Don’t let cleaning your house for the holidays take the joy out of the season. We all want our homes to be tidy and comfortable when entertaining family and friends, but you won’t enjoy your guests if you’re too tired to visit with them.
This guide covers the areas in your home that guests are most likely to notice, so you can focus your cleaning efforts on what matters.
How to Clean for the Holidays
Clean Every Bathroom
Use this bathroom cleaning checklist if you have the time for a thorough cleaning. Otherwise, focus on cleaning these spots to ensure the bathrooms are clean enough for guests.
Bathroom vanity and sink: Removing clutter from bathroom counters will make the room look tidier. Once it’s clutter-free, clean the vanity and the sink using a homemade disinfecting spray or your favorite bathroom cleaner.
Tubs and showers: If you are having overnight guests, be sure your bathtub and showers are clean for their use. Make short work of grout stains by scrubbing them with a toothbrush and a paste of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Then start using a daily shower spray to prevent mildew and soap scum.
Toilets: Don’t just clean the guest bathroom — the more people visiting your home, the more likely it is that all of the restrooms will get use. Give every toilet a thorough cleaning, paying particular attention to scrubbing the bowl and toilet rim to eliminate bathroom odors. Make sure you have spare rolls of toilet paper available, too.
Sweep and mop: Whether you prefer a broom or vacuum, take the time to sweep hair and other debris from the floor. While mopping, pay extra attention to the area around the toilet and beneath the trash can — which you should also empty.
Get the Kitchen Ready
If you have the time, use this kitchen cleaning checklist to do a thorough job. Or, if you’re in a hurry, focus on the main areas that create a good impression and keep your kitchen tidy enough to serve guests.
Kitchen countertops: Holiday entertaining involves a lot of food preparation, so make sure you’ve got the space to work. Remove clutter, including decorative items that might get splattered with grease. Then clean and shine the countertops and backsplash.
- Homemade granite-safe cleaning spray for natural stone countertops.
- Homemade all-purpose cleaning spray for all other surfaces.
Refrigerator and freezer: The ingredients for holiday meals take up a lot of space, so make as much room as possible in your fridge and freezer by discarding expired foods. You might also consider moving condiments like ketchup, mustard, and salad dressings to a cooler if your fridge is too crowded. Wipe the shelves before shopping, so they’re clean and ready for use.
Sweep and mop: Kitchen floors get messy fast when you’re busy cooking holiday meals and entertaining guests. Give the floor a thorough cleaning before company arrives so it’s ready, then make wiping up spots and spills part of your nightly kitchen cleaning routine to keep it looking good.
Tidy the Guest Bedrooms
Before you stress over cleaning the guest bedroom, remember that your visitors probably won’t spend a lot of time in it. They’re coming to see you and your family, after all, and will just sleep and change clothes in whatever bedroom you provide.
So, provide guests with clean blankets and sheets, and freshen up the bedspread and pillows by tumbling them in the dryer with low or no heat. Remove clutter from the tops of nightstands and dressers, and be sure to leave them a place to store and hang clothes.
If you prefer a more intensive approach to preparing guest rooms, use this bedroom cleaning checklist.
Dust and Polish Surfaces
Dusty surfaces make your home look untended and dingy. First, wipe the furniture with a damp microfiber cloth to pick up dust, then follow it with a homemade furniture polish to moisturize and shine wood.
Next, grab another damp cloth and wipe windowsills, blinds, and cupboard doors and drawers in both the kitchen and bathroom.
Finally, use a homemade window cleaner to clean fingerprints and grime from doorknobs, light switch plates, and the glass fronts of framed photos.
Clean the Floors
As the largest flat surface in a room, a dirty floor can make an entire room look bad.
Treat carpet stains first. Most stains come up quickly with a mixture of 1/2 cup each white vinegar and water, plus one teaspoon of liquid dish detergent. Spray the stain lightly, wait 5 minutes, then blot with a clean cloth.
If your carpets are in terrible shape, you may need a more labor-intensive method to remove old carpet stains, including dried paint and pet messes.
Vacuum or sweep and mop thoroughly. Follow stain treating with proper vacuuming, which includes going around the base of walls and heavy furniture, plus both sides of throw rugs.
For hard floors, follow with a damp mop and homemade floor cleaner to remove grime without leaving streaks.