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5 Ways to Get Your Home Ready for the Holidays Fast

‘Tis the season to make all things merry and bright — including your home! Not quite ready for the holidays? These secrets from the pros will spruce things up in a flash, so you can spend more time enjoying the magic of the season, and less time fussing over housework.

Deodorize in minutes with a festive sprinkle.

A natural way to infuse your home with an inviting scent? Just use herbs to freshen up couches, carpets, and curtains, says expert Kimberly Button, of “Add one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water, then crush in a bit of dried rosemary”, she says. “Add up to 25 drops of essential oils, such as cinnamon, then combine in a spray bottle and spritz over upholstery.” The baking soda absorbs odor-causing bacteria, while the herbs and oils make your home a holiday-scented haven.

Lift grease with a warm sponge.

No need to use elbow grease to remove actual grease from kitchen counters, assures home improvement pro Danny Lipford, of Today’s Homeowner. “Heat a damp sponge in the microwave for 30 seconds”, he suggests. “Use rubber gloves to remove the warm sponge, and spray it with a mixture of a quarter cup of white vinegar and two tablespoons of lemon juice. The heat from the sponge helps the cleaner cut through grease as easily as a warm knife through butter.”

Clean your bathroom with a vinegar spray.

Restore your powder room’s sparkle with a spritz of white vinegar, advises Leanne Stapf of The Cleaning Authority. “Combine one part white vinegar and two parts water, then spray the shower and sink — the acid lifts soap scum and grime.” Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse.

Straighten up in a jiffy by following the guest route.

When guests are expected during the holidays, cut cleaning time in half just by zeroing in on areas they’ll walk through, suggests organizer Ann Zanon. Grab a laundry basket and walk the route guests are likely to go, throwing items that don’t belong into the basket. “Only focus on items at eye level — no one will notice that pile of magazines in the corner.”

Freshen your guest room with a few dryer sheets.

If clean guest linens are musty from disuse, just toss them in the dryer on high with a few fabric softener sheets, suggests Zanon. “Linens will come out wrinkle-free and smelling clean.” While they’re getting a fluff, place pillows outside for 10 minutes — the one-two blast of sun and brisk air freshens and kills dust mites. Now you’re ready for the holidays!

A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.

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