It’s nearly November, and before you know it the holiday season will be here! The holidays are a time for fun and tradition, but it can be stressful to host a large portion of your extended family in your home. You want to make your home as clean and welcoming as possible, and to make a good impression on some of those snooty relatives! So, it’s not too soon to start thinking about your holiday cleaning plan, as early preparation will save you stress later down the road.

To help guide you on your holiday cleaning path, we’ve provided some deep cleaning suggestions below to make sure you don’t forget anything important on your cleaning list, as well as some special suggestions from Fresh Tech Maid owner, Wells Ye!

Make a Good First Impression

The first thing your guests will see when they come to your home is your door and entryway. As such, make sure to pay extra attention to this area so everyone will have a positive first impression. This will probably mean doing a deeper clean than you normally would, but it’s worth it to have a sparkling clean entryway! Start by thoroughly vacuuming or sweeping the entranceway, making sure to get in all the cracks and corners. Next, mop and scrub the floor, the door and doorframe, and any windows around the door. Make sure to clean and shake out the entry mat and dust any decorations that may be nearby.

Tip from Wells: Consider investing in chemical-free cleaning products this holiday season, as they will create a safer environment for your friends and family. Any sufferers of allergies or asthma will surely appreciate the lack of toxic chemicals in your home! Take a look at our ultimate guide to chemical-free cleaning for strategies and recommended products.

The Busiest Area is the Bathroom…

Having family over for the holidays means that the bathroom is going to be seeing a lot of traffic! This is the number one most important area to make sure is clean, as there is nothing that will make a worse impression than a grimy bathroom. Consider investing in a small, hand-held vacuum for quick clean-ups throughout the day. This is a great tool for removing hair from around the baseboards and corners. Make sure you set out freshly laundered towels for your guests to use, and ensure that they are easy for your guests to find. An important item to take into consideration is the hand towel. It must be big enough to accommodate plenty of usage, and not get soaking wet after just a few people use the sink. For some great deep cleaning tips, check out our blog on bathroom cleaning hacks.

Tip from Wells: Before you scrub down the toilet, add two dissolvable cleaning tablets to the bowl. This will help remove the initial layer of grime. If you have children, you can do this activity with them. Think of it like a mini chemistry lesson!

But the Most Critical Area is the Kitchen!

The other area to concentrate on is the kitchen, as most holiday get-togethers normally involve plenty of food! Make sure you thoroughly wipe down all the counters and stovetops after you are done preparing food, and mop up any crumbs that may have fallen on the floor. Don’t forget to wipe down the bottom of the inside of the fridge as well. Crumbs and other bits of food fall to the bottom of the refrigerator as you put items in and take them out. Pull out the produce drawers, discard spoiled produce, and wash drawers with lukewarm soapy water. Wipe the area beneath the drawers as food and spills often gather there. To keep your refrigerator smelling great, add an opened container of baking soda or a small plate with new coffee grounds to absorb odors. For the oven, try the self-cleaning approach instead of using heavy-duty cleaners, as these tend to be the most toxic. For the self-clean setting, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions carefully and get the kids and pets out of the house while it runs, as the fumes can be a health hazard for them. One special thing to focus on in the kitchen is the garbage. If you normally have your garbage and recycling cans in the kitchen, it may be a better idea to put them outside for the duration of the party, as they will most likely fill up quickly and start to smell if left inside.

Tip from Wells: Be sure to pay attention to the garbage disposal, as all the food waste going down the drain can also get a little smelly. To remedy this problem, without chemicals, simply chop up a lemon and feed the slices down the drain. This will neutralize any bad odors and create a refreshing lemon scent!

Go the Extra Mile

If there is any time to pull out all of the stops, it’s the holidays! Impress your friends and relatives with your thoughtfulness and taste. A great first step in perfecting your home for the holidays is to wash all of your decorative linens so they smell fresh; this includes any drapes, curtains, bedspreads, bathmats, shower curtains, and table cloths.

Cleaning these items is a good thing to do every once in a while anyway, and especially if you are pulling out holiday-themed linens that might be musty from storage. Another thoughtful gesture is to clear out your front closet so that guests have room to hang up their coats and store any bags or presents so that they are out of the way. If you are feeling really motivated, you could even organize all of your cabinets so nosy guests will have nothing to criticize! Be sure to also polish all dishes and silverware if you are planning on a fancier meal. Your guests will be impressed with how clean and fresh your home looks!

Tip from Wells: The amount of work to do can seem overwhelming, so get your kids to help you out! The younger kids can work on tasks like polishing the silver and folding laundry, while the older kids can help out with organizing and laying out decorations. It can be a lot of fun for everyone if you make a schedule with prizes and rock out to your family’s favorite music! Check out our ebook on chores for children of all ages for some helpful tips.

Think Ahead: Provide What Your Guests Will Need

Don’t be left fumbling around for that tiny slip of paper where you wrote down your home’s Wi-Fi password. You know guests will want to avoid unnecessary data charges by connecting their devices to your wireless network, so have the network name and wifi password displayed where they can find it easily. How about on a chalkboard or pinned to the fridge? Another considerate gesture is to provide guests with their own set of house keys and hotel-like “area information,” as this gives them the freedom to come and go as they please. They might need to do last-minute gift shopping, visit other friends or family in your town, or even just go for a jog to counteract all the holiday treats!

Tip from Wells: With airport rules warning against gift-wrapped packages and houseguests likely doing some last-minute shopping, provide a kit full of everything they need to wrap up their presents. This way, they don’t have to sheepishly ask if they can “borrow” some paper and tape.

Make Space

If you’re expecting an onslaught of new catalogs, books, clothing, toys, and other holiday goodies, December is a good time to donate older items to a local thrift shop or non-profit organization. Make space for gifts before they arrive to avoid a cluttered environment after the holidays. This also helps to clear out room for your guests, so they don’t have to live out of their suitcases! Long-term visitors especially will appreciate access to their own cupboards and dressers.

Tip from Wells: A small detail that can make a big difference to judgmental relatives is old magazines! Remember to also clear out any magazine racks or old issues on coffee tables that may be laying around.

Invest in Clean Air

If you haven’t had your air ducts cleaned in the past two years, now is the time! Dust, mold, allergens, and other contaminants can get circulated through your home if you have dirty air ducts. This problem can become more pronounced once you close your windows during the colder months. Clean air ducts are especially important if you have family members who are allergic to dust or other air-borne allergens.

Tip from Wells: Never underestimate the power of pretty plants, as they literally breathe life into the room! Preferable to fresh-cut flowers because of their longevity and easy maintenance, plants can easily add holiday flair to the guest rooms and throughout the house. House plants also work to “clean up” the indoor air. Check out Part 2 of our chemical-free cleaning guide for more information on which house plants are best at purifying the air.

Plan Ahead

Schedule professional cleanings in advance. If you want your home to look fresh before your family arrives or just in time for a holiday party, schedule a carpet cleaning and upholstery cleaning service, a drapery and/or blind cleaning service, and other required professional cleanings in advance of the event.

Tip from Wells: Make sure you make your cleaning appointment well in advance of your event, as the holidays are a very busy time for the cleaning industry!

Just Breathe

If you stay organized with a checklist and stick to a cleaning schedule, you’ll be taking important steps toward maintaining a clean home. If other problems occur – and they probably will – just breathe. Fresh Tech Maid is here to help you address any problems that arise, as well as to bring your home back to its clean, normal state after the holiday rush.

Tip from Wells: If you are still feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work to be done to get your home ready for the holidays, Fresh Tech Maid is always here to help!