created this checklist with the next nine weeks in mind. Follow along and check off the tasks as you complete them to make your holiday cleaning more manageable and put you ahead of schedule. Tasks are listed in recommended order. Don’t wait until the last minute. Start getting guest-ready NOW.

6-9 Weeks Before Guest Arrive

  • Replace light bulbs throughout the inside and outside of the house. While you are replacing bulbs, clean the light fixtures with a damp rag. This will brighten the home.
  • If you are having overnight guests, start to prepare your guest area. Declutter the room, closet and drawers. No one wants to feel like they are staying in a storage room. Order and/or assemble any furniture needed. If your guests will be using an air mattress, make sure it is clean and works. Blow it up to check for holes and then wipe it down. If the guest room is used for other purposes, i.e. an office or child’s room, make sure you have a plan for sensitive materials or items you do not want guests to see. We will come back to this area later, but this is a great start.
  • The weather will be changing soon and it will be getting colder. If you haven’t already, now is a good time to complete your outdoor deep cleaning. This will include power washing the driveway, patio or porch, and other outdoor entertaining areas. Check out our Ultimate Outdoor Cleaning Guide for a list of instructions on cleaning the most important five outdoor areas.
  • Take care of repairs. Leaking toilet, appliance on the fritz, water heater not working properly? Call a handyman or repair service and get it corrected.
  • If you haven’t recently had your HVAC system maintained, schedule a regular HVAC tune-up. They are relatively low cost and can help prevent a no-heat or air conditioning disaster.

4-6 Weeks Before Guest Arrive

  • Wash washable shower curtain and drapes according to cleaning instructions on the tag. In most cases, this is as easy as throwing them in the washer and hanging to dry.
  • Wash baseboards throughout the home. This is one of the most daunting tasks, but clean baseboards go a long way in making your home look clean. Use this simple trick to save your back. Get a stick mop (like the Rug Doctor spray mop) that comes with a microfiber pad. Simply run the mop sideways along the baseboards to remove dust.
  • Dust ceilings and corners to get rid of cobwebs. Cobwebs are abandoned spider webs that have collected dust. YUCK! They also make a clean house look dirty.
  • Clear out the coat closet to make room for your guests’ coats. With winter right around the corner, now is a great time to donate coats family members have outgrown. Remember, we only donate usable items in good condition. Do not donate clothing items with stains, holes, or that should otherwise be thrown out.
  • Clean inside windows and mirrors. You have probably already cleaned the outside of your windows in the previous weeks. Now it’s time to tackle the inside. To reduce streaks, spray window cleaner directly on the rag and wipe the window or mirror clean.
  • Declutter the entryway. The entryway to your home often collects backpacks, shoes and whatever else people drop as they walk through the door. Much of it tends to linger longer than it should. Put everything back where it belongs and get rid of anything that should be thrown out. Make a house rule that this area is now a no-drop zone until after Thanksgiving.

2-3 Weeks Before Guest Arrive

  • Dust furniture, fixtures and shelves. Use a microfiber cloth or static duster for easy dusting.
  • Deep clean carpet and upholstery. Rent a deep carpet cleaner and save $200 versus hiring a service. Deep clean all soft surfaces in the home with the upholstery tool attachment. You will be amazed at all the “yuck” you pull out. Deep cleaning your carpet can improve air quality by removing allergens hidden deep within fibers. It also will give your home a refreshed look. Your guest will be impressed! If you have pets, be sure to purchase Pet Deep Carpet Cleaner solution to use with your rental. The pro-enzymatic formula breaks down biological odors and stains from pet accidents. The weekend before Thanksgiving is our busiest weekend. Go ahead and plan your holiday carpet cleaning now by renting a carpet cleaner to avoid the rush. Rug Doctor machines are located at over 40,000 retail locations. Use our rental locator to find the location near you.
  • Clean and finish preparations of the guest room. If you have been following along with the weekly tasks, you shouldn’t have much to do here. The drapes, windows, base boards, cobwebs, lighting fixtures and closet cleanup should be complete. You likely have just deep cleaned the carpet and upholstery. While you have your Rug Doctor upholstery tool rental, use it to deep clean the guest room mattress. Wash all the bedding. Place a paper with the wifi network name and password in a frame and place it on the night stand. Get a basket to fill with bottle water and snacks. These simple gestures will go a long way with your guests.
  • Deep clean the guest bathroom. Sweep and mop the floors. If you took advantage of the baseboard cleaning tip and purchased a spray mop, you can also use it here. The microfiber cloth is washable, so just toss it in the washing machine when done. Scrub clean the toilet, bathtub, shower, sinks, and mirrors. Put fresh bath towels, hand towels, and wash rags in the cabinets. Make sure there is shampoo, conditioner, body soap and face soap available. Place hand soap by the sink. Make sure there is a plunger in the bathroom. Place extra toilet paper in the bathroom as well. Place a basket of everyday toiletries like toothbrushes, toothpaste, cotton balls, disposable razors, shaving cream, and Q-tips.
  • Deep clean the kitchen. Thoroughly clean all kitchen appliances inside and out. Sweep and mop the kitchen floor (another great use for the Rug Doctor spray mop). Clear all old or expired food, including condiments, out of the refrigerator. Clean out your pantry and get rid of old or expired food. Donate non-perishable food that you are likely not going to consume anytime soon. Food pantries are always in desperate need near the holidays. Find your local food pantry here.
  • Sweep and mop all hard floors. Your guest bathroom and kitchen should be done, but if there are other areas like your entryway or hallways that are also hard surfaces, give them a wash as well. If you are using a spray mop, check out Rug Doctor hard floor ready to use solutions. No mixing required.

1 Week Before Guest Arrive

  • Now you can panic! Just kidding. You have all the hard work done. Just do a quick pick up and wipe down in all areas and you are good to go. Use this week to focus on other party tasks like food shopping or menu creation.

2 Days Before Guest Arrive

  • Disinfect high touch points with a spray disinfectant. Spray areas like doorknobs, cabinet handles, toilet handles, and light switches.
  • Clean floors throughout the home. Vacuum carpet and sweep and mop hard floors one last time for a freshly clean look.
  • Inspect your guest room. Do one last declutter in the closet and drawers. Pick up and wipe clean any missed spots from earlier.
  • Check the weather in your area and be prepared. Rain in the forecast? Place a muddy shoe tray by the door and ask guests to remove their shoes when they enter. Sunny? Give your outdoor area a quick wipe down. Guest are likely to find their way outside to enjoy the sunshine.

Rug Doctor is so excited that everyone is able to gather this year and we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. For more tips on hosting Thanksgiving, check out our blog: Expert Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Thanksgiving Dinner.