1. You need help!
When I’ve hosted house parties in the past, one of the loveliest things has been waking up to all the washing up done by an altruistic guest before I even got out of bed. Even at dinner parties, someone will often step in and do the washing up. Obviously you can’t count on this, but at least give people the chance to step in J. To be sure of help during a more formal drinks party, you could hire a local teenager to be “waiter”, and clear up glasses as you go.
2. The right tools for the job.
Have a red wine-cleanup tool kit ready. This should contain a cloth, some soda water and a sponge. Just soak up the excess soda water with the cloth (don’t rub), put soda water over the stain, and dab gently with the sponge to soak it up.
As soon as your party is over and you start to clean up, opening all the windows and spraying a little Febreeze around will make a massive difference – sometimes getting rid of the beery smell or cigarette fug is half the battle. Getting rid of the half-full drinks and ashtrays is vital in this of course, which brings me on to…
4. In the bag
If you feel overwhelmed by the mess at the end of a party, just go around with a bin bag and collect the rubbish first, and put recyclables in the recycling bin or a separate bag. Usually this will create the appearance of a lot less mess!
5 Start as you mean to go on
Before your guests come, empty the dishwasher and get the kitchen sink and draining board looking clean and tidy. This will encourage guests to wash up as they go along.
6 Stain attack
Get rid of sauce stains, like ketchup and BBQ sauce, with washing up liquid and white vinegar. Dab them with the washing up liquid first, leave for a few minutes, then wipe off with the vinegar.
7 Wax on, wax off.
Remove dried candle wax from fabrics. Just pop the offended item in the freezer and then peel it off. Get rid of the remaining reside with rubbing alcohol/isopropyl alcohol (available from the chemist.)
8 No scrubs
Line any baking trays and pans with parchment paper before using them – that’s less scrubbing when it comes to washing up.
9 Be minimal.
Keep decorations simple and minimal – it looks chic and you won’t have lots of burst balloons and soggy streamers to clear up once it’s all over.
10 Motivation and reward.
When doing a big clean up, energetic music is motivation, and rewards are whatever you fancy. Hair of the dog perhaps!
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