10 Steps to Fake a Clean House in 20 Minutes or Less!

You have been there. That call or text from your mother-in-law, friend, or husband bringing the boss by for dinner…

“I’ll be there in 20 minutes”

BUT. The house is a MESS! What to do? Here’s 10 awesome ways to fake a clean house in 20 minutes or less! All you need are a laundry basket or two, air freshener, some spray cleaner, and a couple of rags or towels:

1. Focus on three key rooms:

  • Living Room
  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom

(if you have time – dining room too)

These are the three rooms that most guests will see. There’s no need for them to go into the bedrooms or garage. Open ALL of the windows if it’s daylight hours. 

2. Grab a laundry basket


Go through the living room and throw everything that doesn’t belong in the basket. Doesn’t matter what it is (heck, it’s not staying organized on the floor, right? Check the kitchen for that wayward toy or other random items that don’t go there. Picking up all of the stuff off the floor should take about 3 minutes. Work quick! When you are done, stash the basket in a bedroom or the garage.

3. Dust the furniture

Grab a damp cloth or some furniture polish and wipe down all surfaces quickly. Key places are the coffee table and TV screen. another 2 minutes for this little task. While you are doing this stack any magazines, books, etc.

4. Move onto the kitchen and fill the sink with soapy water


Bubbles will hide all of the dirty dishes you throw in there while it’s filling up. about 3 minutes for this easy task.

5. Wipe down the kitchen counters.

Push appliances to the back of the counters against the wall. Leave the spray bottle on the counter. 3 minutes!


Sweep the kitchen if it needs it (probably does). 2 minutes for this!

7. Bathroom time! 


Grab the bleach and pour some into the toilet. swish it around and let it sit (for now) 1 minute for this!

8. Grab another smaller basket

Sweep everything that won’t break or spill off the counter and floor and into the basket and stash under the sink – or in the shower with the curtain closed (close the curtain anyway). Leave soap and any decorative items out. 1 minute for this!

9. Wipe down sink and restock toilet paper/hand towels/toilet

Include the faucet and mirror in this! Wipe it all down with cleaner. Flush the toilet and close the lid and spray some air freshener. 2 minutes for this!

10. Get the vacuum out and throw a load of laundry in if your washing machine is nearby

You don’t have to use the vacuum, just having it out gives the illusion of it being used a lot. Starting the washer gives that nice whirring that something is being done and also gives a sense of calm. Weird but true! you only need 2 minutes to get these done.

Whew! See how fast you can do it if you keep it simplified? Your guests will think you worked all day! In the future you can avoid these quick-and-dirty jobs by having a labeled laundry basket for each member of the family and make them keep their own things in them. Saves time right there!