10 No Nonsense Holiday Cleaning Tips
Hosting family and friends for the holidays? It’s time to make your home look its very best before, during, and after the festivities. Here are 10 no-nonsense holiday cleaning tips to make this season more enjoyable.
Have you ever carried a big party platter, gifts, and/or champagne bottles on an icy driveway? No fun. Put yourself in your guests’ shoes and clear any snow, dirt, and ice off the main entrance walkway as well as the driveway. Sweep your floors, vacuum your carpet, and light a scented candle or two. Declutter your countertops and make sure your dishwasher is empty. For a finishing touch, lightly dust any surfaces in common areas. The cleaner your home is when guests arrive, the more likely they will subconsciously try to keep things clean.
If you live in a snowy climate, a pile of wet shoes and boots is enough to stain and even warp your new hardwood flooring – standing water and wood floors simply don’t mix. Highly absorbent rubber mats and shoe racks near the entrance can be a game changer. Place rugs and runners in entrance foyers and hallways to help contain dirt and moisture to one area. Less work for later is always a plus. If you happen to see a small puddle of melted ice on your floors, wipe it up right away.
3.) Act Fast with Spilled Food and Drinks on Carpet
As soon as you’ve hung up jackets and taken drink orders, it’s only a matter of time before a glass or snack plate gets knocked over in the living room. If you let spills in your carpet sit for too long, they can seep into the carpet’s padding. You’ll want to absorb them as soon as possible. Dampen two white towels with hot water and blot the stain until it no longer transfers on the towels. This makes scrubbing the stain out easier and helps prevent the stain from settling in for good.
A big spill of red wine on your new carpet can be panic-inducing. The instinct to start blotting and scrubbing away is strong. But it’s important to stay calm and start from the outside of the stain and work your way in (not the other way around). This helps prevent the stain from spreading further. Wipe inwards, not outwards!
5.) Don’t Scrub Carpet Too Hard
Anyone who’s encountered a stubborn carpet stain knows how annoying they are. While you may want to remove a stain as quickly as possible, take care not to scrub to the area too hard. Being overly aggressive can cause your carpet fibers to fuzz. Like the first four holiday cleaning tips, common sense is a helpful prerequisite.
6.) Remove Loose Dirt with a Dust Mop
Big meals and great laughs at dinner are what it’s all about. Collect empty plates and silverware from guests and pre-soak them in the sink. Save your muscles for entertaining – enlist someone to help put away folding chairs. Long after everyone has left, it’s time for the last remaining items on the cleaning list. Loose dirt and crumbs on harder floors should be swept into piles with a soft, non-abrasive broom. Then use a vacuum set to “floor”. Certain vacuums are more suited for hard surfaces. Avoid beater brushes meant for carpet on hard surfaces (some vacuums let you switch the beater brush on and off). What matters most is great suction, so you can take care of the crumb piles quickly and efficiently.
7.) Be Mindful of the Cleaners You Use
You wouldn’t use a whole bottle of cleaner on your kitchen table, right? Same philosophy goes for your floor. Solid and engineered hardwood as well as laminate flooring are especially sensitive to moisture (more on that in the following steps). Avoid using water, chemicals, and soaps of any kind whenever possible for wood floors. Vinyl flooring is a lot easier – feel free to mop away on this moisture-resistant surface. Still, be mindful of what goes in your bucket. Bleach and ammonia may be able to destroy germs, but these chemicals are too harsh for vinyl. Stick to manufacturer recommended products for best results. With porcelain and ceramic tile, feel free to mop to your heart’s content.
8.) Seriously… No Steam Mops!
Not all mops are equal. You came for no-nonsense holiday cleaning tips, not 10 ways to destroy your floors. Believe it or not, the high temperatures generated from steam mops can cause irreparable damage. Make sure you check the manufacturer instructions to see if a steam mop is safe for your floors. We generally advise against using them to be safe.
9.) Harden Sticky Substances with Ice
Sticky cranberry sauce or a spot of gravy that hardened overnight can be a real nuisance, especially on wood floors. Instead of reaching for a sponge and scrubbing – try the ice cube trick. Place an ice cube directly on the sticky spot. As it melts, the sticky substance will typically harden. It’s a lot easier to remove the spot in one go with a soft plastic edge. Again, common sense is your best friend.
10.) Tackle Remaining Tasks Proactively
This is where step 1 saves you every time. You have counter space and an empty dishwasher. You should have a sink full of dishes already pre-soaking. Grab a strong garbage bag and do a walk though, gathering empty bottles and dessert plates as you go. This saves you trips back and forth with armfuls of trash. Overall, proactive cleaning makes post-holiday cleanup a breeze.
Holiday Cleaning Tips: One Last Thing
One of the most important holiday cleaning tips is a mental one – relive the fun moments from the day and pat yourself on the back for hosting a yet another memorable holiday party. You’ll be done cleaning before you know it. Who knows, you may even have time to finish off the leftover wine before bed. In either case, enjoy waking up to a clean house and a sense of accomplishment.
As a new year approaches, maybe it’s time for a fresh look? The next party is around the corner. When you’re ready to talk new floors, we’re right around the corner, too.