Speed Cleaning Tips for Last-Minute Guests

It’s happened to everyone: a last-minute phone call or text informs you that friends or family are dropping by, and your home is anything but guest-ready. Don’t fret; with a few strategic moves, you can quickly tidy up your space and make it presentable for unexpected guests. Here are some speed cleaning tips to help you save face in such situations – even with Aunt Betty as your guest!

Set a Timer

  • Start by setting a timer for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the amount of time you have. This will create a sense of urgency and help you stay focused.


  • Grab a laundry basket or a large container and quickly go through each room, collecting any items that are out of place or cluttering the space. You can deal with these items later; for now, your goal is to clear surfaces and floors.

Focus on High-Traffic Areas

  • Concentrate your cleaning efforts on the areas where your guests are most likely to spend their time. This usually includes the living room, dining area, and guest bathroom.

Dust and Wipe Surfaces

  • Use a microfiber cloth or disposable cleaning wipes to quickly dust and wipe down surfaces like tabletops, countertops, and shelves. Don’t forget to dust any visible electronics or decor.

Spot Clean

  • Inspect your carpets and upholstery for any visible stains or spills. Spot clean these areas with a stain remover or upholstery cleaner as needed.
quick vacuum clean up

Sweep and Vacuum

  • Quickly sweep or vacuum high-traffic areas, such as entryways and living spaces. Focus on removing visible dirt and debris.

Freshen Up

  • Open windows to let in fresh air and quickly spray air freshener or light a scented candle to create a pleasant atmosphere.

Wipe Down the Bathroom

  • Give the guest bathroom a once-over. Replace used towels with fresh ones, wipe down the sink and countertop, and make sure there’s enough toilet paper and hand soap.

Tackle the Kitchen

  • If your guests might venture into the kitchen, quickly clear and wipe down the countertops, do a fast load of dishes, and empty the trash if needed.

Fluff and Arrange

  • Fluff up couch cushions and arrange throw pillows to make your living space look inviting. Ensure there are enough comfortable seating options for your guests.

Final Check

  • Take a quick walk through your home to ensure everything looks neat and tidy. Remember, you don’t need perfection; you’re aiming for a presentable and welcoming space.

Welcome Your Guests

  • Once your timer goes off and your speed cleaning is complete, greet your guests with a smile. Most likely, they won’t notice minor imperfections, and your warm welcome will set the tone for an enjoyable visit.
get well card

Apologize with Humor

  • If your guests mention the state of your home, use humor to defuse any tension. A light-hearted comment like, “Sorry for the mess; we had a minor tornado pass through earlier,” can put everyone at ease.
  • Keep a Get Well card on the fire place mantle. You can pretend that you were sick.

Remember, the key to speed cleaning is efficiency. Focus on the most visible and high-priority areas, and don’t stress over minor details. With these tips, you can quickly transform your home from chaotic to guest-ready and enjoy the company of your unexpected visitors without feeling overwhelmed.