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  • Cleaning Checklist for the Five Senses

    This 13-point cleaning checklist benefits your sense of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch.

    Use your five senses to help determine what to clean next. A woman vacuuming a living room.

    • Cleaning is a visual task — it’s easy to see when something is dirty or a room needs tidying. But a clean home goes beyond what’s visible to the naked eye. Satisfy all of your five senses with this 13-point cleaning checklist that keeps sound, smell, taste and touch (as well as sight) top of mind.


      • Tidy your spaces daily. It’s no secret that clutter makes us feel stressed and distracted. Not to mention, it also offers more surface area for dust to accumulate. At the end of the day, spend a little time putting books, movies, shoes and toys in their proper places — and do a more thorough purge of items you no longer need a couple times per year.
      • Dust on a weekly basis. A filmy buildup of dust is unpleasant to look at, so regularly wipe surfaces with a microfiber cloth to trap particles.
      • Wash windows. You likely don’t want to look through a dirty, streaky window every time you pause to take in the outside view (fun fact: It’s well-known that even looking at nature through your window can improve your mental health).¹ For a streak-free shine, wipe down the glass with an equal parts mixture of distilled vinegar and water.


      • Seal cracks and leaks. You already know that caulking to seal cracks and leaks saves money on your energy bills, but it can also help reduce noise. Inspect your spaces for cracks and gaps around items like drywall, floorboards, outlet boxes and ceiling receptacle lights, then patch them up with acoustical caulk.
      • Maintain your appliances. Have you ever heard a strange noise coming from your HVAC system, dishwasher or dryer and thought to yourself, “that can’t be good”? Out-of-the-ordinary noises may be a sign that your appliances are in need of repair. Save money and frustration by being proactive about regular maintenance on your home’s hardest-working systems.


      • Give your home’s fragrance a boost. Power on a cool-mist, essential-oil diffuser or toss herbs, spices or sliced citrus into a pot of water and gently simmer on the stove.
      • Deodorize garbage cans. If foul odors are still lingering after you take out the trash, try hacks like sprinkling baking soda or cat litter in the bottom of the garbage can, or placing dryer sheets under the bag to absorb unwanted smells.
      • Clean your bathroom. Bathrooms are inherently smelly, but rather than mask bathroom odors with aerosol air fresheners — whose volatile organic compounds can dampen indoor air quality — stop the stink with natural cleaning supplies like baking soda, vinegar and lemon juice.


      • Scrub your oven and microwave. Cooking or warming your food in a dirty oven or microwave not only sounds gross, but it can actually affect the taste of your food. Clean your oven about every three months with a paste of baking soda and water, washing down the door with equal parts vinegar and water. For microwaves, simply warm a bowl of water — mixed with either vinegar or lemon — for three to five minutes. The moisture it creates will make it easier to remove caked-on food particles.
      • Clean out the refrigerator. Food spills and expired products in your refrigerator can create strong odors that might absorb into, and affect the taste of your leftovers. In addition to cleaning up spills as they occur (and tossing food as it spoils), deep clean your fridge on at least a quarterly basis with equal parts vinegar and water, and allow it to air out.


      • Wash bedding and towels. Weekly, run all sheets, blankets and pillow cases through your washer and dryer at 130 degrees or hotter to kill dust mites and remove allergens.² For extra-fluffy towels, omit detergent for distilled vinegar and run the cycle on hot. This will strip buildup and eliminate any mildewy smells.
      • Vacuum with baking soda. There’s something so relaxing about slipping off your shoes and sinking your toes into a plush rug or carpet. To bring that new carpet fluffiness back to your floors, sprinkle baking soda over the area, let it sit for at least 15 minutes — but ideally overnight — and vacuum as you normally would.
      • Use a room air purifier. Air purifiers work by removing unwanted particles from the air we breathe, resulting in less buildup and cleaner-to-the-touch surfaces. Filtrete™ Smart Air Purifiers, for example, automatically monitor, react and purify the air in medium or large rooms, and connect to the Filtrete™ Smart App to help you understand your indoor air quality.

      Download the checklist (PDF, 145.36 KB)


      1. "How Does Nature Impact Our Wellbeing?" University of Minnesota.

      2. "Dust Mite Allergy," Mayo Clinic.

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