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Vacation Cleaning Checklist

Going on vacation is a great way to relax and get away from all of life’s daily stressors. However, coming home to a dirty and disorganized house can burst your vacation bubble the minute you open the door.

Use the following clean house checklist before your next vacation so that you don’t have to worry about anything other than unpacking when you get home.

1. Laundry

Leaving behind piles of dirty laundry is a bad idea, as soiled towels, clothes or sheets can get smelly or even mildewed. The night before you leave for vacation, your washer and dryer will be working hard.
  • Bedsheets: Have everyone in your family strip their beds and wash their sheets a night or two before leaving town. While the sheets won’t be perfectly fresh when the family gets back home, they’ll be pretty close and a lot cozier to crawl into.
  • Clothes: Likewise, have your family on laundry duty the week leading up to the trip. Any clothes that have piled up on the bottom of closet floors should be cleaned and put in their rightful place. In addition, put everyone old enough to run the washer in charge of their own laundry to ensure they’re packing clean shirts and shorts and leaving minimal dirty clothes behind.
  • Towels: Bathroom linens are especially prone to mildewing, but there are bound to be a few being used the night before or morning of your vacation. Reduce the chances of coming home to smelly towels by having family members hang them over shower rods to dry.

2. Kitchen

Like dirty clothes, leftover food and dirty dishes can result in you opening the door to find quite a stink. Get your kitchen in good shape a few days before leaving for vacation so you don’t come home to moldy plates and a smelly fridge.
  • Fridge: Clean out the fridge before you go, making sure to toss anything that has already expired or will go bad while you’re gone. If you have the time, it couldn’t hurt to wipe down the inside and outside of the refrigerator.
  • Dishes and sink: Wash all your dirty dishes before leaving and give the sink a good cleaning, too. This will ensure that there aren’t any food particles going sour in your drain stoppers while you’re out of town. In addition, have everyone wash their breakfast dishes the morning you leave or consider grabbing breakfast on the road.
  • Trash: Remember to empty those trash cans before you leave for vacation. Otherwise, you’ll be in for a gross surprise when you return. It’s also a good idea to wash your trash can sometime in the week before you leave.

3. Common Areas and Tidying

There’s no need to pull out all the stops and execute a full spring clean before you leave for vacation. However, a little dusting and organizing the week before you hit the road can make returning home a lot more pleasant.
  • Dust and vacuum: Common areas should be dusted in the week before leaving for vacation. The same goes for vacuuming. Additionally, if you have a vacuum robot, make sure to set its timer before you leave.
  • Tidy up: Have everyone pick up toys and books or arrange their desks as they dust their rooms. It’s also a good idea to have family members make their beds and empty out wastebaskets the morning you leave for vacation, so that you can come back to a clutter-free, tidy home.
  • Bathrooms: Give your showers, toilets and sinks thorough cleaning in the week before departure. In addition, you should leave bathroom doors open while you’re gone so that air can circulate through, reducing favorable conditions for mildew.
  • Clean the car: If you’ll be taking a long drive to reach your vacation destination, you should definitely clean out your car first. Toss out any old soda cans or coffee cups, and give the interior a good vacuuming if it needs it. Then clear out the backseat and trunk so that you have room for all of your family members and vacation gear. Tip: Leave an empty plastic or paper bag in the car to collect any road trash that may accumulate.

4. General Vacation Prep

While you’re cleaning, don’t forget that you still need to prepare for your vacation. Doing so a week or two ahead of time can help ensure that you don’t forget anything vital. Naturally, you’ll want to make a list of everything to bring on the trip. For example, if you’re going camping, you’ll need to make sure your cooler, sleeping bags and camping cookware are clean. You’ll also want to air out your tent a few nights before you leave and make sure you have plenty of batteries or kerosene for lanterns and camp stoves. Wherever you’re going, think of the needs for your trip and make sure all items are clean and set by the door the night before you load up the car.

Don’t have time to clean the house and wrap up loose ends at home and work before leaving for vacation? Contact your local Merry Maids office to see if they can lend a hand.