Want your house to look great for holiday guests but don’t have all day to clean? We turned to three experts — green cleaning pro Leslie Reichert, Molly Maid president Meg Roberts and Boston’s Liberty Hotel housekeeping director Eloi Charles — for their tidy-up-in-a-hurry tips.
A few game rules before your start: Since you’re strapped for time, the pros suggest cleaning only areas that guests will see. Start on the left side of each room and clean your way around it, working from the ceiling to the floor. Now, here's the plan:
Entryway: 10 minutes
- Check the light globe outside and in the foyer. If they’re dirty, soak them in the kitchen sink in warm, soapy water while you clean the rest of the house.
- Sweep away cobwebs and dead bugs outside and in the foyer.
- Wipe smudges from door, especially around the handle, using Mr. Clean Magic Eraser or a damp microfiber cloth.
- Shake welcome mat and sweep in front of the door.
- Move inside. Using an extendable microfiber duster, whisk away cobwebs in corners.
- Wipe away smudges on door, handles and light switch plate with microfiber cloth or Magic Eraser.
- Pass duster over and under furniture to pick up visible dust.
-Add a decorative wreath on your front door for a seasonal, inviting touch.
Living room: 15 minutes
- Using an extendable duster, remove cobwebs in corners and on dust fan blades.
- Clear all surfaces, tossing clutter in a laundry basket to be stored in an off-limits room.
- Dust flat surfaces (don’t forget windowsills and lamp bases) and wipe smudges from switch plates with a microfiber cloth.
- Remove pet hairs and debris by passing a rubber glove over the tops of cushions.
- Pick up obvious dust under furniture using extendable duster.
- Vacuum under and between sofa cushions.
- Vacuum floor.
- Fill a vase with fresh flowers.
Bathroom: 15 minutes
- Wipe mirror with made-for-glass microfiber. Charles suggests going one step further by cleaning all the way into the corners when sprucing up mirrors, counter tops and floors.
- Remove personal items from counter tops — a single flower in a bud vase is all you need.
- Wipe sink with damp microfiber.
- Clean tub with microfiber or Mr. Clean Magic Sponge.
- Remove hair from the shower's drain.
- Wipe smudges from toilet paper dispenser.
- Place an extra roll of tissue within reach.
- Wipe down air freshener spout and can.
- Using a damp, folded microfiber cloth folded, wipe toilet from tank to lid to base, folding to the fresh side of cloth as needed. (Microfiber cloth picks up and holds 99% of germs, Reichert points out.)
- Proceed to wipe the top and inside of toilet seat and rim. (Toss microfiber cloth in washer after.)
- Empty trash can.
- Mop floors fast using Reichert’s bucket-less technique: dampen microfiber mop, spritz floor lightly with a diluted cleaner and wipe clean.
- For an extra-festive feel, put out a matching set of luxury hand soap and lotion. (The Liberty Hotel uses ones by Molton Brown.)
Kitchen: 15 minutes
- Set a pot of water to boil — you’ll need it in a few minutes.
- Check for cobwebs, cleaning as needed.
- Clear and wipe counters and stove top.
- Wipe smudges from the refrigerator door and clean any obvious spills on shelves.
- Wash the light globes that have been soaking in the sink. Dry with a made-for-glass microfiber cloth for a lint-free shine.
- Empty and wipe down the sink.
- Pour boiling water down drain to loosen grease build-up, advises Robert.
- Clean the microwave Reichert’s way by filling a bowl with water and a slice of lemon. Put the bowl in the microwave for 90 seconds, then wipe the microwave clean.
- Vacuum floor and spot clean using the bucket-less mopping method.
- Empty garbage can and replace with a fresh bag.
- Screw on cleaned light globes
- To make the space smell extra fresh, keep a simmer pot of fragrances on stove — cinnamon, bay leaf, vanilla, citrus peels.
- Not sure of your cleaning job? You can always dim the light and light candles for ambiance—and camouflage.