Now that your houseguests are gone, and the kids have come down from their gift-opening high (which only took 5 minutes or so, right?), here are some tips for post-holiday cleanup to get your place looking spiffy for New Year’s Eve.
Keep in mind, superstition says you shouldn’t throw anything away or even wash dishes on New Year’s Day, or you’ll face a year of loss and toil. Do this post-holiday cleanup now, and you can start the new year doing something you enjoy instead!
8 Quick Ways To Clean Post-Holiday Messes
1. Use a lint roller to pick up fallen pine needles. Natural and artificial trees both shed needles and once they get ground into the carpet even the best vacuum can find it a challenge picking up every one. A lint roller makes quick work of clearing away pesky needles that have worked their way into carpet fibers. It’ll get up glitter, too.
2. Blast dust off of artificial garlands and trees with a hairdryer before storing. After a month (or more) of decorating your home, holiday decor can pick up quite a bit of dust and pet hair. Grab your hair dryer and use the strongest but coolest setting to blow the mess away, then store them in dust-proof containers, so they’re ready for next year.
3. Use a vinegar-based window cleaner to remove fake snow. It’s a charming and retro look, but spray-on fake snow can be a nightmare to clean. Fortunately, vinegar does a wonderful job of cutting through the adhesive that keeps this stuff on your windows. For a quick DIY version, use a microfiber cloth and my homemade window cleaner recipe.
4. Clean up candle wax spills with an iron and paper bag. Beautiful, flickering candles are one of the reasons this time of year is known as “the season of lights.” Unfortunately, those same candles can often leave a horrible mess on our furnishings and floors. To get up candle wax, use a spatula to scrape up as much as you can, then set a piece of brown paper bag over the spot and run a medium iron over it. Rotate the bag, so you’re constantly working with a new spot.
5. Use rubbing alcohol and microfiber cloth on upholstery stains. Whether Aunt Edna spilled her pumpkin pie on your sofa or little Janey used the arms of your easy chair as a napkin, those stains will come out if you dab them with a little rubbing alcohol and a microfiber cloth. (That’s “surgical spirits” for those of you in the UK.) Add a drop or two of liquid dish soap for greasy marks, and you’re good to go.
6. Mayo will remove water rings from wood furniture. You set out plenty of coasters then politely, but pointedly, moved careless guests’ glasses onto them. Still, someone managed to leave a watermark on your coffee table. Ugh! Don’t fret: slather the spot with full-fat mayonnaise and leave it overnight (set a piece of wax paper over it to keep pets from licking it up). The next morning, wipe it away with a damp cloth and the spot will be gone.
7. Lemons and water remove crud from the microwave. Whether the inside of your microwave is coated in food splatters or it’s picked up some awful smells — burned microwave popcorn, anyone? — you can clean and refresh it with this trick. Slice half a lemon into wedges and put them in a bowl. Add 2 cups of water and heat the whole thing on HIGH for 2 minutes. Wait another minute for the steam to loosen grime and wipe it away. The lemon scent will neutralize odors, too.
8. Cream of tartar gets cutlery marks off dishware. It’s wonderful when the family digs into their holiday feast with gusto, but those cutlery marks can make your dishes look a mess. Clean them away by making a paste of cream of tartar and water. Just spread it onto the spots and gently rub with a dish cloth until the streaks disappear. Wash, rinse, and dry dishes as usual.
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Want a more in-depth cleaning?
While these quick tips will help with the post-holiday cleanup, if you’ve made a New Year’s Resolution to get your home thoroughly clean you’ll need a bit more help. Get a copy of my book, 30 Days to a Clean and Organized House, and transform every room of your home with my easy to follow cleaning routines and checklists. (UK readers can get my book here.)