15 Spots You Absolutely Have to Clean Before Guests Arrive
Company is coming in an hour, and your house is a mess. Don’t panic! You can get ready for guests, fast, even when you don’t have a ton of time. The trick is to clean only the most visible areas. Here’s how.
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The front porch and steps are the first things guests will see, so grab a broom and clear them of debris and cobwebs. Knock cobwebs off the door jamb and the light fixtures. If you have a doormat, shake it out and use the garden hose to rinse it off.
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Wipe Down the Front Door
Mix a solution of hot water and a few drops of dish soap, dampen a washcloth, and wipe the back and front of the door. Give extra scrubs to the area around the handles where it’s extra dirty from hands touching it all the time. If there’s glass in the door, use a mixture of vinegar and water to get off the smudges from dog noses and kids’ hands.
Clean and De-Clutter the Entryway
Pick up the backpacks and put away the shoes that get pulled off and dropped just inside the door when your family comes home. If you’re in a red-hot hurry, throw that stuff in your bedroom and close the door. You can put it where it belongs later when company is gone. Damp mop or vacuum the floor, and clean and dust any mirrors or foyer tables.
Clear Clutter in Common Areas
Grab a laundry basket and gather up all the shoes, toys, and stacks of junk mail from rooms where your guests will be. You don’t have to put them where they belong, just stash the basketful of stuff in the laundry room or closet. Marie Kondo would not approve, but with just an hour to clean, tidy can stand in for organized.
Run a Damp Mop Over the Kitchen Floor
Those floors get really messy, really fast, with all the food spills and foot traffic. Run a damp mop moistened with a water-based cleaner on the high-traffic areas and any other surfaces guests can see. Damp mopping is faster than a full-on mop job with a sudsy bucket of water. The floor dries faster, too.
De-Stink Your Kitchen
Get rid of the lingering smell of yesterday’s fish dinner and the last night’s microwave popcorn. Grab a saucepan, combine three tablespoons of vinegar with a cup of water in it and bring it to a boil for several minutes on the stove. The vinegar will kill airborne odors. When you’re done, pour the hot water and vinegar down the garbage disposal to get the smell out there, too.
Your sofa and chairs probably have dirt, crumbs, and pet hair on them. Use a vacuum with an attachment, or a lint roller, to clean the back and fronts of the cushions. Vacuum or lint roll the throw pillows, too.
Clean the Guest Bathroom
This is the most visited room in the house, so be sure it’s ready for its close up. Clean the toilet and wipe its sides with a microfiber cloth to remove the germs. Wipe out the sink, and use a vinegar and water solution to get smudges off the mirror. Take any personal items off the counter and stash them, and wipe the counter.
Focus on Faucets
Be sure to clean the smudges and water spots off the faucet and spigots in the kitchen and guest bath. When they’re shiny, they give the impression the whole room’s been scrubbed to Instagram perfection.
Grab a microfiber duster and do a fast lap around the rooms you’ll be socializing in. Run the duster over tabletops, shelves, and lamp shades. Want to go even faster? Skip the duster and use one of the dirty socks you picked up off the floor as a dust rag.
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Clean the Soap Dish or Soap Dispenser
Because caked-on soap scum is just gross. Use a lemon-based cleaner, or a solution of vinegar and hot water, to rinse off the goo at the sinks in the kitchen and guest bath.
Get the Reek Out of Your Rug
Carpets and rugs hold odors from pets, smoking, and cooking. To freshen them fast, sprinkle on baking soda, a natural destroyer of odors, wait 15 minutes and then vacuum the soda and the stink away.
Wipe Down Kitchen Appliances and Counters
The kitchen is for socializing as much as cooking, (hello, open floor plans) so wipe the spills and crumbs off the counters, and the smudges off the exterior of the microwave, dishwasher, stovetop, and fridge. Clean any surfaces your guests can see. And of course, put any dirty dishes in the dishwasher.
Empty Trash Cans
Take out the trash in the kitchen and guest bath so your indoor air won’t smell like yesterday’s garbage. Wipe fingerprints and spills off the top and exterior of the can, and put in a new, clean trash bag.
Clear Cobwebs from Ceiling Corners
Grab a duster with an extendable handle or a vacuum attachment and clean the corners of ceilings in rooms your guest will go into. Because nothing says "I’m a sloppy housekeeper" like a cobweb collection overhead.
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