The festive period is now in full swing, and it’s time to start planning those Christmas gatherings. But fun, food and drinks often spell disaster for carpets, upholstery and the general cleanliness of a home.
Keeping a home completely clean and tidy at this time of year is an impossible task — so don’t even try it. But by planning ahead, you can keep your home in a reasonably good state. As long as you have the right tools for the job, cleanliness doesn’t have to become a serious issue during Christmastime.
You don’t need to sacrifice time with your family in order to keep everything spick and span. If you have a plan of action in place — and lots of help — you can look forward to a very clean and uncluttered festive period. Don’t believe us? Here are a few tips for cleaning a home at Christmas.
Start with a deep clean
The week before Christmas is the perfect time to get your home ready. Think of this as a spring clean in the winter. Ideally, you want to start from a clean slate, otherwise you’ll never get on top of holiday cleaning.
Clean every room from top to bottom — quite literally. Start with the higher cleaning jobs, as gravity sends dust hurtling to the ground. The last job in every room should be the vacuuming. Just make sure you have the best vacuum cleaner for the floor type you’re dealing with.
If there’s one thing that’s guaranteed during a family Christmas at home it’s clutter. Wrapping, packaging, decorations, gifts and many other types of festive paraphernalia can leave your home looking like a bomb site — unless you’re ready for it.
The chances are there’ll be quite a few new products coming to your home over the Christmas week. It’s therefore a good idea to make way for them. Go through every room, and remove anything that’s not used, broken or simply unwanted. This is a great way to do your bit for charity at this time of year. Simply gather everything into categories, and take it to your favourite charity shops.
Don’t forget to trawl through all your Christmas decorations. The average family amasses a huge amount of tinsel and festive paraphernalia over the years. They take up unnecessary space, and can often be put to better use in homes that need them.
Hold a daily cleaning blitz every morning
Every member of a household needs to play their role in keeping a home clean at Christmas. And if everyone does, you should be able to stay on top of the situation. Every morning throughout the festive period, get everyone to clean their allotted space for 10 minutes. This should include vacuuming, polishing, decluttering and attacking dirt and stains wherever you find them.
Hold a daily cleaning blitz every evening
Of course, no one wants to clean after a long day of festive celebration. However, by getting together and performing another cleaning blitz, you can start the next day the right way. You won’t be cleaning up party food and dirty dishes, so you’ll have a little more time for more detailed cleaning jobs.
Create a Christmas cleaning schedule
The last thing you want to be doing at key times of the festive period is cleaning. And if you take a structured, organised approach, you’ll never have to. Create a cleaning schedule containing all of the essential jobs — including tasks such as cleaning toilets, baths and kitchen appliances. Assign a person to each job, as well as a time. This way, you can ensure everyone is free to have fun at the times that really matter.
Prioritise high-traffic areas
You probably won’t be able to keep your home as clean and tidy as it usually is — so don’t try! Instead, accept that there’s going to be a degree of mess around you until January 2nd. But by prioritising high-traffic areas, you can create the impression of a much cleaner and tidier home. Keep clutter away from thoroughfares and surfaces. And give this areas priority when it comes to cleaning.
For example, make sure you have the best vacuum cleaner for a family home at the ready. If it’s mobile, versatile, lightweight and packed with a range of accessories, vacuuming the main areas of your home should be a quick and simple task. Similarly, a powerful steam mop or handheld steam cleaner can make short work of floors and surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom.
Clean and tidy as you go
Although you’ll be benefiting from a 10-minute cleaning blitz every morning, you should never take your eye off the ball. Whether you’re laying out Christmas dinner or opening presents, you should remain vigilant for messes and stains. Rather than leaving them until later, try to deal with them as you pass.
For example, if you notice cranberry on the carpet, clean it up immediately with the necessary tools and supplies. Incidentally, it’s always a good idea to keep these items close at hand — in all the main rooms of your home.
Do laundry first thing in the morning
Laundry is a thankless task, and it’s nothing something that’s particularly enjoyable at Christmas. This is because it involves a serious amount of noise and disruption — particularly if you have a small home. It’s usually a good idea to get it done as early in the day as possible. This way, people won’t be tripping over piles of ironing or dirty clothes when they’re enjoying the festivities.
Wash dishes immediately
A kitchen or dining room full of dirty dishes isn’t exactly conducive to festive fun. This is a time of year when dirty dishes in the average home multiply very quickly, so it’s vital that you stay on top of the situation — especially on Christmas Day. Two people should wash dishes after every meal. If you don’t have a dishwasher, one can wash and one can dry. And if you do, one can load and one can unload.
Never leave a room empty-handed
The amount of rubbish and general clutter than accumulates in a home at Christmas is staggering. And the worse it gets, the more difficult it is to see the wood for the trees. From the very beginning of the festive period, try to stay on top of the situation. Impose a rule that no one can leave a room without first checking for clutter or rubbish. This way, your main rooms will remain relatively clear and clean.
Impose a no-shoe rule
You might make time to clean your floors regularly throughout the year — but time is precious at Christmas. To minimise your floor cleaning commitments, insist that everyone removes their shoes before entering your home. No exceptions! Carpet cleaning is tough enough at the best of times. But when there’s snow, salt and mud outside, it can become a nightmare.
Protect your flooring
If you like to invite friends and family around in numbers at this time of year, you need to prepare for high footfall. If you have an expensive carpet or real wood on your floors, it’s probably best to give them a little added protection. As well as banning shoes, place mats and runners in high-traffic areas. You may also want to limit festivities to rooms with tougher flooring, such as tile and lino.
Some mess and dirt is inevitable at Christmas. After all, the average home welcomes a lot more food and visitors at this time of year. But if you remain vigilant and plan ahead, festive cleaning doesn’t have to detract from your enjoyment of the season