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The Ultimate Guide to Cleaning Your Home in an Hour

An open-concept interior where the kitchen and the dining room are connected.

Reena Sotropa

Have you ever gotten the “I’ll be at your place in 30 minutes” text when meanwhile your home is in a complete state of disarray? Us, too. We know all too well the feeling of scrambling to brush up a space in a pinch. Somehow, it seems as though even when you plan a dinner party months in advance, you end up tackling chores at the very last minute. Cocktail dress, pearls, and rubber gloves are an outfit we’re no strangers to.

The danger with this not-so-efficient cleaning method is that you often end up forgetting key spots—dirty dishes in the sink, a stray lint ball, or a full trash can in the bathroom (eek!). In an effort to make us procrastinators a little more organized, we came up with the quickest and easiest ways to clean your home for guests in a pinch. Whether you have 30 minutes or two hours, we’ve got you covered.

If You Only Have 30 Minutes

entryway with wallpaper

wallsbyme / Instagram

Panic ensues when guests announce themselves 30 minutes ahead. When you only have half an hour to tidy up your home, keep it to the bare minimum that will leave the most impact. Now is not the time to go into deep cleaning. Instead, tidy up, freshen up, dim the lights, and light a fragrant-scented candle (about 15 minutes before they arrive). They’ll never know you actually threw all your clutter in a basket right before they rang the doorbell.

Your task list:

  • Tidy up common areas, and fluff up pillows (10 minutes).
  • Wipe down sinks and countertops in the bathroom and kitchen. Move dishes into the dishwasher (10 minutes).
  • Empty garbage bins and take out the trash (5 minutes).
  • Replenish guest towels, soap, and toilet paper. Light scented candles and dim the lighting (5 minutes).

Total: 30 minutes

If You Have One Hour

An open-concept interior, where the kitchen and the dining room are connected

Reena Sotropa

With an hour to go before a dinner party, you have a little more time to get into the nitty-gritty of things—grab some rubber gloves and focus on the surfaces that are most likely to be dirty: the floors and the toilet. Dust all your surfaces and make the beds—you never know when your bedroom will become a makeshift coat check.

Your task list: Do everything else and then this:

  • Vacuum or sweep the floors (10 minutes).
  • Clean the toilet. Tidy up the bathroom (10 minutes).
  • Clear and dust all surfaces (5 minutes).
  • Make the beds (5 minutes).

Total: 30 minutes

If You Have Two Hours

The stylish boho compostion at living room interior with design gray sofa, wooden coffee table, commode and elegant personal accessories. Honey yellow pillow and plaid. Cozy apartment. Home decor
FollowTheFlow / Getty Images

If you have a full two hours to clean your home before your soirée, chances are you’ve planned this ahead. Now’s the time to roll up your sleeves. Start by handling any laundry that needs to be addressed: guest towels, dish towels, etc. They will be ready by the time you’re done. Give your floors a real mop session, clean your bathroom from top to bottom, clean out the fridge—leftovers accumulate after a dinner party, and you’ll want to make space—and tidy the entryway closet to make space for everyone’s jackets.

Your task list: Do everything else and then this:

  • Launder towels and bathmats (5 minutes).
  • Mop the floors. Wipe down the baseboards (20 minutes).
  • Clean the bathtub and shower (10 minutes).
  • Clean out the fridge and microwave (10 minutes).
  • Tidy the entryway closet (10 minutes).
  • Wipe down all mirrors (5 minutes).

Total: 1 hour

Want to bookmark this for future reference? Pin or download our cleaning cheat sheet.

How to clean your home in an hour