present

The holiday season is almost here and in a few weeks most of our homes will be filled with house guests, family members and fun!  But who wants to spend the next few weeks cleaning?  I would rather be shopping, decorating, working, and exercising!

For the past ten years, I have had the privilege of having Thanksgiving dinner in my home.  This Thanksgiving will be a little more special than others because my family and I will celebrating two other occasions as well:

  1. My daughter’s birthday, which falls on Thanksgiving Day this year; and
  2. After one year, my mother is finally a few months away from moving back into her home that was destroyed from Hurricaine Sandy. It’s been a long ride, but we are moving on!

This holiday season, I have a lot to be thankful for.  My home will be filled with loving family, happy smiles and future memories, so I want my house to sparkle! But I don’t want to spend every second of the next few weeks cleaning. Here are some quick tips that I use around the holidays to keep my home fresh and clean throughout the season:

Keep the entryway clean. The first thing guests see when they arrive is the entryway, so keep it clean!  Wipe down the front door, give the doormat a good shake, and make sure dust and dirt are not building up on the legs of the furniture and floors.  Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down dust off of furniture and baseboards and use a HEPA filter vacuum to clean the floor.

In the Kitchen Series

Make that kitchen sparkle.  Guests always seem to gather around the food during the holidays, so make sure your kitchen looks and smells nice.  Dust light fixtures with a microfiber cloth.  Clean garbage disposals and garbage pails by cutting up a lemon and dropping half of it in the bottom of the pail and the other half into the disposal.  Flush drains with baking soda, white vinegar and warm water to remove grime.  Clean countertops with Castile soap and warm water.  Wipe down appliances with a clean microfiber cloth.

Got smells?  Bring a pot of water and your favorite holiday herbs to a boil.  This will keep your home smelling fresh for hours!  If all else fails, brew some coffee….the aroma of the coffee will cover up odors.

Remove stuck on food from ovens, sinks, and countertops.  aking soda and water combined makes a simple scouring solution that easily scrubs off baked-on gunk.

Keep your windows clean.  Clean, streak-free windows always makes a home sparkle.  For an easy window cleaner, mix vinegar and water in a spray bottle.  Mix well and spray!  Wipe down windows with a reusable microfiber cloth.

Prep your oven for all of that delicious holiday cooking. Even though I have a self-cleaning oven, there are a few stuck on food stains here and there that don’t come off when the oven cleans itself.  So, I have to rely on my good ‘ole natural oven cleaners to make my oven sparkle!

Toxic commercial oven cleaners always give me headaches and the fumes that come out of the can when I spray the cleaner are so strong that I have a hard time breathing.  One of the main ingredients in oven cleaners is lye.  Lye is extremely corrosive and can burn your skin and eyes, and it is usually fatal if swallowed.  Why would anyone want to clean their homes with such harmful products? Believe it or not, I make my oven sparkle by cleaning it with baking soda and water….that’s it!  A simple household mineral like baking soda can clean like magic!  The key is using enough of the mineral.

I like to clean my oven in the evening.  To clean my oven, I sprinkle baking soda all over the bottom of the oven until it is covered completely (about 1/4 of an inch of baking soda).  Next, using a clean spray bottle, I spray the baking soda with water until the baking soda is thoroughly damp but not flooded. After that, I let the mixture soak and do its thing!  Every couple of minutes, I dampen the baking soda again if it is drying out.  If the oven is filled with tough stains, I let the baking soda soak in the oven overnight.  In the morning, I just grab my microfiber cloth and wipe off the baking soda and the grime.  It’s that easy!  No scrubbing needed!  Just keeping wiping and rinsing until all of the baking soda is gone.

These are just a few of my favorite quick tips that can help keep your home ready for guests throughout the holidays.  What are your tips for keeping your home guest-ready during the holiday season? Share them with us!