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girl cleaning room with suitcase in corner

Quick Travel Tip #9: Clean Your House Before you go on a Trip

Author Mary Chong
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There are many tasks you need to complete before you go on vacation, but one “task” not often talked about is cleaning your house before you go on a trip.

Seriously? You want me to clean my house before a vacation?

You read that correctly. Clean Your House Before You Go on a Trip!

Let me explain the reasoning for this perceived madness. *wink*

Before I started my pre-travel ritual of cleaning the house before a holiday, I would return home from a week in the Caribbean feeling fabulous from all the rest and relaxation, only to open the door to see the bed a mess with piles of clothes on top of it and the bathroom counter covered in toiletries that didn’t make it into the suitcase. It wasn’t pretty.

Not only was I left with dirty laundry from the trip, but I had dirty laundry in the hampers from BEFORE the trip to do as well.

There goes all that rest and relaxation down the drain!

Now that I routinely clean my home before I hop into the car for the airport, when I return home, that “on vacation feeling” is extended (for a few more days at least), complete with fresh linens on the bed.

Clean your house PIN

Here’s my cleaning checklist before vacation:

(organized by rooms)

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If this all seems daunting, might I suggest you start early by cleaning one or two rooms/day versus doing everything at once? Don’t forget to include other members of the household – as they say, the more hands make light work.


  • Put on fresh linens and make the bed – there’s nothing worse than coming home exhausted from your holiday and having to change the linens before bed.
  • Put away any clothes lying around that didn’t make it into the suitcase when you were deciding what to pack.


  • Put away any leftover toiletries
  • Scrub and clean the sink, toilet and shower (and tub if you have one) – I know this one is painful, but I promise you nothing is better than coming home and showering in your own clean shower.
  • Wipe down any countertops and mirrors.
cleaning supplies


  • Empty the refrigerator of any perishables and wipe down the interior of the refrigerator.
  • Gather all your dirty dishes, run the dishwasher, and put clean dishes away – this means there’s no hunting for clean dishes when you return.

PRO TRAVEL TIP: Don’t forget the coffee maker! You don’t want to return home to find mouldy old coffee grounds stinking up the kitchen.


  • Do a general tidy up of all rooms in the house.
  • Dust all surfaces – this may sound simple, but it makes a huge difference!
  • Sweep, vacuum, and mop the floors.
  • Do the laundry – you are going to have a lot more dirty laundry upon your return after all.
  • Empty the garbage and recycle bin
suitcase next to unmade bed

Bonus Tips

  1. Create a “home-sweet-home” meal that you can cook up quickly by tossing a pre-made frozen lasagna or casserole into the oven. This way, you don’t have to stress about picking up food on the way home from the airport.
  2. Start writing your grocery list as you empty the refrigerator so that you don’t have to think about it later. Better yet, if you typically order your groceries online – order them now, and set the delivery date for when you return.
  3. Unplug all unnecessary electrical devices and appliances – you’ll save some money on standby power consumption, and you’ll have peace of mind that there won’t be an electrical fire while you are away.

I know it may seem like you’re doing a total deep clean of your house before a trip, but when you break it up into smaller tasks, it doesn’t take that much time at all – bonus if you have a large family and can split up rooms and duties to each person!

Plus, house cleaning before vacation is worth the extra hassle for your own health and peace of mind.

Think of it like this: Your mom told you not to leave the house with dirty underwear if you get into an accident and have to go to the hospital.

Well, I’m telling you not to leave for a trip without cleaning your house first.

Imagine your house sitter or family member stopping by to check in on your house while you’re away, and they think the house was ransacked or robbed! When in reality, you left it looking that way in the first place. Awkward. Clean before you travel and avoid the embarrassment!

I know you have a million things to do and the last thing you want to do is scrub the bathroom toilet before you go on a trip, but trust me on this one – it’s so much nicer to come home to a tidy, clean, fresh-smelling home than it is to come back to a home that’s a mess.

Clean your house PIN

PRO TRAVEL TIP: If this ALL seems like too much of a bother, you can accomplish this just as easily by hiring a cleaning service to take care of all these dirty tasks for you. You can add the cost for cleaning services to the cost of the trip.

Do you spend time cleaning your house before vacation? Do you have any tips for cleaning the house quickly?

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