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Cleaning for Holiday Guests

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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With the holiday season well underway, families are finishing up Thanksgiving celebrations and preparing for the rest of the holidays. If your family is entertaining for the December/January holidays, the time has come to get the house ready for visitors. The American Cleaning Institute gives us this helpful checklist to help get our homes ready for the remaining holidays.

Work through the list a few items a day. Before you know it, your home will be clean and ready for the holidays!

  • Put mats and throw rugs at all entryways. This will help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home.
  • Keep a boot tray near the door for rain or snow soaked footwear.
  • Vacuum carpets, floors and baseboards so you won’t have to count dust bunnies among your holiday guests!
  • Sort and discard old magazines and newspapers. Save a few interesting ones and leave them on a table in the guest room for your company’s nighttime reading.
  • Aim high! Add a telescoping dust wand to your cleaning supplies so it’s easy to banish cobwebs in corners and around ceiling fixtures.
  • Before the holiday rush takes over, give all the bed linens a thorough cleaning.
  • Develop a sorting system for handling the mail so it doesn’t accumulate in piles.
  • Analyze your scarf, hat and glove storage and develop some jumble-free solutions.
  • If your pets prefer the furniture to the floor, cover their favorite upholstered pieces with attractive, washable throws that can be whisked out of sight when guests arrive.
  • Keep a complete set of your most-used cleaning supplies on each floor of the house. They’ll always be within easy reach for touch-up cleaning.
  • Put a container of pop-up disposable wipes next to every bathroom and powder room sink. Encourage family members to use them every time they turn the tap water off.
  • Stock up on electrostatic dust cloths for on-the-spot cleaning of your flat screen TV and other dust magnets.
  • If you plan on doing a lot of holiday cooking and entertaining, check your stockpile of aprons, potholders, dish clothes and dish towels. Make sure they’re clean and in usable condition.
  • Invest in a few small, hand-held vacuums designed for your TV, computer keyboard or gaming station (cordless or with a charger) and install them in strategic places around your home. They are perfect for removing dust and crumbs from your electronics.
  • Flushable bathroom wipes are good for touching up surfaces between deeper cleanings.
  • Stock up on disposable hand towels for the powder room and guest bath.
  • ake room for guest’s gear by purging the coat closet of out-of-season items and stocking it with hangers sturdy enough for winter coats.
  • To avoid beverage rings on your wood or glass top furniture, keep coasters out in plain sight.
  • Clean out the refrigerator to make room for holiday goodies. Remove the contents, checking expiration dates, and discarding anything whose time is up. Clean the shelves and wipe down bottles and jars before returning items to the refrigerator.
  • For soiled table linens, get into the soaking habit. Once the meal is over, clear the table and pretreat any stains with a prewash stain remover. Fill the washing machine with laundry detergent, warm water and bleach that’s safe for the fabric. Toss the linens in and let them soak overnight. Same goes for your fine napkins and placemats.
  • Place tissues and hand sanitizer near doors for a quick pit-stop.
  • If the countertops gleam, the kitchen immediately looks cleaner. Find the best spray cleaner for your particular countertop and use it regularly.
  • To cut down on clutter and crumbs, confine snacks to certain areas of the house.
  • Inventory your laundry supplies so you don’t run out of anything at this busy time of the year.

Enlist all family members in completing this check list of tasks. Add additional tasks that are unique for your family. Enjoy the holiday seasons without the stress of last minute cleaning.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was updated December 2013 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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University of Nebraska-Lincoln in Lancaster County
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