Guests are coming and the house is a disaster! So you furiously tidy up, you vacuum, and you scrub the floor. You shout orders at your kids and husband to pick up those stinky socks. You clean the toilets and the counters! You even cleaned the windows and took that fuzzy thing and flailed wildly at the cobwebs. Then you hide all the leftovers in your bedroom!
You’re golden! Let that picky mother in law show up now!
Especially if you have little ones or pets, you may have missed some gross spots you don’t even see anymore. It’s easy to have tunnel vision about our own house. We live with it day after day and sometimes it’s easier not to pay attention. Even if you do a spring cleaning you may miss some of those.
This is not about having a show home or that my house is super clean, I only mean this list as a guideline especially if you’re having people over you don’t know and you’d like to make a good impression. You want a home with a relaxed atmosphere but like it or not, guests will see things you don’t.
After helping host countless parties in other people’s homes here are 5 trouble spots that usually need attention even in the cleanest of homes:
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1 – The guest bathroom
OK, I know, you cleaned the bowl and you wiped the counter…. but… did you clean the underside of the seat? How ’bout that area between the seat and the tank? And what about the gold mine of unmentionable goobies on the floor behind the back of the toilet?
Now, sit on the toilet, like a guest would. Look down. What do you see? Are the baseboards clean? Are the corners of the floors clean? Pick up these Clorox wipes and disinfect at the same time!
Now go wash your hands, and look up at the mirror. Really look at the mirror, Are there water or toothpaste spots? I’ve wiped countless bathroom mirrors at other people’s homes. I always want to leave a place better than I found it….
I’ve also made a very comprehensive list on how to make your bathroom totally guest-ready before your party.
2 – The doors, door handles, and light switches
Rarely do I go into a house with littles and find those items clean. Go right now, and look at your most used light switch… I’ll wait.
Are you grossed out? I sure am when I wipe mine down. Same with the door handles. Go from the entry door and wipe all the door handles, on both sides of the door, and all the light switches. Don’t forget the ones in the kitchen, they’re often the worst ones.
That goes for the fridge handle too, and the kitchen cabinet doors! Those get greasy and gross. If your guests are going to be anywhere near the kitchen, get your microfiber cloth and take 10 minutes to wipe those cabinets down.
3 – The walls
One time my husband and I were cleaning the house to receive family and he noticed a fairly long grayish spot on the wall towards the baseboard next to the front door. “Where did that come from?”. I had to look and think. I stood there baffled for a minute. Then it came to me! That was one of my beloved dog’s favorite spots….. and she had been gone for 3 YEARS!!!!
After this incident, I started being much more aware of people’s walls. I remember going into an otherwise immaculate house one time with long, gray dog marks all over the walls! I’ve seen countless finger streaks also.
Even if you don’t have pets or little kids you probably have a wall that people grab on to while turning into a hallway. Look at it with discerning eyes and suddenly you may see all those disgusting handprints. Grab a magic eraser and make them disappear!
4 – The dining room chairs
I beg of you, wipe down the back of those chairs! Nothing will gross out a guest more than a sticky chair back.
Examine your chairs. The legs and those horizontal bars are often the targets of lots of splatters and spills and they don’t often get a lot of soapy water style love.
That’s one of my hubby’s pet peeves.. sticky. He was the sticky monitor the whole time our kids were little. He probably wiped the chairs every day.
5 – The couch
When guests come you really should vacuum the couch. And spot clean it. Don’t let poor Aunt Gladys sit in last month’s spit up or Princess’s hair ball. Using a lint roller works wonders, although I wouldn’t be caught without my Dyson Animal vacuum.
I get it! I’ve had horrible, old couches that are impossible to clean. Then get inventive. Grab a clean quilt or a blanket. Heck, clean Batman sheets are better than grubby couch cushions any day.
I know, that’s technically more than 5 things, but one last piece of advice:
To clean your house for guests, you have to think like a guest.
Go outside your front door, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Now open the door and enter your house as if for the first time! Discover it. What do you see first? Move about the house, use the guest bathroom, sit in your dining room. Get a real sense of what a guest may see.
So what do you think I’ve missed? What grosses you out? Do you think I went too far?
In the end you need to give yourself a little grace too, hopefully, you’re inviting people over who love you and will look beyond the spots you missed.
The idea is for your guests to feel welcome in your home, and a little extra thoughtful cleaning can go a long way.
If you’re planning to host a birthday party don’t miss checking out my Ultimate Birthday Party Planner and workbook.
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And you don’t want your party to break the bank, you may want to look at my 5 practical money-saving tips for any party and my party on a budget food ideas that don’t look cheap.
But if you’re going to a dinner party, don’t forget the hostess! Check out my 10 thoughtful thank you gift ideas for the hostess.