Guests on their way? Follow this half-hour plan for a neat and sparkling house—stat.
Step 1: Spray away. Spritz the sink, mirror, toilet and the floor around it with cleaner. Let it sit while you clear off the countertops so the cleaning solution can do the hard work for you. Then, spray the counters.
Step 2: Now Wipe. Work from the cleanest surface (mirror) to the dirtiest (sink) using a paper towel or microfiber cloth that easily reaches into nooks and crannies. Pay special attention to the grime and hard water deposits that collect around the drain, faucet and sink handles, which can detract from a sparkling bathroom.
Step 3: Tackle the toilet. Brush inside the bowl first, then clean the tank, seat, base and floor with disposable wipes that you can trash on the spot. (Don't forget to take the garbage out with you.)
Step 4: Hit the lights. The switch plate is one of the most often handled areas of your home and the last thing your guests will see when they leave the bathroom. Remove any muck with one quick swipe before you walk out the door.
Step 1: Spot-clean. Use a wet wipe or paper towel to clean the stovetop, counters, table and inside the fridge where food or dirt is obvious. Repeat for the floor.
Step 2: Make the sink shine. When you're done prepping and cooking for the party, scoop out any bits of food from the drain with a paper towel, then spray the sink with a cleaning solution and wipe. Make sure to sponge away puddles of water under the soap dispenser, too.
Step 3: Erase streaks. Take a step back and inspect the cabinets, appliances and walls for unsightly marks and stains. Use a cleaning wipe or melamine sponge, like Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, to quickly remove anything glaring (remember, you can do a deep-clean later). Then, before you throw it away, run the wipe or pad over the trash can.
Step 4: Degunk the microwave. Pour water and vinegar into a bowl and heat for 30 seconds. This will loosen any caked-on food so you can swipe it off without scrubbing.
Step 1: Trap dust. Put on a microfiber mitt and quickly run your hand over the coffee table, side tables, open shelves, picture frames and light fixtures. For ceiling fans, slip an old pillowcase over one blade at a time and use it to pull off and catch any dust bunnies hanging out on top. Dump the loose dust in the trash, then flip the pillowcase inside out and wash it and the cleaning mitt with your next load.
Step 2: Pick up pet hair (and more). Roll a lint brush over your couch cushions, lampshades—even over patches of an area rug—to pick up loose strands, fuzz and larger pieces of dirt. If the floor needs it, reach for a handheld or regular vacuum instead of wasting time sweeping up with a broom. Then you won't need to fetch a dustpan or make an extra trip to the trash can when you're done cleaning.
Step 1: Suck up dirt. To remove debris by the front door, quickly run the vacuum. But resist the urge to mop! Once guests arrive, they'll bring outside elements in with them, so do yourself a favor and leave deep cleaning for the next day.
Step 2: Make a good impression. If you don't have a floor bin near your door to corral shoes, hide them in a cute shopping tote and hang it on your coat rack.
Save these easy cleaning tips for later, and follow for more great ideas.