Family Staying for a Visit? Here’s Our Emergency Cleaning Plan

An engaged couple clean their kitchen before wedding guests come to visit

Knock, knock. Who’s there? It’s your in-laws.

Whether you enjoy or dislike family company, there will come a time when they will come to visit. Here are some quick tips to clean and prepare your home for VIP guests. We have included some last minute touches that will leave a big impression.

The Basic Cleanup Plan

  • Top to Bottom: Start upstairs or at the highest level of your home. Do a quick clean sweep to pick up clutter and laundry with a basket. Wipe down furniture and dresser tops for dust. Change the guest bed sheets, fluff the pillows and add extra blankets. While in the guest room, check the lamps and light bulbs, organize and make space in the guest bedroom drawers and closet. Mop or vacuum the floors that they will be traversing during their visit.
  • Bathrooms: Tackle the bathrooms and pay special attention to the guest bathroom. Use a bathroom cleaner to pre-treat the shower, bathtub, countertops, and the toilet. Scrub the surfaces thoroughly after a few minutes. Use a glass cleaner to spray the mirrors and the faucets. Put out clean hand towels, guest soap and stock the linen closet with toilet paper, tissues and fresh towels. Check the bathroom trash can and discard any waste before putting in a new trash liner. Add a cleaning tablet in the toilet.
  • Common Space: Turn your attention to the highly trafficked and visible areas of your home. Vacuum rooms and hallways. Decorative baskets with lids are smart and quick ways organize and hide clutter. Straighten and wipe down pictures and décor.
  • Kitchen: Clean the kitchen last since it is usually the most time-consuming task. Clean and wipe down the counters. Wipe down the refrigerator, kitchen table, and the stove. Sweep the floors after you have cleaned off all the higher surfaces. Lastly, place a few coasters on coffee tables and counters.
  • A Final Walk-Through: Enter your home beginning at the front door. Walk to the guest bedroom, the guest bathroom, the living room and then go through the kitchen. As you walk through the house, pay attention to where you see clutter, and clean up anything that you might have missed.
A woman cleans a kitchen counter with a sponge

Finishing Touches That Make Your Home Shine

Small details can go a long way to making a guest feel welcome. Here are a few great details that make your guests feel extra special.

  • Fresh Flowers: Grab a bouquet of flowers at the grocery store. Put the vase of flowers in the guestroom or guest bathroom. Position another flower arrangement in the living room. Flowers can brighten any room with picture-perfect detail.
  • Candles: Scented candles bring warmth into any room. A warm scent will welcome visitors and add to the ambiance of your home. Your company will be comforted by a few flickering candles in the kitchen and one in the guest bathroom.
  • Guest Tray with Travel Items: You’re sure to be complimented and thanked when the in-laws have access to some helpful travel items. Grab a basket or platter and think of some good travel basics such as bottled water, phone charger, hair tie, toothbrush, nail file or mints. Be creative and simple, but don’t go overboard. To really shine, include a book on tourist attractions, the wifi password, and the front door key.
  • Alcohol: If the in-laws enjoy cocktails, check your supply of wine and spirits. They may have a favorite mixer or beverage, which you should have available.

Call a Cleaning Service

Another option is to schedule a professional cleaning service. The amount of time it takes to finish cleaning chores depends on the square footage of your home and how messy it is, and the time and energy it takes to finish the cleaning chores. Hiring a professional can be well worth the expense and save you valuable time, if you are in a pinch.

Here are some issues to consider when hiring a cleaning service:

  • Ask for References: The neighbors or a friend might be able to refer a housekeeper or a cleaning service. If your neighborhood is engaged in the Nextdoor social network, create a post to ask for house cleaning recommendations. As you call house cleaners, request the price for a one-time cleaning. Be specific as possible and tell them the estimated square footage, number of rooms and bathrooms, any special requests and an ideal schedule to get the work done. If it’s a small, local business, check to see if they would consider a discount if you pay in cash or if you write an online review.
  • On-Demand Sites: Today there’s an Uber-like service for everything. Check to see if a gig service you already use has housekeeping. Some popular sites that have listings for local cleaning contractors are:,, and
  • Check for Discounts: Look for local specials and Groupons for commercial cleaning services, like Merry Maids. There may be a discount for first-time costumers or if you join a mailing list. Call or check websites and social media for seasonal rates, discount codes, and coupons. Don’t forget to check mail inserts and leaflets, which may include local advertising specials.
A large bedroom in neutral beige tones

These tips are sure to leave an big impression on any visitor to your home, especially the in-laws. Just don’t forget to get the house key back before they leave!

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