The Best 30-Minute Cleaning Routines, According to Professional Cleaners

For when you don't have much time on your hands.

Spring cleaning is great and all—but sometimes you don't have all the time in the world to do a top-down clean of your entire home. Sometimes, all you have is 30 minutes from the moment someone sends an "I'm in the neighborhood, can I stop by?" text and the moment they're at your front door.

If you need to tidy up your home in a hurry, there are still plenty of ways to make a visible difference in about half an hour. For advice, we asked professional cleaners’ what tips and tricks they have for a short-yet-productive cleaning routine. Use their advice below for a quick and effective clean—which will leave you more free time and less energy spent on household chores.

Beautify the bathrooms 

Grime buildup and hair quickly make the bathroom one of the most challenging rooms to clean—but, you can make a big dent in just 30 minutes. Floritza Espinal, director of housekeeping at Conrad New York Midtown, says a three-step plan can get your bathroom sparkling clean. First, she says to spray bathroom cleaner all over the dirtiest spots in the bathroom—in the shower, toilet, and sink—and let the cleaner sit for 10 minutes to activate. “Then, while that is sitting, take 10 minutes and wipe down all the counter services,” she says. Finally, once the cleaning spray has done it's job, the final cleaning round happens. “Wipe down the bathroom, scrub all the chemicals down, and lightly mop the floors for 10 minutes,” Espinal adds. 

Focus on guest living spaces 

When you invite company to your home, it’s always a good idea to prioritize the cleanliness of the communal areas of your home. Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, president at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba in Chicago, Illinois, says a good way to streamline cleaning your home is to determine where your guests will be staying.

Will they spend most of their time hanging out on the couch in the living room? Are they staying the night in one of your guest bedrooms? “Figuring out where they'll be spending most of their time will help you determine which areas of the house you need to concentrate on cleaning in that small amount of time,” she explains. To tidy up in about 30 minutes, Rodriguez-Zaba says organization is key to your home appearing cleaner. “People are naturally drawn to symmetry and order, so neatly arrange your decorative pillows on the couch, and fold that blanket or throw,” she says. And, if your guests are arriving in the evening, dim the lights to create a nice ambience and light some candles, she says. If your guests are arriving during the day, Rodriguez-Zaba suggests to avoid opening all your blinds and shutters as a bright home will make the dust and dirt in your home more visible to the naked eye. (But, of course, if you have the time, dusting and vacuuming before guests arrive is ideal.)

Reach for your handheld vacuum 

To quickly clean up your home when you’re short on time, Rodriguez-Zaba says a small handheld vacuum is going to be your best friend. While a full, thorough vacuuming of your entire home can require more time, you can easily "spot treat" your home with a handheld vacuum in under 30 minutes. Go through your home and vacuum any small, visible debris, Rodriguez-Zaba says, "especially the ones that accumulate on your darker furniture," or any spots where debris is most obvious.

Spruce up your home office 

Having a tidy home office that’s free of clutter can promote productivity. “Instead of waiting for the small messes to pile up in your home workspace, take initiative to clean after every workday to reset your space and prepare for a focused and productive next day,” says Anna Caricari, a professional cleaner with Two Maids in Pensicola, Florida. After you wrap up your last call or task of the day, she recommends spending 30 minutes to get everything back in order. Place writing utensils back in a cup or drawer, put any crumpled papers or wrappers in the trash can, and return any dishes to the kitchen, wipe your desk and chair down to prevent dust build-up, and gently use a soft damp cloth to clean your computer or laptop keyboard and screen. 

Conquer your kitchen

To do a 30-minute speed clean routine in your kitchen, start with taking out the trash and replacing hand towels, says Amanda Day, 25-year home service professional for Molly Maid, a Neighborly brand based in Little Rock, Arkansas.  

Next, take everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen, and put it in its rightful place, she says. Take the time to open up the fridge and take an inventory of what can be tossed. “Expired food or leftovers? Time to toss it out and make space in your fridge and eliminate bad odors,” Day says.

Another list item to tackle is your stove. If you have a gas stove, Day says to place stove top burner grates in a sink of hot, soapy water and soak them while cleaning countertops. “Spray all countertops and appliances, both large and small, with half vinegar/half water solution, then wipe with a microfiber cloth," Day says. Then, once you're done, remove the stove top burner grates from the sink, scrub them with a sponge, and replace them on the stove. (If you have an electric stove, wipe it down as you're wiping the rest of your appliances. "And, while you’re at it, clean crumbs from the toaster,” Day adds.

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