The holidays are a time for merry gatherings, happy family reunions, joy and laughter, and lots of fun. A time for family and friends when we take a break from our busy lives to enjoy the company of beloved people and the festivity of the season. As the holidays draw nearer, excitement overwhelms us at the thought of welcoming dear friends and relatives to our homes and indulging in revelry and merrymaking.
When opening our homes to loved ones, we want to make our guests feel relaxed and comfortable. We want the atmosphere to be joyous and cheerful and the house to sparkle with holiday lights and decorations and, of course, perfect cleanness. Making your home bright, clean, and inviting for your holiday guests, however, requires a lot of effort that is no fun to do.
To make holiday house cleaning quicker and easier, you need a good strategy and holiday-appropriate approach. Here are some simple yet very efficient holiday cleaning tips that will help you get your home “guest-ready” in no time!
Cleaning For Holiday Guests
Cleaning before guests arrive is essential for creating a fresh and charming atmosphere in your home.
Overall Holiday Home Cleaning
Do you want to get your home refreshed and looking fabulous before your holiday guests arrive? Then, it’s time to get down to work! (Allow yourself enough time (a couple of days) to get your home in tip-top shape for the holidays – speed-cleaning in the course of several hours just before your guests arrive won’t do the trick.) Your first step is to tidy up the rooms:
- Remove the clutter. Bookshelves, side tables, desks, nightstands, counters, mantles, etc. often get piled high with clutter over time. Make sure you sort out your odds and ends and return them to their rightful places (or get rid of them, if they are no longer needed) well before your guests arrive. Cleaning up the cluttered areas will make your home look much neater and better organized. Besides, you’ll be able to dust and wipe the surfaces previously buried under the clutter;
- Remove the garbage. Dispose of old newspapers and magazines, expired medications, cosmetic products and foods, damaged items, and other no-longer usable objects that you still keep for no good reason. Empty wastebaskets and make sure your home is free of any trash and debris.
Now, you can actually start cleaning your home:
1) Clean and touch up the walls – Freshening up the walls will greatly improve the overall appeal of your home interior. All you need to do is wash the surfaces with a damp cloth and use Mr. Clean’s Magic Eraser or another similar product on your baseboards and walls to get dirty finger prints, paw prints, and ugly marks off.
2) Wipe the windows – At least the ones in your dining room and your guest room(s), if you don’t have the time or energy to clean all the windows in your house. Crystal clear windows will make your home look brighter and more festive;
3) Clean the blinds – Make sure you vacuum up the dust on blinds and drapes before your guests arrive. It’s also a good idea to wipe the blinds clean with a microfiber cloth;
4) Take care of your furniture – Dust polished surfaces, apply a fabric (or leather) refresh spray on upholstery, and wash throw pillows and furniture covers if necessary. Your entire home will look and smell fresher as a result;
5) Clean glass surfaces – Glass tabletops, showcases, cabinet doors, mirrors and other glass elements in your home look fabulous when they reflect the holiday lights and add to the holiday magic. Make sure they shine with cleanness before your guests arrive! (Don’t forget to dust chandeliers and lamp shades as well – the more light, the better);
6) Clean the floors – Vacuuming and/or mopping the floors will be enough to get them clean before the holidays (they will need a much more thorough cleaning afterwards). Just make sure you vacuum under tables, sofas, beds, and rugs as well.
Bonus tip: Have your home smell fresh and nice during the holiday season – make sure the air vents are clean and dust-free, use air purifiers, place orange peels or scented candles around your home, open up the windows to let fresh air in shortly before your guests arrive, etc.
Holiday Cleaning Checklist
Once you’ve given your home a good overall cleaning, it’s time to pay attention to the specifics – even a small detail can make a big difference in the eyes of your holiday guests. The extensive holiday house cleaning checklist below will help you not miss a spot when preparing your home for guests.
The entryway area is the first thing your guests will see when they arrive, so you need it clean and tidy in order to make a good first impression:
- Wipe down your front door, scrub the floor, and wash the doormat to get the entryway as clean and inviting as possible;
- Provide several pairs of comfortable indoor slippers of different sizes to offer to your guests and designate an area near the doorway where everyone can leave their shoes when entering your home. This will help keep dirt, mud, and snow out of your clean house;
- Provide closet space with a few hangers for your guests’ coats.
Guests will inevitably need to use the bathroom, so it’s imperative that you make yours shine with cleanness and freshness:
- Spray the walls and the floor, as well as the toilet and the tub, with diluted vinegar or an appropriate commercial cleaning product and let sit for at least half an hour;
- Scrub all surfaces with a hard-bristle brush, then rinse them thoroughly with warm water and let them air dry;
- Mop the floor;
- Wipe all cabinetry and countertops with appropriate products;
- Pay special attention to the sink area to make sure you’ve removed any toothpaste splatters, residue, and other buildup;
- Scrub faucets with an old toothbrush to completely remove dirt, mildew, and bacteria;
- Wipe down your soap dish or put out a new soap dispenser;
- Clean mirrors and other glass surfaces;
- Wash shower curtains and bathroom rugs;
- Empty wastebasket;
- Provide clean hand towels for your guests to use;
- Provide plenty of toilet paper and prepare a basket of essential toiletries your guests may have forgotten to take with them (shampoo and conditioner, toothpaste and toothbrushes, cotton balls and swabs, hand cream, etc.).
Your kitchen will certainly see a lot of use during the holiday season. Make sure it looks great and smells nice before your guests arrive:
- Make the sink shine – Flush sink drains, scrub the faucets, and use a stainless-steel cleaner to remove grime and residues. Buff the surfaces to make them shine;
- Clean the stovetop and the oven – Scrub them thoroughly with baking soda or an appropriate commercial cleaner and wipe them with damp towels to remove any residue (make sure you get the oven glass clean and shiny as well);
- Wipe down all appliances, inside and out – Pay special attention to the microwave as it will be frequently used during the holidays (Place a bowl with water and a lemon slice in the microwave and turn it on high for several minutes. Let cool and wipe the inside clean with a sponge or a microfiber cloth);
- Unload the dishwasher so that you have an empty machine ready to be used after the holiday dinner;
- Clean countertops – Spray on an all-purpose cleaner and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping the surface clean (this will help dissolve the tougher stains and keep the area smelling fresh for longer);
- Clean up the kitchen table;
- Sweep and mop the floor;
- Polish your silverware and wash the crystal glasses and fine china you intend to use during the holidays – you won’t have the time to do so when you’re setting the table and serving the meal.
Dining room / Living room
You want the room where you’ll be holding the holiday feast to be as clean and charming as possible. Achieving this is easy enough – all you need to do is dust the furniture and vacuum the floor, then display your holiday decorations and you’ll be ready to invite the holiday spirit in!
If your guests will be staying overnight, you need to get the guest room ready as well:
- Dust and vacuum;
- Wash your guest linens and provide fresh and clean blankets and pillows;
- Have a set of towels for each guest;
- Clear a spot for luggage and other items;
- Provide some drawer space and closet space with several hangers;
- Make sure there is easy access to an outlet so that your guests can charge their phones or other devices;
- Provide a night lamp or some other source of soft lighting.
It is also a good idea to add some flowers and seasonal decorations to make the room cozy and inviting.
Cleaning Up After Guests
Holiday preparations – even cleaning your home for the holidays – are always filled with fun and excitement in anticipation of the joyous event. When the party is over, however, and your guests go home, you are left with a big mess and no energy to deal with it. Here are some efficient tips to help you clean up after the holidays:
As soon as the feast is over:
- Clear the tables – take any remaining dishes, cups, and serving utensils to the kitchen, then gather up the tablecloths and shake crumbs over the kitchen sink or garbage can (or in the yard). Put all the table linens into the washing machine. Fill it with warm water, add detergent, and leave the items to soak overnight;
- Deal with leftovers – cover any leftovers you plan to keep with foil or plastic wrap and put them in the fridge (transfer the food to different, smaller containers if necessary). Scrape dishes, as well as cooled grease or gravy from pans, into the kitchen trash can, seal the bag, and take it to the outdoor garbage can;
- Empty all wastebaskets in your home;
- Deal with dishes, utensils, and other kitchenware – rinse dirty plates, glasses, and silverware and put them in the dishwasher. Fill pots and pans with hot water, add some dishwashing liquid, and set them aside on the counter to soak overnight;
- Clean the floors – vacuum the floors to remove any excessive dirt and debris.
Deep cleaning after the holidays:
- Clean countertops and stoves thoroughly – they will need a really good scrubbing after the extensive food preparation during the holidays. Use quality cleaning products and work carefully to make sure all the surfaces are spotless and shiny and completely free of stains and residues;
- Tidy up guest rooms – wash linens, vacuum the floors, and put everything back to its rightful place;
- Take care of carpets and upholstery – the carpets and upholstery in your home will very likely end up stained and dirty after the holidays (just think of all the wine, fruit juices and special sauces you served to your guests!). In such a case, your best option is to use professional carpet cleaning services – the experienced technicians will ensure the excellent condition of your carpets and will save you plenty of time and effort.
So, the holidays are over, your guests have returned home, and you have cleaned up your house – it’s time to relax and enjoy your peaceful everyday life.