Ditch The Dirt
You may not detail-clean your house when your best friend is dropping by for the weekend, but smudgy baseboards and other small details could leave a big impression on your mother-in-law or your boss. So, allow a little extra time in your pre-visit prep for a thorough, detailed clean. Here are a few tips.
To start your detail cleaning, focus on ceiling fans, light fixtures and vents. Dust accumulates on these high surfaces. While some dust will drift to the floor no matter what cleaning tool you choose, skip the old-fashioned feather duster; it doesn't capture the dust as well on the first pass. Climb a sturdy ladder, and use a cloth and an all-purpose cleaner to wipe down fan blades and plastic or glass light fixture covers (after turning them off, of course). Vacuum any cloth light fixture covers, such as lampshades, with the upholstery attachment. Remove and wash heating and cooling vents with warm, soapy water. If your vacuum has an extension hose, sweep out the inside of the vent. If not, use a damp paper towel. Before you switch all your fixtures back on, replace any burnt-out bulbs. Swipe a just-damp paper towel over any dusty light bulbs.
You were probably planning to sweep, vacuum and mop already. Before you tackle those floor chores, though, grab a soapy sponge and attack your baseboards. Baseboards collect scuff marks, dust and random, unidentifiable spots. As you scrub, follow the damp sponge with a dry cloth or paper towel so that you aren't leaving water spots in your wake. Apply this same technique to molding and risers on wood stairs.
While you're looking at the floor, check the feet of your furniture. Pet hair accumulates around the table legs and sofa feet, and these spots are crumb magnets if you have kids. Swipe a lint roller or a big piece of tape around these areas.
Last, check outlet covers for smudges. Plugging and unplugging laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices can leave behind fingerprints. Spray a towel or cloth with all-purpose cleaner (instead of spraying the outlet directly) and wipe away smudges.
Check at Eye Level
After you finish with the ceiling elements, take a seat wherever your guests are most likely to sit. Glance around the room from their vantage point. Note any picture frames that need to be straightened and knickknacks that need to be scrubbed. Try this task from a few different seating areas (including the dining room if you'll be serving food) to identify any areas you might have overlooked during a routine clean.