Speed Cleaning Your House for Unexpected Guests

Last Updated on April 2, 2019 by Diane Hoffmaster

Ever have a moment in your life when you have to whip out your superhero cape and start speed cleaning your house for unexpected guests? Have you ever been up to your eyeballs in dog hair and dirty dishes only to get a call from an acquaintance informing you of their imminent arrival?  “OH…so you were just out driving around and decided to stop by to see us? You’ll be here in 30 minutes?  That’s wonderful!” you tell them. Now, to figure out how to clean your house fast before they get there! 

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Speed Cleaning Your House

Only inside your head you are freaking the hell out because the kids playroom looks like a toy store vomited everywhere and there is an unidentifiable smell coming from the laundry room. What do you do? Well, you need to move fast but stay focused!

Speed Cleaning Your House for Unexpected Guests

Don’t ever get caught by guests with muddy footprints on the kitchen floor again! Here are a few tips for speed cleaning your house so people don’t realize how much of a slob you really are! You need to figure out how to clean the house in an hour or less! 

Speed Cleaning Your House for Unexpected Guests


Clean Only What Guests Will See

Unless you plan on giving a tour of your home, only focus on the ‘common areas’.  Skip the master bedroom and laundry room unless you have extra time at the end of your speed cleaning session.  Just keep the doors closed.

Use a Laundry Basket

Just grab one and go room to room grabbing things that don’t belong where they are.  Shove the baskets in an unused closet for now.  Once your company leaves you can worry about putting stuff away. Once your company has left, consider having a garage sale and decluttering the house. 

Speed Cleaning Tips

Light Some Candles

Things always LOOK cleaner when the house smells good.  If you house smells like wet dog, your guests will definitely notice.

Load Cleaning Supplies into a Bucket for Easy Transport

You don’t want to waste a minute of cleaning time running around looking for a sponge when you left it downstairs in the bathroom.  Speed cleaning your house means that every second counts.  Take a minute or two to gather all the supplies and bring them room to room with you.

More Cleaning Tips to Read

speed cleaning tips

Overlook the Little Things

Chances are that your guests won’t notice dusty nick-knacks but they WILL notice dirty kitchen counters.  Tackle the big things and ignore the rest.  Run the vacuum but don’t scrub the baseboards.  Clean the guest bathroom but don’t worry about dusting the ceiling fans. Don’t get side tracked with home organization and a label maker.  Just MOVE. 

Make a Good First Impression

What is the first spot guests see when they enter your home?  Use these speed cleaning tips to focus on THAT area.  Straighten up the entry way, brush off the front porch, etc.  Make that first moment that guests enter your house really count!

TIps for Speed Cleaning Your House

Speed Cleaning Requires a Timer!

If you have 1 hour before company arrives and 5 rooms to clean, each room gets 10 minutes.  Don’t get side tracked and waste precious minutes!  If you have extra time at the end of the hour, you can go back and deal with smaller chores you may have missed.  Speed cleaning your house takes FOCUS!

Be Prepared

Honestly, you need to keep a well stocked cleaning supply closet to handle these last minute guests.  Check out this cleaning supply checklist on Real Simple and stock up!

Cleaning supply checklist and music to clean by

Add Music to Your Speed Cleaning Routine

One of the best house cleaning secrets I can give you is to create a cleaning playlist. Upbeat music gets us working faster and improves our mood and motivation levels.  Turn on something fast and furious, grab your rag and start cleaning!

It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

You are not aiming for perfection when speed cleaning your house.  The goal is to have  your home to look lived in but neat.  You basically want to hide the fact that you haven’t washed dishes in three days and that your kid’s breakfast from last weekend is still sitting in front of the television.  Once company is gone, you can think about doing a deep clean of your house to get rid of dust!

floor mop

House Cleaning Tricks For More Detailed Cleaning

Okay, so your guests have finally left.  Now what? Maybe you want to be prepared for the next time company comes calling!  Cleaning your house a little bit every day makes your life easier.  Here are a few cleaning hacks to help you stay on top of spring cleaning your house every day.  Get more speed cleaning 101 ideas, a speed cleaning routine and checklist at The Spruce.

  • Clean your blender with soap. Immediately after you use it, just fill with water and soap and BLEND it clean.  Don’t let food sit and harden in it!
  • Clean your sink out every night.  Wash dishes, wipe it down with a sponge and occasionally shine your sink fixtures with wax paper.  
  • Keep your washer smelling fresh with bleach. I try not to use bleach that often, however, running the kids dirty socks with a small amount of bleach occasionally gets whites whiter and keeps the washer smelling fresh.
  • Wipe down baseboards with a dryer sheet. It doesn’t have to be a new one, either.  Keep a basket of old dryer sheets in the laundry room and use them for deep cleaning your baseboards. 
  • Freshen the mattress with baking soda.  Just sprinkle some on the mattress when you change your sheets.  Let sit a few hours and vacuum. 


Have any tips for speed cleaning your house that you want to share?

(NOTE: post updated and content added from previous publish date)

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  1. Love your tips! We do the same things when we need to speed clean for guests. I actually keep all my cleaning supplies in a caddy in the cabinet under our kitchen sink. It already has baby proofing on it, so my kid can't get into it. It's great, because it makes it easy to check when I'm running low in supplies, and everything is in one area, which cuts time and makes it easier to clean.
  2. I love the laundry basket idea! I definitely have some anxiety about unexpected guests. Our house isn't too bad, but it seems like things just find their way to places they don't belong.
  3. Ohhh I love cleaning tips and speed cleaning is the BEST!! Who has time to do a full blown cleaning this time of the year, great tips, thanks so much for sharing. I'm off to start in my living room now
  4. I get the most cleaning done as I rush around waiting for guests to arrive. I love these tips, especially using a laundry basket. I've got a bunch for this exact purpose. Throw them in a closet and no one knows!
  5. Deirdre Nash says
    Great and very helpful tips! I just finished cleaning after my last holiday guests are gone, but it's always good to be prepared for the next guests. Although I'm a professional cleaner, my home is not perfectly tidy as most people think. In fact I'm a messy person by default, and although all the floors and the dust are wiped and the whole house is perfectly cleaned, there's a stack of books on the kitchen table, a plate in the sink, toys n the living room, etc... And of course when friends call that are stopping by, there's this furious running around the house, picking stuff and putting it in each drawer and cabinet that comes across. Love your ideas and I'm definitely adding them to my new cleaning plan. Have a great year!

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