We’re getting closer to holiday events, and if you’re hosting a gathering at your home this year, you’re likely starting to feel the pressure of throwing the perfect party. Undoubtedly, “clean the house” is on your checklist for things to do.
While that task probably isn’t your favorite, you know it has to be done. Here is a whole-house cleaning guide that will help you decide when to start, what supplies to use and which rooms to tackle to get your home ready for any festive event. Let the countdown to a clean home begin!
Plan Before You Clean
You don’t want to start cleaning too early as things start getting dirty really fast, especially if you have kids.
So instead of busting out your cleaning spray and gloves, review your event checklist. Once you have the party day outlined, you can better plan your future cleaning time.
◦ Pick your date, and notify guests. Not everyone will be able to make it, and it’s
helpful to have an accurate headcount as soon as you can.
◦ Reserve party supplies. You may want to rent a coat rack for your guests coats.
This will help keep your home tidy during the event.
◦ Hire help. If you’ll be serving drinks at your party, it’s a great idea to hire a
bartender. That will free up your time as the host, and your guests will
appreciate the prompt beverage service. A bartender will also ensure you’re
stocked up on ice and have clean glasses.
◦ Ask for help. If you have good friends coming to the event, see if they can let a
hand. If they offer assistance, take it! You can start coordinating with them now
on setup, guest-greeting and postparty cleanup.
◦ Start a playlist. Set the party mood by creating a playlist on your phone or
favourite music-streaming site, and load it up with your favorites.
Stock Up on Supplies
You can start gathering extra supplies now. You’ll want to consider supplies for the party, cleaning (before and after) and overnight guests.
Top items to stock up on:
◦ Toilet paper. It’s always better to have too much than too little.
◦ Garbage bags
◦ Your most-used cleaning products
◦ Paper towels
◦ Resealable plastic bags for leftover food
◦ Cleaning wipes
◦ Basic toiletries in case an overnight guest forgets anything
Clean Five Areas in Five Days
You don’t want to start cleaning too early. Instead, wait until the week of the event, and then follow this day-by-day plan to help keep you focused. Before you start, enlist the help of family members, and then give them assignments on each day.
Start with the porch, foyer, entryway and central closets. The tasks to prioritize are:
◦ Clean up and organize any clutter. You want the entry points of your home to be
easy to navigate and clear for guests if they need storage.
◦ Wipe down the door, windows, light fixtures and doorknobs.
◦ Vacuum or sweep, and then mop if needed.
Turn your attention to bedrooms, hallways and staircases.
◦ Dust the tops and bottoms of ceiling fans, light fixtures, vents and all the nooks
and crannies that usually get ignored.
◦ Always dust before you vacuum.
◦ Wipe down doorways, furniture and any knickknacks. Vacuum the floor,
especially under the bed and along the baseboards.
◦ Lay out fresh linens and towels in the guest room.
Bedroom Cleaning Tips:
◦ Mattress: Use the vacuum hose and attachments to clean the top and
sides of your mattress, and to get the dust between your mattress and the bed
frame. It’s also a great time to rotate the mattress, if needed.
◦ Kid-Friendly Tasks: The bedrooms are also the perfect place to enlist family
help. Even if your kids can’t dust the ceiling light, they can pick up their toys
Clean the bathrooms guests will be using.
◦ Pull out all the towels and mats, and run a load of laundry.
◦ Dust the light fixtures and vents.
◦ Disinfect the toilet, tub, shower and other hard bathroom surfaces.
◦ Wipe down cabinets and doorways.
◦ Clean the mirror. A solution of one-quarter cup vinegar, one-half teaspoon of
dishwashing liquid and 2 cups of water. Place mixture on a paper towel and
then apply to mirror.
◦ Vacuum or mop. Use a handheld vacuum or vacuum hose to quickly suck up
any hair or debris near baseboards.
◦ Replace shower liner with clean or new liner.
◦ Return freshly laundered towels and mats.
Bathroom Cleaning Tips:
◦ Hard Water Stains: For stubborn buildup, fill a spray bottle with equal parts
vinegar and hot water. Spray the solution on the shower and tub walls and
base, and then let it sit while you do other cleaning. If you have extra-stubborn
spots, you can soak a paper towel with the solution and place it on the buildup.
◦ Toilet: Add two denture-cleaning tablets to the toilet and allow their fizzing
reaction to remove stains. If you have little kids, they may enjoy adding the
Now it’s time to focus on the gathering areas of the home, such as the living room and dining room.
◦ Declutter the space so that you have plenty of room for guests.
◦ Dust the tops and bottoms of ceiling fans, light fixtures and vents.
◦ Wipe down doorways, the mantel, furniture, and cabinet exteriors.
◦ Vacuum the floor, furniture, baseboards and under the furniture.
◦ Go over any surfaces with a dryer sheet. This will prevent cling and keep dust
To keep these areas clean for the next day or two, set ground rules. You could make these areas completely off limits until the party, or set up guidelines, such as no food or no shoes in them.
It’s time to tackle the kitchen. It’s the main hub of activity, so that means it’s almost impossible to keep the room spotless for long. That’s why you want to leave it until last.
◦ Dust the ceiling fan, light fixtures and vents.
◦ Clean All The Appliances: This includes the stove, fridge and microwave.
◦ Freshen up the garbage disposal, by cutting up a lemon or two and running the
pieces through the disposal. Also, wipe down the rubber piece attached to your
sink. It collects food and can be the main source of unpleasant smells.
◦ Wipe down the countertop, sink and cabinets.
◦ Clean The Garbage Can: You can do this by taking the can outside, adding some
dishwashing soap and spraying the inside with the garden hose. Let the power
of your hose provide the elbow grease.
◦ Vacuum and mop the floor.
Kitchen Cleaning Tips:
◦ Fridge: After cleaning the fridge, line the shelves with cling wrap. Then, after the
party, you can just remove the cling wrap and won’t have to scrub off any spills.
◦ Microwave: Place a glass bowl filled with diluted vinegar in the microwave. Run
the microwave on high heat for two to three minutes. The steam will loosen any stuck-on food.
◦ Silverware: Remove tarnish from silverware without any elbow grease. Start by
lining a cookie sheet with aluminum foil. Then, mix together 1 tablespoon of
baking soda and 2 cups of water. Add the mixture to the cookie sheet until it
nears the top. Add a layer of silverware to the pan. Place in the oven preheated
to 150 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the silverware every five minutes until the
tarnish is gone. Use tongs to remove the pieces, as they will be hot.
Host Like a Pro
Now that you’ve planned the party and cleaned the house, it’s time to host your family and friends. On the day of the event, here are a few tricks to have up your sleeve to help the event proceed more smoothly.
◦ Offer to take empty plates and cups if you are free. You know exactly where
they go, and your guests will appreciate the gesture.
◦ Have fun! It’s your party too, so make sure you enjoy it. If the host isn’t happy,
it’s hard to make others feel welcomed and happy. Remember, not every
gathering goes perfectly, and that’s OK. The most important thing is that
everyone feels welcome.
◦ Spills: If someone spills wine or grape juice, immediately but calmly put table
salt on the area. This will stop the stain from soaking in. Then, you can come
back later and treat the stain with club soda or carpet cleaner.
◦ Dishes: At the end of the night, let the dishes soak overnight; clean them in
◦ Cleanup: Enjoy the party and save the majority of the cleanup for the next day.
It can be helpful to recycle or throw away disposable plates, cups and other
trash, and then corral the rest so that you’ll have a starting point in the