Five Steps To Clean Your Home For Holiday Gatherings

Those who typically host for the holiday season already know exactly what they're getting themselves into. From shopping to decorating, planning, recipe searching, and more, a task that should be done by 10 people is typically done by one or two. And if this is your first time hosting during the holidays, you're probably the most stressed you've ever been this time of the year. If this is the case, we'll make sure you don't forget one crucial task to prepare your home for this festive season.

We want to emphasize the importance of cleaning. No matter how beautiful your decorations are or how delicious your food is, we all have a family member who will pass judgment with a swipe of a finger on our furniture, or a peek underneath our tables. According to Access Maids, research has revealed that a clean space can reduce your overall stress during the holidays. So although the process may be tedious, it's mentally rewarding in the end! If you're unsure where to start, we'll reveal the five cleaning tips to get your home sparkling.

Find a major source of dust

First, locate the areas in your home that create the most dust. If you have a wood-burning fireplace you use often, we suggest looking at its current state. If it's full of soot and ashes, then you'll need a few supplies to give it a spotless look.

According to Home Depot, after the fire has been completely put out, use a fireplace shovel to separate the embers, then cover them with a light coat of baking soda and wait 24 hours. Next, use your shovel to dispose of any burnt wood, and also shake any ash or dust off your andirons and fireplace grate before removing them. Once done, sweep everything up with a broom and dustpan, then use a hand vacuum to get anything you may have missed.

You'll then create a cleaning solution by mixing dish soap, a quarter cup of heavy-duty cleaner, and 1 gallon of warm water poured into a large bucket. Use a bristle brush to scrub the inside starting from the top, as well as your andirons and grate, then a pumice stone and a dab of dish soap to scrub the exterior stone.

Dust surfaces

Once that's completed, the dust has most likely blown up to surrounding furniture surfaces. If you don't have guests coming for a few days, use a cleaning solution capable of keeping dust away for a longer period of time — it'll be a headache to clean something two or three times before company starts pouring in. According to Living Well Mom, this cleaning solution includes 1 cup of water, half a cup of distilled white vinegar, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 5 drops of lemon and grapefruit essential oils (and lavender if you desire a floral scent). Then pour your mixture into a spray bottle. 

The vinegar makes it easier to eliminate dirt and grime, while the olive oil acts as a dust repellent, both of which will keep your furniture looking fresh for days. The essential oils will hide the vinegar scent and are also basic ingredients useful in a cleaning spray. To use this solution, shake it a few times before spraying it evenly across the surface. Then use a microfiber cloth to securely pick up all of the dust.

Clean your floors

Once you've dusted all your surfaces, some dirt has probably fallen onto the floor. According to Giant Floor, the most popular type of flooring is carpet, so we'll focus on the best methods to clean this material. First, you'll obviously want to vacuum your floor to pick up dirt or other grime. Next, we suggest disinfecting your carpet. But if you don't have a steam cleaner, there are other methods you can use. HGTV advises creating a cleaning solution made of one part white vinegar and three parts water. Then use a scrub brush to rub the solution into the carpet gently. Once you're done, use a cloth to soak up the water.

If your carpet is still a bit smelly, Coit suggests mixing half a cup of baking soda with 30 drops of lavender essential oil into a container with holes on the top. Then, leave the mixture alone for 24 hours before pouring it lightly over the carpet. After about 10 to 15 minutes, vacuum it up to reveal a fresh-smelling carpet.

Create a pleasant scent

After you've tidied up your home, it's also important to ensure a nice smell is flowing throughout each room. To do this, Whole Home Scenting suggests attaching air fresheners to your vents. They come in various scents, such as vanilla, floral, and fruity, and can be placed on the ceiling or floor vents. Another method is using dryer sheets. You can place these in a laundry bag or air vents to release their lovely smell. We suggest also placing them underneath a sofa cushion, a garbage can, or anywhere else you'd like to maintain a fresh scent.

You'll also have many guests coming in and out of your bathroom, so Organize My House advises adding a few drops of essential oil inside the toilet roll and trash can. You can also place a diffuser in the bathroom to ensure a consistent output of lavender, lemon, peppermint, or whatever scent you choose.

Don't forget your guest room

As a host for the holidays, you'll most likely have a few family members or friends who decide to stay the night. If so, you'll have to ensure the guest room is completely ready for them. We suggest replacing the bedsheets; it's probably been a while since someone else has used this bed, so there's bound to be a decent amount of dust accumulated on top. Replace them with a fresh set, and maybe add a piece of chocolate to each pillow and a water bottle on each nightstand to amp up your hospitality game (via Impression Homes).

Like the rest of your home, dust all surfaces and clean the flooring with the methods listed above. Additionally, if there are windows in the room, don't forget to use a standard window cleaner and cloth to wipe away any smears. We also suggest lighting a few candles moments before your guests enter the room to ensure they walk into a space with a delightful smell.