Guests arriving in 30 minutes and your home isn’t looking its best? No problem. We partnered with Miele to give you a cheat sheet on how to get your home into a respectable state at the last minute—and which tools to keep around to help you do it.
“Hey, we’re in your neighborhood. Mind if we stop by?” It’s the kind of text that can send you into emotional upheaval: excitement at the prospect of catching up with friends, and panic at the thought of the disorderly state your home is currently in.
Take a deep breath: You’ll be fine. It’s all about being strategic with your cleaning and leaving the intensive stuff until later. Here’s how to get your abode into shape when you’ve only got 30 minutes.
Freshen up the bathroom: 5 minutes
Before you start on anything else, spray the toilet bowl with a fast-acting cleaning product and let it work its magic while you’re doing other things, so there’s minimal scrubbing required. Quickly wipe down the sink (and make sure to clear out anything that might be lingering in the plughole) as well as the vanity, putting any well-worn toothbrushes or grooming tools out of sight. If you have one, use a microfiber cloth to polish up the faucet and mirror—the resulting sparkle will make your bathroom appear way cleaner than it actually is. And don’t forget to put out a fresh hand towel for your guests.
Remove clutter: 5 minutes
Remember how, as a kid, you could “clean” your room by pushing everything under the bed? Well, you can apply a similar strategy here. Rather than try to sort through all the clutter that’s currently in your living space (nobody’s got time for that right now), toss it all into the laundry basket and put it somewhere out of sight: the laundry, the closet, even the garage if you have one. Once your unexpected guests have left, you can then give it some real attention.
Let the vacuum work its magic: 10 minutes
Sure, you could try to dust every surface in your home with a dusting cloth, but that would take forever. Instead, slip the dusting brush attachment onto your vacuum and use it to do a lightning-fast round on anything that might be within guests’ eyesight: bookshelves, picture frames, windowsills, etc. While you can also use the dusting brush to clean the drapes, blinds, and curtains, chances are slim that your guests will pay any attention to those. After all, it’s not like they’re going to be doing a white-glove test (and if they are, maybe you need new friends?).
Once you’re done dusting, use the floor attachment to blitz every room your guests are likely to walk through, including the hall, living room, bathroom (using the hard surface attachment), and kitchen.
Nix those dishes: 7 minutes
Some guests like to “help” by taking care of their dirty coffee cups, so make sure your kitchen is presentable. If you’re the fortunate owner of a dishwasher, liberate your sink by quickly putting all the dirty dishes inside (you can worry about arranging them properly later). Otherwise, at least rinse everything off and place it neatly on the drying rack—just make sure you have enough clean cups to offer your guests a beverage. Finally, give your counters and stove a quick once-over with some cleaning wipes and throw out the trash if it’s a little bit stinky.
Add a welcoming scent: 2 minutes
Even better than that “just cleaned” scent? The gentle aroma of a candle, some diffused essential oils, or burned palo santo. Keep the emphasis on gentle though—you don’t want to overpower your visitors’ senses as soon as they walk through the door.
And what do you know? You still have a minute to spare, and people are rarely on time anyway. Sit back and take a few breaths so there’s no evidence of your cleaning frenzy—except, of course, the fact that your home looks amazing.