Guests are coming over in about an hour and the house is … let’s just say less than perfect. We’ve all been there. But there’s no reason to throw in the towel at this point. It’s possible to clean your house in a matter of minutes, making it look like you’ve been prepping all day.
Read on to learn all the tips and tricks for “speed cleaning” your home.
1. Make your way from one end of the house to the other
The first rule of speed cleaning is to have a plan. Don’t just tackle tasks as they come to you. Think about a plan of action prior to starting and stick to it. If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, just pick one end of the house and make your way to the other end. That way, no room gets left behind.
Next: How to quickly clean the dirtiest room in your house
2. Speed clean the bathroom
First, spritz the sink, mirror, toilet, and floor. Let the cleaning solution sit while you clear off the counters. Then, spritz the countertops. From there, wipe everything down (preferably with a microfiber cloth, but a paper towel will do).
Next, clean the toilet. Give the inside of the bowl a quick scrub with toilet bowl cleaner and a toilet bowl brush, then go over the outside of the toilet with a disposable wipe. On your way out, take the trash with you if it’s starting to look full.
Next: Clean what matters in the kitchen.
3. Speed clean the kitchen
First thing’s first: Go over the stovetop, counters, and the inside of your fridge with a wet wipe. Go over the floors with a Swiffer wet mop or something similar. Once you’ve finished doing all the prep-work for your guests, tackle the sink. Scoop out any food bits and give everything a good wipe down — make sure there aren’t any puddles around the faucet and soap dispenser.
Next: One last kitchen task
4. Clean the microwave if you have time
The idea of speed cleaning is to do what really matters. If you don’t have the time to clean out the gunk in your microwave, it isn’t the end of the world. But if people will be hanging out in or around your kitchen, it’s a good idea. The whole thing should only take about a minute. Pour water and vinegar into a bowl and heat for 30 seconds, then simply wipe off all the now loosened food and gunk with a paper towel or sponge.
Next: Clean your living room in minutes.
5. Speed clean the living room
Pick up any toys or other items that don’t belong in the living room — if you’re really short on time, you can put everything in a basket to deal with later. Once there’s nothing in the living that shouldn’t be, go over every hard surface with a microfiber cloth. Use a lint roller to quickly wipe away any unwanted pet hair on sofas and chairs.
Next: Tackle the dining room
6. Speed clean the dining room
Go over the table with a wet wipe and over your dining chairs with a damp cloth. If you have a second, picking some flowers from the yard to put in a vase in the center of the table can really liven up the space, but don’t stress if you can’t. A clean table and dining area is equally enticing.
Next: For this room, de-cluttering is your main priority
7. Speed clean the home office
Home offices tend to get a little cluttered, so the main goal is to just make the area not feel so cluttered. You probably don’t have the time to file everything away where it belongs, so simply stacking everything in a neat pile will have to do. Put your pens, pencils, paperclips, etc. away, and dust the tops of your desk, computer, and printer.
Next: Make a good impression right off the bat
8. Speed clean the foyer
Start by picking up anything that’s not supposed to be there (again, you can toss everything in a basket to deal with later). Once the area’s been cleared of unwanted clutter, wipe down surfaces with a microfiber cloth. If you typically keep shoes by the door, put them in a bench or closet somewhere out of sight for when your guests come.
Next: Just in case your guest wants the full tour
9. Speed clean the master bedroom
First, make sure your bed is made — as soon as your bed is made, the whole room feels cleaner. Put away any clothes or other unwanted accessories lying around. Go over surfaces with a microfiber cloth (don’t forget the headboard!).
Next: Don’t forget about the kids’ rooms.
10. Speed clean kids’ rooms
Hopefully the kids are home and able to help out. The big things are putting away clutter and making the beds. Dusting can wait for another deep cleaning day when you have more time.
Next: General things to remember
11. Work from top to bottom
Dust and dirt follow the rules of gravity, so always start cleaning as high up as you can and work your way down. Clean ceiling fans and lights first in a room, then lower surfaces like blinds, making your way all the way down to the floor.
Next: Doing the floors has never been so easy
12. Do all the floors at once
Besides the bathroom and kitchen (which typically need a bit more scrubbing) do all the floors once you’ve de-cluttered and dusted every room. That way you’re not starting and stopping between every room. Because the name of the game is time-saving, simply go over the floors with a dry Swiffer (or something similar), and save mopping for another day.
Next: The last thing you should clean
13. Clean glass last
If you have the time, going over your glass and windows with some Windex makes a world of difference in terms of making a home feel clean. If you’re short on time, they’re not a priority. But clean glass and windows will really make your home sparkle and look like you took the time to do a deep clean, rather than a speed clean.
Next: How to save time the next time you speed clean
14. Be proactive about keeping certain things clean every day
The more you and your family are proactive about keeping things clean as you go, the easier and quicker speed cleaning will be. Take the time to squeegee the shower after each use, put toys and dishes away as you go, wipe something up as soon as you see a smudge or gunk building up.
Next: Don’t do it alone.
15. Work as a team
Lastly, unless you live by yourself, the easiest way to speed clean is to divide and conquer. Assign everybody a room or a task and get to work as a unit. Unless everybody’s busy doing other pre-party tasks like running to the store for last minute food items or rushing around to get ready, a little help from everyone goes a long way.
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