A lack of time is a common excuse for a lot of things we dislike doing (i.e., exercise, inviting the in-laws over, cleaning, etc.). But the longer you let the filth build up, the higher the odds of mold, worsening allergies, and pests. So how long does it take to clean a house on average?

Here’s the TL;DR:

It takes 2 ¼–3 ½ hours to clean an average house (2,273 sq. ft.). If a well-kept house requires a deep cleaning, it’ll take closer to 3 ½–4 ½ hours. These estimated times will only increase with more square footage and laxer cleaning habits. Generally, it takes an hour to clean every 1,000 sq. ft.

Of course, these estimates apply to the “average” U.S. home, which measured 2,273 sq. ft. in 2021. However, your answer largely depends on your home’s square footage, current cleaning habits, and what needs cleaning. Read on to learn how long it could take to clean a house!

How Long Does It Take To Clean a House (By Size)

Queen of Maids—a professional cleaning service—suggests the following average cleaning times for its maids per 1,000 square feet:

  • Standard Clean (Well-Kept House): 60–90 minutes (1–1.5 hours)
  • Deep Clean (Well-Kept House): 90–120 minutes (1.5–2 hours)
  • Standard Clean (Poorly Kept House): 90–120 minutes (1.5–2 hours)
  • Deep Clean (Poorly Kept House): 120–150 minutes (2–2.5 hours)

Here’s how each cleaning time translates to different home sizes:

average time to clean a house by size (table)
A table breaking down how long it takes to clean a home based on square footage and current condition

Again, these times are averages for maids with years of experience and professional cleaning equipment. The average time to clean your house will likely be a bit longer as you get the hang of it.

So how long does it take the average person to clean their house? Well, generally, the average person should expect to spend 2–3 hours on typical house cleaning or roughly one hour per 1,000 sq. ft.

Standard Cleaning Tasks

tasks involved in a standard clean

A “standard” clean involves your regular cleaning tasks—or those you perform on a daily or weekly basis—such as:

  • Vacuuming
  • Sweeping floors
  • Mopping floors
  • Surface cleaning (i.e., wiping bathroom counters and kitchen surfaces)
  • Cleaning windows, mirrors, appliances, etc.
  • Decluttering
  • Dusting
  • Emptying trash bins
  • Washing dirty clothes
  • Doing dirty dishes

Deep Cleaning Tasks

tasks involved in a deep clean

A “deep clean” is much more in-depth than your basic cleaning.

You’ll focus on the removal of set-in gunk and grime and a once-or-twice-a-year deep cleaning affair, including tasks like:

  • Scrubbing bathroom sinks, toilets, tubs, and showers
  • Organizing and decluttering closets
  • Cleaning inside appliances (i.e., tackling oven grease buildup, sanitizing the refrigerator)
  • Disinfecting and sanitizing knobs, grout, and other appliances
  • Deep cleaning cabinets, drawers, countertops, and backsplashes
  • Dusting smaller objects, like knick-knacks and lampshades
  • Deep cleaning baseboards, vent covers, blinds, window sills, curtains, etc.
  • Performing outdoor tasks, like cleaning gutters and washing exterior windows

Some Houses Take Longer To Clean Than Others

Of course, you don’t need to be a mathematician to know that cleaning a 5,000 sq. ft. four-bedroom home will take much longer to clean than a 1,000 sq. ft. single bedroom apartment. One will take well over five hours to clean, while the other will be squeaky clean in just a few hours.

Yet, a home may also require extra effort and more hours a week to keep tidy if you have:

Children or Pets

happy cat with teeth showing

A home with children, pets, or both will require much more cleaning time for a few reasons. For one, you’ll have to reorganize kids’ toys and put them back in their bins. Southwest Human Development also recommends disinfecting or sanitizing toys every 1–2 days. 

A home with pets—on the other hand—will benefit from more regular vacuuming to suck up pet dander, loose hairs, and tracked-in dirt or litter. Expect to vacuum or sweep twice a week (or more) rather than the traditional once-a-week vacuum once-over.

A Lot of Dust-Prone Objects (Like Curtains)

According to cleaning experts, household dust—plus dead skin cells and mites—are more likely to collect on items like:

  • Curtains
  • Rugs
  • Bedding
  • Upholstered furniture

Smaller knick-knacks will also require more attention to detail when dusting and wiping down. The more of these items you have, the more upkeep is necessary. That includes how often you change your bedsheets and how much time you dedicate to vacuuming and dusting.

More Bathrooms

a clean bathroom with no visible dirt

Bathroom cleaning is the most-hated cleaning chore yet the most satisfying room to clean for 37% of people. But at roughly 20–45 minutes to clean the average bathroom, be ready to spend much of your weekly cleaning time in the loo.

How long it’ll take to clean each bathroom depends on several factors, like:

  • The extent of soap scum and limescale build-up, which will take extra time to remove if you live in an area with hard water
  • How damp the bathroom gets, as excess moisture and poor ventilation encourage mold and mildew growth
  • The number of surfaces and fixtures in the bathroom—like a shower, toilet, mirror, countertops, and shelving—each one requiring a different cleaning process
  • The number of hard-to-reach areas, such as underneath the sink and behind the toilet
  • How often the bathroom is used (the more action the bathroom sees, the more dirt, grime, and bacteria it’ll accumulate)
  • Whether it’s a full or half bathroom

Several Bedrooms

Generally speaking, the more bedrooms you have in your home, the more time you should expect to spend cleaning. The time it’ll take to clean a one-bedroom apartment is much lower than that of a large house with four bedrooms.

But here’s why bedrooms can be a beast of their own:

  • They have significant square footage, with the average bedroom measuring 132 square feet
  • Bedrooms have more furnishings, like beds, dressers, nightstands, bookshelves, and personal items—all of which require dusting or cleaning
  • All bedrooms have their own linen, which you should change every two weeks
  • Children’s rooms may require extra organization and cleaning

Nobody Else Helping You Clean

professional cleaners doing their job

There’s a reason most professional cleaning services send more than one person to your home to do the dirty work—efficiency.

One person could clean a 1,500 sq. ft. space in 90–135 minutes. If you recruited the help of another member of the house to lend a hand, you could potentially cut that number in half (45–67 ½ minutes).

A Busy Schedule

The 2018 ACI National Cleaning Survey found that the average American spends six hours per week cleaning. That equates to roughly 6,000 sq. ft. cleaned—or about 2–3 full house cleanings per week for a home just above 2,000 sq. ft.

Yes, I did the math.

However, according to other surveys, not everyone has several hours to spend cleaning each week.

One 2019 survey found that 40% of Brits blame their lack of cleaning on a busy work schedule. A similar 2019 survey revealed that Americans only have ~26 minutes of free time per week, with cleaning being the #1 task put off.

If you live a hectic lifestyle, you may have to spread your whole-house cleaning across the entire month with whatever “free time” you have.

The Best Ways To Keep a House Clean

You’ll need to clean your house daily or weekly to keep it in guest-ready shape. But let’s talk about some ways to keep it tidy long-term and reduce how many hours a week you spend cleaning.

Clean a Little Every Day

Try to get into the habit of short bursts of daily cleaning instead of saving it all for a 3-hour cleaning job on Saturday. 

For example, wipe up or vacuum spills immediately after they happen. Put the scissors back in the drawer after you finish using them. Throw out expired foods when you notice them. Return books to their rightful place on the bookshelf.

Clean Your Home Top-to-Bottom

how to clean a house top to bottom
A diagram of a sample room showing the order of cleaning tasks

Avoid double-cleaning certain areas of the house by working your way down from the ceiling to the floor:

  1. Start by dusting ceiling corners, creases, and ceiling fans; dust and stray hairs will inevitably float down to the floor.
  2. Then, clean walls and windows, higher surfaces and furniture, etc.
  3. Next, wipe down or vacuum surfaces and furniture.
  4. Finally, you’re ready to sweep, mop, and vacuum.

The reasoning behind this is simple: gravity.

If you sweep first and then wipe down countertops, you may have to sweep again to clean up dropped crumbs. Surface clean before dusting, and the cloud of dust may force you to wipe down surfaces a second time—which means even more time cleaning.

Clean the Whole House at Once

Breaking your household cleaning by room sure makes a lot of sense. However, it also tends to be a lot more tedious—dust, surface-clean, clean furniture, sweep, vacuum, mop, and then repeat for every room in the house.

Instead, perform one cleaning task at a time in all rooms before moving on to the next task.

Store Your Cleaning Supplies in a Portable Caddy

Casabella 1.5-gallon plastic cleaning storage caddy

Cleaning caddies are great and simple tools for keeping all of your own equipment in a portable place. With a caddy, you can carry your dusters, microfiber cloths, sponges, surface cleaners, and more from room to room as you power through a full-house cleaning session.

If you need a cleaning caddy, I recommend the one pictured above. This is the Casabella 1.5-Gallon Plastic Cleaning Storage Caddy (link brings you to Amazon). This bad boy can hold all of your go-to cleaning supplies in one convenient bin and has a central handle for easy carrying.

I typically stock mine with the following cleaning products:

  • Window/glass cleaner
  • Multi-surface cleaner
  • Dish soap + water
  • A disinfecting cloth
  • Vinegar + water
  • A few microfiber cloths
  • A scrubber brush
  • A sponge
  • A microfiber duster
  • A small squeegee
  • An automatic scrubber tool

And, if I really wanted, I could probably cram in a little more.

Address Cleaning Problems Before They Get Out of Hand

You typically reserve tasks like scrubbing grout and wiping down baseboards for your once or twice-yearly deep clean. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should let grimy build-up in the tub or moldy baseboards fester until your next deep cleaning session rolls around. Instead, address these traditional deep-cleaning needs as you notice them.

Focus on the Crucial Areas

If you’re crunched for time like most homeowners, you’ll want to focus your efforts on 1) spaces that are visible, 2) tasks that make a considerable difference, and 3) areas you use often.

Any room that you or your guests see often should receive top priority. Try to focus on the main gathering areas, like the living room and dining room, and rooms guests may walk past when visiting.

Prioritize tasks that make the biggest dent in your home’s overall cleanliness. This may include taking a disinfectant wipe to all surfaces, sweeping the floor, decluttering, and dusting. Most guests won’t peek in your oven, refrigerator, or small appliances.

High-traffic areas should receive more attention, too. More foot traffic and time spent in a room typically means more dirt build-up. Examples include the entryway, main hallway, living room, and kitchen.

Keep a Cleaning Schedule

tody app interface

One of the biggest problems with house cleaning is that most tasks have different cleaning intervals. For example, you may surface clean daily, vacuum every three days, and dust every two weeks.

The simplest way to organize your cleaning routine is to set a regular schedule. I’ve been using the Tody app (screenshotted above) for the last several weeks and LOVE it so far.

It features an extensive task library with basic tasks for each room, and you can set how often you’d like to do each. You can also customize the “effort” required for each task and receive daily notifications that maps out the day’s tasks.

Get Your House Professionally Cleaned

According to Forbes, cleaning services charge an average of $230 for a basic cleaning and $100+ extra for a deep cleaning. The exact price depends on the add-ons you tack on and the size of the house (i.e., a smaller house with fewer bedrooms and bathrooms will typically cost less).

Though it saves time, the price of hiring cleaning companies can be off-putting for those on a budget. So if you can’t afford to hire a cleaning service for your regular basic cleaning, consider “splurging” on a once-a-year deep clean.

You tackle basic upkeep throughout the year and leave the stressful, high-effort tasks, like cleaning appliances and scrubbing bathtubs, to the professionals.

Final Thoughts

As a general rule of thumb, plan to spend 60–90 minutes cleaning per 1,000 sq. ft. of indoor living space. For the average home, that typically translates to 2–3 hours of a week cleaning.

Of course, this time frame can vary depending on certain factors, such as whether you have kids or pets or how many bathrooms you have. You can also improve your efficiency and rack up less time cleaning by using a cleaning caddy and tidying your home from top to bottom.