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12 Cleaning Tasks You Only Need To Do Once A Year

Things You Can Clean Once A Year

Keeping a clean house is a job with no finish line. It’s a continuous cycle of wiping down counters, vacuuming carpets, mopping floors, and scrubbing toilets. But thankfully, not every has to be done every week — in fact, some only need to be done once a year!

Those annual cleaning tasks are what we’ll be focusing on this post. I’ll highlight 12 different cleaning tasks that you can do just once a year, which is the perfect amount of tasks to be able to do one per month throughout the year.

I highly recommend this low-stress approach! A lot of people like to do their once-a-year cleaning chores during the spring, but I think scheduling one cleaning task during each month is much easier. Once you try it, I think you’ll agree! :-)

12 Cleaning Jobs You Can Get Away With Doing Once A Year

Once a Year Cleaning

1. Window Frames & Tracks

Whether they fill up with dust, dirt, or dead bugs, those window tracks and frames can get pretty gross over time! Aim to give them a good cleaning at least once a year.

Use a duster or brush to brush away any loose dirt and cobwebs that have collected around your windows. The use a cloth and some warm, soapy water to wipe up the rest of the grime. Your window tracks and frames will be sparkling, and you won’t believe the difference it makes!

Cleaning Don'ts

2. Outdoor Windows

Cleaning the outside of your windows is no one’s idea of a good time, but it’s a job that needs doing! The main benefit to giving your outdoor windows a good scrub is that clean windows let in more light. So if the inside of your home has been looking a little dark and dim lately, it’s probably time to get out there and get scrubbing!

A few years ago, I came across a method for cleaning outdoor windows that is now the only method I use. This method makes cleaning outdoor windows easier than I ever thought it could be, and you don’t have to worry about drying either. Get the full details about the easiest way to clean your outdoor windows at the link below.

Related: Streak-Free Window Cleaner—No Squeegee Required!

Once a Year Cleaning

3. Junk Drawer

We all have that one drawer somewhere in the house that becomes a repository for all kinds of miscellaneous junk. Loose batteries, keys that don’t seem to fit any locks, scissors, chapstick tubes, and all manner of other items seem to find their way into the junk drawer! Aim to clear that drawer out at least once a year.

Start by pulling everything out of the drawer and organizing it into two piles: one of stuff to keep, and one of stuff to throw out. Before you put the “keep” pile back in the drawer, make sure to wipe out the inside of the drawer with a damp cloth to get rid of any grime that has collected inside! Then return all of the stuff you’re keeping in the drawer in a somewhat organized manner.

Dusting Hacks

4. Light Bulbs

It may sound like overkill to clean the actual light bulbs in your light fixtures, but there’s a good reason to make the effort! Over time, dust and grime can build up on your light bulbs, and that grimy layer will dim the overall light emitting from the bulb. Set aside a few minutes in the fall to clean your bulbs to ensure you’re getting the most light possible from your fixtures when the days start getting shorter.

Once a Year Cleaning

5. Curtains

It’s easy to forget about cleaning your curtains and other window treatments, but just think about how much dust collects on them! Give them a good wash at least once a year to keep them looking their best.

Once a Year Cleaning

6. Fireplace

If you have a real wood-burning fireplace, it’s important get your fireplace and chimney cleaned at least once a year. The cleaning process eliminates soot buildup that poses both a fire hazard and a breathing hazard. Bring in the chimney sweeps! :-)

Once a Year Cleaning

7. Upholstered Furniture

Just like your curtains, your upholstered furniture also collects dust and dirt over time. If your furniture has removable covers, pop those into your washing machine at least once a year. If you don’t have removable covers, a lot of carpet cleaning companies also offer upholstered furniture cleaning services.

Related: How To Clean Your Microfiber Furniture The Safe And Easy Way

How To Clean Your Outdoor Cushions

8. Outdoor Furniture

In the springtime or early summer, make sure to clean your outdoor furniture. You’ll get it looking nice and clean, and ready to use for the rest of the summer! I bring out my pressure washer for part of this task, because I can spray down my chairs, our outdoor table, and our waterproof cushions and pillows. (For more details on cleaning specific pieces of outdoor furniture, check out my post below!)

Related: How To Clean And Store Your Outdoor Furniture

Once a Year Cleaning

9. Carpets

Vacuuming your carpets regularly is important, but it isn’t enough to keep them free of ground-in dirt. Once a year, make a point to hire a carpet cleaning service. Or if you prefer the DIY approach, you can always rent a carpet cleaning machine from a supermarket or home improvement store. You’ll be amazed at how clean your carpets look afterward!

Related: How To Make An Inexpensive Carpet Cleaning Solution

Once a Year Cleaning

10. Gutters

Gutters are great for whisking away rainwater, but not if they get clogged up with leaves and other debris! Get up on a ladder at least once a year to clear out any gunk that may be lurking in your gutters. (A pressure washer is a really helpful tool for this job as well!)

Once a Year Cleaning

11. Washer & Dryer

A lot of people don’t understand that even your cleaning tools and machines need cleaning occasionally! Cleaning your washing machine and dryer at least once a year will keep them running in tip-top shape. Check out the links below for instructions on how to clean your top-loading or front-loading washing machine, as well as your dryer.


How To Clean Your Top-Loading Washing Machine
How To Clean Your Front-Loading Washing Machine
How To Clean And Maintain Your Dryer

Once a Year Cleaning

12. Air Vents

The vents for your heating and cooling system can get grimy over time, so try to vacuum them out at least once a year. You can clean them in the fall before you start relying on your furnace for heat, or in the spring before you start cranking up the A/C.

Cleaning projects like this can seem like a drag, but if you space these tasks out, your home will stay in tip-top shape with a minimal amount of effort on your part!

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Homekeeping Tips

  • I always use distilled water for any spray bottle solutions. Distilled water contains no minerals or bacteria. I can store most solutions for a very long time and they remain clean and free of contamination right to the last drop. Same goes for the internal sprayer mechanism. I used to see bacteria/mold/mildew/minerals inside the mixing mechanism and collar over time despite cleaning. And never have since switching to using distilled water.

  • Great list, thank you! And I love the detailed directions for the washer/dryer, outdoor windows, and patio furniture. I assigned each of these a month, and put them into my handy “Tody” app (chore reminders). Since I don’t have a real fireplace, January’s task will be to put away all the holiday decorations!

  • I do my washer/dryer and dishwasher every 3 months, as do I the couch cover (I have two cats, it’s necessary!). I do the rest of these about once a year, except the gutters and outside windows. Plus side of living in a condo is those are done for me!

  • Before throwing furniture fabric cushion casings in the wash, you should check the cleaning instructions. Sometimes machine washing can damage them in the long run.

  • Another good thing to clean while you’re doing the light bulbs, are the domes/fixtures on ceiling lights! They get so grimy, and you can just wash them in the sink like you would a plate, and it really helps the light shine through.

  • Great ideas. The only thing I would disagree with is cleaning the Washer. We have a top loading one. However, where I live in the Midwest we have hard water. I usually do this task about every 3 months. When my dark clothes dark coming out with residue from detergents is when I know it’s time. As you’ve said before most areas if you live in a dry climate like Utah without humidity you could probably get away with doing this twice a year. This is just one of those tasks that the climate where you live can be a big factor.

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