Let’s face it: sometimes you want a home that looks clean but don’t have the time or energy to bother. That’s where cleaning shortcuts to fake a clean house come in.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying these will convince your Aunt Edna that you’re suddenly become a cleaning whiz. If she looks closely, she’ll find dirt. Then again, someone who looks that closely would probably keep looking until they did, you know?
No, these tips are for when you want your home to look cleaner than it actually is. Say, you’ve got a friend dropping by and just want to fake a clean house that will spare you embarrassment. Or you want to relax but can’t until the house is at least presentable? These shortcuts are perfect. And no one but us needs to know.
1. Pass the sniff test.
A house that smells bad seems dirtier than it is. On the other hand, fresh air makes everything feel cleaner than it is.
So, open the curtains and windows, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes. By opening your windows daily, you’re also helping keep indoor pollutants in check which improves air quality in your home, too.
2. Stop the eyesores.
Trash left sitting around can’t help but make your home look messy. A few minutes spent collecting wads of tissue, piles of junk mail, empty boxes or food wrappers makes a room look cared for and instantly tidier. While you’ve got a bag out to pick up stuff, empty the wastebaskets in every room, too.
3. Create a visual resting spot.
When you walk in a room, your gaze naturally falls on the flat surfaces: tabletops, the sofa or bed, the floor. The more stuff left sitting out on these surfaces, the more your gaze jumps around the room, and this signals your brain that there’s no place to rest.
The solution? Pick up the clutter on the flat surfaces and wipe off the tabletops. With nothing unsightly to capture attention, you’ve created the impression of having cleaned.
4. Make it inviting.
A clean room makes you feel great about cuddling up and unwinding. Reverse engineer that to fake a clean house by making things look cozy.
Tidy up cushions and throw pillows. Drape your sofa blankets artfully. Fluff those bed pillows and make sure all three dozen of them are tidy. Details like this make a room look inviting, which makes it feel clean even when it’s not.
5. Tend to bathroom basics.
If you want to fake a clean house, don’t let your bathroom give away your secret. Take the time to wipe off the counters, polish spots on the mirrors, and give your toilet a quick scrub.
Use a disinfecting wipe on the floor around the toilet to get rid of any odor-causing misfires. Round out your quick tidy with a fresh set of towels and your bathroom won’t tell any tales.
6. Create a good first impression.
Your mother was right: first impressions matter. So make sure your entrance mats aren’t covered in mud or dirty leaves.
Besides helping you fake a clean house for anyone who stops by, clean mats also help stop dust at the door so your home will stay cleaner for real.
7. Tend the main strip.
An easy way to fake a clean house when you don’t have time to vacuum properly: go over the high-traffic areas.
A quick once-over in front of seating areas and the path everyone takes as they walk through a room will get up a surprising amount of dirt. If you have hard floors, give that main strip a quick spray and mop, too. No one will know you didn’t get the rest of the room.
8. Shine up.
A quick way to fake cleaning is by making surfaces shine. Mix up a homemade furniture polish to add a gleam that also moisturizes wood furnishings, and go over glass tables, metal accents, and picture fronts with glass cleaner. When things shine, you can’t help but think of them as clean.
9. Make it scentsational.
Spritzing your home with your favorite fragrance homemade air freshener spray is another great way to fake a clean home. (That Spring Clean scent will make you swoon!)
Or, if you’ve got the time, simmer a pot of cinnamon sticks and citrus peels on your stove to make your home smell amazing.
BONUS TIP: Leave a pair of cleaning gloves and a spray bottle sitting in plain sight. People will either assume you’re in the middle of tidying or about to start. They don’t need to know it’s just another shortcut to fake a clean house!