10 Tricks to Clean Your House Fast Before Visitors Pop In

If you're short on time and need to tidy your place quickly, these cleaning tips will get your home guest-ready in a flash.

Updated June 1, 2023

Guests are on their way. You're out of time and need a fast cleaning method that convinces people your house is spotless even when it's not. These cleaning tips will have your home looking tidy in a matter of minutes, and guests will never know you did it all in the minutes before they rang the bell. Hide the clutter, do a quick clean, and let go of the pressure to have a perfectly tidy home with these fast home cleaning tricks.

Clear Surfaces of Clutter


One of the quickest ways to make your home feel cleaner is to get as much clutter out of sight as you can. If you have guests on the way, you probably don't have time to put everything in its proper place. Instead, grab a laundry basket and pull everything that feels "cluttery" from your tables, counters, and other surfaces. Toss them in the basket and tuck it away until you can get to it later.

Shut Out the Mess


If your bedroom needs a deep clean or your kids' playroom is a wreck, don't even bother trying to tidy that in record time. Instead, just close the doors to rooms that guests won't need to enter. Stick to tidying the main living areas - living room, kitchen, dining room - as well as your entry and the bathroom guests will use. Close the door to every other room to keep the clutter out of sight.

Clear the Sink


The quickest way to make your kitchen look clean is to clear the sink of dishes. Load dirty dishes into the dishwasher, even if you still need to go back and give them a rinse before running it. If you don't have a dishwasher or you're extra short on time, grab any pots and pans in the sink and place them on your stove under low light. At a glance, this will look like a staged kitchen area. You can also pop dirty pots and pans inside the oven to hide them. Toss dirty silverware in a plastic bag and stash it out of sight to be washed when your guests leave. The rest of the dishes can go into a cabinet no one will open.

Sweep Quickly


You definitely don't have time to thoroughly clean your floors and make them sparkle, but you might have time to sweep at lightning speed. Pay attention only to the main area guests will be - entry area, living room, and kitchen - and don't aim for perfection. Grab a dustpan and broom to sweep up only the large pieces of debris and dirt. If time allows, use your broom to quickly sweep dust out the door. If you're really in a pinch, the old sweep-the-dust-under-the-rug trick works just as well.

Open the Windows


There are two perks to opening the windows as you're attempting to fool guests into thinking your home is spotless. Opening shades and curtains will help draw your guests' eyes up and out of the room, rather than down to the dust and mess that might linger in your home. Opening the windows and letting in the fresh air will bring a pleasant airflow to your home and help it feel and smell better.

Fluff the Pillows


Fluffing the pillows really makes a difference! While you're at it, flip any furniture cushions that are sporting mysterious spots and pet hair, use a throw blanket to hide stains, and tuck away any pillows that look flat or dirty.

Lint Roll Upholstery


If you're short on time, the vacuum is probably out of the question. But a lint roller helps you grab pet hair and other things that cling to upholstered furniture in just a few seconds. Do a quick brush over your sofa and any other upholstered pieces guests might sit on.

Make it Smell Clean


If your home smells clean, guests will never suspect there's a pile of dirty pans in the oven. Opening your windows is one way to let in some fresh air and let out the odors, but take a few extra steps to amp up the aromas in your home. A candle with a fresh and clean scent - think cotton, seaside scents, and citrus - will make your guests think you spent all day cleaning. A refreshing room spray covers pet odors and set-in smells on furniture upholstery. Simmer a pot of water with a couple of teaspoons of vanilla on your stove to cover lingering odors from last night's dinner. A fresh brewed pot of coffee or fresh-baked cookies (hello, refrigerated cookie dough) is a welcoming treat for guests, and it conceals strong odors in your kitchen with a more pleasant alternative.

Take Out the Trash


If your garbage can is over halfway full, it probably smells less than friendly, and guests will see all your discarded items if they look inside. Round up the trash from your home and take it out or stash it in your garage or mudroom. Line garbage cans with clean bags before your guests arrive.

Do One 30-Second Bathroom Clean


This is the quickest way to get a bathroom clean in case guests need to excuse themselves during the visit. Grab two of your favorite surface cleaning wipes - Lysol or Clorox are great - or spray two paper towels with an all-purpose cleaner. Wipe the counter, faucet, and sink, in that order, with one wipe or towel. Use the second wipe to clean the top of the toilet tank and the seat. This shouldn't take more than 30 seconds. If your bathroom has a shower, make sure the curtain or door is closed to conceal any water spots or a collection of toddler bath toys. Remember, it doesn't need to be perfect, it just needs to be a little cleaner.

Get Your Home Clean in a Flash


As you're tackling that cleaning list in record speed, keep in mind that no one has a spotless home all the time. Most of your guests are going to understand and even expect some untidy areas, small messes, and less than pristine baseboards. When you're in good company, no one will judge the fact that you actually live in your home.

10 Tricks to Clean Your House Fast Before Visitors Pop In