12 Things That Make Your Home Look Instantly Messy, According to Reddit

published Jun 11, 2024
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Modern dining room
Credit: Westend61/Getty Images

Picture this: You’ve got people coming over soon, and it’s been a hot minute since you were able to deep clean. Strapped for time, you gaze around in mild panic, wondering what you can do in 30 minutes to get your home guest-ready

Keep in mind that cleaning is morally neutral, and you shouldn’t feel shamed into scrubbing. Laundry, dishes, and dust are facts of life. But nobody wants to feel like their space is going to gross out their guests. 

If you’re wondering what actually bothers visitors — a corner of r/CleaningTips has answers. Reddit user flowerybb uncovered some of the most universal turn-offs after posting a Reddit thread titled “What are things you notice in another person’s home that, if dirty, ick you out?” 

Instead of rushing to clean everything at the thought of friends dropping by, focus on these core areas that could get the most for your grime-busting buck.

Credit: Carlsson, Peter/Getty Images

Damp Hand Towels

A dirty toilet bowl is the most basic hosting blunder, but it turns out clammy hand towels are almost as repellent. Reddit user Pahoehoeflow named “a crusty or ridiculously wet hand towel in the bathroom” as their top turn-off, and commenters echoed this sentiment. The good part? Switching in clean towels is a low-effort, high-reward fix. 

Dirty Dish Towels

Dirty dish towels are another pet peeve, which feels very valid. Redditor AllAlongThisPath pointed out, “If you wash a cup and dry it with a gross towel, it is no longer clean.” 

Lack of Hand Soap

No shade, but a notable absence of hand cleaner could send alarm bells ringing in guests’ minds. “If there’s no hand soap or some kind of soap at the sink, I’m out,” said NextAbility7562. Bar soap, while better than none, also entered the chat as being potentially unhygienic. 

Grubby Toilet Mats

It’s settled. Pee splatters are a guest’s worst nightmare, and if your toilet rug looks anything less than fresh then visitors will assume the worst. So add quickly putting down a laundered potty mat to your list of high-payoff, pre-entertaining prep tasks.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn; Food Stylist: CC Buckley/Kitchn

Crumbs in the Cutlery Tray

Redditor Here_for_tea_ said that if a host’s utensil drawer is “grimy or full of crumbs, I have to stop myself wanting to wash the cutlery before I use it.” To stop your cutlery drawer from getting cruddy, make wiping it out a clean-as-you-go habit rather than a bi-annual deep cleaning chore.

Toothpaste Spots on the Sink

Your home shouldn’t have to be spotless for guests, but there are certain spots you may want to wipe away. Toothpaste splatters cropped up in multiple comments. User juliekam succinctly shared a double dose of gross by saying, “Hair stuck on toothpaste in the bathroom sink.” To avoid this unsightly scenario, try keeping a small cleaning caddy close at hand in the bathroom.

Sticky Staircase Railings, Couches, and Kitchen Countertops

“Sticky” is generally not a positive descriptor for any part of a home. The Reddit thread revealed that staircase banisters, sofas, floors, and countertops rank as some of the most unappealing areas to encounter stickiness.

Dirt on the Trash Can

According to user galacticsharkbait, “Food and gross stuff on the rim/lid/outside of [the] trash bin” ranked high on their ick list, and they were not alone. To keep bin grime in line, add trash can cleaning to your weekly chore checklist

Credit: Fuse/Getty Images

Spills in the Refrigerator

Cleaning your fridge might not top the list of tasks to complete before guests arrive, but a seriously dirty refrigerator can be an appetite killer. An easy fix is to wipe up spills as they happen. Redditor mishatries shared that refrigerators tick the gross box: “If they are sticky on the inside or [have] obvious liquid spills, that’s a hard no. Crumbs, eh. We all have them.” 

Baseboards That Haven’t Seen a Broom in a While

Keeping baseboards clean can feel like the bane of your existence, but they’re something guests will notice. Unsanitary bathroom baseboards received the most airtime in this illuminating thread, as well as general smudges, dust, and pet hair deposits. Pro tip: Try running a dryer sheet along your baseboards to reduce static and repel dust. 

Dark Marks Around Door Handles

Redditors aren’t fans of dirty door handles and surrounds. Greasy light switches also featured heavily on the ick scale, with user Valentine1979 specifying, “Visibly dark grime on light switches and doors around the knob.”

Fan Blades with Festoons of Dust

Redditor wilfreds_mustache said the one thing they notice when visiting other people’s homes is “dust so thick on ceiling fan blades it’s hanging down.” Hate getting up on a ladder to wipe sticky layers of grime? This is another spot where you can reuse dryer sheets to bust dust and leverage their anti-static action. 

This post originally ran on Apartment Therapy. See it there: 12 Things That Make Your Home Look Instantly Messy to Guests, According to Reddit