6 Things Your Guests Will Probably Notice in Your Kitchen (and 4 Things They Probably Won’t)

published Dec 19, 2022
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.
Alice Choi in kitchen.
Credit: Jenny Ham-Roberts

Anyone who’s ever hosted knows that the kitchen is where your guests tend to congregate (as much as you may try to dissuade them). That’s why it’s always a good idea to give your kitchen a little extra attention. Because there’s a lot of ground to cover — from the top of your range to the condenser coils at the bottom of the fridge — we talked with cleaning expert Becky Rapinchuk of Clean Mama to help strategize.

Read on for her handy list of areas your guests will definitely notice, and the ones you can save for another day.

6 Kitchen Areas Your Guests Will Notice

  1. Floors: The kitchen is a high-traffic area, and no one will expect the floors to be spotless, but you should do a quick sweep or a run-through with a vacuum. “Get the crumbs off the floors, and your kitchen will be guest-ready,” Rapinchuk says.
  2. Countertops: Your guests will likely stop in the kitchen first to put down that bottle of wine or dish they’ve brought to share, so make sure there are clean spaces available for them to do so. First, tidy your countertops by making sure everything is in its place. Next, give the counters a wipe-down with a disinfecting cleaner like Method Antibacterial All-Purpose Cleaner
  3. Sinks: Sinks overflowing with dishes are never a welcome sight. Rapinchunk’s advice? “Empty the sink and dishwasher before guests arrive so you have a place to put dirty dishes other than the counters.” And if your sinks are looking dingy, a quick scrub with Bar Keepers Friend will brighten them right up.
  4. The air: Before your guests step into your kitchen, they’ll be able to smell it. Likely, this will include some of the smells of whatever you’re cooking, which should go a long way toward creating a homey vibe. But it’s a good idea to eliminate any bad odors that might take away from the pleasant smells, such as garbage or pet smells. If you want to keep the air smelling extra fresh, set up this Crock-Pot air freshener, and let it do its magic all night long.
  5. Serveware: You probably only think about your serving pieces when it’s time to host a party, so they may need a little refresh before you put them out — because your guests will definitely to notice these special pieces! Choose the pieces you’ll use for your party and clean them by hand or in the dishwasher. (Give yourself a few bonus points if you use post-it notes to label each dish by usage so you can remember the plan on the day of your event!)
  6. Light switches: Because they’re used so often, light switches can get a little grimey. Luckily, you can brighten (!) the room quickly by using an all-purpose cleaner to remove spots and smudges from the light switches in your kitchen. 

4 Kitchen Areas You Can Clean Later

  1. Inside appliances: Don’t bother with the inside of your microwave or oven. No one is looking and, most likely, they’ll be in use anyway!
  2. Cabinets and drawers: Likewise, no one is looking inside your cabinets and drawers —especially if you take dishes and silverware out before guests arrive.
  3. Inside the fridge: You definitely don’t need to do a complete fridge clean-out. The most important thing is to make sure there’s enough room for a few extra bottles of Champagne and any edible offerings your guests bring. (But if there are some projects that have been forgotten in the back of the fridge, it would be wise, from a smell perspective, to toss those!)
  4. Baseboards: I used to be the kind of person who spent an hour cleaning baseboards with a toothbrush right before guests arrived, missing all of the bigger, more obvious areas that they’d actually notice. Don’t be this person! Put the toothbrush away and repeat after me, “If I haven’t noticed my dusty baseboards in a year, no one else will either.”