Cleaning tips to make you a better guest – 5 things to guarantee an invite back

These five cleaning tips will make you a guest any host would love to invite back

A bed with white padded headboard made with white bedding and a blue throw pillow
(Image credit: Sweetpea & Willow)

More often than not, when it comes to hosting overnight guests, we put the task of cleaning up on the hosts themselves.

However, cleaning experts suggest there are some small gestures we can do to lighten the load and secure ourselves as the best guests to invite back. 

Whether you offer a helping hand in doing laundry or pay attention to the finer details, these five cleaning tips are simple to execute but certainly don't go unnoticed.

Cleaning tips to make you a better guest

‘I always say that when it comes to being a better houseguest, reassure the host that you are available to assist them “in any way possible”,’ begins Vanessa Gordon, hosting expert and founder of East End Taste. ‘Politely state this without being overbearing, as many have a certain pattern or way around their home, including the kitchen and living area. If the host states that they do not need help, accept that but perhaps be aware and mindful of situations or responsibilities that become too overwhelming.’

With that in mind, here are a few simple things you can do to be a better, cleaner guest. 

1. Wipe down bathroom vanities after use

White walls, mirror, wooden counter

(Image credit: Future / Paul Raeside)

Bathroom vanities can look dirty very quickly, so taking a few seconds to wipe them down after use can make a lasting impression on a host – especially given that it can make cleaning a bathroom easier down the line, says Ryan Knoll, cleaning expert and owner of Tidy Casa.

‘This includes tidying up any splashes or spills after washing hands or brushing teeth. Providing such attention to detail shows respect for the host's space and minimizes their cleaning load.’

This rule applies no matter if you have access to a private guest bathroom or a shared space with your host, he adds.  

Ryan Knoll
Ryan Knoll

Ryan Knoll is the CEO and founder of Tidy Casa, a cleaning service that now spans multiple states across the US.

2. Strip the bedding before you leave

Chalet bedroom with wood paneling, upholstered headboard and wall lights with neutral curtains and linen bedding

(Image credit: Chalet Blackcomb, Val d'Isere by Dalrymple Studio / photograph Kensington Laverne)

Whether you are staying in a guest bedroom, or on a temporary bed elsewhere in the home, Raychel Klein, professional organizer and founder of RayBayBay Organizing, suggests always stripping the bedding and leaving it in a neat, folded pile before you leave to help your host when it comes to laundry:

‘I’ve always appreciated when guests strip the bed and put any used linens in our laundry room. Some guests don’t use all the pillows and blankets, so it's nice when that guesswork is taken out and a load of laundry is not wasted on something that is still clean,’ she shares.

Raychel Klein
Raychel Klein

Raychel Klein started her home organization business in 2020 with the mission of helping people escape the vicious cycle of clutter. She is a certified KonMari consultant based in Seattle, Washington.

3. Take shoes off at the door

entryway with side table

(Image credit: Future)

Not every home is a shoes-off household, but taking yours off at the door, or avoiding wearing them over carpeted areas is a great clean tip that will make you stand out as a respectful houseguest, says Diana Ciechorska, general manager at Park Slope Cleaning, suggests.

‘This simple practice helps prevent dirt and debris from being tracked through the living spaces, reducing the need for frequent floor cleaning.’

You can always ask your host for their preference if you want to be safe, and check where their shoe storage is so you don't leave them in the way.

4. Tell the host when items run out

midcentury bathroom with large mirror over the sink

(Image credit: Laurel Joliet, Courtesy of Assembledge and Susan Mitnick Design Studio)

If your host has left toiletries or other amenities out for you to use during your stay, Raychel Klein, professional organizer, suggests it is best to let them know when things are running low or have run out completely, even if it might seem rude bringing it up:

‘As a host, I may not get a chance to check the amenities for our guests. I would hate for our guests to be caught without toilet paper, hand soap, or even if the trash is full, etc.’

5. Keep your belongings neat and organized

winter decor ideas, cozy bedroom with limed nightstand, plant, candle, rattan and wood bed, white bedding, brass wall light

(Image credit: Industville / @joeykendallbrown)

No matter if you are staying for one night or longer than a week, it is vital to keep your belongings neat and organized to avoid cluttering up your host’s house, urges Ryan Knoll, cleaning expert. This might mean keeping your clothing neatly folded near your bag, or putting things away in provided guestroom storage, he suggests. 

‘Additionally, familiarizing yourself with basic household routines, like where items go in the dishwasher or how to sort recycling, aligns with your host's household practices and eases their workload, keeping your footprint to a minimum,’ he adds. 


Should guests do chores?

Whether or not houseguests do chores will depend on a few factors such as how well you know your guests (it is easier to ask family or close friends to help around the house than an acquaintance), the age of the guests, and how long they are staying. Overnight guests are likely to not have much of an impact on your home, while it might be useful for guests staying longer than a week to pitch in with everyday shores such as the dishes and tidying up after a long day.

What are the responsibilities of a guest in a home?

When staying in someone else's home, your main responsibilities will be to adhere to their house rules so as not to do anything inflammatory that may make your stay awkward. While a stay with a host should be comfortable and relaxed, avoid leaving messes behind so that you don’t irritate them. You want to ensure you are asked back, not put on a guest blacklist.  

There is more to keeping your status as the perfect guest than cleaning up after yourself, adds Diana Ciechorska, cleaning expert:

‘In addition to maintaining a tidy space during my stay, I find that leaving a small gift or treating my hosts to something sweet from a local bakery is a lovely way to express gratitude,’ she shares. ‘Whether it's a bouquet of fresh flowers, a scented candle, or a box of delicious pastries from the nearby bakery, these gestures add a personal touch to my appreciation. It's a small token of thanks that can brighten their day and show how much I value their hospitality.’

Chiana Dickson
Content Editor

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for two years, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.