Last-minute visitors? In-laws popping round in 20 minutes? For a faux-spotless home in minutes follow these easy cheats — just don’t open any cupboards afterwards…
No one’s house is permanently immaculate, right? We’re all super busy and time poor, many of us with jobs to go to, families to feed and children to look after. The odd cheat here and there — especially when unexpected house guests are due — is more than understandable. After all, who needs to know? Here are our super-speedy tricks to fool visitors into thinking you have a clean house.
Remember that guests are left totally unsupervised in the loo with no distractions — meaning a fake clean here is an absolute necessity.
- Give the mirrors a once-over with a damp cloth to rid them of those stubborn toothpaste splashes.
- Shake the bath mat into the tub or shower, then rinse away – it will look freshly vacuumed.
- Clean taps the easy way by mixing equal parts of water and white vinegar in a spray bottle, then spritz over taps and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
- And remove those ancient magazine issues next to the loo — the royal wedding was in 2011!
You’ll probably spend the most time in here with your
unwanted visitors guests, so spend a little more time fake cleaning it.
- Flipping your couch cushions really is an instant way to a couch that looks brand new. Simply reserve the clean side for guests only — keeping that red wine stain for the eyes of the one who spilled it — just don’t forget to flip them back once your guests have gone to make sure they stay stain free.
- Get tactical with clutter and stop toys invading your grown-up space. Simply invest in some neutral wicker storage boxes to keep the kids’ toys neatly tucked out of sight. They’ll blend in with most décor and you can clear your tabletops in one fell swoop, making it easier to blitz the dusting when you’re on a manic cleaning mission.
- Keep pet hairs at bay and rid your soft furnishings of furry bits the easy way — with a rubber glove. The coarse material means you’ll be able to clean off a layer of cat or dog fur in a few quick sweeps.
- Try the magician’s trick with a fragrant bouquet of your favourite flowers. They cleverly distract the eye. Either fork out some money for a fresh bunch or invest in some silk ones — you’ll be amazed how well the classic tactic of redirection works.
- Lighting a scented candle smells amazing, and everything looks better in candlelight, plus it gives your home a feel that says, ‘What? My house always looks like this — doesn’t yours?’
Read more: 20 cleaning hacks you never knew you needed
For us, the kitchen is often the messiest room in the house. But no one will know you haven’t washed dishes for 3 days if you follow this strategy.
- Hide the odorous evidence of last night’s fish supper on the spot. Cover any lingering aromas by bringing nutmeg, cloves or cinnamon and orange peel to the boil in a pan of water.
- For a speedy wipe-down, grab your cleanest-smelling kitchen spray and spritz and wipe like there’s no tomorrow. To the naked nose it will be like your house is sparkly clean from top to toe.
- Simply shove a pile of dirty dishes in the oven and close the door on it all when you’re up against it. Don’t worry – it’s a last-minute trick, not a permanent solution. But make a mental note to remember they’re in there before you next turn on your oven!
If your house is really chaotic, assume that no one will go into the bedrooms, and use them to store all the random stuff lying around the house. But make sure you lock the doors (and hide the keys…).
- For the scent of fresh air, open a window shortly before any guests arrive to give your home a fresh, just-cleaned feeling.
- It’s more than likely that anyone visiting your house will spend the majority of their time in your living room. But better to be safe than sorry and just close doors to the other rooms in your house.
- Your laundry basket can double up as a great little hidey-hole and — trust us — you won’t be judged for dumping hair bobbles, errant sports caps and stray school letters, plus stuff, stuff and even more stuff in there because nobody will ever know. Besides, you can retrieve it later and sort it out… over a glass of wine. And next time you’re at the shops, you might like to buy a new laundry basket… because the one filled with all that stuff will stay like that for at least two weeks. Right?
- If you think guests may venture into bedrooms, take a minute to half make the bed. Just make sure the duvet is straight and the pillows are where they should be. No one needs to know the sheets are a rumpled mess underneath…
And after the guests have left, here are some things you should be cleaning, but probably aren’t…
- Toothbrush holder
The scum that gathers in it means it’s the dirtiest spot in your bathroom.
Clean it: Wash with hot soapy water twice a week.
- Cell phone
It goes everywhere with you –for some people even to the toilet!
Clean it: Antibacterial wipes are best. Turn the phone off, wipe, then leave to dry before turning back on.
- Reusable shopping bags
Used weekly, they sit in the boot of your car and in dirty trolleys. Then you put your food into them!
Clean it: Throw canvas ones in the wash at 30°. Hand wash plastic ones.
- Bathroom sponge
It cleans you, so therefore should be clean, right? Wrong.
Clean it: Make a mixture that’s half hot water and half vinegar, submerge the sponge, leave for an hour, then allow to drip dry.
- Kids’ bath toys
Bathwater is essentially full of dissolved dirt, which is then harboured in your kids’ rubber ducky – or should that be rubber yucky?
Clean it: After each bath time, store the toys in a net to air-dry, making sure you clean them every two weeks with the water vinegar mix mentioned above.