Top 10 Tips to “Clean” Your House Fast

Top 10 Tips to “Clean” Your House Fast

Emergency House Cleaning Tips When Visitors Are Coming


Emergency house cleaning refers to the cleaning you do when your house has become a disaster of epic proportions and you’ve just found out that you have guests arriving in a short while. This in turn causes you to run around as though possessed, trying to make your home look presentable and knowing there is no way you can clean your house in an hour (or whatever length of time you have). The secret to making this activity even moderately successful is to know where to focus your limited time. If you have an hour you can probably get everything in this list done. If you’re operating in a 10-15 minute window, adjust the tips below – for instance, only pick up clutter and vacuum in the main room or two, close bedroom doors, stash the dishes, wipe off the table and clean up the bathroom. Light a scented candle and call it good – you can only do so much in just a few minutes, so focus you time on exactly what you need, based on the time you do (or don’t) have.

Top 10 Tips to “Clean” Your House Fast


Lose the Clutter. Clutter can make even a clean home look dirty. Now, this is no course on decluttering or home organization. Instead, we’re simply trying to get the clutter our of sight for guests. So, put the clutter away and close cabinets, drawers and doors. If the room (or house) is trashed with children’s toys, get a laundry basket and go through the house, picking up all the toys. When you’re done, either dump them in a toy box or just stash the laundry basket in a closet somewhere to be dealt with later. Paper clutter can be straightened into neat piles at the very least. If you can, put papers out of sight as well, in a drawer or desk.

Trash the Trash.

Get a big black trash bag and go through the house, gathering all the garbage. If you have kids, survey the rooms as you go through also, looking for additional garbage that didn’t make it to the trash can.

Vacuum the Floors.

Go through the house and quickly vacuum. You don’t need to get in corners or under furniture (remember, we’re going fast on this). Just get the main traffic areas and anywhere you know needs cleaning (i.e. that one corner where the cat always sleeps). Check the stairs! Especially if you live in a split level house, the stairs are the first thing you (or anyone else) sees when they walk in the front door. Do a quick vacuum job on those as well if needed. Finally, if you have a vacuum that can do it (a lightweight one with a low-power setting and smaller head, or one with a hard floor attachment) vacuum the bathroom the kitchen floors. I know this sounds like a lot, but vacuuming an average-size home like this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. If you’re really in a hurry or have a large house, just stick to the areas where your guests are likely to be and skip the rest of the vacuuming.


Do the Dishes.

Alright, this one really depends on how many dishes you have and whether or not you have a dishwasher. If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, just stick your dishes in there and wash up the few remaining items that can’t be put in there. If you don’t have a dishwasher, it doesn’t take that long to wash a sink of dishes and let them air dry. If we’re talking about a Guiness Book of World Records kind of dish pile, that’s another story. In that case, just stash the dirty dishes out of sight, such as in a plastic tub or bin under your sink or even the oven (just don’t forget they’re in there and turn the oven on).

Lose the Laundry.

If you have dirty laundry hampers in bedrooms or bathrooms throughout the house, go through and gather them all and go start a load of laundry. Again, this sounds time consuming but really only takes 5 minutes or so. Be sure to pick up any stray items laying on floors or beds as you go through the house.


Tackle the Bathroom.

Choose the bathroom your guests will most likely be using. If you’re lucky, this will be a half bath, or powder room, with no tub or shower. First, make sure you got out all the clutter, trash and laundry in the above steps; if not, do so now. Then clear the counter – some people keep copious amounts of bottles, prescriptions and personal care products on their counters. If you are one of these people, stash these in a closet or cabinet somewhere – your bathroom will look much better. Polish the mirror, wipe off the counters, sink and faucets and close the shower curtain or door. Now just swish a toilet brush in the toilet (no it’s not clean, but it will look better) and wipe off the outside of the toilet as needed. Only do what you need to on the floor. If it’s small, you can just wipe the floor down quickly by hand. If the bathroom is large, sweep it and then spot clean the floor as needed. Before you finish, make sure there are clean towels and soap available for your guests to use.

Prepare the Kitchen.

Hopefully your table and counters are clear, or mostly so, from step 1 above. Now just wipe down the counters and table. Don’t worry about getting behind and under items on the counter right now. Yes, that’s the right way to clean, but you’re not really looking for clean here, just the ‘appearance’ of clean. Same goes for the stove top. Wipe it down – we don’t want food and grease all over it – but don’t be scrubbing the drip pans right now either. Check the front of the dishwasher and fridge for spots and wipe as needed. Sweep the floor (if you didn’t already vacuum it), shake any rugs and, with a damp rag or sponge, wipe obvious spots off the floor.

Consider the Bedrooms.

These should already be vacuumed, clear of clutter and the trash removed. That should make them look a lot better right there. Before you do anything else, think. Are your guests really going to see the bedrooms? If not, don’t do any more – just close the door and call it good. If you decide they may indeed walk in to a bedroom, make the bed. Why? Because when someone walks in to a room, they are unlikely to notice that you haven’t dusted lately. Instead, they will see the unmade bed there in the middle of the room. Focus on what draws attention – make the bed.

Make a Good First Impression.

Yes, I know this sounds trivial, but trust me. When your guests arrive, that first impression will follow them in to your home, so make it a good one. If you have a glass front door wipe it down. Check both doors for dirt and fingerprints; wipe off the door knobs or handles. Hopefully you vacuumed the entry floor earlier; if not, sweep it now. If you have a large entry with furniture in it, give it a quick wipe down with a dry rag. If your entry has high ceilings, get rid of any cobwebs you can reach using an extendable duster or, if you don’t have one, your broom.

Make Your Home Inviting.

These are the odds and ends you can do while you wait for your guests to arrive. Ideas include lighting a scented candle, whipping up some coffee or tea and getting together something of interest for your guests, depending on who they are (for instance, grandparents would love to see that baby album, scrapbook or photo album you just finished putting together). Don’t forget that homes usually look better with more light, so turn on lamps and open the blinds. Then just sit back, relax and wait for your guests to arrive. Good job!

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