The Handbook

Clean Your
Place Fast

One of the main reasons so many of us put off cleaning is because it often feels like an immense amount of work. And who's got time for that? So we ignore it for as long as we can, only to have it become more and more overwhelming. Then you've got someone coming over and your place is an embarrassing wreck. But no more. With this simple and strategic plan, you can get your whole place clean in about 45 minutes.


Turn on
Some Music

Of course, you don't need a distraction, but by listening to your favorite tunes (or perhaps an interesting podcast or NPR program) you can certainly make this chore much more enjoyable.


Stash Clutter

We doubt you're the type that has piles of clothes in his bedroom or rumpled towels in the bathroom, but if that's the case, stuff all that stuff where it belongs—in the hamper. Corral tabletop clutter and any out-of-place odds and ends into a basket, box or bin that you can stow out of sight for now and sort through it later.

Tackle the Bathroom

Start by removing any items from the top of the sink, tub ledge and toilet tank. Then spray those surfaces with the foaming cleaner and let those bubbles go to work. In the meantime, swap out your towels for a fresh set (or, at least, straighten them up on the towel bar). Clean off any mirror splotches and polish up the chrome fixtures with your all-surface cleaner. Finish up by wiping away the foaming cleanser's bubbles with a wet cloth or sponge.


For tough soap scum inside your shower, sprinkle a dyer sheet with a few drops of water and use it to wipe away built-up soap residue.

Fix the Fabrics

Make your bed and fluff up your pillows for a tidy, fresh hotel feel. Smooth out the sofa's cushions and straighten up the pillows. If you've got a throw on the couch, fold it and hang it neatly over the back.

Wipe Down All Surfaces

Don't try to wipe around stuff. Clear your tables, dresser top, nightstand and coffee table and then wipe them down with an all-purpose cleaner. This also allows you to straighten stacks of books and other items when you put them back onto said surfaces.


Use a coffee filter to remove dust from computer and TV screens.

Empty the Sink Trashcans

Even if the rest of your kitchen is spotless, a sink full of dirty dishes makes it look filthy. Load up your dishwasher and don't worry about pre-rinsing— research shows that it doesn't get your dishes any cleaner. No dishwasher? Let dishes soak in hot water for five minutes while you tidy up the rest of the kitchen to make your scrubbing easier. Put all the dishes away and then empty all the trashcans in your place. Like a made bed, an empty trashcan just looks cleaner.



This should be your final step. After all the dust and debris from your other cleaning has settled on the floor (with the rest of the dirt, crumbs, dust bunnies and stray hairs), run your vacuum quickly through the living room, bedroom and any other rugs in the house, like in the entry way. You can also vacuum the floors in your kitchen and bathroom, but make sure you've got the rotating brush roller turned off (there's likely a setting for wood/tile floors). If you don't have it turned off, you'll scatter dust and dirt instead of picking it all up.

Tool Kit

- Foaming bathroom cleaner like Scrubbing Bubbles

- An all-surface cleaner like Seventh Generation

- Coffee filters

- Small towels

- Vacuum

- Dish soap and sponge

Got Pet Hair?

A sticky lint roller is great for removing the little hairs from fabric. But if you've got a lot of fur to deal with, pull on some rubber gloves and get them slightly damp. Run your hands over your furniture, balling up the hair as you go.