Your Before- & After-Vacation Cleaning Checklist

Your Before- & After-Vacation Cleaning Checklist

Ready for a vacation, but feeling overwhelmed about all the cleaning you need to do before & after? Don’t worry – we’ve got you covered! Here’s your all-inclusive checklist, so you can finally kick back and enjoy your time away:


Before Vacation

Declutter and Organize

Begin your vacation clean-up by tackling the clutter around your home. Take some time to sort through everything that has accumulated since your last big clean and decide what can stay, and what needs to go. Start with one area of the house at a time, like the kitchen countertops, drawers, or junk drawers.

Go through each room in the house and decide what items you no longer need. Books, magazines, toys, or unwanted clothing are often placed aside during everyday life chaos – if you haven’t used it in the past year, consider getting rid of it! Next, organize each space so that items you use regularly don’t get lost in the clutter. Use containers or decorative baskets to keep things together and accessible when needed in the future.

You may even want to add a few new organizational products such as coat racks near the door or wall hooks behind doors for hats and bags. For a more thorough cleaning, consider hiring professional cleaners to help with the deep cleaning process. This can help ensure that every corner and crevice is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, leaving your home looking and feeling fresh and rejuvenated.

Deep Clean the House

Preparing your home for a relaxing vacation is key to helping you unwind once you get back. Turn the break into an opportunity to deep clean your house and make sure it’s sparkling when you come back. Create your own checklist or use the following list to make sure every area of your home has been addressed during cleaning:

  • Floors: Vacuum, mop, and polish all floors and carpets in each room.
  • Kitchen: Clean countertops, cabinets, drawers, and even the inside of appliances like the refrigerator and microwave.
  • Bathrooms: Scrub toilets, sinks, shower stalls, bathtubs – those dark corners that are easy to forget – as well as dusting surfaces.
  • Shelves & Surfaces: Wipe down shelves, and furniture surfaces including coffee tables and let’s not forget windowsills or any other flat surface in each room.
  • Vents & Fans: Be sure you don’t miss them! It’s always better to leave them dust free so they can work properly once you turn on the AC again.

Laundry and Ironing

When you return from your trip, the last thing you want to do is start cleaning the house. To make sure your home is ready for when you come back, have a plan before you leave and make sure to include laundry and ironing on your checklist.

Start by sorting through all of your dirty laundry: anything that needs to be taken care of as soon as possible should be set aside. You may also consider washing bed linen and towels if they weren’t laundered while you were away. Separate items that need washing, items that require a spot treatment, and those that just need a quick once-over with a damp cloth. If necessary, organise items into separate loads or hand wash delicate garments.

When it comes to ironing, any formal wear like suit jackets or shirts should be taken care of first. However, do not forget about finishing touches such as putting collars back on shirts or folding handkerchiefs neatly into pockets for an added touch of class! Items that would otherwise require frequent pressing such as linens can still be placed in the dryer with damp cloths for a few minutes in order to smooth them out without using an iron at all.

Finally, put freshly washed clothes away before going through supplies like shampoo and anything else living things in your home may have used while travelling—which of course includes pets too! Make sure everything is prepared accordingly so when you come back home after the holidays, everyone will feel ready to start over refreshed!

Clean the Kitchen and Bathrooms

The kitchen and bathrooms need to be cleaned thoroughly after you return from a vacation to make sure you have not brought back any unwanted germs. The kitchen, in particular, requires attention due to the large number of high-traffic areas which can quickly accumulate bacteria.

Using cleaning products and supplies such as dish soap, sanitizing spray or wipes, cloths/sponges/scrub brushes, and common cleaning supplies like all-purpose cleaner and polish for appliances should be used when cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms in your home.

For the kitchen:

  • Clean out the refrigerator of any spoiled or out-of-date food items
  • Wipe down the countertops with an all-purpose cleaner then rinse and dry
  • Clean cabinets (including handles) with a disinfecting cleaner followed by a rinse and dry
  • Wipe down surfaces like microwaves and stoves with disinfecting wipes then rinse/dry off
  • Run an empty cycle on the dishwasher right away, making sure it’s fully cleaned inside (replace dishwasher filter)

For bathrooms:

  • Disinfect toilets with toilet bowl cleaner followed by a rinse
  • Wash sinks thoroughly using hot water and all-purpose cleaner followed by a dry off
  • Scrub shower walls using anti-bacterial cleansers or wipes, rinsing afterward for shiny surfaces
  • Mop bathroom floors with a hot water solution to disinfect them without causing damage to floor coverings

By following these steps you can ensure that your home is free from any harmful germs you may have picked up during your travels.

Dust and Vacuum

Before you head off on vacation, make sure to dust every nook and cranny of your home. Dusting should include surfaces such as ceiling fans, window sills, blinds, and furniture – especially those tricky spots that collect dust and can be difficult to see. As you’re cleaning, open up all closets and drawers to make sure dust isn’t hiding anywhere. Then use the vacuum cleaner to pick up the particles left behind by the dust cloth or feather duster.

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Vacuum carpets, area rugs, upholstered furniture, mattresses (caution: may void warranties on new mattresses), carpeted stairs, and anywhere else that needs a bit of extra attention before you go away on vacation. For added protection against dirt, odors and pests while you’re away, consider using an air purifier in your home.

Clean Windows and Mirrors

Washing the windows and mirrors throughout your home both before and after vacation is a great way to ensure that you (and your visitors) enjoy a beautiful view of the outdoors while still allowing natural light to warm up your space.

To properly clean these surfaces, use a microfiber cloth or crumpled-up newspaper dampened with vinegar and water to wipe them down. Be sure to rinse off any residue with warm water for a perfect streak-free finish. If you have difficult stains, consider purchasing a homemade window cleaning solution or specialty items from your local hardware store.

Make Beds and Tidy Up Bedrooms

Before your vacation, ensuring that all your bedroom spaces are neat and tidy helps make coming back home feel less overwhelming. Make the beds with freshly washed linens, gather any clothes lying around and put them away in their drawers or closets. Empty wastepaper bins as well as pick up any items that may have been left out on the floors. Reorganize anything that looks a bit cluttered, whether it be stacks of books or an overflowing dresser surface. If you have time, you can vacuum and mop floors to complete the task of refreshing your bedrooms.

After your vacation, take care of bedding first by thoroughly cleaning sheets, blankets, and covers with a gentle laundry detergent as well as a fabric conditioner like Downy® or Febreze® for extra freshness. If necessary for tougher stains like dirt from shoes or dark makeup smears, pre-treat spots before throwing them in the washing machine. Hang duvets and comforters outside if it’s sunny to freshen them up even more; otherwise, place them in the dryer on low heat if you need to get rid of strong odors quickly. Vacuum rugs and dust surfaces last to finish off this task effectively and efficiently.


Unpack and Put Away Clothes and Luggage

After the excitement of returning from vacation wears off, you must tackle the inevitable task of unpacking and putting away all your clothes and luggage. To make the process simpler, it’s important to start by sorting your clothes into categories (e.g., dirty versus clean).

  1. Begin with larger items such as winter coats, bulky sweaters, and suitcases – then pack all of these items away in their designated storage place.
  2. You should also fold your smaller garments and put them in dresser drawers or hang them up, depending on their fabric type or if they will be easily wrinkled.

When unpacking your bags and luggage, check each component for any items that may have been left behind – it’s easy to overlook small items like socks or phone chargers in all the packing madness. If a few items still need washing, keep them aside to be laundered and set aside some time for this task when you unpack; this way you can stay organized as you move forward with the rest of your home cleaning schedule.

Laundry and Ironing

Spending time with friends and family on vacation can make for a messier-than-normal home. Thankfully, having a plan for tackling those post-vacation chores can make the process much simpler. Prepare your laundry and ironing tasks:

  • Collect any laundry from vacation travelers. Ensure all items are washed, dried, and folded before being put away.
  • Inspect all items from the dryer for shrinkage or damage from too much heat; if necessary, hang to avoid additional shrinkage or damage.
  • Sort through all items to decide which will require professional dry cleaning or tailored clothing repair services.
  • Determine if any items need to be hand-washed; ensure they are properly cleaned and dried with no damage or fading of colors.
  • If you have fabrics that argue special attention (items made of delicate silks or knitwear), use specialized detergents and follow laundering instructions on the labels.
  • Iron clothes with a high heat setting near woolen garments as well as heavier garments made of cotton/linen blends; use a medium temperature near synthetics and delicates such as silk skirts, blouses, etc.; always use steam mode when pressing cotton, linens, and other porous materials; place towels between clothing when ironing two layers together for a better finish; turn trousers inside out before pressing for sharper creases; spray light pieces such as gauzes softly with an atomizer before pressing them – this will prevent scorching.

Clean the Kitchen and Bathrooms

The kitchen and bathrooms are the two rooms of the home that will require the most attention when it comes to tackling pre- and post-vacation cleaning. Ensure that both areas are cleaned thoroughly with these steps.


  • Clean out the refrigerator, defrosting the freezer if necessary.
  • Empty cupboards and pantry; discard items that have expired or you won’t use them.
  • Wipe down all surfaces, including countertops, stovetops, backsplashes, sink, oven, range hood, and microwave.
  • Clean out sink drain and garbage disposal unit; check dishwasher for any accumulated food particles or grease build-up that may need to be removed.
  • Organize any spices or condiments stored in cabinet drawers.


  • Scrub showers and tubs with an abrasive cleaner; pay extra attention to soap scum build-up in areas with hard water such as faucets and shower heads.
  • Clean sinks by removing any hair clog from the drains or overflow holes; if necessary you can use a chemical drain cleaner for tougher clogs.
  • Clean both toilets inside and out, paying close attention to the bowl of each toilet’s waterline to remove any staining from calcium buildup; also be sure to scrub behind each bowl where dirt can accumulate over time.
  • Sanitize floors by mopping them with a sanitizing cleaner or diluted bleach solution; for tile floors make sure there is no abrasive grime stuck in the grout lines between tiles before you mop over them as Scrubbing this away can help restore old grout lines in heavily used bathrooms as well as prevent any mold buildup due to inadequate cleaning.
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Dust and Vacuum

After your summer vacation, spend some time dusting and vacuuming your home. Dust tends to settle on furniture, window treatments, and other surfaces while you’re away, so the best way to keep your home looking great is to dust first.

  • Start with high surfaces like shelves, bookcases, and window sills.
  • Then use a feather duster or cloth to wipe down table tops and picture frames.
  • Once you’ve finished dusting all of the surfaces in your home, use vacuum attachments to reach into hard-to-reach places where dust can linger such as between cushions on couches and chairs.
  • In addition to cleaning the furniture and other surfaces in the room, don’t forget to run a vacuum over rugs, carpets, floor mats— anywhere that dust could have settled. This will help freshen up your home without any extra effort after your vacation!

Clean Windows and Mirrors

Before you leave for any length of time, it’s important to make sure that your home is as clean and presentable as possible. Windows and mirrors should be thoroughly cleaned both inside and outside.

To do this:

  • Use a microfiber cloth dampened with plain water to wipe away smudges, streaks, dust, and dirt from all the windows in your home.
  • Spray the windows with glass cleaner or a vinegar-and-water solution to help remove any remaining grease or grime.
  • Dry each window thoroughly with a lint-free cloth for a streak-free finish.
  • Do the same thing for all mirrors in your home to make sure they’re sparkling and ready for guests!

Make Beds and Tidy Up Bedrooms

Bedrooms should be the first thing you clean when returning from your trip. Make sure all beds have been stripped of bedding and linens, vacuumed, and then remade with fresh linens. Next, clear any clutter that has accumulated on the floor or surfaces and make sure everything is neat.

Wash windows, and wipe down mirrors and furniture. Don’t forget to check for any damage from spills or pet accidents which may require special cleaning products to be used.

Finally, freshen up your room by:

  • Vacuuming the carpet
  • Mopping hard floors
  • Spritzing with a light mist of odor remover or air freshener to get rid of any lingering unpleasant smells.

Clean the Patio and the Garden

Pools: If you own a pool, it’s essential that you check the level of water and ensure the filters have been changed. Also, take a moment to clean up debris from around the filter pump area, as well as any leaves that have been collected at the bottom of your pool. Cleaning up your outdoor furniture should also be part of your before- and after-vacation cleaning checklist.

Patio: Sweep off any dirt and debris from the patio and deck area including walkways and verandas. Taking some time to hose down patio furniture will make sure it stays in tip-top shape throughout the year.

Garden: Prune any overgrown shrubs or dead plants in your yard and make sure to fertilize your garden beds before you head away on vacation. During your vacation time make sure to hire someone to mow the lawn once a week so it doesn’t become overgrown.

Lastly, if there is any yard waste generated make sure to dispose of this in an appropriate way as soon as possible so that pests don’t start migrating into your garden or patio area while you are away on vacation!

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do before and after my vacation?

Before your vacation, you should do a deep cleaning of your home. This includes dusting, vacuuming, mopping, and wiping down all surfaces. After your vacation, you should do a light cleaning, such as wiping down surfaces, doing laundry, and putting away any items that were left out.

What items should I clean before and after my vacation?

Before your vacation, you should clean all surfaces, including countertops, windowsills, kitchen appliances, and furniture. You should also vacuum, mop, and dust. After your vacation, you should do a light cleaning, such as wiping down surfaces, doing laundry, and putting away any items that were left out.

What kind of cleaning supplies should I use?

It depends on the type of surface you are cleaning. For example, for surfaces such as countertops and windowsills, you can use a multi-purpose cleaner. For hardwood floors, you can use a wood floor cleaner. For carpets, you can use a vacuum cleaner.


Now that you have successfully completed all of your pre-and post-vacation clean-up tasks, your home is vacation-ready. You can now go on vacation knowing that your home will not suffer any damages or accumulate clutter while you are away.

Be sure to tell friends or family responsible for taking care of things while you’re away how much you appreciate them helping out. Plus, it never hurts to return the favor and help out when they want to take a well-deserved vacation! Enjoy!