What is extreme cleaning?

Extreme cleaning refers to deep cleaning practices that go above and beyond regular cleaning. It involves meticulously cleaning every nook and cranny of a home or space to eliminate dirt, germs, odors, and clutter. Extreme cleaning aims to create an impeccably clean environment.

Why do people extreme clean?

There are several reasons why people engage in extreme cleaning:

  • To thoroughly sanitize their living space and remove germs that can cause illness
  • To eliminate deeply embedded dirt, grime, and odors that regular cleaning cannot remove
  • To prepare a house for sale and make it look as pristine as possible
  • For therapeutic reasons, as the systematic process provides satisfaction
  • To cope with stressful situations or traumatic events by controlling their environment
  • To deal with cleaning compulsions associated with OCD

What are some extreme cleaning practices?

Here are some common extreme cleaning practices:

  • Deep cleaning carpets and upholstery: Shampooing, steam cleaning, and extracting carpets, rugs, couches and other upholstered furniture to remove embedded dirt, dust mites, pet dander, etc.
  • Cleaning walls and ceilings: Washing walls, ceiling fans, light fixtures, and crown molding to eliminate dust, cobwebs, and grime buildup.
  • Cleaning inside appliances: Taking apart appliances like ovens, refrigerators, and dishwashers to clean interior components and remove grease residues.
  • Sanitizing surfaces: Using concentrated sanitizing cleaners or bleach solutions to kill germs on countertops, sinks, doorknobs, toys, etc.
  • Cleaning blinds: Taking down window blinds and thoroughly cleaning each slat to remove dust and dirt.
  • Vacuuming meticulously: Vacuuming ceilings, walls, baseboards, furniture crevices, mattresses, and automobiles interiors.
  • Cleaning out closets: Taking everything out of closets, scrubbing down shelves, reorganizing items.
  • Cleaning electronics: Using cotton swabs and cleaning solutions to remove dirt from small crevices in electronic devices.
  • Polishing chrome fixtures: Scrubbing shower fixtures, faucets, and railings until they shine.
  • Dusting everything: Removing all dust from books, décor items, lighting fixtures, etc. with microfiber cloths.

Extreme cleaning tools and supplies

Some specialized tools and supplies used for extreme cleaning include:

  • Steam cleaners
  • Powerful vacuum cleaners like Dyson
  • Grout brushes and grout steam cleaners
  • Detail brushes and microfiber cloths
  • Cotton swabs for cleaning crevices
  • Specialized scrub brushes
  • High concentration all-purpose cleaners and disinfectants
  • Bleach and sanitizing solutions
  • Toothbrushes for scrubbing tile, fixtures, etc.
  • Air purifiers and dehumidifiers

Extreme cleaning for a move-out

When moving out of a rental apartment or home for sale, extreme cleaning helps ensure you get your full security deposit back and/or maximize the home’s resale value. Areas to focus on include:

  • Scrubbing floors, walls, baseboards to remove scuffs and stains
  • Cleaning inside all appliances and fixtures
  • Steam cleaning and shampooing carpets
  • Cleaning windows, screens, window sills, and window treatments
  • Disinfecting bathrooms and kitchen
  • Cleaning out closets and cabinets
  • Dusting ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents
  • Washing interior doors and door jambs
  • Vacuuming and mopping garage and patios
  • Power washing exterior siding, decks, driveways if needed
  • Carefully checking yard for any debris and pet waste

This deep clean helps remove all traces of dirt and odors, making the property fresh and welcoming for the next residents.

Extreme spring cleaning

Some tips for an extreme spring clean include:

  • Cleaning from top to bottom – Start with high areas like ceilings and work down
  • Wash walls, window treatments, and sanitize light switches
  • Clean ceiling fans blade by blade
  • Vacuum and dust furniture, décor, and surfaces thoroughly
  • Steam clean upholstered furniture and carpets
  • Clean inside kitchen appliances like the oven, refrigerator, and dishwasher
  • Organize cabinets, drawers, closets and get rid of clutter
  • Disinfect children’s toys, play areas, and pet items
  • Clean electronics like TVs, computers, phones, etc.
  • Scrub bathroom grout and sanitize all fixtures
  • Clean out the garage, vehicles, and outdoor space
  • Change furnace filters and dust vents
  • Wash bedding and sanitize mattresses

Health risks of extreme cleaning

While extreme cleaning produces a super clean home, there are some health risks to be aware of:

  • Exposure to harsh cleaning chemicals can irritate eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs
  • Mixing certain cleaning products like bleach and ammonia creates toxic fumes
  • Using too much bleach can cause asthma attacks in some individuals
  • Falls from ladders or stairs when cleaning in high areas
  • Muscle strains from repetitive scrubbing motions
  • Breathing in microscopic dust particles stirred up while cleaning can exacerbate respiratory issues
  • Chemical burns from strong cleaners on skin or accidental ingestion
  • Triggering headaches, fatigue, and emotional stress in those with cleaning compulsions

Safety precautions like wearing gloves and a mask, opening windows for ventilation, using green cleaners, and taking breaks can help reduce risks.

Hiring an extreme cleaning service

Given the labor-intensive nature of extreme cleaning, many choose to hire professional extreme cleaning services. Here are some tips for finding a reliable service:

  • Look for licensed and insured cleaners
  • Read online reviews
  • Ask for references from past clients
  • Interview cleaners about their practices and tools
  • Ask what cleaning solutions they use
  • Request an in-person estimate
  • Compare rates and services between a few companies
  • Ask about additional services like carpet cleaning or exterior power washing
  • Schedule a walkthrough after the cleaning to review the quality of work

Hiring professionals with the right equipment and expertise to thoroughly clean your entire home can give you peace of mind. Just be sure to do your due diligence in researching companies.

DIY extreme cleaning tips

For those who want to extreme clean their homes themselves, here are some useful tips:

  • Make an inspection of the entire home and create a checklist of areas to clean
  • Purchase necessary supplies – microfiber cloths, brushes, concentrated cleaners, etc.
  • Start on a weekend when you can devote ample time to the project
  • Tackle one room at a time for a systematic approach
  • Clean from top to bottom in each room
  • Set up a stepladder to reach ceilings, fans, and high windows safely
  • Remove all items from surfaces to clean thoroughly underneath
  • Change rinse water and rags/mop heads frequently
  • Open windows and use fans to ventilate the home
  • Wear gloves and a mask to protect yourself from chemicals
  • Disinfect cleaning tools after use in kitchens and bathrooms

While extreme cleaning is intensive, breaking the work into smaller tasks room by room makes the process more manageable.

Maintaining an extreme clean home

After doing an initial extreme clean, keeping a home in an impeccable state still requires diligent maintenance:

  • Establish a detailed regular cleaning schedule for tasks like dusting, vacuuming, mopping, etc.
  • Clean up spills, splatters, and crumbs immediately
  • Keep clutter picked up and put items back in their designated storage spots
  • Take shoes off when entering to avoid tracking in dirt
  • Schedule deep cleaning sessions monthly or quarterly to scrub floors, wash walls, clean appliances, dust, etc.
  • Clean one room or zone each week to prevent dirt buildup
  • Immediately address problem areas like mold, grime, or pet accidents
  • Maintain cleanliness standards with other household members
  • Limit entry of contaminants by adding mats at entries, using air filters, etc.

With constant vigilance, homes can maintain near perfect cleanliness even with regular use and occupancy.

Is extreme cleaning worth it?

The value of extreme cleaning depends on an individual’s priorities and motivations:

  • For those with cleaning compulsions, it provides temporary relief from anxiety but can be mentally and physically exhausting.
  • As a one-time move-out or spring clean, the intensive effort can be worthwhile to “reset” your living environment.
  • Frequent extreme cleaning uses significant time and money that some may consider wasteful or unnecessary.
  • For those with allergies/asthma, the level of sanitization may provide health benefits.
  • Some simply enjoy and take pride in having an immaculate living space.
  • Extreme cleaning may provide emotional benefits like stress relief or a sense of control.
  • A deep cleaned home can make residents feel happier, calmer, and more relaxed in their environment.

In most cases, a balance of regular cleaning with occasional deep cleaning sessions as needed is sufficient to keep a tidy yet livable home.


Extreme cleaning takes home sanitization and organization to the highest degree through intensive scrubbing, disinfecting, decluttering, and attention to detail. While an extremely clean home may be desirable for some, it requires thorough labor, upkeep, and significant time and money invested. Finding a reasonable cleaning routine that meets your needs without becoming excessive is key for most households.

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