31 Ways to Fake a Clean House

Don’t let lingering dust, dirt, and clutter set your last minute entertaining plans awash. Use these 31 cleaning shortcuts to turn the grimiest estate into a prime estate in minutes.

  1. Inviting Space

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    Entryway Storage Baskets

    Stop fumbling in the foyer with a mess of shoes, umbrellas, and magazines. Instead, tuck them into cloth baskets or wicker bins (like these from Target) placed behind the front door. Use a handheld vacuum to usher away dust and other uninvited guests from the entryway. 


    Related: 17 Design Inspirations for Mudrooms and Entryways

    target.com

  2. Hamper Scamper

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    Laundry Basket Cleaning Trick

    No time to tidy up? Convert an off-duty laundry hamper into a receptacle for stashing loose personal effects, books, and supplies. When the party’s over, give the stowaways a lift back to their respective cabinets, shelves, and desks.

    istockphoto.com

  3. Couch Potatoes

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    Cleaning Microfiber Couch

    You don’t have to do the time for the crime of snacking on a microfiber couch and leaving behind dry food debris and fingerprints. Use a handheld brush to gently massage away offending grit.

    istockphoto.com

  4. Blind Item

    4/31
    Cleaning the Blinds

    Visitors will be blind to the dirt on the topside of your blinds if you simply turn them up to display the tidier underside. Then, pull soiled curtain panels closed to instantly revitalize aging windows.


    Related: 15 Unusual Tips for Your Cleanest Windows Ever

    istockphoto.com

  5. Chaise Down

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    basket for living room

    Give your sofas stylish arm candy with decorative baskets that hold wandering books, magazines, and toys. Place the storage containers at the far end of the sofa to bring focus to the conversation, not the clutter.

    istockphoto.com

  6. Fluffed Up

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    Couch Pillows

    Transform homely sofas into decorative focal points by fluffing up flattened pillows and arranging them over any visible upholstery stains. Alternatively, flip battered couch cushions to reveal their good side.


    Related: 12 "Zero Dollar" Decorating Hacks

    istockphoto.com

  7. Dust Buster

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    Quick Dusting

    A microfiber cloth (like these from Amazon) works wonders in the dusty microcosm of the living room. Run the cloth over the television screen, coffee table, and end tables to achieve pristine surfaces untouched by time.


    Related: 15 Remarkably Easy Ways to Create a Dust-Free Home

    istockphoto.com

  8. Disappearing Dishes

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    Fast Dishwashing

    It takes just minutes and elbow grease to rid your kitchen of grease and grime. Give soiled dishes a quick bath in soapy water before hiding them in the dishwasher or unused stock pots. Wipe down counter surfaces and close cupboards for a gleaming galley. Then, leave the rest of the cleaning until the guests leave.

    istockphoto.com

  9. Vanity Sanity

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    Bathroom Storage

    Counter clutter on the bathroom counter by organizing it in underlying cabinets outfitted with toiletry holders. Put a Lazy Susan to work to hold makeup and shampoo bottles, and stack towels and toilet rolls in baskets.

    istockphoto.com

  10. Well-groomed Workroom

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    Clean Home Office

    Transform a haphazard home office into a study on cleanliness by scrapping expired post-it notes and to-do lists. Shelter homeless supplies and trinkets in attractive stationary containers placed atop your desk or beneath the keyboard.

    istockphoto.com

  11. Toy Ploy

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    kids room cleaning

    Between scattered stuffed animals, blocks, and puzzle pieces, cleaning the kid’s room can be a puzzle. Corral loose game pieces in drawers and bag toys in unused pillowcases. Lastly, give unruly books and board games a timeout in a neat pile in the corner.


    Related: 15 DIY Storage Ideas to Help Corral Your Kids' Clutter

    istockphoto.com

  12. Dirty Secret

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    Fast Laundry

    Lighten the load of cleaning the laundry room by temporarily gathering dirty garments in the washing machine, where your cleaning secret will be kept safe. Then, put away any clean, lingering linens in the bedroom to sort later.


    Related: 8 Things You Need If You Hate Doing Laundry

    istockphoto.com

  13. Clean Sweep

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    Cleaning Floor Quickly

    Sweep—don’t mop—dry mud, debris, and pet hair off the floor, out of the door, and out of mind. Reserve your hardworking mop for spot-cleaning wet mud or visible food stains on hard floors.

    istockphoto.com

  14. Smelt Dealt

    14/31
    Cleaning Fireplace Ash

    Notify your fireplace that the guests have arrived by sprinkling tea leaves or coffee grounds inside. This will keep rising dust at bay and diffuse the scent of stale embers so that visitors will want to warm their hands around the hearth all winter.

    istockphoto.com

  15. Aromatic Accents

    15/31
    Scented Candle

    Banish everyday odors and make a fresh start by lighting a candle in your favorite scent. Candles naturally eradicate unsavory scents without help from harsh chemical cleaners.


    Related: Clear the Air—10 Natural Ways to Cure Household Odors

    istockphoto.com

  16. Slick Move

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    clean sink faucet

    Are your bathroom countertops, sinks, or faucets bathing in grime, soap scum, or dried toothpaste? For bathroom surfaces so shiny your guests can see their reflections, grab a wet wipe or a soft cloth saturated with homemade all-purpose cleaner and make a few quick, unidirectional swipes over them to disinfect and de-grunge them in a hurry.

    istockphoto.com

  17. Gleaming Glass

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    how to clean mirror

    Having a hard time making out your reflection? Spray down crud-covered mirrors with a store-bought mirror cleaner like Windex, and then enlist a soft cloth to wipe makeup smudges, fingerprints, and water stains away with minimal elbow grease.

    istockphoto.com

  18. Closed-Curtain Policy

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    bathroom cleaning trick

    Bath toys and supplies from rubber ducks to shampoo rinse cups sure make bath time fly by, but they only add to the disarray of the washroom when they’re stashed on countertops afterward. If your guests won’t be using the shower during their stay, temporarily store these items in a shower and then draw the curtain shut to keep them out of sight.

    istockphoto.com

  19. All Fluff

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    bathroom towels

    Transform your bathroom from shabby to hotel-quality by swapping limp, lifeless bath and hand towels on towel racks for fresh, fluffy towels. Fold and hang the towels at the center of the rack for a tidy touch. While you’re at it, replace that half-used toilet paper roll with a full roll to make the bathroom guest-ready.

    istockphoto.com

  20. Robe Ruse

    20/31
    bathrobe hack

    There’s no need to make a mad dash for the dryer to deal with damp bath towels. If a sopping towel still hangs on a hook in the bathroom from your last shower, simply grab a clean and fluffy bathrobe and hang it up on the same hook to hide the towel and lend the space spa-like style.

    istockphoto.com

  21. Furniture Fix

    21/31
    clean living room

    Can’t put your finger on why your living or family room looks off kilter? Furniture and other essentials might have budged from their usual parking spots, while other items might have started piling up. Restore order in the blink of an eye by straightening sofas, ottomans, pillows, and rugs; returning remote controls to their perch on a table; putting books back to the bookshelf; and recycling the magazines and newspapers that you’re no longer reading. For an extra measure, run the vacuum through for that fresh carpet look.

    André François McKenzie on Unsplash

  22. Straightened Out

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    tidy room

    Arranging items in a linear layout lends a sense of symmetry to any living quarters. So neatly stack those spread-out magazines and newspapers on the coffee table, corral loose mail in a tidy pile on an end table, and store books on shelves so that the spines line up. You’ll cut the visual clutter in seconds.

    istockphoto.com

  23. Ring Resolution

    23/31
    how to remove water ring from wood

    Skipped the coaster during your last coffee break? Banish that unsightly condensation ring on your wooden coffee table or end table by applying a thin layer of petroleum jelly over it and letting it dwell overnight. In the morning, use a soft cloth to wipe away the jelly—and the stain with it!

    istockphoto.com

  24. Folded Comforts

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    throw blanket

    Blankets and throws are often the first accents to fall by the wayside after a night spent lounging on the couch, usually winding up in a crumpled heap on the sofa or the floor. Rather than leaving them there and creating an eyesore, or stashing them behind the sofa or in a hamper, where they’re bound to get more crinkled, fold them and drape them on the arm of the sofa for an elegant, bohemian-chic effect.

    istockphoto.com

  25. Restored Rug

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    clean rug

    Whether they live in the entryway or the living room, rugs lose their luxury looks when they collect dust, dirt, hair, and whatever else you dragged in from the outdoors over time. Rid a soiled rug of these remnants—and fluff up its fibers—in a rush by hanging it on an outdoor clothesline and gently beating it by hand or with a bona fide rug beater before returning it to its original position.

    istockphoto.com

  26. Hairy Situation

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    clean pet hair from furniture

    Pet hair on the sofa will almost certainly be transferred to your guests’ garb when they sit down. To keep their finery free of Fido’s shedding without a lint roller, don an old-fashioned rubber glove, wet the fingertips with water, and then make a quick pass with your gloved hand over the sofa. The wet rubber will pick up any lingering hair or lint.

    istockphoto.com

  27. Sparkling Side Up

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    kitchen towel

    If the doorbell rings just as you spot a glaring food stain on a decorative kitchen towel, it’s no doubt too late to throw it in the washer. Try this stain-lifting hack instead: Fold the towel in half lengthwise and hang it from the oven handle with the clean side facing you—your guests will be none the wiser to the stain on the other side!

    istockphoto.com

  28. Discreet Desk

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    clean up desk

    When company arrives, it’s well past time to put work away in the home office. Stow your keyboard, mouse, and any other peripheral equipment in desk drawers, leaving only the monitor behind for a clutter-free atmosphere.

    istockphoto.com

  29. Tent Trick

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    kid tent

    Who knew? A play tent is a great place for both kids and adults to play pretend. When little ones aren’t using it to fuel their imaginations, parents can stow loose toys and games inside the tent and then zip up the opening to manufacture a pristine playroom in minutes.

    istockphoto.com

  30. Diaper Deodorizer

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    nursery smell

    Do you have to turn your nose up at the ceiling every time you enter the nursery? The diaper pail may be to blame. Before the guests knock, spritz a little deodorizing spray in the vicinity of the diaper pail to avoid the dreaded question, “What is that smell?”

    istockphoto.com

  31. Pajama Dilemma

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    bedroom cleaning hack

    Giving your guests the grand tour of your house? You’ll want to make those loose pajamas lying on your bed disappear pronto. And what better place to temporarily stash them than under your pillow? Fold up lightweight pajama tops and bottoms and slip them underneath a pillow on your bed for a spotless sleep sanctuary and easy retrieval of your nightwear at bedtime.

    istockphoto.com

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