Unexpected visitors on the horizon? Discover the expert tactics that cleaning professionals employ to create the illusion of a spotless home in no time.
Surprise! Your friendly neighbor, nosy mother-in-law, or meticulous best friend is dropping by your place in just 30 minutes. But your entryway is cluttered with shoes, the kitchen sink is piled high with dishes, and your sofa is covered in your cat’s fur.
How can you give the impression of a clean house without the luxury of time or a live-in cleaning crew? According to Becky Rapinchuk, the mastermind behind the Clean Mama blog and an online housekeeping course, the key is perception: focus on the areas your guests will actually see, rather than attempting a comprehensive house overhaul.
Here are the top tricks she and other cleaning experts employ to create the illusion of a sparkling space in a flash.
- Tailor your approach based on your guests and their purpose for visiting. Before diving into a haphazard cleaning spree, consider how you can make your guests feel comfortable. KC Davis, a counselor and author, emphasizes the importance of focusing on what matters most to your guests’ experience. For instance, prioritize removing pet hair from furniture if you’re planning a movie night.
- Tackle clutter head-on. Although clutter might not pose the same health risks as dirt, it can give the impression of a chaotic living space. Cleaning pros recommend using a laundry basket or large container to swiftly gather and remove clutter from key areas like the entryway, living room, and kitchen.
- Amplify the lighting. Studies have shown that well-lit spaces are perceived as cleaner. Maximizing natural light can enhance the cleanliness of your home. Remember to clean obvious dusty spots, as bright lighting can reveal dirt.
- Elevate the soft elements. Upgrade your space by placing clean hand towels in the guest bathroom and arranging them neatly. Fluff up your sofa’s pillows and neatly fold any blankets in the living room. If there’s a chance someone might glimpse your bedroom, make sure the bed is made.
- Perform quick surface wipes. Tidying up and putting items away is helpful, but it won’t hide dust or stains. Focus on wiping down visible surfaces like kitchen countertops, floors, and mirrors. Attend to surfaces that have a sheen or can show smudges.
- Pay attention to pleasant scents. Certain scents, like lemon, are associated with freshness. Create this association by lighting a citrus-infused candle or using a scented cleaner. However, be sure to eliminate any foul odors by emptying the trash and airing out your home.
- Introduce plants or flowers. Research suggests that indoor spaces with greenery are perceived as cleaner. Adding indoor plants or fresh flowers can enhance the overall appearance of your space.
- Plan for the future. Setting up a consistent cleaning routine will make it easier to quickly spruce up your home for guests. Allocate specific tasks to different days to avoid spending your entire weekend cleaning.
When rushing to tidy up, it’s tempting to use strong cleaning products. However, gentler options like Barkeepers Friend, Dawn soap, and essential oil cleaners can be equally effective without causing damage.
Incorporate these strategies and don’t hesitate to use time-saving tools, like disposable toilet brush heads, to simplify your cleaning routine. By making smart choices, you can efficiently maintain the illusion of a clean and inviting home, even on short notice.