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Preparing for holiday visitors forces us to address chores and projects we kept postponing when the weather was warmer and the days were longer. Even during this busy time of year, it’s possible to get things checked off “the list” whether routine maintenance or improvement project. But it’s important to start early, so it can all happen before the big day your holiday guests arrive. Like the guest room. Deep cleaning the guest room ahead of time will relieve stress as you get closer to their arrival.

Deep cleaning the guest room may take a few hours but if you divide it into small 15 minute jobs, it that can be something that you can work on throughout the week. Find a timer or use a smart phone to keep track of how long you are cleaning.  My motto is:” I can do anything for fifteen minutes”.

Methodical deep cleaning will make the process go quickly and efficiently. This generally means to start at the ceiling and finishing with the floor, moving around the room clockwise, to make sure you cover every spot and cover it only once. Although there are some exceptions to this rule (see below).

Step 1: LIGHTS – Start with cleaning the lighting fixtures.  Remove the covers of ceiling and wall fixtures, taking ample safety precautions if using a step ladder. For light to medium dust, clean the fixture in the dishwasher. If the fixture has a thick coat of dust, fill up the sink with warm soapy water and give it a good scrub by hand. Ceiling fans can be easily cleaned with an old pillowcase. With the pillow case and a damp microfiber cloth, climb the step ladder, place the pillowcase over the dusty fan paddle and pull the dust off and into the pillowcase. Repeat this process on each of the paddles.

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Follow by dusting each blade with the microfiber cloth to make sure any remaining residue is gone. After you have safely descended the ladder, take the pillowcase outside, turn it inside out and shake out the dust. Launder the pillowcase with soiled cleaning cloths and store with clean cloths so it will always be handy.

Step 2: WALLS – Instead of washing the walls use a microfiber mop and dust them.  Use a microfiber mop cover and a spray bottle of water. My favorite microfiber mop is called a Duop Mop has a ball joint that easily clean large open areas with just a wipe. Place the dry microfiber mop cover on the mop and spritz it lightly with water (never spritz water or cleaner directly on your walls or you may permanently spot them). Start at the base of the wall and clean up to the ceiling (walls are the one area where you will clean bottom to top to prevent staining them). Then wipe the dry mop head over the ceiling to collect cobwebs and dust.

Step 3: WOODWORK – Use a damp microfiber cloth to wash woodwork and baseboards. Start with the tops of door jams and windows, follow with the trim around the windows, ledges and sills and finish with the baseboards and toe molding. Don’t worry about smearing the glass on the windows, you will clean windows in a latter step.

Step 4: WINDOW TREATMENTS – Remove drapes and place them in the dryer to remove dust. Don’t bother placing them in the washer.  If they have a thick layer of dust, put a damp towel in the dryer with the curtains. This will remove the dust and leave them wrinkle free.

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Dust blinds by fulling closing them, wiping horizontally (with the blind slats) from top to bottom with a dampened microfiber cloth. Then, reverse the direction of the slats to the opposite fully closed position and completely dust this side in the same pattern.

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Step 5: WINDOWS – Using a fine woven microfiber cloth and a bucket of hot water, clean the glass on the windows – inside and out. You want your windows to be crystal clear when your guests wake in the morning.

Step 6: BED LINENS – Strip the bed and place the bedspread, comforter and pillows in the dryer on a high heat. This will remove dust and also kill dust mites. This is a perfect solution for those guests that could have dust and dust mite allergies. Wash all the sheets using a fragrance free laundry soap. Your guests may be sensitive to fragrances, so using a simple soap to clean the sheets will let them have a peaceful night’s sleep.

Step 7: DUSTING – Dust all the furniture with a damp microfiber cloth. Move the furniture away from the walls and clean behind and underneath them. Using a crevice tool on the vacuum, remove built up dust in the tight spots where the carpet meets the wall.  Use the soft upholstery brush to clean the outside edges of hardwood floors.

Step 8: FLOORS – Vacuum carpets by starting in the farthest spot and gradually working your way out of the room. Use the vacuum’s pattern to make sure you have covered every inch of carpet. Hardwood floors can be cleaned with the Duop Mop. Start with a damp mop head and a spray bottle of a gentle hardwood floor cleaner. Use my “bucketless mopping” technique, spraying and mopping as you go, for fuss-free floors that look like glass.

Step 9: COMFORT BASICS – Help your guests feel at home by attending to basic needs. Like placing bottled water on their night stand.  Make sure the room has an alarm clock set to the current time. Add a luggage rack or ottoman so suitcase contents are most accessible. Leave a charging cube in a convenient outlet so guests can power devices overnight.

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Step 10: COMFORT EXTRAS – Purchase a few new magazines on subjects they find interesting and array them on the dresser. Place some fresh flowers and some hard candies on the dresser so guests will feel like they are staying in a 5-star hotel.