How Long Should it Take to Clean House?

How Long Should it Take to Clean House?

How Long Should it Take to Clean House?


Have you ever wondered how long it takes other people to do routine cleaning tasks?  Have you wondered if you should be doing it faster?

I’ve had a couple of readers asked this question lately, and it just so happens I had a post like that on my ideas list. I’ve actually already been timing myself doing my regular tasks for when I got around to writing it.

So with two readers asking the question, I decided it was time.

Before I tell you how long it takes me to do my routine tasks, we need to get a few things out of the way.

First of all – there’s no right or wrong answer on how long it takes to do various tasks. There are a lot of factors that affect that number, including:

  • House size
  • Family size
  • Age of children
  • Hours of employment outside the home
  • Energy level
  • How much help you get
  • How messy you are
  • How much clutter you have
  • How easily you get distracted
  • Level of experience
  • Age and condition of house
  • Number and type of pets

Those are just some of the factors and I know there are more. So keep that in mind.

Second, I have a 1,950 square foot home – a side split floor plan. My house has 3 bedrooms, an office, living room, dining room, office, kitchen and two bathrooms.  David and I are empty nesters but the grand kids are here a lot and they’re messy. Two of the bedrooms are designated for them and their stuff. We also have a black lab who sheds like crazy. We don’t have a lot of clutter or knick knacks or unnecessary stuff. We clean as we go and like things neat and tidy. We’re pretty good at picking up after ourselves. And finally, I’ve been a homemaker for 30 years and am home full-time.

So here’s a list of my routine weekly tasks and how long they take:

Tidy the house. This task can vary anywhere from 10 minutes to 25. If it’s just David and I at home it’s usually quicker. But if the kids have been here, it can take 25. This morning it took 25. I had the kids overnight, got up early to take them to school, then went to the grocery store.  That’s when I finally had a chance to clean things up.

How Long Should it Take to Clean House?

How Long Should it Take to Clean House?

How Long Should it Take to Clean House?
I don’t normally leave laundry on the kitchen table but I folded it last night but couldn’t put it away because all of that went in Calvin’s room and he was in there trying to sleep. So I left it until morning.

How Long Should it Take to Clean House?

How Long Should it Take to Clean House?

Remember, tidy the house means going through and putting things away – NOT cleaning.

Sweep the floors. Sometimes I sweep the whole house and sometimes just the main floor. I don’t get every corner, under every piece of furniture or every piece of dirt. I sweep every day so I get what I can each time I sweep. If I can’t sweep a room because it’s busy, I skip it. If I can’t sweep most of it because someone or something’s in the way, I get what I can.

Whole house – 16 minutes
Upstairs only – 9 minutes
Main floor only – 7 minutes

Vacuum rugs. I have large area rugs in the living room, Ivy’s room and the master bedroom.  Sometimes I only vacuum the living room rug. Sometimes I vacuum the living room and bedroom rugs. I don’t vacuum Ivy’s rug very often because she’s usually in there “napping” when I vacuum.

Both times when I timed myself vacuuming I added other tasks. The first time I vacuumed under the furniture. The second time I vacuumed under the couch cushions. I like to do a little extra whenever I have the vacuum out.

Vacuum all rugs and under living room furniture – 11 minutes
Vacuum all rugs and under couch cushions – 11 minutes
Living room rug only – 4 minutes (that’s a guess)

Touch-up vacuum/sweep.  After I vacuumed the couch cushions, I noticed the air from the vacuum pushed some hair out from under the couches. I couldn’t leave it but I had already put the vacuum away. So I spent 2 minutes getting the hand held vacuum and cleaning it up.

Touch-up mop. Our kitchen gets a lot of traffic and shows dirt so I frequently “touch-up mop”. I get out the Libman with the attached cleaning solution and spend 2 minutes touching up the kitchen floor.

Dusting all rooms. I don’t dust every single surface. I use a feather duster and get the window frames, doorways, furniture, blinds, light fixtures. 15 minutes.

Clean glass. I clean the full length mirror in the bedroom, the full glass front door, the back door and back storm door and touch up the dining room and living room windows to get rid of the dog slime and kid fingerprints.  12 minutes.

Change the sheets. 6-1/2 minutes.

Bathroom. A thorough cleaning of the bathroom includes scrubbing the tub and shower wall, cleaning the toilet, cleaning the sink and countertop, wiping down the door frame, cleaning the floor with a rag (small bathroom so it doesn’t take long), cleaning the mirror, dumping the trash. 25 minutes, sometimes less.

Dump all trash cans. 5 minutes.


Move one load to dryer and put another in washer – 2 minutes (I don’t have to pre-treat anymore).
Hang colds (about 6 shirts), hang darks, fold and put away – 7-1/2 minutes

Kitchen. Clean microwave, clean sink, clean stove top, spot clean cabinet fronts, replace sponge. 10-12 minutes.

Mop living room, dining room and kitchen. This type of mopping is with a bucket of water, pine sol and a string mop. I don’t get every surface – just the easy stuff and under furniture that’s easy to reach.  I like to get the base boards, too.  15 minutes.

My weekly chores include:

  • 15 – Dust
  • 12 – Glass
  • 6.5 – Sheets
  • 5 – Trash
  • 25 – Bathroom (1 per week – I do daily touch-ups that take about 2 or 3 minutes) 12 – Kitchen
  • 15 – Mop

1-1/2 to 2 hours – TOTAL

Sometimes I do the weekly chores all at once.  Other times I do a few a day.  Sometimes I even skip some.  If I’m going to skip, it’s usually mopping.  That one is a lot of work!

The thing is, even if you don’t do everything every week, if you do most of it most of the time, your house will be pretty clean.  I never shoot for perfection because I can’t accomplish it.  I just do the best I can and don’t worry about it.

So that’s how long it takes me to do my routine cleaning chores.  I’ll try to keep track of some of the other things I do and share those in another post in the near future.

What are your basic weekly chores?  Do you know how long they take?

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Born in Kentucky, I am a wife and mom to 1 son and 2 daughters . I have an ink pen obsession, as well as a love for all things planner. I have been married for 10 years to my high school crush. I am a member of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

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10 thoughts on “How Long Should it Take to Clean House?

  1. This post is really valuable to me, thank you!

    Out of curiosity can I ask how many books you have in your house, and what else goes on bookshelves? I think this is our main downfall. We have a ton of books, and those little bits of shelf in front of the book spines just seem to accumulate a load of junk. Single coins, random packets of tissues, the odd bit of lego or other toy, maybe a tape measure or wind-up torch. We also have way more books than we have shelf space (seriously – we got rid of like 8 bags of books last year and you couldn’t even tell because some of the shelves were still double stacked) so they’re stuffed in wherever there’s a gap. The book cases line one long wall in our main living space, and it makes the whole place look so untidy even when the floor’s clear and clean.

    1. GM – the way to get around bookcase accumulations is to front-shelve the books – basically to make them all even across the front of the bookcase edge. It’s usually pleasing, and hides the dust behind the books 🙂

      A lot of bookstores do it for that reason. That’s how I learned about it.

    2. Gail: In the past, we have always had a LOT of books. We do a little of that, too – putting things on the space in front. But at our last house, the books were in the office so it didn’t happen as much.

      Right now I still have tons of books but they’re all packed. Since we’re not staying here, I never bothered to unpack them. I read a lot on my Kindle now so I don’t have as many books laying around.

      My son and daughter-in-law had a wall of bookshelves like you’re describing. The shelves were really deep – much deeper than necessary for books. So they ended up with a lot of junk on the shelves. Their solution was to take out the shelves. They were a lot happier without them.

      I think you’re going to just have to make a rule that nothing goes on the shelves but books. Then provide an alternative location for all those odds & ends – maybe a junk basket with a weekly clean out. Or whatever you find there you confiscate and the owner has to pay a fine to get it back. You’d have to be strict, though. One exception and it would go back to being a place to set things.

      We have two small bookshelves in our dining room that divide the dining room and living room. They’re not big enough for books so I don’t have any there. I purchased knick knacks that were kid friendly. They look nice but the grandkids like to play with them. However, the top of the bookshelves end up being a place to dump stuff. There’s always all kinds of stuff on those tops that doesn’t belong. It’s a constant job to keep them cleaned off. I don’t mind something being put there temporarily but sometimes it ends up there much longer. I just have to make it a regular task to keep it cleaned off. That’s what you’ll have to do, too. There’s just no easy solution. Keeping it cleaned off will make the room look better. Books by themselves are beautiful. But books with other junk in front of them are messy.

      Can you cover the shelves? Put doors on them? That would make the room look better.

      You have my sympathy because that’s definitely a tough scenerio.

  2. I think I get too distracted. It takes me half the day to clean. Very good post! I need to see exactly how long things take and how to better my time 🙂

  3. For me, it isn’t the actual cleaning that takes a lot of time. It is the interruptions and continual mess making. Sometimes it takes me 2 or 3 hours to get my kitchen because the kids need my attention, for various reasons. I often get it cleaned right before my husband comes in to make lunch. I have mostly just accepted that my house will not be in a great state for a number of years. I have a feeling it will get easier when I no longer have toddlers 🙂 Just writing this comment has taken me about 20 minutes to write because of interruptions for a diaper change, redirecting my toddler’s marker, breaking up squabbles between the kids, being climbed on and the list goes on. I’ve been a homemaker for 11 years now and I’m enjoying the journey, messy/dirty house an all, until I have been a homemaker for 30 years and we are empty nesters with grandkids visiting 🙂

    1. I should also add my chores breakdown:
      Almost daily is kitchen and tidying floors.
      Sweep a few times a week.
      Laundry is usually tackled on two days, one to wash and one to foldand tidy.
      Bathroom is done once a week.
      If the regular maintenance is going well, my husband rallies us all to do some extras (dusting, windows etc) on the first of his two days off per month.

    2. Tessa – I remember those days! In fact, I’m re-living them with my grandkids. I had a few years in there where I got cleaning done in record time and it actually stayed that way – the good old days! No – I wouldn’t trade my grandkids for anything but they are sure messy. It took me an hour to unload the dishwasher the other day – for the same reason you mentioned.

      It does get easier. Just hang in there. Plus one of these days you’ll have them helping you with chores. That’s AWESOME! I didn’t realize how much my kids did until they moved out.

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