Holiday Cleaning: Tips for a Guest-Ready Home

Woman cleaning house to prepare for holiday guestsMake sure floors and furniture legs are free of dust and dirt — that's one of the first things guests would notice. Image: HouseLogic/sturti/iStockphoto

How deep do you go when cleaning for holiday guests? There are some who take it to the extreme — but you can have a clean home without going overboard.

If you think wiping down countertops and fluffing a few pillows in advance of the guest onslaught will land you on Santa’s “nice” list this holiday season, check that list twice. The extreme cleaners (telephone buttons! vacuum brushes! remote controls!) featured in this New York Times article may make you feel like a slacker.

But you can bring your home to sparkling guest-readiness without going overboard. A few tips from the “Times” will keep your home merry, bright, and clean:

  • Scrub your entryway. Wipe down your front door, give the doormat a good shake, and make sure dust and dirt haven’t collected on floors and furniture legs. These are the first things guests will see when they arrive, so keeping them clean will guarantee a good first impression.
  • Focus on the kitchen. People tend to gather around the food during the holidays, so make sure your kitchen looks and smells nice. Don’t forget to dust the light fixtures and flush sink drains with boiling water.
  • Whatever you do, don’t neglect the loo. Don’t just wipe surfaces; break out the stiff-bristled brush and scouring powder to really scrub things clean.
  • Sniff out bad smells. If you clean your home and something still doesn’t smell quite right, brew some coffee. The aroma will cover it up.

HouseLogic also has a few cost-conscious cleaning tips to get your home holiday ready:

  • Give your garbage disposal some love, considering how much it will “consume” this season. To cut down on odors, chop up a whole lemon — rind and all — and let the disposal gobble it up. Throw in ice cubes to sharpen the blades.
  • How about one soap for everything? If you’ve got a bottle of castile soap ($10 for a 16-oz. bottle), you’re ready for anything. It can be laundry detergent, mopping solution, and shampoo, just to name a few.
  • Make sure you can see the guests coming. Keep windows clean and streak-free on the cheap with an easy mixture of vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Wipe down windows with a reusable microfiber cloth.
  • With all your holiday cooking, stovetops and ovens are bound to get dirty. Baking soda and water make a simple scouring solution that can scrub off that baked-on gunk.
  • To save money, make your own bathroom cleaning products. For example, to unclog a drain for pennies, pour half a cup of baking soda followed by half a cup of vinegar down the drain. Cover the drain for at least 30 minutes, then flush it with boiling water.

What are your tips for keeping your home guest-ready during the holiday season?