One peril of togetherness: Friends and family will be all over your kitchen eyeballing the cook space. To make sure they have nothing to tsk-tsk about, follow this fast routine.
1. Clear the counters. Cooking is your kitchen’s top priority right now. So stash mail, school schedules, and that rarely used juicer elsewhere. (Just don’t lose any bills in the process.) Then pull out the trash can and toss bags or boxes of unwanted edibles sitting out. Squirt cleaner (Mr. Clean Multi-Surfaces has done well in GHRI tests) around what’s left on the counter — canisters, the toaster. Wipe and let dry.
2. Purge the fridge. Pull the trash can over and dump lingering leftovers, spoiled food, and open bottles of condiments, like grill marinade from last summer. You could remove all the glass shelves and bins and wash them — or give them a fast once-over with a wet cloth or sponge. Don’t forget fingerprints and splatters on the door front and handle. A fresh box of baking soda absorbs odors, too.
3. Skip the oven. If it’s dinner party day already and you haven’t run the self-cleaning cycle, now is not the time to commit to this hours-long task). Spot-clean dead-giveaway grime — stovetop spills, grease on the door handle or inside the glass door — with your sponge and a dash of baking soda (it’ll rinse off easier than a sudsy cleaner, FYI).
4. Think sink. Stop pretending you’re going to rinse those dishes piling up on the counter, and load them in the dishwasher (or if not, at least stack them neatly in the sink). Run some water over drippy detergent bottles, then stick those, pot scrubbers, and rubber gloves under the sink. When all has been relocated, run a sponge around the bowl of the basin and over the faucet if you’ve splattered water in your speediness.
5. Mop stop. Before collapsing onto the sofa, use a sweeper with disposable cloths, like Swiffer, to pick up crumbs, dust, and hair from the floor. Pro tip: Keep a damp paper towel in one hand to zap stains so you don’t have to stop as you go. Throw the used Swiffer sheet and towel in your trash bin. And look — there’s the company.