It's a scenario many of us are familiar with: company is due in a few hours, and suddenly, the house cannot be clean enough. Your mom may have woken you up early and insisted you dust underneath your bed, or your dad could have been downstairs meticulously shining all of your fancy glassware. There are TikToks galore poking fun at the way parents always deep-cleaned the house before company comes over, oftentimes, way more than we ever thought they needed to. Who is looking underneath the beds, anyway?
Especially around holiday time, it can be stressful to not only create a hosting plan, menu, and activities, but ensure your house in tip-top shape to impress guests. Realistically, though, the house becomes an array of used napkins, stained wine glasses, and strewn blankets and pillows after company has come and gone. So, is it really best to clean your hardest before company arrives, or should that deep clean after they leave?
"I have done some of my best cleanings under the pressure of company coming over," cleaning expert Brandon Pleshek shares with MyDomaine. "Entertaining can be a great motivator to clean those areas or things you have maybe been putting off or find youself too busy to tackle."
We thought of no better way to answer the question than to ask our team of cleaning experts. This is what they had to say re: deep cleaning the house before or after company—and their answers might surprise you.
Meet the Expert
- Katie Berry is a cleaning expert with 30 years of household management experience and 12 years of writing about cleaning methods and routines for Housewife How-Tos.
- Brandon Pleshek of Clean That Up! is a seasoned veteran of the cleaning industry with over 20 years of experience in commercial and residential cleaning.
- Becky Rapinchuk is a pro mess cleaner-upper. She is a 4x author, a natural cleaning and home-keeping expert, and the founder of Clean Mama.
In Favor of Deep-Cleaning Before Entertaining
Many hosts are always rushing to deep-clean their homes before company comes over, and for good reason. We want our guests to enter our homes, feel a sense of serenity, and marvel at how neat and tidy we are—even if our home only looked that way after hours of preparation.
Though it adds another to-do to the list, deep-cleaning before hosting company is a must, according to our experts. "I think before company comes over is a great time to deep clean," Pleshek shares. "Now, I am definitely a clean freak, but who doesn't enjoy a nice, clean home?"
Becky Rapinchuk, founder of Clean Mama, has a routine she follows before hosting, and shares which rooms to prioritize. "First, I start with tasks like cleaning the bathrooms and toilets, cleaning the kitchen, straightening up sofas and chairs, and decluttering," she tells us. "Then, I do a quick dust and vacuum, and I'm ready to go. If the company is staying overnight, you should also clean sheets, bedding, and towels, of course."
We gathered additional insight from cleaning expert Katie Berry, and she highlights similar tasks to complete before company arrives.
"You can't go wrong in providing guests with a spotless bathroom, drawer, closet space for their things, and fresh bed linens in a room free of dust and clutter," she explains. "If you want to go beyond that, make sure your home's entrance and common areas are sparkling clean, too. Pick up the kids' toys, at least for your guests' arrival, dust and vacuum furniture and floors, and make sure your kitchen is free of odors and grime."
In Favor of Deep Cleaning After Entertaining
While tidying your home before company is important, Berry sees both sides of the coin in this argument. On one hand, your home should definitely read "clean" before guests come over. But, if the guests are routine visitors or family, you might want to save your energy and clean after they've gone.
"It really depends on who's coming to visit and the type of relationship you have with them," Berry explains. "If your guests have allergies or immune problems—and you've got a home full of pets and kids, then deep cleaning before their visit is a kindness that can make their stay much more comfortable."
She explains why waiting to clean until guests have gone could also be a great route that saves you time and energy.
"For friends or family members you know are only coming to spend time with you, not snoop or be judgmental? Don't bother deep-cleaning—they won't care, and it might leave you too exhausted to enjoy their company," she notes.
Rapinchuk has a routine for after guests leave as well, and it's incredibly simple. "Once guests leave, I do a quick vacuum, wash floors, and clean bathrooms," she says, and that, we know we can handle.
Tips to Keep Your Home Extra-Clean When Entertaining
So, should you clean before or after company? The consensus is, it's up to you.
"There's really no right answer to this question, because it all comes down to your preferences," Berry shares. "It's your home—do what you feel is best."
Though getting your home spotless for company can be a daunting task, there is no need to fret. Our experts had a ton of great tips to get your home extra-clean before company comes over—or, at least, make it seem like it's extra clean. After all, you have enough to worry about being the host with the most.
"Work quickly, and spread it out so you're doing any major cleaning a day or two in advance," Rapinchuk shares. "Also, turn the thermostat down 1-2 degrees, and if you're feeling like your space is not looking 100%, use lamps and dim the lights to hide dust."
Pleshek mirroed that advice, and also advised to start as early as possible to avoid mess and stress. "There is nothing worse than rushing to clean up the house 30 minutes before your guests arrive," he says. "Starting a few days early lets you take your time, be more detailed, and you can even take a few breaks in between."
Berry's takeaway: the cleaning is absolutely imporant—but so is relaxing afterwards. Her advice? "After cleaning, be sure enjoy your guests' company, because that's really the point of it all," she reminds us.