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Cleaning Your House For Guests
Cleaning Your House for Guests: A Checklist
Countdown to a perfectly clean guest-ready home no matter how much — or little — time you have.
Here’s how to get that satisfying feeling — no matter how much time you have. Just choose your starting point on this checklist:
Three (or More) Weeks to Go
Think big picture. Get anything that requires a pro or installation out of the way now. No one wants calamity to strike when guests are pulling into the driveway.
Get your HVAC maintained if it’s overdue.
If you have a self-cleaning oven, clean it now. An oven is most likely to break down during the cleaning cycle, so don’t save this task for last.
Replace any appliance on its last legs. You don’t want your hot water to go out or fridge on the fritz with a houseful of guests.
Steam-clean upholstery. (Or hire a pro. It’s a big job)
Hire a handyman for those repairs you’ve been putting off.
Check outdoor lighting. Replace old bulbs and call an electrician to address any bigger issues.
Two Weeks to Go
It’s not panic time yet. Focus on decluttering and a few deep-cleaning tasks now, and you’ll have a more manageable to-do list when the clock really starts ticking down.
Do a deep declutter. It’ll make things easier to keep clean.
Dust ceiling fans, light fixtures, and high-up shelves.
Wipe down baseboards.
Clean out and organize the fridge.
Wash windows to make the entire house feel brighter and cleaner.
Toss washable shower curtains and drapes in the washing machine and re-hang. Easy.
One Week to Go
It’s strategic cleaning time. Here’s what to tackle now — things your family won’t easily undo before your guests arrive.
Vacuum and dust guest rooms. If they’re low-traffic, the cleanliness should hold with just a quick wipe-down right before they arrive.
Wipe down walls.
Wipe down kitchen and dining room chairs and tables, including the legs. You’d be surprised how grimy they get.
Deep clean the entryway — and make room for your guests’ stuff.
72 Hours to Go
The final cleaning stretch is on the horizon.
Do another declutter.
In the kitchen, toss stove burners, drip pans, and knobs into the dishwasher for an easy deep clean.
Wash kitchen cabinet fronts.
Scrub the kitchen floor.
Clean and shine appliances.
48 Hours to Go
Now it’s time to get serious.
Clean and sanitize garbage cans to banish mystery smells.
Wipe down doorknobs, faceplates, and light switches. They’re germ magnets.
Clean the front door.
Deep clean the bathroom your guests will use, and close it off if possible.
Wash guest towels and linens.
24 Hours to Go
Your guests’ bags are packed. Time for final touches.
Do a final declutter - by now it shouldn’t take more than five minutes.
Give one final wipe-down to toilets, tubs, and bathroom sinks.
And another final wipe-down in the kitchen.
Do all the floors: mop, vacuum, sweep, etc.
Make guest beds and set out clean towels.
Plug in nightlights in guest baths.
Put out guest toiletries so they’re easy to find.
Add a coffee or tea station in the guest room or kitchen.
Get your favorite smell going, whether it’s a scented candle, spices in water on the stove, or essential oils.
Use rubber gloves to wipe off pet hair and dust from furniture. It works.
Do the full red carpet: Sweep or shovel porch, steps, and outdoor walkways.