Guests on the way? Here’s how to give your home a quick clean before the doorbell rings

Hugging kids as they come into the house

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Busy schedules can often make it difficult to prepare for guests and give the house a thorough cleaning from top to bottom.

But even if you don’t have time to fully clean your home, but you probably have a few minutes to do some quick organization to both maintain your space and help you relax.

A survey commissioned by the American Cleaning Institute found that 72% have felt that someone else’s home was unusually dirty, while 38% have been embarrassed by their own unclean home in front of guests.

“Cleanliness is often in the eyes of the beholder,” said Brian Sansoni, SDA Vice President of Communication. “We get so used to our surroundings that we ‘don’t see’ the dust bunnies in the corners, streaks on the glass and stains on the walls. It seems to be much easier to spot those at the homes of our families and friends.”

Clean and airy kitchen and dining area
Photo by poyoky/Freepik
Getting your house ready for friends & family

To help hosts get their homes in order, Bissell partnered with home and lifestyle expert Evette Rios to share quick and easy tips that will have a house guest-ready and fresh in no time.

“I love entertaining family and friends in my home, but with my busy work schedule, it’s tough for me to commit to an all-day cleaning marathon,” Rios says. “I want everything to feel fresh and clean without sacrificing too much of my free time.”

Rios advises starting with the following tasks: doing the dishes, making the bed, clearing clutter, and then vacuuming and sweeping high-traffic areas — like the kitchen and living room — to clear up dirt, crumbs and hair.

Concentrate on areas the guests will see, such as the entrance hall, living room, kitchen or bathroom, and spend what time you have on clutter removal and surface cleaning, agree the experts at The Maids, a residential cleaning company.

But don’t go crazy trying to get everything perfect: Your visitors want to see you, so don’t worry about a white-glove inspection. If you focus your cleaning on what’s visible to the eye, your company won’t know your speed-cleaning secret.

Try the tips below to tidy up your place when you are short on time, but need to get the house ready in a flash until you have time to do a thorough job.
1. Clear the clutter

Be sure the entryway and main living spaces — where guests will gather — are clutter-free. Extra clutter will make any space look messy!

Throw papers or other items covering tables or countertops into a box or basket, and place them out of sight. Don’t worry about saving items in their proper place until after the visitors have departed.

Use a laundry basket to pick up miscellaneous items throughout the house, and store them for the time being in a bedroom closet.

Remove any pet blankets or other protective items from couches and chairs.

Throw out any trash — especially the bathroom trashcans.

Make your bed, and put away any clothes lying around your room.

Woman with toilet brush ready to clean the bathroom
Photo by GeorgeRudy/Envato
2. Conquer the kitchen

Remove dishes from the sink or countertops.

Load dishes into the dishwasher, and hand-wash those that aren’t dishwasher safe.

If there’s no time to wash and put the dishes away,  rinse and stack the dishes them neatly or hide them in the dishwasher until guests leave.

Need more storage for dirty dishes and the dishwasher’s already running? Put them on a cookie sheet and stick them in the oven — but don’t forget about them!

Wipe down countertops, sinks and the kitchen table with a disposable disinfectant cloth or a lemon/water mixture. The lemon not only has disinfectant properties, but adds a fresh smell to the room.

Wipe off fingerprints on appliances using glass cleaner.

3. Beautiful bathroom basics

Wipe down the sink and vanity surfaces.

If there’s time, clean the toilet (unless it’s… problematic… as is).

Make sure to quickly clean the bathroom mirror — a sparkling mirror brightens the room.

Remove any unnecessary items from the room.

Place clean towels on the towel hooks or rails.

Replenish the toilet paper and hand soap.

Cute clean kitchen and family room
Photo by poyoky/Freepik
4. Move throughout the house

Sweep or vacuum high traffic areas and shake out any throw rugs — especially in the bathroom and entryway.

Lightly dust the coffee table and other spots where guests will congregate. Use a microfiber cloth to grab dust from the most visible surfaces.

Fluff all throw pillows and fold all blankets in common rooms where guests might spend time.

Spray and wipe down all flat surfaces in your main rooms for a ‘just polished’ look.

Empty then re-line trash containers in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Close all doors to the bedrooms and other rooms not intended for guests.

5. Add welcoming aromas

Open windows to ventilate your space and light a scented candle or spray some air freshener through the rooms. A fresh scent will always make your home feel clean.

If you have frozen cookie dough, throw a batch of cookies in the oven. Not only will your home smell inviting, but you will have some treats to offer guests.

On the stove, warm a mixture of 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon cinnamon (or a couple of cinnamon sticks), 1 teaspoon cloves, and 1 teaspoon allspice in a small pan to create a nice fragrance to welcome visitors. Add orange peels if desired, and top off the water as needed.

Says Evette Rios, “One of my favorite tricks to freshen a room is to put a few drops of vanilla extract on an unlit light bulb. When it’s turned on, the bulb heats up the extract and lets off a delicious scent. Guests love that the house smells so sweet!”

“While these tasks may seem very small, they make a huge impact on the home’s appearance and create a sense of order,” Rios says. “It will give the impression that you’ve spent a lot of time and energy on chores, when you’ve only used a few minutes of your day.”

Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

Nancy J Price & Betsy Bailey

We're Nancy and Betsy, and we've been adventuring in the digital world since the mid-90s -- truly making us that type of entrepreneurial internet pioneer Gen X is known for! We started back in 1998 and later launched -- among various other online and print projects. Our partnership has spanned decades and crossed state lines (multiple times!). Nancy currently resides Arizona, and Betsy's newest home base is Minnesota. It's been an incredible journey of collaboration and innovation. You can read more about our story here!

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