How to Fake Clean, Cook and Iron

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Women have been fake cleaning for ages. Now you can too. Learn how to fake clean your house.After spilling my top-secret cleaning tip earlier this week, I was amazed at the comments I received.

Women have been fake cleaning, fake cooking and even fake ironing for years! I just had to share some of my favorite tips that you shared in the comments:

Fake Cooking

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… (imklvr)

Fake Cleaning

I regularly sprinkle Carpet Fresh 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. (Shelly)

I put Pine-sol in hot water in the sink! My girlfriend hides bounce sheets in inconspicuous spots so it smell fresh! We all have our tricks! (Danielle – Piperloo)

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. (Robbie)

Sometimes I  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. (Rachel – Holy-Craft)

Fake Ironing?

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. (Kai – Celebrating Christmas Year Round)


  1. Laurie Laizure

    February 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

    This made me giggle sooooo hard! I have done the same thing! I have used the dryer sheet idea, sprayed cleaner in the air when guests were headed over and certainly the carpet powder once and awhile. I sooo need a maid!

  2. Karen @MSEnthusiast

    February 10, 2012 at 9:17 am

    You really are a CRACK UP. I’m not using LOL lightly here. Bacon and onions. I’ll have to try that. I have a candle that smells like apple pie. Does that count for something. I’ll slide a table talk pie on a dish.

  3. Alyson L

    February 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

    These are excellent tips in so many areas. I once read to swipe a paper towel with a swig of straight rubbing alcohol on it around the bathroom quickly before hub gets home, to make it look like you real cleaned. I did this occasionally, until he informed me that he hated the smell of rubbing alcohol and it wasn’t a “clean” smell to him. All those seconds of fake cleaning wasted!

  4. Brooklyn

    February 10, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I have done the dryer sheet trick before. If anyone ever found one I would just say it must have fallen out of the laundry basket (because, ya know, I do laundry every day). I love this list!

  5. Trish

    February 10, 2012 at 10:43 am

    My husband’s first question when he walks thru the door is, “What’s for dinner?” Sadly, for him, half the time I answer with, “Whatever you want to make.” But, I do like to have dinner on the go or almost done when he gets home. Great idea to fry up some onions! For cheat cleaning, I love those Clorox wipes. I like to get the lemon or orange and wipe down all the counters. Makes it smell clean -and bonus, I am cleaning a little bit by doing that. I like the dryer sheets idea! I need to put some in the linen closet. Just to seal my 50’s housewife thing, I like to put on a little lipstick and brush my hair right before Big Daddy gets home. 🙂

  6. Michelle

    February 10, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    My kids are my best kept secret! Five minutes before Dad walks in the door I yell to them….”HURRY UP!!! Dad’s almost home….let’s pick things up quick so he thinks we’ve been busy all day!! A & I you two do the living room floor, E you grab you get the pillows, while I unload the dishwasher.” Hey, at least I don’t lie to THEM…and I’m teaching my daughter valuable lessons for her own home someday! I wonder if my hubby thinks we go through several loads of dishes a day because I realized the other day I load the dishwasher either the night before or first thing in the morning (when I’m lazy) and then unload it right as he’s walking in the door. I’m going to pretend I’ve got him fooled although he’s probably thinking…there she goes again, waiting until I’m walking in the door to start doing something. When he actually catches me not unloading the dishwasher I seem to get the Office Space quote…”What — What would you say…you do here?”

  7. Naomi

    February 10, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Ha ha, pretty sure I was laughing the entire time I was reading these. These are brilliant! I especially enjoyed the one about ironing…pretty sure I’m going to have to try that one! 🙂 Thanks for the ideas and laughs, ladies!

  8. Abbie (Five days...5 ways)

    February 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    These areI would LOVE it if you’d link this up at Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL going on right now!

    Hope to see you soon!

    P.S. I’m a new follower. : )

    ~Abbie hilarious! Honestly, it’s never occurred to me to do any of these (except maybe the “scurry around unloading and putting stuff up” bit right before he get home), and now I’m wondering why.

    But for the last 5 years my husband has worked from home, so there’s no fooling him. : )

  9. Vicky

    February 10, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    This is so funny! I will have to try some of these tips. I have not ironed in a LONG time. I used Downey Wrinkle Release and it gets out most wrinkles. I am convinced it’s just water though so I need to figure out how to make my own. Visiting from thirty handmade days. Vicky from Mess For Less

  10. Kim

    February 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Am I totally lame? What am I missing? LOL…I don’t have time to fake clean, let alone really clean…I don’t think my hubby would know what to do with himself if I tried to impress him with the smell of pine sol, or bacon and onions…I am dying of laughter…

  11. design fluff "Lucy"

    February 10, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    Ha! The Fake Ironing comment, was my absolute fave!

  12. Jessica

    February 10, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    These ladies are really teaching me something! In my 1 1/2 years of being a wife so far I have learned that arranging the pillows on the couch DOES count as cleaning. Stuffing everything in a closet and lighting a good candle helps too.

  13. EvergreenEden

    February 11, 2012 at 3:04 am

    I read both this and the Pledge post to my hubby (sorry ladies! but he does all my housework while I’m on bedrest right now anyway… so he really needed the tips!) We laughed so hard.

    Anna I am still SO glad I found your blog; you have risen to the tippety top of my list in 3 posts or less! 😉 Oh. Sorry, couldn’t help the headline… I’m taking a writing course. Haha! But seriously, you have! You are hilarious and an incredibly good writer; especially to create a post out of comments and make it flow so well. LOVE that you concluded w/Kai’s sweet ending too! So funny!!!

  14. Paula @lkg4sweetspot

    February 11, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I love the carpet fresh idea!! Luckily my husband doesn’t really notice when things are clean or dirty but in a pinch with someone coming over…! Very funny, too.

  15. Cari

    February 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm

    Hi Anna,
    Love,love love your blog….as a working mom I learned how to Fake Dinner a long time ago. Drive through Wendy’s on your way home from work and buy 4 baked potatoes. When you get home put them in a nice serving dish to go with the store bought and cooked rotisserie chicken that you also transferred into a nice serving dish. A bag of microwaved steamed veggies and dinner is elegant and done in a flash….
    My husband still hasn’t caught onto the baked potatoes after 18 years….the key is to use this Fake sparingly!

  16. Kristi

    February 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    I LOVE this. And I’m so super guilty of filling the sink with Pinesol & hot water. And throwing a little in the potty, too…to make the bathroom smell fresh. Would be delighted for you to link up with us at Mop It Up Mondays:


  17. Mrs. Delightful

    February 14, 2012 at 7:12 am

    Great post! I would love for you stop by and link up at my linky party via:

    Mrs. Delightful

  18. Adrianna

    February 15, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    I abolutely looooove this posting. I don’t know if I’m alone in the age range or not but I’m a 24 year old new housewife and after tons of nudging and hints I finally got it that my job is now at home. Once that kicked I started figuring out cheats! Lol. I definitely use the dryer sheet one. They are all over my house, under the sofa cushions, in the dresser drawers, in between books on the book shelf and a few other places. My hubby likes for me to iron his pants for work the next day so when he’s in bed I lay them out spritz on some water and smooth away the wrinkles! Before he gets home I turn on the washing machine, sometimes empty, lol. When company is coming over I boil vanilla extract and cinnamon or whatever dried herb and garlic 🙂 For the bathroom I use Clorox wipes on the toilet and sink and just shake the rugs out over the balcony!

  19. Brie - BreezyPinkDaisies

    February 16, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    OMG! This is the funniest thing ever!!! Thanks SO much for posting! haha

    New follower here 🙂

    Brie @ BreezyPinkDaisies

  20. [email protected]

    February 17, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    LOL I have done the carpet cleaner thing. I also have sprayed Febreeze on the sheets so they smell “clean”.

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  22. Tamsyn

    April 4, 2012 at 12:09 am

    True genius, that’s all I have to say!

  23. Tamsyn

    April 4, 2012 at 12:11 am

    Oh wait, I just remembered one that I used to do. When I was pregnant with my son, I had really bad all day sickness and would often forget to do my husbands laundry. In the morning I would grab one of his work shirts out of the dirty hamper and re-iron it. He worked in an air-conditioned office all day so his shirts were never truly dirty. He would have killed me if he found out!

  24. Cheri Pratt

    July 8, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    I love these ideas so much, I’m going to add them to my sacred “Notes” on my iphone.

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  27. VenusGenetrix

    December 13, 2012 at 2:29 pm

    LMBO about the Office Space quote!

  28. Vari

    January 3, 2013 at 3:17 am

    :Almost all I can point out is, I am not sure what to say! Except naturally, for the fiasnttac tips which are shared on this blog. I will think of a thousand fun strategies to read the reports on this site. I think I will eventually make a move employing your tips on those things I could not have been able to manage alone. You had been so thoughtful to allow me to be one of those to learn from your valuable information. Please know how great I enjoy the whole thing.

  29. Diana

    January 25, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    Dryer sheets in the heater vent… That way every time the heat or ac come on it blows the smell through the house and also collects alot of yuck that the filter let through… Bonus!

  30. amynicole

    February 5, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I love this site that I found!! I am deff going to keep on reading!

  31. Annie

    February 18, 2013 at 10:54 pm

    I know I’m late to the game here, but I just wanted to show my “proactive fake” plan. If I’m feeling particularly lazy one day, I’ll text my husband that our daughter is having a temper tantrum and she’s just been miserable all day. He always suggests we just try to take it easy for the rest of the day. So when he gets home, if nothing is done, he isn’t surprised. If I accomplish something, he thanks me all night!

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