Pre-Vacation Home Cleaning Checklist

Between organizing vacation itineraries, booking hotels, and packing, house cleaning is likely not on your mind in the lead-up to your summer vacation. However, there are a number of things you should do (especially when it comes to cleaning your kitchen) before you leave for your getaway. 

We’ve put together a list of essential cleaning and housekeeping tips you should follow before you head out on your trip.  

1. Make a checklist

Make a quick checklist of things to do before you leave so nothing is forgotten. Include any applicable items from the list below, as well as any personal to-dos you may have before you leave. A checklist will help prevent anything important from slipping your mind.

Dish rack

2. Wash dishes in the sink

The last thing you want to deal with upon your return is a sink full of dirty dishes. Dirty dishes may attract fruit flies and will definitely create odour, so do yourself a favour and make sure your sink is completely empty!

3. Run dishwasher

Just as unpleasant as a sink full of dirty dishes, a full dishwasher is never fun to return to. Get those dishes clean before you leave! And, leave the dishwasher open a crack while you’re away to let standing water evaporate.

4. Clean counters

Give your counters a good tidy and wipe down before you go. Think of it like closing down your kitchen for the night! When you get back, you’ll be able to enjoy a fresh, clutter-free kitchen. 

A woman opened a refrigerator

5. Clear out the fridge

Dealing with expired food and a smelly fridge after your long vacation is not something you need to deal with. Eat what you can before you leave and toss (or give away!) anything that won’t keep for the duration of your time away. 

Check out our home improvement blog post for a handy DIY tip on how to deal with fridge odour! 

6. Run your garburator

One of the worst offenders when it comes to kitchen odours is food left in the garbage disposal. Make sure to run your garburator before you leave! As an extra odour-proofing step, throw a couple of lemon or orange peels down the drain beforehand. 

7. Take out trash

This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s easily forgotten! Make sure your garbage container has a fresh bag before you leave to reduce odour and make life easier for future-you.

A broom and dust pan on a wooden floor

8. Clean floor

Give your kitchen floor a good sweep and mop before you leave to eliminate any stains, spills, crumbs, and other messes that may attract pests.

9. Batten down the hatches

Make sure your windows, patio doors, garage door, skylights, cat flap, and any other opening is closed and locked before you go. The last thing you want to come back to is an unfamiliar animal friend in your home – or worse!

10. Unplug electronics

Unplug any electronics you won’t be using before you leave and reduce that electricity bill while you’re away. 

11. Turn off the lights

Similar to the point listed above, turn off the lights in your home. Optionally, keep a couple on to deter potential burglars. Another option is to invest in a timer for your lights, like this programmable light switch from Amazon.

Adjusting a thermostat

12. Adjust thermostat

Make sure your heater or AC is off before you go. Saving energy is good for your wallet and the environment!

13. Final check of floors and surfaces

Look for any spills, messes, things that could go bad if left out, and stray dishes lurking around the house. It’s a good idea to do a general clean before you leave anyway, so you can come back to a nice and pristine house. 

14. Turn off water to the house

If you have the option, turn off the water to your house. This will save you in case of a burst hose.

Read: 24 Must-Have Kitchen Products, Tools, and Accessories