Save on Pinterest

11 Lightning Quick Cleaning Tips For Guests Coming on Short Notice

It's great when family or friends want to stop in to say hello. Unless, of course, your house isn't clean. If guests say they're coming pronto, here are 11 quick cleaning tips you can use to spiff up your home.

1 / 11
Plastic laundry basket with soft toys isolated on a white background.TrotzOlga/Shutterstock

Hide the Clutter

Grab a laundry basket and toss in everything that’s lying around in the entry and main living area, like slippers, newspapers and toys. Stash the basket in a bedroom or the laundry room, then close the door. Note: Don’t hide the basket too well or you may forget about it!

Here are some top household cleaning tips from professional cleaners.

2 / 11

Make Dirty Dishes Disappear

Put dirty dishes in the dishwasher, even if they’re not dishwasher safe. Just remember to remove them later! If your dishwasher is full of clean dishes, take out as many as needed in order to fill in with the dirty ones.

Don’t make these dishwashing mistakes!

3 / 11

Open Some Windows

Fresh air always makes a home feel cleaner and more welcoming. If the weather’s too nasty to open the windows, spritz some air freshener in the entryway.

Clean your windows like the pros.

4 / 11
Pillow-on-sofa-at-homeAll About Space/Shutterstock

Plump Up the Cushions

Plump up any cushions on your couch and chairs that are flat or sagging. Then arrange throw pillows in a welcoming fashion and give them the pillow karate chop, if you like that look.

Clean a microfiber couch this way.

5 / 11
Housemaid-cleaning-a-bathroomMaryna Pleshkun/Shutterstock

Freshen Up the Bathroom

Do a quick wipe of the sink, mirror and toilet. Splash some cleaner in the toilet bowl, then flush after several minutes. Empty the trash can if it’s full. Replace the hand towel. If your guest bath has a tub with a shower curtain, pull the curtain closed.

Here’s the fastest, best way to clean your bathroom.

6 / 11


We’re not talking an in-depth job here, but a quick once-over to pick up pet hair, large crumbs, etc.

Never vacuum these 13 things.

7 / 11

Tweak the Lighting

If it’s daytime, turn on the lights in your living area. This will make your home appear brighter and fresher. In the kitchen, turn on any under-cabinet lighting. In the evening, turn lights on low settings. This will create a nice ambience and hide dirt. Supplement with candles for a pretty glow.

Installing elegant cove lighting adds rich drama.

8 / 11
top-view-of-bowl-filled-with-fresh-fruits-on-rustic-wooden-tableChristian Horz/Shutterstock

Distract with Color or Texture

Grab flowers, artificial or real, and set them in an area where guests will gather. In the kitchen, toss some fresh fruit in a bowl. These eye-catching items will grab your guests’ attention so their focus will not be on that dusty coffee table or unswept floor.

These are our favorite Farmer’s Market flowers.

9 / 11

Wipe Up Messes

In the kitchen, wipe up countertops, the island and stove if they obviously need it. Dust any furniture with a horizontal surface that is super dusty.

Clean your quartz countertop like this.

10 / 11

Turn on Soft Music

You’re right, this isn’t cleaning, but creating a soothing environment will take your guests’ minds off of the condition of your house. If your speaker is dusty, give it a quick wipe.

Here’s how to install a whole-house audio system.

11 / 11

Bake Some Bread or Cookies

Toss some rolls or buns into the oven and heat on low for a welcoming aroma. You can also microwave a roll for 30 seconds for a similar effect. If you’ve got frozen cookie dough on hand, pop some nuggets in the oven and you’ll create a pleasing scent, plus have a treat for your guests.

Get rid of any trash can smells in 10 seconds.

Melanie Radzicki McManus
Melanie Radzicki McManus is an outdoors enthusiast specializing in travel. She has won many awards for her writing, most notably four prestigious Lowell Thomas Awards, considered the Pultizers of travel writing. McManus is the author of "Thousand-Miler: Adventures Hiking the Ice Age Trail." Her work has appeared in Backpacker, the Chicago Tribune, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, How Stuff Works and dozens of other publications.

Newsletter Unit

CMU Unit

Subscribe & SAVE 1 Year Subscription
for only $10!