Tips for a Clean, Guest-Ready Home

While the season for enjoying backyard BBQs and poolside parties with friends and family is behind us, as we gear of for the holidays, that means more entertaining. With a little planning, you can minimize time spent on daily chores and maximize time spent creating memories with guests.

Here are a few quick tips to clean and prep your home for a season of get-togethers - anytime day or night.

Load the dishwasher first. When you're throwing a get-together, the last thing you want is to open the dishwasher to find dirty dishes. Make sure to run the dishwasher the day before your guests arrive to ensure everything is clean when you need it.

Prepare dishes for the wash cycle. To ensure dishes get clean and dry the first time, scrape away large pieces of food and excess leftovers before loading, and the dishwasher will take care of the rest. Make sure your silverware gets the right water coverage by loading some pointing up and some pointing down, including knives. And remember, safety first, especially if kids are helping. If you don't plan to run the dishwasher immediately, remember to rinse foods such as mustard, mayonnaise and tomato based products as they may cause discoloration of plastics if allowed to sit for a long period of time.

Fill the upper rack, load the bottom. Cups, glasses, stemware, small plates and bowls are all welcome in the top rack. Make sure any plastic items go on top, too. Be sure to load open-ended items into the washer facing down for the best cleaning and draining. No more tumblers full of water. Save your biggest items for the edge of the lower rack. Face everything else - plates, large bowls, etc. - toward the center of the rack for a thorough clean.

Make it a family event. Throw a family cleaning party to get everyone involved with the get-together prep, making it quick and fun. Get creative and play a game to assign rooms to different family members. Put all rooms that need to be cleaned on a piece of paper, place them in a hat and have everyone pick. From dusting to loading the dishwasher to taking out the trash, the extra hands will be a big help; and before you know it, everyone will be out of the house and into the backyard to enjoy the sunshine.


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