speed cleaning guide

The Ultimate Guide to Speed Cleaning Your Home Like a Pro

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Whether guests are on the way or you just want to spruce up your home for a few minutes, speed cleaning is a useful skill to have. See what the pros have to say about how to clean quickly and efficiently when time is of the essence.

Guests Inbound

If you’re trying to tidy up in a hurry because you’re expecting unexpected company, the strategy will be a little different than a self-prescribed house cleaning blitz. Preparing for this eventuality requires having a game plan in place and knowing a few tricks.

Start by prioritizing the most high-traffic areas and frequently used spaces in your home. This might vary depending on the nature of the guests, but generally, the priority is as follows:

  1. Porch/entryway
  2. Living room
  3. Bathroom
  4. Kitchen
  5. Dining room

The porch/entryway should just be a quick pass to remove any garbage, like empty water bottles, or line up the kids’ shoes. The living room is usually the first room when entering a house and may be the only room guests see, making it the main focus of speed cleaning.

However, you never know when someone will ask to use your restroom, and the last thing you want is to leave a bad impression with an unkept commode. Similarly, visitors often end up in the kitchen inexplicably, possibly to use the sink or grab a refreshment. Keeping these rooms free of overt messes is priority numero dos

Third, the dining table may be the gathering place for a sit-down, whether or not you are eating. Making sure the table and chairs are free of unnecessary clutter and usable for guests is usually the third and final step of cleaning for the company. 

Speed Cleaning Walkthrough

When time is limited, it’s important to focus on the most effective cleaning techniques. It is usually wise to start big to small.

In other words, remove big clutter and messes first so you have space to work. This is usually quick and easy, such as moving laundry baskets to the bedroom, hiding the pile of mail on the dining room table, or putting away toys sprawled out on the floor.

Next, start dusting all horizontal surfaces with a feather duster so they look clean and fresh. Follow up with a wet wipe on any spots that need extra attention.

From there, you can move to the bathroom and kitchen sinks, wiping those down as well (disinfecting wipes are a good idea here if you aren’t already using those). Next, do countertops (if needed), then finish up with the dirtiest areas: the toilets. 

After the surfaces are clean, consider running the vacuum to suck up any dirt or dust you knocked down in the second step. If you still have time, bust out a glass cleaner for any windows, mirrors, glass tabletops, or even the TV if they have seen better days. 

9 out of 10 times, these simple steps can be managed in about 10-30 minutes. Cleaning is a game of diminishing returns, meaning just minutes of cleaning quickly will likely have a huge impact on how tidy your entire home looks. 

Room-by-room Breakdown

When it comes to speed cleaning your house, having a systematic approach can make a big difference in efficiency. By tackling your cleaning tasks in a specific order, you’ll be able to maximize your time and achieve a clean and tidy home in no time.

By following this order of cleaning, you’ll be able to move efficiently from one area to the next, minimizing how often you need to switch cleaning supplies and your step count. Remember to start from the top and work your way down, so any dirt or dust that falls will land on surfaces that have not been cleaned yet. With a strategic approach and a little bit of time management, you’ll have a clean and inviting home in record time!

Tidying up the Entryway

Tidying up the Entryway

The entryway is the first area that guests see when they enter your home, so it’s important to make a good impression. Keeping this space clean and organized can help create a welcoming atmosphere. Here are some tasks you can do to ensure your entryway is in top shape:

1. Gather Clutter: Clear any clutter that may have accumulated, such as shoes, coats, or bags. Have a designated basket or storage area for these items to keep them organized and out of the way.

2. Throw Away Trash: Check for any trash or unwanted items in the entryway and dispose of them properly. This includes old receipts, junk mail, or wrappers that may have found their way into this area.

3. Disinfect the Doorknob: The doorknob is a high-touch area that can accumulate dirt and germs. Use a multi-surface cleaner and a microfiber cloth to spray and wipe down the doorknob to keep it clean and disinfected.

4. Shake out the Welcome Mat: If you have a welcome mat outside your entryway, give it a good shake to remove any dirt or debris that may have collected on it. This will prevent it from being tracked into your clean home.

5. Sweep or Vacuum Debris: Finally, grab a broom or vacuum cleaner and sweep or vacuum any debris or dirt that may have accumulated in the entryway. This will help keep your floors clean and presentable.

Tackling the Living Room

white wooden coffee table near white sofa

This will likely be the main focus of any speed cleaning, and here are the main steps:

1. Throw Away Trash: Begin by scanning the room for any trash or unwanted items. Dispose of old magazines, empty beverage containers, or any other clutter that may have accumulated.

2. Collect Clutter: Next, gather any clutter that may be scattered around the room. This includes items like toys, books, dirty dishes, or stray belongings. 

3. Straighten Items: Take a moment to straighten items on tabletops and shelves. This includes aligning books, fluffing pillows, and organizing decor. This simple task will instantly make your room appear more neat and tidy.

4. Dust Surfaces: Grab a microfiber cloth or duster and quickly wipe off horizontal surfaces such as coffee tables, side tables, and entertainment centers. Microfiber cloths attract dust, leaving your surfaces looking clean and polished.

5. Vacuum High-Traffic Areas: Finally, give the room a quick vacuuming, focusing on high-traffic areas and where you dusted. This will remove any dirt or debris, leaving your floors looking fresh and clean.

Sanitizing Bathrooms

Sanitizing Bathrooms

While a messy room might not leave the best impression, nothing is more embarrassing than a dirty bathroom. When tackling the bathroom, especially in a hurry, it’s usually best to start with the cleanest tasks and finish with the dirtiest. Here’s the idea:

1. Mirrors and Handles: A clean mirror is a quick and easy way to freshen up the bathroom. Give a quick spritz with a glass or window cleaner and wipe with a microfiber cloth to remove water spots. While you’re at it, wipe off the doorknob, sink handle, and toilet handle, in that order, to remove any bathroom germs. 

2. Sink and Bathtub: Scrubbing the sink usually isn’t too dirty, but check and make sure there isn’t a glob of toothpaste or hair from shaving in the basin. You probably don’t have time to tackle the bathtub, so just close the shower curtain to hide any imperfections inside.

3. Scrub the Toilet: Unfortunately, there’s no hiding a messy toilet. Start by applying toilet bowl cleaner and letting it soak. Next, wipe all of the exterior surfaces with a dry cloth (even a bit of toilet paper will do) to remove loose dust. Then go over the seat and any other surfaces that need it with disposable wipes. Now you’re ready to scrub the bowl with a toilet brush and flush for a fresh, clean toilet you can be proud of. 

4. Remove Clothes and Towels: On your way out, scoop up any discarded clothes or towels on the floor and stash the cleaning products.

Speed Cleaning the Kitchen

Speed Cleaning the Kitchen

Next, move on to the kitchen. This is often one of the most used and busiest areas in a home, so giving it some attention early on is key. Here’s what you’ll want to do for an efficient cleaning session:

1. Organize Clutter: Start by quickly organizing any clutter that may have accumulated on countertops or tables. Put away any items that don’t belong in the kitchen and clear off surfaces to create a clean and tidy space.

2. Disinfect Surfaces: Grab a multi-use cleaner or disinfectant spray and quickly wipe down all surfaces, including counters, appliances, and high-touch areas like doorknobs and light switches. This will help remove germs and bacteria, leaving your kitchen fresh and clean.

3. Clean the Sink: Give your sink a quick scrub with a microfiber cloth and some dish soap. Pay attention to any dirty dishes or food scraps that may have accumulated and make sure to clean those as well.

4. Sweep the Floor: Grab a broom or a small vacuum and quickly sweep the floor, focusing on high-traffic areas and any visible debris. This will help get rid of dirt and crumbs, leaving your kitchen floor looking spotless.

5. Spot Clean Pet Dishes: If you have pets, take a moment to quickly spot-clean their dishes. Remove any leftover food or water residue and give them a quick rinse.

6. Wipe Splatters: Take a damp cloth or paper towel and wipe down any splatters or spills on the cooktop and backsplash. This will help keep your kitchen looking clean and well-maintained.

7. Empty Recycling and Trash: Finish up by emptying the recycling bin and trash can. This will prevent any unwanted odors and keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

Clearing the Dining Room

Clearing the Dining Room

The dining table is like a magnet for “things you’ll take care of later.” The large, open surface is all too convenient a spot to dump the mail, shopping bag, or kid’s backpack. Dining rooms are also often visible from the living room, warranting at least a quick pass. Here’s what to do:

1. Clear the Clutter: Removing everything that doesn’t belong from the dining room table can instantly change the vibe of the room. You don’t even have to put it away; just stash the stuff in a closet or unused room for now.

2. Straighten What Is Left: After removing anything that doesn’t belong, straighten whatever is left. Aligning placemats, centerpieces, chairs, etc., will make the room look well-maintained. 

3. Wipe Surfaces and Windows: Giving the tabletop, sideboard, and windows a quick wipe-down will clean and brighten up the room.

4. A Quick Pass with the Vacuum: Going over the area (and under the table), make sure there are no table scraps or other filth to mar the eating area. If you notice any stains, you can give them a quick scrub now, too. 

5. Tend to Plants, Decor, and Refreshments: If you have houseplants in your dining area, make sure they are alive and well. If they look rough, consider removing them entirely. Also, straighten up any decor or wall hangings in the area. For a final touch, consider putting out cucumber water or lemonade!

Organizing Bedrooms

Organizing Bedrooms

Once you’ve tackled the more public areas, it’s time to move on to the bedrooms. Make the beds, organize any clutter, and dust any surfaces. Vacuum or sweep the floors, and freshen up the room by opening a window to let in some fresh air.

Professional Cleaning Services

We hope these speed cleaning tips help! If you know you have visitors coming and can plan ahead for it, consider hiring professional cleaners to tackle the first job and leave you in good standing. With their expertise and experience, they can transform your entire house into a clean and inviting space.

Not only will this save you time, effort, and stress, but it will make future cleaning you do on your own much more manageable. Weekly speed cleaning and quarterly deep cleaning are generally enough to keep most houses looking well-kept and inviting.

The experts at Upstairs Downstairs are happy to step in and provide any cleaning help you need. Whether you’re overdue for a deep clean, want a weekly visit from a professional maid, or something in between, a clean house is only a phone call away!

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