How to Fake a Clean Home in Minutes Flat! {Speed Cleaning 101}

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Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

In my dreams, my home is immaculate. When company drops in unexpectedly, they’ll never find a dust bunny or dirty dish, just some fresh cookies in the oven and a sparkling clean home. But let’s be real– when you live with two young kids, a cat, and a husband this is an impossible dream because LIFE HAPPENS.  We have LEGOs, dishes, and books… all currently spread across my kitchen table, I might add. So what to do when your phone rings and unexpected company is on its way? Or if you only have 15 minutes after getting home from the soccer game before friends arrive? asked me to share my best cleaning tips, so here’s my proven system on how to fake a clean home in just MINUTES, step-by-step. I’ve even broken it down into what to do depending on how much time you have in the handy guide below!

A few tips before we get to the Speed Cleaning System:

First things first: focus only on the rooms your guests will see. For us, this is the kitchen/living room/ playroom. Plus always the main bathroom. That’s one room that can get dirty quickly so it’s ALWAYS on my must-clean list no matter how much time I have.

Second, it’s helpful to have a clean ‘base’. Due to my busy schedule, I have housecleaners come in once a month to give my home a good scrubdown. This way, I know my home is deep cleaned and it’s way easier to maintain in smaller chunks of time.

Third, this seems like common sense but it’s really true: the best way to have your home look clean is to clear off any flat surfaces. Your home could be immaculate but if you have immaculately cleaned clutter on every surface your eye will still read it as ‘messy’. So keeping those tables and counters clear is key to a fake clean home! In everyday life, try to keep small appliances stashed away and things neatly tucked where the eye can’t see them.

I’d show you a ‘BEFORE’ photo, but it gives me anxiety. Here’s what happened when I un-decorated, ahhhhhh…

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

Now, onto the Speed Cleaning System!

1. Speed through a quick pick-up (5-10 minutes): the level of picking up depends on how much time you have before guests arrive. Only have a few minutes? Grab a laundry basket and throw everything inside and stuff in a closet or spare room. Just be sure to properly put everything away as soon as the guests leave. My husband once used a hockey stick to ‘sweep’ the toys in the playroom to the side which made it super easy to put everything in the toy bin. I don’t love this method because I believe in the ‘everything in its place’ theory, but when you gotta pickup quick, it works! If you have more time, enlist the troops to put everything where it belongs as quickly as possible. The Maids has a great list of age-appropriate cleaning tasks for the kids. REMEMBER: CLEAR THOSE SURFACES.

Here’s my dining room before I did a speedy pick-up (look, even the cat is eye-rolling the clutter):

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

I put away the bookbag and then threw the rest of that junk into my 31 tote and placed in a closet. THE CAT’S EXPRESSION HERE IS EVERYTHING, he is so over it.

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

Here it is literally one minute later, kapow! {Cat: “I’m so lonely without the clutter!”}

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

Another trick: since my dining room also serves as my office/ project room, I have a large basket in the corner to hide my stuff. Here’s the back-to-school junk. Now you see it:

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

And now you don’t!

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

2. Wipe down countertops and tables (5 minutes): Now that the clutter is gonzo, spray all the countertops and tables and wipe them down. If time remains, put dishes in the dishwasher and start it up. If not, hey, at least they’re in the sink and *kinda* hidden. This is a FAKE clean, after all!

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

3. Hit up the bathroom (5-10 minutes): focus only on the bathroom your guests may be using. First, put toilet cleaner in the toilet and let it work its magic while you do other tasks. Wipe down the sink and faucet. Next, clean the outside/ seat of the toilet, and then scrub the inside and flush. Check the floor in case that needs some attention, a quick swipe with a paper towel does a world of good. If this room has a shower or bathtub, place all bath toys inside and close the curtain or shower door. Make sure there’s enough toilet paper, hand soap and clean towel to wipe hands and you’re good to go! (PS: if the bathroom is a little, ahem, ‘unpleasantly scented’, a drop of Purification in the toilet bowl works wonders).

4. Do a quick ‘staging’ for the finishing touches (5 minutes) Make sure pillows are on the couch (and not all over the floor, coughcough, little kiddos). Fold throw blankets and put out coasters. Take out the trash if needed. If you have a home diffuser, add a favorite blend of essential oils and get it going (we love lemon and lavender when guests arrive. They always comment how nice it smells!)

5. Still have time? (3-15 minutes): If you only have a minute, quickly sweep any egregious areas of the floor. If you have a few minutes, vacuum. Start in the worst areas such as under the kitchen table and if time remains hit the rest of the rooms where guests will hang out. If you REALLY have some extra time, wash those floors– even if you just wipe down the areas that need it most.

When in doubt, I just hang this up and call it a day:

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

Whew! You did it! You {fake} cleaned your home in under 15 minutes (or a bit longer, if needed). A bit of hustle helps, but personally I work best under pressure. When that doorbell rings, your home will be sparkling and you can stop worrying about the dirty pajamas your son left in the playroom (because they’re now in a laundry basket) or a stinky bathroom (because now it’s *mostly* clean!)  Obviously, deep cleaning is always ideal when when you’re in a rush a FAKE clean does wonders!

Many thanks to for partnering with me to present this speed cleaning post on How to Fake a Clean Home in Just Minutes!

Company coming? Quick, here's how to speed clean your home in minutes!

And if you’re ready to try more natural cleaning ingredients, click the image below to get a free ebook for cleaning your home with vinegar:

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  1. Hi. I just wanted to mention that some people (like me) are allergic to scents. So instead of you r scents, I suggest you turn on your oven to about 150 degrees, place a piece of tin foil in an oven proof pan and add about a tsp of vanilla to the foil. Set it in the oven and you house will smell like fresh baked cakes / cookies. The bonus is no one that is allergic to scents will react to this >)

    1. Hi Janice! Are you allergic to scents, or to chemicals that are often used to make scents? Thankfully essential oils don’t contain any proteins, so people who typically have allergic reactions don’t have them to the oils. My husband has asthma and most synthetic scents do bother him but the oils don’t since they’re all natural and don’t contain pollen or anything like flowers would. That is a great suggestion about the vanilla, thanks for sharing!

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