4 Ways to Fake Clean Your Home

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

We know, we know - you meant to get around to cleaning. When life gets in the way and you don't have time to do a thorough cleaning, it's time to fake it and do the real cleaning later. Maybe. Either way, we've got you covered room-by-room.

wiping kitchen surface

1. The Living Room

Begin by running a microfiber cloth over all of the glass surfaces in the room. This includes the TV, the coffee tables and the windows. A microfiber cloth will get rid of any dust on the surface. If there are spills and stains, grab the window cleaner and go to town with a sponge as fast as you can first.



Next, stack everything into neat piles - books, magazines, you name it. You don't have time to find a good place to put everything away, but piles look so much cleaner and more organized.

For your sofa, wet a rubber glove and run it over the surface of the pillows to collect pet hair. If you have a sofa with removable cushions, flip them. Note that this only works once, so flip them back when your company leaves. If you have significant stains on your sofa or armchair, find a blanket that compliments the piece and arrange it so that it looks intentional.

2. The Bathroom

The most important part of speed-cleaning your bathroom is to get all of your porcelain surfaces. Pour a cup of bleach into your toilet and swish it around the bowl with your toilet cleaner. Let that sit and go at the surfaces you don't mind touching with a few paper towels and an all-purpose cleaner.
Once you've gotten to the counters, the mirror, the top of the toilet and the sink, take a moment to fluff up your bath mat and close your shower curtains. Flush down the bleach and it's time to move on.

3. The Kitchen

Modern families tend to spend a lot of time in the kitchen - especially when they have guests - so it's especially important to make this room look good. Unfortunately, the kitchen is always the first room to get dirty.

Fill the dishwasher first, if you have one. If your dishwasher is already full and there are more dishes, Real Simple recommends that you fill a crock-pot with your dirty dishes and hide it away. You'll have to wash the crock-pot too later, and you might get a few funny looks if you get caught, but filling a crock-pot with dirty dishes is miles ahead of shoving dirty dishes into your cupboard.

Once you have everything off of your counters, spray them down with an all-purpose cleaner and go at them with a sponge. If something is really caked on, or you need to clean your stove - admit it, you do - break out the Brillo pads. Don't spend too much time on the details though - you're probably not going to have time to clean the oven or reorganize your refrigerator. Just hope that your guests don't look there.

Finally, it's time to deal with the odors. Fill a pot with hot water and some vinegar and put it on to boil. Good Housekeeping recommends three tablespoons of white vinegar to each cup of water, but in a hurry you can just eyeball the ratio. Vinegar is an acid and odors are basic, meaning that the vaporized vinegar will neutralize odors quickly. If you want to add in some nice scents, throw in a pinch of cinnamon or cloves.

4. The Front Hall

The front hall is the first thing that your guests will see - luckily it's one of the easiest to clean as well. Neat is more important than clean here - people expect a little bit of dirt in the front hall - so focus on that first. Grab a storage bin or a trash bag and toss any shoes, bits of clothes or other junk that don't have a place in. You can sort through all of this junk later, what's important right now is to get everything together and toss it all into a closet.

Next, sweep dried dirt out the door. Dry dirt is much easier to clean up than wet dirt, but if your front hall is muddy, grab a mop and go to town. Pick up your door mat and beat it with the handle of your mop or broom outside.

Congratulations, your home looks clean and you might even have time to spare. Grab some flowers out of the backyard if you have any and put them in a vase, uncork a bottle of wine and get ready to entertain.

Some things you can do last minute, some you can't. When you're done speed-cleaning, take a minute to make sure your home warranty provides the coverage that you need.