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Cleaning

Company coming? 11 cleaning tasks that take 5 minutes or less

Quick! Clean up in a hurry

Collage of people performing quick cleaning tasks, including wiping counters, mopping, and changing the dishwasher. Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / LaylaBird / Geanna8 / milan2099

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‘Tis the season for company to drop by, often without much notice. While you might not have time for a deep clean on a moment's notice, there are several ways tidy up quickly.

Focusing on only the areas and items that guests are likely to notice, these 11 quick cleaning tasks will spruce up your home in a jiffy. The best part is that none of them will take you more than five minutes, so even if you’re caught off guard, you won’t have to welcome guests into your home unprepared.

Here are 11 cleaning tasks that take five minutes or less.

1. Grab a bin for the clutter

Whether it’s toys, shoes, or homework, clutter is just a fact of life, but it can also make a clean house appear messy.

You may not have time to put it all away when guests are on their way, but you can grab a basket, toss it all in there, and put it in a closet until you can deal with it later. $48 at Crate & Barrel

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2. Toss a blanket over pet hair

A gray throw blanket covers a stylish blue sofa.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / tashka2000

Throw blankets are a great quick-and-easy way to cover up your pet's hair.

Having a comfortable place to sit is the start of any friendly visit, but if your pet’s favorite place to sit is on your couch then it might be covered in hair.

Although you may feel inclined to quickly try and vacuum the sofa, tossing a throw blanket over it is just as practical and leaves time for you to focus on other things you might want to tidy up. $15 at Amazon

3. Move the dirty dishes out of the sink and into the dishwasher

The quickest way to make your kitchen appear clean is by getting rid of the dirty dishes. Old food is gross and totally unappealing, but quickly moving dirty dishes from the sink and into the dishwasher gives the kitchen an instant facelift.

Forget pre-cleaning and scrubbing if you are in a hurry, you can always circle back and do that before starting the dishwasher.

4. Wipe down the powder room

A person in yellow cleaning gloves happily wipes down a bathroom sink with a towel and spray bottle in hand.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / SolStock

No need to go crazy when cleaning the bathroom—a quick wipe will do.

Bathrooms dirty quickly, so don’t forget to wipe down the powder room before your guests arrive.

No need to go crazy, just grab a cleaning cloth and sanitize the sink, faucets, and toilet seat. It only takes a couple of minutes, and while you’re at it don’t forget to restock the toilet paper.

Keep cleaning wipes under the sink or near the bathroom to make this task even faster. $19 at Amazon

5. Deodorize surfaces and spaces

This may not seem like a cleaning task, but it's an important one you don't want to skip. For many of us, our sense of smell is acutely tied into how we feel about something. Meaning, if it smells clean, we will feel that it is.

Spray the fabric furniture, carpet, and curtains with fabric freshener, light a candle, and open a window if needed, because a good smelling house feels like a clean home. $31 at Yankee Candle

6. Turn on the robot vacuum

You may not have time to vacuum all of your floors, but you do have time to push start on the Roomba. Let it get to work while you turn your attention to other tasks and even if it’s not finished by the time your guests arrive, you’ll have “someone” else to blame for any remaining crumbs. $250 at Amazon

7. Sweep the floors

A person sweeps their kitchen with a broom.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / AndreyPopov

Sweep to make sure guests don't feel anything crunchy underfoot.

Even if you don’t have time to vacuum everything, grabbing an electric broom can help sweep up crumbs, pet food, and obvious dirt in just a couple of minutes.

It ensures that your guests won’t feel anything crunching beneath their feet and gives your floors an overall clean appearance.

8. Fluff the pillows

It may seem silly, but fluffy throw pillows have the ability to make your furniture look inviting and new, while flattened throw pillows give furniture the appearance of being overused and worn out.

Fluffing pillows is a task that literally only takes a few seconds but can make a big difference in your home’s appearance, so even in a hurry, fluff, fluff, fluff!

9. Pick up the entryway

In many homes the entryway becomes a dumping ground for shoes, bags, coats, and more, but it’s also the first part of your home that guests will see.

So, gather it all up, toss it into the closet, and if needed, offer to set your guest’s jackets over the back of a chair or sofa so that they see everything you’ve just hidden away.

10. Wipe down the kitchen counters

A pair of blue-gloved hands wipe down a kitchen counter.
Credit: Reviewed / Getty Images / demaerre

Focus on open surface areas when wiping down the kitchen.

The kitchen is the gathering place of the home, so grabbing a cleaning wipe or reusable paper tower and wiping the kitchen counters down will go a long way in making your whole home appear clean.

Don’t worry about moving small appliances, just get the open surface areas and while you’re at it, wipe down the kitchen table too!

11. Spot mop the hard floors

It can take quite a while to wash and wipe hard flooring, but by using an electric mop you can spot clean hard floors in a hurry, without worrying that puddles of water will be left behind.

Focus on any obvious grime in the main traffic areas and leave the rest of the flooring for later. $69 at Amazon

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