How to Clean Your House or Apartment in 30 Minutes or Less

There’s only one reason you ever have to clean your apartment in 30 minutes or less… you just found out a girl is coming over. You’ve been putting off cleaning for weeks and now your filth is about to bite you on the ass. She’s going to find out the truth about your dirty ways and your hopes of ever having sex again (or for the first time) with her are being crushed by the second. But wait! Is there a chance you could actually clean your place enough to avoid total embarrassment and a sexless life? Maybe. But you have to act fast.

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Remember, this isn’t a deep clean. It’s an “Oh shit, I really should have done something earlier and now it’s gonna take a miracle to do this” clean. Smoke and mirrors are your friends. Anything that helps mask what all your friends already know about you — that you are a lovable slob — is a positive step. No offense. You’re a good person and you pay your taxes. But your apartment is a pigpen. And now you have 30 minutes to become a new man.

Here’s how to clean your house or apartment in 30 minutes or less. Start with the …

Living Room

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You have to start with the living room. If there is one room the lady in question will enter, it’s this room.

First the floor. Pick everything up off the floor and stash it in a closet. Remember, you’re not organizing; you’re speed cleaning. (Yes, you’ll have to clean the closet at some point, but not now.)

Next, clear off the coffee table and wipe it down with a rag. Bonus points will be awarded if you’re able to find and light a candle to display on said table (we recommend these). If your couch is not exactly a furniture showpiece (i.e., if there are rips, stains or other unflattering marks on it), drape your nicest, cleanest blanket over it. Dispose of all your empties and make sure there is no visible trash, waste, or embarrassing signs of your less mature habits.

If you have five extra minutes: dust-bust the couch. Nothing kills the mood like having to brush potato chip crumbs before your company can sit down. Now it’s on to the …


Filios Sazeides / Unsplash

Believe it or not, girls use the bathroom, and God forbid she goes in there without your having sufficiently improved its cleanliness level from Trainspotting to at least Dormitory Chic. Again, if this happens, go ahead and say bye-bye to anything friendlier than a gingerly peck on the cheek.

When it comes to the bathroom, most obvious mark for outside criticism is the one that most guys overlook: the mirror. People can forgive a dirty sink (that’s where hands get washed, after all), but the mirror reveals everything about your bathroom cleanliness habits. For efficiency, spray it down with your favorite cleaner and use a sheet of newspaper to rub out all the specks and streaks. (For some reason, the oils in newsprint work way better than paper towels or cloths and don’t leave any lint behind). When you’re done, use the wet ball of newspaper to mop up any stray stains, hairs, or other detritus from inside the sink.

For the toilet, toss in a self-cleaning toilet bowl tablet into the commode, and while it works its magic, wipe down the seat with your antibacterial wipes. Light a big candle and turn off the lights — a dimly lit bathroom looks cleaner than a regular one. Make sure to close the shower curtain before you leave the room.

If you have five extra minutes: The toilet is the one place where your guest will not be distracted by your charming company. It’s also where grime reads as extra gross. So put in the extra elbow grease to eliminate any telltale stains or detritus. After you’ve had your bathroom cleaning binge, head on over to the …


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You might be able to keep her out of the kitchen, depending on urgency and your ability to lie, but if you finish the bathroom and there is any time to spare, hit the kitchen.

If you have a dishwasher, start stuffing it with dishes. Forget pre-washing; you don’t have time. Get all the dishes and glasses in there and shut the door. If you don’t have a dishwasher, leave via the fire escape. (Kidding. We’re not to that stage just yet.) Just get everything off the counter and below eye-level. Fill up the sink, put things under the sink or in cupboards, whatever it takes. The less she sees, the better. The one exception would be quality wine glasses; if you have such a thing, leave those out. You can even wash and dry them in front of her to show off the domestic skills you don’t actually have. Finally, sweep any stray crumbs or bits of food from the floor and then quickly whip over the floors with a spray mop. This type of mop’s microfiber cloth and spray solution allows for the fastest floor cleaning you’ve ever experienced.

If you have five extra minutes: if by some miracle your sink is empty, sprinkle a dusting of Bon Ami or another abrasive cleaner into it, scrub in swift, lateral strokes, then rinse. Nothing makes a kitchen sparkle like a spotless white or stainless-steel sink. (Just ask your mom.) And finally, prepare the…


Mark Solarski / Unsplash

Here you’ll take the same approach as the living room. Get the clothes, shoes, and all other odds and ends off the floor, toss them all in the closet and shut the door. No need to fully make your bed, just flip your duvet or comforter in the air and lay it down like a picnic blanket. Want a low-effort, big-impact touch? Fluff your pillows. It makes the room look “done” in a way nothing else does.

If you have five extra minutes: wipe down your desk, headboard, bedside table, etc. with a microfiber cloth or furniture polish.

Cleaning Essentials

Nothing expedites your last-minute cleaning efforts like the right arsenal of tools. Below is our curated list of essentials for getting the job done in a hurry.

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multi-Surface Wipes – $5

For fast cleaning, these disinfecting wipes are your best friend. They’re natural, they smell nice (but not too strong), and they restore good hygiene to your place.

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Windex Glass Cleaner – $3

There’s a good chance you already own a bottle of Windex (or an off-brand alternative) and if so, congratulations, you’re already ahead of the game. If not, get yourself a bottle of the blue stuff and say goodbye to dirty, streaky windows and mirrors.

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Hom Toilet Bowl Cleaner – $31

Any cleaning product that reduces actual physical cleaning time gets high marks in our book. Hom’s mint-fragrance effervescent toilet tabsremoves stains, limescale, hard-water build-up, and freshens while doing it. 

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E-Cloth Window Cleaning Pack – $15

The E-Cloth makes cleaning a breeze—you literally just add water, the activated microfiber picks up the smallest specks of dirt, dust, and grime.

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Oxo Good Grips Spray Mop – $35

With a reusable and washable microfiber cloth pad, a spray bottle for holding your favorite floor cleaning solution (or your own home-made concoction), the Oxo Good Grips spray mop is without a doubt, the easiest, handiest, and best spray mop we have ever tried. More environmentally friendly than a Swiffer and easier to use than a regular wet mop, this cleaning product will take your floor-mopping time from more than 10 minutes to less than five.

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Dyson V7 Trigger Cord-Free Handheld Vacuum – $170

The cordless handheld vacuum is an underrated advancement of the modern age. Where our ancestors used to sweep, shake and even comb, the hand vac does it all with a satisfying blast of suction.

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