Whether you are moving out on your own, starting a job as a housekeeper or hiring a housekeeper, you may want to make a clearly defined list of basic cleaning duties. Defining housekeeping duties---yours or someone else's---provides clear expectations of what you need to clean around the house. For easy reference, post the list of household duties on the refrigerator or pantry door.
Straightening is the first of basic housekeeping duties. Straightening includes picking up trash, putting dishes away, picking up dirty laundry and putting things back where they belong. When you straighten, you get things out of the way before tackling other cleaning chores.
Dusting requires two tools: a duster and a dust rag. The Mrs. Clean House Cleaning Specialist website recommends using a duster for hard to reach places and a dust rag for flat surfaces and walls. It also suggests you start with the ceiling (dusting cobwebs) and high places. When you're dusting items on a shelf or table, don't just dust around them. Pick them up, and dust under them.
Use a broom to clean particles from tile or wood flooring. Begin sweeping in one corner of the room, and move along the walls and under furniture until you have gathered one pile of dirt and particles. Sweep the debris into a dustpan, and discard in the trash.
Use a vacuum to clean dirt and particles from carpet flooring. Before vacuuming, replace any full filters or vacuum bags. Begin vacuuming in one corner of the room and move backward and side to side until you have reached the other end of the room. If the vacuum does not have a bag, empty the dirt from the canister into the trash.
The Mrs. Clean website suggests using a damp mop when needed to clean hardwood, laminate, ceramic, vinyl and linoleum flooring. Fill a bucket with hot water. Dip the mop in the bucket, and wring out twice. Begin in one corner of a freshly swept room, and move backward and side to side until you are finished with the room. Allow the water to dry before walking on the floor.
Shining includes cleaning smudges from mirrors, glass and wood surfaces. Use a paper towel and a household window cleaner or wood polish to thoroughly wipe down mirrors, windows, tables, desks and other items with smudges or smears.
Whether you choose to use chemical or natural household cleaners, you will need to disinfect certain areas of the home to kill germs and bacteria. Use disinfectant to clean areas the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls "high touch" places. These include bathrooms, doorknobs and tables. The CDC also recommends using disposable wipes to clean items such as remote controls and computer keyboards.