How to Clean the House in 15 Minutes

By Camille Styles
How to Clean the House in 15 Minutes or Less

We’ve all been there… You’re rushing to get ready for people to come over: dinner’s in the oven, lipstick’s on, playlist is ready to go. Only prob is that in the mad dash to get ready, your house didn’t exactly get any attention and now you’ve got exactly 15 minutes to make it presentable for guests. Since this has been the story of my life lately, I’ve learned a thing or two about the art of cleaning the house in 15 minutes. Before you balk, I’m not talking a deep clean here… let’s save that for Sunday afternoon. I’m talking about the fake-it-til-you-make-it kind of straighten-up that makes your house appear to be cleaner that it really is and saves you from apologizing about your surroundings so you can concentrate on being the fun-loving hostess that you are. We teamed up with Seventh Generation to show you how to get it done, so click through the slides for the step-by-steps, as well as the most effective and safe cleaning products I use to tackle each task.

*photos by Kate Zimmerman

We start our power clean in the powder room (or whatever bathroom your guests will be using), since people will likely visit this space at some point in the evening and it’s one room that you never want to feel grimy.

Step #1: Empty the bathroom trash.

Step #2: Gather your bucket of supplies so you’re not running back and forth from the bathroom to the utility closet. My power clean toolkit includes All Purpose Natural Cleaner, Glass and Surface Natural Cleaner, and Natural Dish Liquid. They’re all from Seventh Generation, since I love knowing that my products will effectively remove dirt without creating any harsh fumes that could be harmful to me and my family.

Step #3: Lay out a pretty and clean hand towel. I love lightweight Turkish towels in bright colors that add a touch of style to the space.

Step #4: Set out a great smelling hand soap. I always like the soap in a guest bathroom to be mostly full so it feels fresh and new. This mandarin orange and grapefruit scent is my current favorite.

Step #5: Set a vase of flowers by the sink. Keep it simple — a monochromatic bunch of tulips, roses, or ranunculus is hard to beat.

Step #6: Light a scented candle. This step makes your bathroom feel instantly like a spa, so dim the lights and then head to the kitchen for the rest of your power clean… you have 5 minutes left!

Step #7: Empty the sink of any dishes — wash them or load up your dishwasher so dirties are out of site. This plant-based dish liquid makes quick work of hand-washing, fighting grease without any dyes or synthetic fragrances.

Step #7: Spray down the sink and countertops with a natural all-purpose cleaner. Give everything a good firm wipe-down with a gentle sponge. Then go ahead and load that sponge into the dishwasher which will kill any bacteria.

Step #8: One minute left! Make the countertops look pretty with a little creative styling. I usually gather up all the fruit that’s in my fridge and pile it up into a bowl next to my cookbooks; it’s a quick trick that makes a big visual difference.

You did it! Just in time for guests to start showing up. Now pour yourself a glass of wine and go have fun… you earned it!

I’d love to hear: if you only have 15 minutes, what quick cleaning steps do you always tackle?