This post is in partnership with Bon Ami, but all opinions are my own.
The holiday season is (almost!) upon us, my friends. It seems to get earlier every year and always sneaks up on me while I’m not looking, all full of cheer and ready to pounce. This time around, however, I’m trying my best to be prepared. I am admittedly not a neat person by nature (my house is usually a hot mess of toys and discarded clothes on the ground, dishes in the sink, and piles of unfolded laundry), but during the holidays, I really, really enjoy a clean home. In addition to the fact that I simply appreciate my holiday decorations better when the house is clean, we have more people in our home during the holiday season than the rest of the year combined. Out-of-town friends stop by, my in-laws stay with us for Thanksgiving and my sister for Christmas, and we host Christmas Day at our house. (Did I mention that we throw my daughter a birthday party in our home in late December?) It’s important to me to keep our house clean and beautiful during the holidays, and over time, I’ve discovered the best ways to ensure this happens. The holidays can be a stressful time, especially if you’re entertaining; these tips will put your mind at ease so you can relax and enjoy friends and family during the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Let the kids help!
If your kids are young like mine, they might actually even (gasp!) ask to help. (My 3 year old absolutely loves having a “job” when we’re cleaning.) Make it a game, use a chore chart, or even remind them that Santa rewards good behavior! Especially during the holiday season, it’s helpful to maintain in terms of keeping the house clean, so give your little ones a task each day, like helping scrub the counters with the #1 staple cleaner in our house, Bon Ami. Bon Ami is nontoxic, eco-conscious, and contains no harsh ingredients, so it’s safe for children and pets. (It’s also been around and trusted since 1886!)
2. Stay on top of dishes.
There’s a lot of cooking and baking (and eating!) going on during the holidays, and it doesn’t take long for dishes to pile up. I really try to get each dish rinsed and in the dishwasher immediately following a meal. I also try to clean pots and pans as I’m cooking. Bon Ami‘s natural soft abrasives (feldspar and limestone) are tough at removing cooked on food. (And if you do have to let your dishes and pots sit, Bon Ami is perfect for removing dried on food as well.)
3. Stay on top of fridge cleaning.
In the same way that dishes pile up during the holiday season, food tends to pile up in the refrigerator. I always try to start off the holiday season with a deep clean of the fridge and freezer by throwing away old food, removing the good food, and using Bon Ami to clean every last inch of the interior. I usually sprinkle it straight on the shelves, and for the doors and racks, apply it with a damp sponge or cloth. Once it’s sparkling clean, I put the food back in an organized fashion. For the rest of the holiday season, I’m very careful to promptly remove expired food or old leftovers and keep the rest of the food in the fridge and freezer as organized as possible.
4. Vacuum every night.
I’ll admit that I’m a lazy vacuumer (is that a word?) the majority of the year, but this simple task of making sure you do a quick vacuum each night before bed is a game changer. We also have a robot vacuum that while not fool proof, is great for getting under furniture. I run that every night during the holidays while I’m asleep.
5. Clean counters (kitchen and bathroom) every night.
Just like my nightly holiday season vacuuming, I make sure that both kitchen and bathroom counters are clean before I go to bed. It only takes a few minutes and makes a big difference in how the house looks (which is important to me when I know guests will be frequently stopping in!). I just sprinkle a little Bon Ami on the surface and wipe off with a damp cloth.
6. Wash towels, wash cloths, and sheets frequently.
Staying on top of the laundry in general is incredibly helpful this time of year (and any time of year, really). But during the holidays when I know we’ll have a lot of people popping in, and sometimes last minute guests staying with us in addition to planned guests, it genuinely lowers my stress level to know there are always fresh, clean towels, wash clothes, and sheets on hand.
7. Scrub the sink.
I let the sink go way too long most of the time, but during the holidays, I give it a nice scrub every couple of days. Bon Ami has been the clean sink solution in my family since I was a little kid. My husband actually makes fun of me for the profound sense of joy I get from studying the sink before I clean it, sprinkling Bon Ami in the sink and on the faucet, giving a gentle scrub, and then basking in shiny, spotless surfaces. It’s one of my simple pleasures. Truly.
8. Remove household stains.
Stains (I’m talking everything from coffee to wine to marker to hair dye) are the last thing on my cleaning to do list most of the time. But during the holidays, I really appreciate having the house as clean as possible. At the beginning of the season, I go through with my trusty can of Bon Ami and a damp cloth, and clean the stains off surfaces in my kitchen and bathrooms. It’s very satisfying to watch the stains scrub away without using harsh abrasives or chemicals. It even got permanent marker out of our white kitchen chairs and rust rings out of our bathtub.
9. Clean toilets weekly.
I have some horror stories about unexpected guests dropping by when waaaaay too long had past since I last cleaned the toilets. (Okay, so not horror stories, but definitely a lasting feeling of deep embarrassment.) During this time of year when guests are frequent, I set a reminder on my phone (sounds silly, but hey, it works), to give the toilets a nice deep clean. Bon Ami works incredibly well on porcelain, and can be used anywhere on/in toilets except inside the tank.
10. Clean the stovetop every morning.
I know I recommended vacuuming and cleaning counters every night, but I save the stove for every morning right after breakfast. It’s another area of the kitchen that I tend to ignore, but during the holidays when it’s constantly being used, I make sure to clean it everyday. As soon as we’re done with breakfast, I remove the burners and sprinkle some Bon Ami on the stovetop. A few swipes of a damp cloth and it’s shiny and spotless without having to use harsh chemicals.
I hope these tips help keep your house nice and clean during this holiday season, the same way they have mine the last few years – both so you can welcome guests with less stress, and so you can relax and enjoy your space with your own family.
And if you haven’t picked up on it yet, I can’t recommend Bon Ami enough for your holiday cleaning needs. It’s one of those products I feel genuinely excited about recommending, not only because it’s incredibly effective and has been trusted in my family for generations, but also because it’s free of things that I prefer to avoid like harsh perfumes, chemicals, and dyes. Even the can itself is eco-conscious (made from 65% post-consumer recycled materials and recyclable).
If you have any other tips for keeping your house clean during the holiday season, please comment or email me. I’m always adding to my list!