Twinkling lights, the smell of freshly baked cookies, cheerful music—there’s something so magical about the holidays. But if you’re hosting guests this winter, the season can be a little more chaotic than calm and bright. Whether you’re throwing a party for 50 or just inviting the in-laws for an extended stay, keep your cool with these seven cleaning and prep tips to get your home ready for the holidays.
Your house guests probably won’t be walking through your master bedroom or home office, so don’t stress about tidying those spaces. Focus on the areas of your home that friends and family will interact with the most, such as the entry and living room, kitchen, bathroom and any guest bedrooms.
Your front door is the first thing guests see when they walk up to your house. Make sure it’s in tip-top shape by washing fingerprints off glass (a dash of dish soap will help prevent streaks) and polishing your wooden door. A festive wreath is the cherry on top.
Between gingerbread baking and turkey roasting, your oven will no doubt be getting a workout during the holidays. Prepare it for the season with a top-to-bottom cleaning. Simply fill a casserole dish with water and a half-cup of vinegar. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and let the water boil for 30 minutes. Once it cools down, grease should easily wipe away with a paper towel.
Ensure your fridge is ready for pumpkin pie and other favorite dishes by tossing expired foods and scrubbing caked-on spills. To keep cleaning chemicals away from food, use baking soda and hot water to wipe down shelves and racks.
A Christmas tree is the centerpiece for many holiday parties—but not so much those pesky needles that always seem to be nestled into the carpet, no matter how many times you vacuum. Deter shedding by using a properly sized tree stand (one that can hold 1 quart of water for every inch of stem diameter) and lowering the room temperature. This will slow the drying process.
The secret to soft, fluffy towels has nothing to do with the type of detergent you use. Instead, run them through the washer twice—first with hot water and 1 cup of white vinegar, then with hot water and a half-cup of baking soda—before drying them on the hottest setting. Your guests will feel like they’re staying at a five-star hotel.
You don’t have to deck every hall in your home to make it feel cozy and inviting, but a few simple tricks can go a long way. Switch out your everyday couch pillows for festive ones, or install a Filtrete™ Whole House Air Freshener to make each room smell like Crisp Cinnamon Apple—no candles required.