If you’re anything like us, you undoubtedly have the best intentions when entertaining or welcoming guests into your home. The highest thread counts for the guest bedroom sheets! Fresh flowers and scented candles at every bedside! Ice-cold sparkling water and freshly baked cookies available 24/7!
But let’s face it: That isn’t reality. If you’re also anything like us, the 24 hours before guests arrive are a whirlwind of last-minute cleaning and stashing rogue belongings in closets and under beds … not picking wildflowers for handmade bouquets or spritzing linens with lavender spray.
Your guests likely aren’t looking to step into a page of Better Homes & Gardens Magazine … but they do expect things to be, at the very least, clean. To help, we’ve come up with the top things in your house that are likely to gross out your guests (some of which you might not even have thought about). So roll up your sleeves, grab your gloves and get to cleaning.
1. Dirty bathrooms
OK, this one shouldn’t be much of a surprise. But just in case you didn’t already know, your disgusting bathroom is really grossing people out. And we’re talking more than the toilet here (though that’s DEFINITELY an area that should be addressed pre-guests).
Rings around the tub, orange grime on the shower floor, and soap scum in the sinks might not be harmful, but they can make your guests wonder how well the house is actually maintained. Scrub the spots you can visually see to remove grime and gunk. And don’t forget the baseboards! Bathroom baseboards are a mecca for dust, dirt and hair.
2. Your shower curtain liner
And speaking of bathrooms … when’s the last time you washed or got a new shower curtain liner? Let’s face it: Nobody wants to see your discolored or mildewed liner when they step into the shower to … get clean. If you’re in a pinch for time, toss your liner into the washer with a cup of vinegar and a few towels; run a short cycle for five minutes, then let everything soak for an hour. Turn the cycle back on, and hang the liner up to dry.
If it’s been a few millennia since you’ve even given your liner a second thought, it miiiight be time to get a new one. Just sayin.
3. Water stains
Got stains? Water stains on the ceiling or moldy, rotting wood around the windows is guaranteed to gross out your guests. Beyond the gross factor, it can also mean big problems for the structure of your home later! Repair water stains fast – don’t just try to conceal it, or you’ll have a lot more to deal with than judgement.
4. Pet hair
Are tumbleweeds of pet hair floating across the living room? Are your clothes catching so much hair that you’re starting to look like you have your own coat of fur? Nothing says “welcome to our home” like never-ending tufts of pet hair coating your guests wherever they go. In addition to regular brushing and grooming of dogs and cats, vacuuming regularly (like weekly at a minimum) is your best best for keeping the hair at bay. (Another tip – this might be the Christmas to finally ask for a robotic vacuum.)
Guests are a few blocks away? If you’re in a pinch, grab some rubber gloves and run them over the surface you want to clean (like your couch) to quickly gather all the pet hair on your upholstery. You can also try objects like shoes, balloons or lint rollers.
5. Hand towels
One of our absolute favorite things as a guest is when the bathroom hand towel is already damp! Isn’t it fantastic drying your hands on something that … isn’t dry?
For real, guys: Switch out your towels, and frequently. Bath towels, decorative towels (even if you think guests aren’t using them) and even dish rags hold moisture and can be breeding grounds for germs. Plus, they’re just kind of gross if you don’t know where they’ve been. If you’re having a party, consider disposable (but recyclable) hand towels to keep guests dry and happy. If guests are staying over, put out a fresh towel before they arrive, and stash a few extras within sight in case they want to swap out after a day or two.
6. Your disgusting carpet
Oh, for the love. Do you like hanging out in rooms with gross, stained, smelly carpet? NO! If you live in a house with carpet, then investing in an upright carpet cleaner (or at least a handheld spot cleaner) is an absolute must. From kids to pets to everyday wear and tear, carpet is a fabric that needs love just like any others – you just unfortunately can’t roll it up and toss it in the washer.
If you’re expecting company and your carpet leaves a bit to be desired, get the professionals in for some recon, stat. Many carpet cleaning companies will do 2-3 rooms for a nominal price, while including a coating of carpet protectant to keep your floors cleaner longer. (Pro tip: It’s actually a good idea to keep the pros on speed-dial. Go ahead and calendar a regular professional cleaning once or so a quarter.)
For any spills or stains after a professional cleaning, use your at-home upright or handheld to spot clean – then ban those who are the messiest in your house from touching it until after your guests leave. 🙂
7. Carpet in the bathroom
In a word, gross. Carpeted bathroom floors are a breeding ground for mold and mildew, due to the room being a high-moisture area. So unless you’ve splurged on mildew- and stain-resistant carpet (which will likely be lost on your guests, anyway), rip up your fuzzy flooring, pronto. (That also goes for those fuzzy toilet seat covers. Just no.)
8. Used pillows
Use the guest room to stash those old pillows you can’t bring yourself to toss? Let’s get real: If you wouldn’t sleep on those pillows, your guests shouldn’t have to, either.
Old pillows past their prime will contain months (if not years) of built-up dirt, oils, drool, dust mites, mold, mildew and other gross things. So come on – Ditch the old pillows and invest in high-quality, washable pillows and pillow protectors (which you should also wash regularly). Your guests will thank you.
9. Old loofahs, sponges and bars of soap
It’s thoughtful to provide toiletries for your guests … but not ones that can hold bacteria or are so old they’re stuck to the shower ledge. If providing loofahs or other shower accessories, buy them new for each guest (and keep the tag on so they know it’s new) … then toss them after the guests leave. And for bars of soap? New in the box or not at all! The last thing a guest wants to be greeted by in the shower is an old, cracked bar of soap riddled with hair and lint. We’re shuddering just writing that.
10. Sticky cabinets
Another cringe-inducer? Sticky cabinet surfaces, which are typically the result of grease buildup from months and years of cooking. When cleaning up the kitchen, make sure to wipe down not only your countertops – but also the front of your cabinets, outside of the microwave (and the inside, if you’ve been harboring a food explosion) and the top of your hood range before guests arrive. Prevent future gunk by replacing the filters in your hood regularly, and using your stove’s fan (and/or opening windows) when frying food.
Taking stock of your home and are sufficiently disgusted with the cleaning you’ve been overlooking? Grab that bleach and get to scrubbing! Your guests (and probably your family) will thank you. Or at least want to come back for a return visit.