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4 last-minute home-prep hacks for holiday hosting season


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The line at the grocery store was ridiculously long, this fancy vegan dessert thing is way more difficult to make than you thought, and you still haven’t gotten around to cleaning your house.

Yep, it’s the holidays. But before you start panicking that your friends and family are going to think you haven’t mastered this whole #adulthood thing, non-toxic living expert and Well+Good Council member Sophia Gushée is sharing some last-minute tips for taking your living space from hot mess to parent-approved.

But first and foremost, she has one piece of advice: No matter how much deep cleaning you do, do it with non-toxic products.

No matter how much deep cleaning you do, do it with non-toxic products.

“Cleaning products can contaminate our indoor air—which tends to be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air—and we inhale these toxic chemicals, especially during our sleep,” Gushée says. “Studies have detected ingredients [in cleaning products] that disrupt our hormones and threaten our brain, reproduction, and more.” Yikes.

If fumigating your home with chemicals doesn’t sound like the way you want to welcome your guests, consider swapping in non-toxic products like Ode to Clean wipes into your lineup.

Ode to Clean is 100 percent biodegradable and completely plant based. The only two ingredients are purified water and plant starch (that’s it!), which are then transformed into an all-natural version of hydrogen peroxide for non-toxic disinfecting power.

Break out a box for multitasking cleaning prowess (countertops! coffee tables! bathrooms!) and keep reading for Gushée’s advice on quickie home transformation.

Scroll down for 4 genius tips for getting your home ready to host.

Get Started
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ode to clean nontoxic wipes
Photo: Ode To Clean

1. Wipe down counters and table tops

First things first: tackle surfaces like kitchen counters and tables where guests will be setting down food and drinks. Ode to Clean wipes are especially great for food-related surfaces because they are so non-toxic you could actually eat off them. For real—even the fabric of the wipes themselves is made from plants (though we don’t recommend you serve them as a sub for a side salad).

They even pass Gushee’s non-toxic test: Making sure “fragrance” isn’t listed as an ingredient. Ode to Clean checks that box with it’s fragrance-free formula, leaving out petroleum, formaldehyde, and allergens. Au naturel FTW.

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ode to clean cleaning tips
Photo: Stocksy/Ellie Baygulov

2. Arrange a pretty hors d’oeuvres table

Once the surfaces are shining, you’re ready to stage the refreshments display. Gushée likes to greet her guests with a festive drink (like this ACV bourbon cocktail, perhaps?) so they feel welcome. And to avoid being pulled in a million different directions once the festivities begin, she recommends arranging drinks and appetizers on a table where guests can help themselves. Because who has time to notice the dust on your ceiling fan when they’re busy digging into your hummus assortment?

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ode to clean cleaning tips
Photo: Abby Maker for Well+Good

3. Turn on a diffuser

To keep the air smelling fresh, Gushée recommends powering on your diffuser while you prep for the party. Though it might seem logical to keep it puffing for the duration of the evening, Gushée advises against it.

“I’d turn on a diffuser before the party, but turn it off once the party starts so that the scents don’t interfere with the taste of food and drinks,” she says.

Set the mood with essential oil blends that are festive for the holidays (like pine, cinnamon, peppermint, or cedarwood), or that can support an uplifted mood (such as bergamot, lemon, grapefruit, or ylang ylang).

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ode to clean cleaning tips
Photo: Stocksy/Trinette Reed

4. Tidy the rooms where you expect people to congregate

After those three tasks are complete, Gushée turns her focus to tidying the key areas that guests will enter and see. Little things like straightening the pillows on the couch, folding up your throw blankets, and stashing any loose papers out of sight in the kitchen (what is it about the kitchen that makes people gather there without fail?) can make a huge difference in the overall appearance of your home.

But ultimately, remember that your guests are there to see you, not inspect your windowsills for grime (Gushée notes that they likely have their own messes at home, so will be understanding if your place isn’t spotless). So wipe down the major spaces—and then grab a plate.

In partnership with Ode to Clean

Top photo: Ode to Clean