Secret Cleaning Tip

This secret cleaning tip has been passed down in my family for generations.

My great-grandmother shared this tip with my grandmother. She shared it with my mother. My mother passed it on to me.

It has been top secret – until today.

I use this cleaning tip almost every single day. Now you can use it too.

Top Secret Cleaning Tip

Minutes before company walks in the door.

Just as you see your husband’s car turn down your street on his way home from work.

Any time you need to feel like you accomplished SOMETHING today…


Grab your can of Pledge, and spray it near the front door.

Works every single time.

Company: Wow – it smells so clean in here. I hope you didn’t go to too much trouble.
Nope. Not at all.

Even Steven: Wow honey – you’ve been working hard today.
Yup – barely even had time to blog.

Try it – you’re going to love it!

Want to be fully company-ready in 20 minutes or less? I’ve got you covered.

101 comments on “Secret Cleaning Tip

  1. I remember you telling me this years ago and I have used this trick several times. I’ve expanded the bag of cleaning tricks, er I mean tips, to include Carpet Fresh. I regularly sprinkle it around and pretend I’ve just spent hours cleaning. Occasionally I DO actually break out the vacuum and sweep it up. Sometimes some of the powder hits the dogs and that takes care of their monthly bath. :-)

  2. LMAO! I do pinesol in hot water in the sink!!!, my girlfriend hides bounce sheets in inconspicuous spots so it smell fresh! lol, we all have our tricks! (hope the hubby doesn’t read this!)

  3. Erma Bombeck said if she got word people were stopping by, she would drag out the vacuum and when her company arrived, she would apologize because they had caught her in the middle of cleaning. She said the vacuum had been sitting out so long she was starting to use it for a coffee table. :) Always loved Erma!

  4. THANK GOODNESS! I thought I was the ONLY one who used some of those lil’ tricks! I’ve used MOST of those (remember – I’m 61 – been around awhile!) and here’s another one I used when ironing was done on a regular basis back in the dark ages of MY young mommy days: Set the ironing board up, hang a number of things (straight from the closet) on a rack in clear view, and lay a half-ironed ANYTHING on the board. Just before your hubby gets home, heat the iron & let a few strands of your hair be TOTALLY out of place as though you’ve been slaving. When he walks in, look up from ‘ironing’ & say, “Oh, no! I can’t BELIEVE it’s so late! I need to get dinner started!” He will be so sorry for you because you’ve done so much he MAY take you OUT to dinner or at LEAST order a pizza! Either that or you’ll have to put all that crap back in the closet after you dragged it all out. Works sometimes, tho’! I KNOW ’cause I did that!

  5. ERMA BOMBECK!!!!!!!!!!!! That’s who I was trying to think of!!!! You write like she did!! Now, go out and read one of her books so you’ll see what I’m talking about!

    Back to the post…great tips! I have another if you happen to have a husband who likes dinner ready, or nearly ready, when he gets home and you haven’t even started. Fry up some bacon and onions. Makes the house smell like you’ve been cooking for hours while you quickly throw something together. I realize my age is against me here… probably don’t have a husband who expects dinner on time…..but back in MY day…………………….

  6. You my friend…and your grandmother…are geniuses! I am going to do that this afternoon. Maybe it’ll cover up all the putty dust? A girl can hope. :)

  7. Well great! Hope your Dad doesn’t see this post….he may wonder what ELSE we’ve (I’ve) been fooling him about all these years. :)

    On the other hand, what great tips from your readers!! Women are so smart! It’s a good thing too since we ARE in charge of the world.

  8. Are you kidding? I do the same thing! Well, pledge and windex. Sometimes I will even wet a little towel with cleaner and put it in the garbage can. The smell lasts longer and my hubs really thinks I did something all day. :)

    But I also use pledge to clean. It is amazing. I use it on my granite, on my appliances (watch out for overspray on the hardwood floors though, I slipped and about broke my neck once after a bad cleaning job!), and I use it on my shower. It takes the grime right off of my glass doors.

    • That’s something i haven’t tried is pledge in the shower. Will have to give it a shot. Thanks for the tip!

  9. I never have to fake clean. I am a stay at home mom with three young kids and my house is always perfect. Isn’t yours? Perfect, I tell you! (but IF I did have to fake clean, might quickly remove pee from toilet brush holders and refill Sentsy warmers in bathrooms…IF…) ;)

  10. All the tips are just too funny!! We women are genius and pass our tricks on to other women so they can be smart too. That is where men mess up. They like to be superior so it ends with them and their BIG heads. Each generation has to figure it out for themselves and we just keep adding to our bag a tricks.

  11. omg! Pledge always makes the house smell clean – I use that trick before company arrives. Although I can’t skip the vacuuming – because we have a big hairy dog, too – and he sheds enough to make a new dog about every other day.

  12. funny! I have laminate wood floors so spraying Pledge near the front door is an accident waiting to happen. I do use Method glass cleaner (mint!) in the same way tho!

  13. This is really a help…Thank you for the information shared here…

  14. So I got up to check my closet to see if I have any Pledge, and sadly no I don’t. But that is a great tip! I wonder if my hubby would even notice it, one his sense of smell isn’t so good (but I bet he would even smell Pledge) and two he would see the same exact mess, maybe if I just put the dishes from the dishwasher away and loaded it, he would think I did something productive. I found you via the Somewhat Simple Link Party.

  15. This is hilarious! Love it! LOL! No, really – I actually laughed out loud at your post and reading all the comments…the guys here in the office probably think I’m crazy :) I’m so impressed with your craftiness and thanks for sharing. I, like another one of the ladies, have laminate floors next to my entryway and I don’t need anyone breaking a leg so I’d better keep the Pledge on furniture only. I will, however, make use of the Windex/Method Glass Cleaner/Lysol suggestions! And yes, as someone else mentioned, Scentsy is a lifesaver too. I use it so much that I had to start selling it to keep up my obsession.

    Thanks a million, saw your post on Someday Crafts, which was linked from Momma Go Round – a couple of awesome blogs that are totally addicting:

  16. You are my hero. Period.

    Love this tip and I can guarantee you I’m gonna use it. I’ve been an SAHM for 18 years – why has it taken me this long to break out the Pledge? :)

    Visiting from Home Stories. Following you now.

  17. I used to work as a professional cleaner and one woman whose office I cleaned decided that her varnished desk needed spray wax polish every day because she was a housewife of over 25 years standing, and she KNEW that WOOD NEEDS POLISH and wouldn’t listen to the professional cleaner who said that polyurethane varnish will not pallow polish to penetrate the wood and when she left the blinds open the sun would turn the layers of wax sitting on top of the varnish to glue. (Hang on, that’s one whole sentence….sorry, ranting!) So, I polished her desk once, so I could truthfully say I had, thereafter, I spayed polish in the air before I shut the door. Smug grin from both of us.

  18. Saw a study somewhere a while back that showed that just the *scent* of citrus (natural lemon or orange extracts were used in the study, I think) actually does make people believe that the area they’re in is cleaner than it really is. Also tends to improve their mood and optimism generally. I probably need a whole bucket of orange oil to counteract the mess around here, though.

  19. Its so funny that I found this – because JUST today about 10 min before my husband was gonna get home, I wanted to do this (I figured the spraying thing out myself) and I couldn’t find my pledge! Haha

  20. Going to have to use this one for upcoming cleaning checks! There will be no chance that we can’t pass after doing this ;)

  21. My little trick is putting “Fabuloso” (the purple kind) in the sink with hot water and pour a bit in the toilet brush ‘holder’…. ;)

  22. This is a great tip! I will definitely be trying it next time someone decides to drop by. Some of the other tricks I use are spraying Lysol in the trash can when i don’t feel like taking it out and turning on the Scentsy (especially with one of the clean scents) so that the house smells fresh. Fools them every time!

  23. LOVE it! I have a whole “Company’s Coming” ritual, based around a Football analogy! You can check it out if you want under “Football and Housekeeping” on my blog! It’s too lengthy to go into here!!! I can’t wait to read your other tips! Found you through “My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia”! Come visit anytime!!

    sleeping in an unmade bed

  24. Do you think I used enough exclamation points in my above comment? Or could it have used just a few more?!? ~joy!

  25. I put some water in a pot with a little bit of my favorite liquid fabric softener or a little bit of a liquid cleaner that I get at the dollar store, called Fabuloso (the one in the purple bottle) and I let it simmer on low for a few minutes. Everybody who walks into the house says; omg, it smells so clean in here. Where do you find the time?
    Ps. I have a small pot that i use just for this.

  26. I believe this is the best post I have ever read! Very nice and very funny. I am always so busy that running through the house dusting and mopping everyday is last on my list. Best idea ever!

  27. Pathetic. How about clean your house. Spay the polish on the counters, the furniture, the cabinets, and then run a damp cloth across everything. Takes all of 30 minutes to do it all. Spray it near the door as company walks in and grandma gets a broken hip. Husband figures out the counters and doors are still sticky and dirty and starts shopping around for someone who appreciates that he has been at the mill for ten hours affording your butt staying at home and watching Judge Judy. This is so lame. Shame on you people. Clean your nasty house.

    • Anna you really should SPAY your furniture and counters you wouldn’t want them getting pregnant ;) When a guy is on his man period he really should be ban from commenting on blogs. Sorry you are so very unhappy in your own life that you feel the need to bring others down Mr.Parker.

    • ‎”spay” it or better yet, spray it yourself, Steven Parker! (as well as learn to spell!?) You like the clean, you do the clean. You don’t think a mom is working as hard as you while she’s at home, that you’re working harder so you should come home to a clean house?!? You are seriously deluded!! You’ve likely never stayed home alone with kids for an hour let alone a day. We’re doing the best we can, so shove it, buddy. You’re just jealous you didn’t think of these shortcuts yourself :-P Keep on keeping on, Anna! We’re behind you 100%!

    • Nothing in this comment stands out to me more than Judge Judy. Is that old bat still on T.V.?! Great reference Steven…NOT. :)

    • Have YOU any idea what it’s like to be a stay at home mom, Steven Parker? Or to even clean your own house?

    • Please. You have no idea how much I do in a day. My day starts before my husband’s and ends after he’s in bed. Even if I haven’t actually scrubbed the house. And there is no watching Judge Judy. I’m sure you get a lunch hour or maybe even breaks along with your nice paycheck. So don’t even go there.

  28. Wow. That guy above me is a douchebag.

    We all have little tricks and I happen to like yours. Mine is to squirt toothpaste in the toilet and swirl it around with the brush when unexpected company drops by. Sounds weird, but it is made for cleaning the enamel on your teeth, is porcelain enamel really that much different? Anyway, it works.

  29. Pretty sure “Steven Parker” doesn’t even have a wife…Douche bag of the year award goes to you sir!

    • I’m really sorry of Mr. Parker’s reply was emailed to you! I deleted it! And – yes – Dbag award DEFINITELY goes to him! :)

  30. Hey Steven Parker-

    None of these commenters have said they have “nasty” houses with sticky counters or dirty doors, so who are you to assume they do? Clearly you have no concept of what “domestic managers” do all day long. I’ll let you in on a secret, they don’t sit around all day eating bon bons doing nothing. Get off your high horse or don’t bother coming back!

  31. Now if only they made a lemon pledge smoke bomb to obscure the pillow fort, the legos, and the yogurt containers…we’d be SO SET! Brilliant.

  32. Steven is soooo judgemental. I work all day and have a 2 year old… wiping down my house will never take just 30 minutes, until she is old enough to help. Most days I just try to keep things in check so she doesn’t pull out more books and toys than get put away. I did cave though when she was born and we now have weekly maid service. She dusts and vacuums and cleans the bathrooms and I have my sanity.

    My tip for making things smell clean (my cleaners don’t actually smell) is whenever I use up lemons I throw the rinds in a bag in the freezer. Then I’ll take a couple out when needed and nuke them for a bit in the microwave, pour a little salt and baking powder in the rind and run them through our garbage disposal (make sure yours can handle it). It cleans the disposal and makes the kitchen smell lemony at the same time.

    • Barbara, I do this also, lemons down the garbage disposal, all that lovely lemon oil comes wafting back up, smells lovely :-)

  33. I’m fairly certain that IF Mr. Parker has a wife, she is miserable trying to keep the house to his standards. I hope that one day Mr. Parker has triplets and then, and ONLY then, is he allowed to tell us all how to “spay” our furniture since it “only” takes 30 minutes. HA!

  34. i love all these comments. my trick is to cook onions in the pan if company is coming… and i’ve ordered all the food in. (i think) it tricks them every time!

  35. Wonderful tip and all these extra ones in the comments. I’m not always the best at cleaning so any extra tips help.

  36. i throw a few drops of tea tree oil into the washer and run some towels with hot water. the tea tree oil hides the laundry room and cat box “funk” from guests who venture near it.

    mr parker is welcome to come over to my house and show me just how much cleaning he can get done in 30 minutes. i’ll put judge judy on pause while i watch him and take notes.

    • I LOVE tea-tree oil. It smells so good and makes everything smell so clean and fresh! Great trick. I’ll come watch Judge Judy while Judgmental Steve cleans. How ’bout that? lol

  37. I have a room. A special room. A room that no one can go into unless it’s just the four of us at home. A room where crap gets thrown when I only have a minute notice that someone is coming over. It’s amazing how fast my house can get “clean” 15 minutes before someone shows up!

  38. Anna, you rock
    Anna’s Mom: you rock more. (Sorry, Anna)
    Everyone else EXCEPT Mr. Stephen Parker: We all rock, girlfriends!
    Mr. Stephen Parker: pbbbbtttthhhh.

    Once I read someone who said they always felt like the house was clean (or at least cleaner) when the sink was cleaned out. I thought that was a great idea, so I did it…for a few days at least. Then my husband got tired of dirty dishes on the floor.

    ha ha ha ha ha! just kidding! Hope I made you smile!

  39. Since I’ve made the mistake of actually cleaning today- I may as well clean the front door jam with Pledge- so it’ll linger & I won’t even have to spray it later! =-D ;-)

  40. Wow, Mr. Parker. Judge much? Guessing you don’t have children or get laid much. Just a hunch.

  41. Steven, man, if you just got done with 10 hours in the “mill” and the first thing you think of when you get home to your wife and kids is “I wonder how clean the counters are…” then I think you’re doing it wrong.

    • I love, love, LOVE this comment, Mathew! Exactly right!

  42. When I am running way behind, my trick is to set the table and take some produce out of the fridge (a la Rachael Ray). It always makes it look like dinner is half way done.

  43. I have also lit a lemon scented candle for the same effect.
    The lit candle also diverts the eye away from the dust on my shelf.

  44. hahaha, love it. Too bad my husband has no sense of smell… :/ We’re pretty sure it’s allergies and he refuses to take medicine since the only thing it affects is his sense of smell (he HATES taking ANY kind of medicine..stubborn thing). It’s pretty lame though when I spend the day getting the house all clean and smelling nice, and he can’t tell the difference (in the smell anyway)! Not to mention perfume is a waste of money and he’ll never be able to smell our newborn babies when we have some! Plus side- he will get all the dirty diapers!!!! I may try this idea for visitors though!!

  45. I love all the comments…great tips ladies! A few years back, I was at a very upscale hotel for a retreat and was able to pry a tip out of one of the workers. She told me they spray febreeze on the baseboards around the room, at corners and around the doors. I’ve been doing this since and even when I don’t get much done everyone always comments on how good my house smells!!

  46. YEARS ago I cleaned houses (3 a day) to support my family. Most of my clients had very neat, tidy hoses to begin with. I still cleaned EVERY surface any way and just to be sure it still smelled clean by the time they got home I would wipe the door jam with pinesol or whatever. Now I work in an office full time and I seriously doubt I’d fool anyone that my house was freshly cleaned just with that trick!

  47. A little trick I use is to turn one of the (electric) stove burners on high. Once it’s glowing red, shut it off and sprinkle a little cinnamon on it. This will make your home smell like you’ve been baking all day.

  48. A few years ago I worked cleaning “clean rooms”. Data centers (the ones with the big computer equipment in them) that can have no dust or dirt cause it can muck up the systems.

    After hours of cleaning these rooms the last thing we did was mop. We would use our industrial cleaner one time we added a few ounces of Mr. Clean w/ Febreze and the response from the employees was unbelievable! “It’s so clean” – “Wow, it’s never been this clean in here”, and so on. Just from that little bit of Mr. Clean scent in the air. These were businesses we had been cleaning for years!

    After that first time we never forgot to add it.

  49. If you spray the furniture polish near tile or wood floors you are going to have someone slip and hurt themselves idiot.

    • Uh, Deb, that was covered in earlier comments from the original posting, and I hardly think you need to call someone an idiot when, for all you know, she has wall-to-wall carpeting. You could make your point without the name calling. And since we share the same first name, I want Anna to know that was not my comment!!

  50. Who do these judgmental jerks think they are? Don’t worry, Anna, they’re trolls, and they’re using “internet muscles.” Anyway, another thing that works is spraying Lysol disinfectant spray! :)

  51. For all the people who had floors that would cause people to slip and fall when using this trick… I have a little curio/key cabinet on the wall next to the door and a small table that I will quickly spray on and wipe off really quick. :) Sometimes you need to take someones tips and tricks and modify them a bit to fit your circumstances…just saying! Love it! As far as the haters, I’m seriously considering posting a minute by minute play by play of my stay at home butt. Farts and all!

  52. Steve: may you one day be a stay-at-home dad to 5 kids under 6…and that house of yours had better be spotless!!!
    Deb: insults belittle the insult-er, not the insult-ee.

    I spritz scented oils on certain fabric surfaces that I know won’t stain. I have a couple of pretty hats displayed on the hall tree, and they get their dose of oil when someone comes a knockin! :)

  53. My first husband was very much like the above douchebag guy who commented. The first thing he would do when he got home was to run his fingertip along multiple surfaces checking for dust. Glad he is my ex and somebody else’s problem now.

  54. Wish I had read this about 6 hours ago. Lol. I’ll have to remember these tips for next family gathering!

  55. Pledge is great. When my son was growing up he knew the drill if people were coming over. he had to straighten the living room pillows etc. and do a quick vacuum and I threw the dished is the sink, cleared the counters and wiped them down. I always said you had to be within 20 minutes of acceptable.

  56. I thought I was the only Pledge and Pine Sol junkie. I always just polish my dining room table. It takes just a second and it is right by the front door. Whole house….done. :)

    Pine sol in the kitchen sink with hot water. No, don’t waste it…hehe I just wipe down the countertops and let the water sit there until the kitchen smells great. Ok here is a good one too, if you can leave your washer lid up while it fills with water. I throw all my cleaning towels in the washer with hot water and pour a capful of Pine Sol in with the regular detergent. I got a new HE washer and dryer so this isn’t an option to leave the lid up anymore. :(

    Japanese Cherry Blossom scented oil from Bath and Body Works….put a few drops of this on the inside of your toilet paper roll. Wow the bathroom smells so good when you roll off that tissue. Use scented oil of your choice. This is just my household scent.

  57. These tips are fabulous! I have always sprayed Pledge to freshen the house but never heard of using it to clean shower doors. I am actually excited to try that. And toothpaste to clean the toilet? Brilliant!

  58. Awesome tip. Another great one is to start a load of laundry and dishes right before he walks in the door. Never mind if those are the same clothes and dishes you washed the day before… ;)

  59. I can’t tell you how much it made me laugh to click the “Tips to Bedroom Bliss” that auto routed to “My #1 Cleaning Tip.” Cracked me up!

  60. my tip: i would put a few drops of an essential oil (lemon or grapefruit) on the bag of the vaccum … when you run the vaccuum it heats up the bag and your whole house smells YUMMY!!!

  61. First-pledge near tile or hardwood floors would be dangerous. Duh. Second-take those few minutes of “trickery” to actually clean something! You all sound lazy.

  62. I never comment on blogs, never. I had to on this one tho! I think I may love u, just for posting this! U r awesome!