lady vacuuming her messy house

10 Best Tips: How to Clean Your House in 2 Hours

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How to clean your house in 2 hours or less is a tall order. I’ve come up with a plan that has worked well for me.

Imagine if your Bible study leader calls and asks if it’s okay to have their meeting at your house tonight. Does this strike panic in your heart?  It would mine on most days!

Here are some tips for cleaning that messy house in less time.

Basic Plan to Clean Your House in 2 Hours or Less

Whether you are having guests or not, pretend that you are. Focus on the main visible areas of your home, and follow my step-by-step plan to declutter and lightly clean each area. Those areas are usually the kitchen/dining area, living room, guest bathroom, front and back porches, and the entryway. Do not get distracted by deep cleaning the rest of the house.

lady sweeping her floor, lady cleaning kitchen sink

Prepping Tips

  • Assess your entire house and identify areas that need the most attention.
  • Think through what a guest would see while entering your home.
  • Your kitchen cabinets, laundry room, or messy garage will not be the first thing people will see.
  • It will likely be cluttered kitchen counters, toys, or dirty clothes scattered on the floor. Be sure these areas are taken care of before tackling anything else.
  • Grab a box or a laundry basket and gather the toys, dirty clothes, and items cluttering your counters. Put the box in a room where guests will not go, and deal with this later.
  • Don’t worry about dirty clothes or laundry at this point.
  • If you are in desperate need to get some clean clothes, throw a load of laundry in your washing machine while you are working.

Does it Matter What Order to Clean Your House?

lady in apron vacuuming her house

Age-Old Question: Dust or Vacuum First?

Martha Stewart says to dust first. Therefore I say to dust first!? To dust first makes sense if dusting from top to bottom.

What is the Best Order to Clean Your House?

Be sure to gather all clutter up and out of the way.

We are focusing on cleaning quickly in this article; however, these are the general principles we can apply specifically to our tasks:

Moving top to bottom, left to right, work through each room:

  • Dust from top to bottom
  • Clean windows and mirrors
  • Wipe down all surfaces
  • Clean bathrooms and kitchen
  • Finish with sweeping, mopping, and vacuuming floors

Clean House Fast Hacks

  • At a later date, you can think through a cleaning routine that can avoid these last-minute crazy cleaning sessions.
  • Life happens to all of us, however, so it helps to have a plan for when you need to clean your house in a couple of hours and have little time.
  • It is a good idea to remember that now is not the time to worry about cleaning sheets, high shelves, undersides of shelves, or using a steam cleaner to clean your rugs.
  • Focus on the essential tasks in this article, and you will have a presentable house in no time!

Remember, the most important thing is to put a system in place for cleaning quickly. And another plan in place for deep cleaning your home.

The biggest mistake people make when trying to get their house cleaned quickly is getting buried in the things guests won’t see.

10 Best Tips to Clean Your Home in 2 Hours or Less

Cleaning supplies caddy

1. Assemble a Cleaning Caddy

Put together a cleaning caddy to have cleaning products and bathroom cleaning supplies at your fingertips as you move along. Keep your caddy under your cabinet if it fits; otherwise, keep it ready to go in your laundry area or supply closet. Suggested items to keep in your caddy:

2. Get Dressed and Put Your Shoes On!

  • Have you heard of the Flylady? Getting dressed and putting your shoes on is a piece of advice that I’ve adopted from her! 
  • Flylady believes you act differently when dressed and having your shoes on. You are ready to WORK!
  • Put on some of your favorite music or a podcast that you love.
  • Moving quickly, you should be able to complete each area in 20-30 minutes tops! Set a timer and try to beat it!

3. Set Up and Gather Items Needed

  • Close the doors off of the main living area. The job will go much faster when you focus on the main living area, guest bathroom, and kitchen. These are more visible to guests.
  • The same plan will apply if you need to clean and quickly declutter the entire house.  Turn your music up and make a pot of coffee to keep you going as you work through your cleaning tasks!
  • Grab a trash bag and gather all the trash. Collect any dirty dishes from the areas that need to be cleaned.
  • Now begin by cleaning one area at a time. Take two boxes or bags into each room-one for items that belong elsewhere and one for trash that you come across.
  • Reminder: We are trying to focus on cleaning your house in 2 hours. Now isn’t the time for organizing and deep cleaning; you only have a little time, so resist the urge!

Housekeeping is like being caught in a revolving door.

Marcelene Cox
lady with gloves on dusting table in living room

4. Start With Decluttering All the Surfaces in Your Home

If you’re looking for a quick way to make your whole house look more organized and inviting, clearing off the surfaces in your home is the most accessible place to start.

Surfaces are the first places that attract clutter. You can learn to treasure keeping them free of clutter with consistent habits.

You’ll not only feel better by working on creating a tidy home, but in addition, you’ll also be proud to welcome guests into your home.

Tips For Decluttering Surfaces

  • First of all, clear off your surfaces completely. Try your best to find a home in a cabinet or drawer for these items. 
  • In the kitchen, I leave out only the items I use daily. I keep out my toaster, coffee pot, and blender. You will have to decide what items you use the most, but be ruthless! If you have cabinet space for them, keep them there. 
  • At a later date, plan to go through your cabinets and get rid of what you don’t love and use often. That will leave room for the things you’ve left out on your counters.
  • Strive to leave your dining room table free of anything except a bouquet or a big bowl of fruit.
  • Declutter your living room surfaces, leaving only cherished items and photos.
  • Wipe down dusty light fixtures as you go.
  • If you aren’t sure where to put items as you are decluttering, put them in a labeled box and set them aside. Your goal right now is to clean and declutter your house quickly.
  • Make sure you have a designated place to store incoming paper and mail. Open your mail near the trash can and dispose of junk mail regularly.

“Nothing inspires cleanliness more than an unexpected guest.” 

Radhika Mundra

5. How to Clean Your Kitchen Fast

Your kitchen is the heart of your home and is likely to be the place where your guests will gather. Nothing feels as nice as a clean kitchen!

I like to keep my essential oil diffuser on the counter and diffuse some essential oils like citrus or cinnamon. In addition, you can also put some water on the stove with vanilla and cinnamon sticks; it will smell heavenly!

You will need to move around and collect everything that doesn’t belong in the kitchen. Make sure the kitchen counters are clear. Put the items in a box or basket to put away later.

Dispose of any trash lying around on countertops. Hopefully, you have already cleared your surfaces from prior tips!

Don’t start cleaning yet! Take care of clutter and trash first.

Here’s how to quickly clean up the kitchen in 10 minutes.

  • Start by filling your dishwasher with any dirty dishes. Run warm water and dish soap. Wash other dishes by hand as needed. 
  • Begin cleaning your counters with soapy water or spray them with a multipurpose cleaner. Wipe them off with a clean cloth. In addition, be sure to wipe the stovetop, inside of the microwave, countertop appliances, and front of the refrigerator.
  • Be sure to empty the dishwasher. Dry and put away the clean dishes.
  • Sweep your kitchen floor to clean up any crumbs.
  • Be sure to scrub your kitchen sink and shine it a la Flylady!
  • Mop the kitchen floor if needed.
  • Make sure your trash cans are empty! The worst thing to have is a spotless kitchen and smelly trash!

“Everybody wants to save the earth; no one wants to help mom do the dishes.

P.J. O’Rourke
lady with gloves on cleaning bathroom sink

6. How to Speed Clean Your Bathrooms

Speed cleaning is essential for this busy mom. I try to make it a rule to leave my counters bare as possible to make cleaning easier.

Here are my best tricks to speed clean your bathroom quickly and efficiently.

  • Before you begin cleaning, clear the floor.
  • Quickly clear surfaces of your bathroom and shower area of unnecessary products. In addition, try to store as much as possible in cabinets or pretty, decorative baskets if you must.
  • Quickly spray your sink, counters, toilet, and shower with a disinfectant bathroom cleaner while working on other areas.
  • Spray and wipe down your mirrors with a glass cleaner.
  • Scrub down your counters and sinks.
  • Clean inside the toilet bowl with your toilet cleaner and brush. Wipe down the outside.
  • Wipe down the shower and tub. Check for hair in the drain. (Surely no one will look in the shower!! But just in case!?)
  • Put out clean hand towels and soap.
  • Quickly sweep and mop the bathroom floors and remove the trash.
  • Set out a pretty diffuser and diffuse some good-smelling citrus or floral blends. Ahhhhh?

You don’t get anything clean without getting something else dirty.”

Cecil Baxter

7. Quickly clean and declutter the main living area

  • Declutter: Take a box or basket and collect all the clutter that doesn’t belong in your living room. Take it to another room to go through at a later date.
  • Vacuum or sweep: Grab the vacuum cleaner and run it over your rug. For a quick cleanup, sweep the big stuff away now so you can do a more thorough sweep later when you’ve got time to spare! Run the vacuum over your couches as well. Don’t worry about cleaning under couches; pray no one drops their keys in the crack of the sofa!!
  • Arrange pillows on the couch: I’m a pillow person! If you are, straighten them out and make your sofas pretty.
  • Spot clean floors: Go over any spots with a floor cleaner or soapy water.
  • Dust: Quickly go over the furniture, coffee table, tv screens, and other surfaces with a Swiffer duster or microfiber cloth. Work from top to bottom as you go.
  • Clean mirrors and glass: Quickly spot clean window panes with cleaner and a microfiber cloth-spot clean mirrors after that.
  • Wipe down your front door.
  • If you have a den or downstairs recreation room, follow these steps. If you have a lot of people over, they may end up in this area.

“I hate housework. You make the beds, you wash the dishes, and six months later, you have to start all over again.”

Joan Rivers
Front Porch and entryway of a house

8. Quickly Clean Front Porch, Entryway, and Back Porch

  • Sweep the front and back porch and entryway.
  • Wipe down the front door with a damp cloth.
  • Take out trash or recycling accumulated on the patio, steps, and driveway.
  • Pick up any clutter in these areas.

9. Things to Remember

  • Keep your focus on the main areas: Kitchen, bathrooms, living areas, front porch and entryway, and back porch.
  • Don’t get distracted by deep cleaning. Keep this for the next time your schedule allows.
  • After you’ve finished, light a candle or start your diffuser. Put on some mood music and celebrate! You did it!

10. Last Step Before Guests Arrive

  • Put on some good music.
  • Make sure your essential oil diffuser is going.
  • Turn on all your lamps. Dim overhead lights just a little.
  • Make sure all blinds are open to let in a lot of natural light.
  • If the weather is nice, open the windows and fill your home with fresh air.
  • Have your hubby bring home a big bouquet of fresh flowers for your kitchen table.
  • Above all, remember that having a good time with your guests is the most important thing.
  • Next step: Breathe! Enjoy your Bible Study!❤
Clean living room with beautiful bouquet of flowers on the coffee table

Cleaning House Checklist

Here is a free printout to make it easier! This is a brief checklist of all our steps. Click here to print.

Cleaning House Checklist


I hope you enjoyed this article on cleaning your house in 2 hours or less. Maybe you were able to beat the time!

There will be days when you have more cleaning time to devote. However, these simple tips will keep your house presentable.

We all love a clean house and do not have much time! I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me! Read here for more quick cleaning ideas.

Please stop back in and say hi sometime! Learn more about my crew and me here.

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