How To Make The Post House Party Cleanup More Bearable
The Debrief: You've had the best party ever, but someone's been sick on the sofa and everything is stuck to the floor. Here's how to nail it - while having the most fun possible
I once lived in a converted pub with a big yard and a bonus caravan. It was the perfect party venue and, on Saturday nights, would fill with friends, friends of friends and a few crusties who’d wander in (it once got to 5am and my housemate realised all our remaining guests were middle-aged.)
There’d always be glitter and dancing and someone fit to snog; like a teen movie party without a pool house but, by the morning, the place would look like the subject of a Channel 4 documentary about squatters. I spent Sundays scrubbing weird sticky dirt off floors, rescuing sofas from bodily fluids and trying to work out how someone got salsa all over the walls. Answer: still unknown.
Most of the time though, we managed to make the clean-up ‘fun’ (I mean that in the way laughing manically at the dancing Elmo GIF is fun when hungover, not in the sense that it’s actually something I’d choose to do on the regular), so here’s how to make yours bearable too…
You’ve probably already locked away your laptop and the pile of gold bullions you keep in the lounge, but put your soft furnishings in the Scrooge McDuck safe too because no-one’s going to look out for your throw cushions once people start popping bottles. I once had to rescue a cream rug from a crowd of 24hr-party-people after it became the dance floor.
Also, did you know you can put your mop head in the washing machine? It's a genuine game changer. Do that a couple of days before the party so it’s sparkling clean before you do the floors, stock up on bin bags and actual Fairy liquid, and buy >100 plastic cups. Even if it’s just going to be a small get-together for a few cool people (and you better be one of them, byotch), always be prepared with disposable receptacles and you’ll barely have to do any washing up.
Get other people to clean things too
So, it’s 6am and there are still a few revellers hanging out in your lounge? Ask them to help out. Nikki, 27, says: ‘We once got friends to put rubbish into bin bags before they went home. No-one minded, in fact, someone mopped.’ Your mates will be too far-gone to notice they’re cleaning, and your house will be halfway-normal when you wake up.
Also, make a cleaning pact with your flatmates. Pinkie-swear that you’ll all scrub the house together in the morning before going for big plates of meat in a nice café to congratulate yourselves. Put on a bangin’ playlist and make sure there’s a forfeit for anyone who bails to make sure no-one ‘accidentally’ ends up having sex with their boyfriend instead.
Make things smell nice immediately
Scrubbing a kitchen that smells like an SU bar is a one-way ticket to spew-town. Open all the windows in the house as soon as you wake up, and then have another 30 minute lie-in while the smell dissipates. Cleaner Janet Rands has a pro tip for those of y’all with a carpeted home: ‘I sprinkle cotton wool pads with scented oil and put them in the hoover bag. As I hoover it leaves the smell throughout the house.’ Fancy.
Make incidents less incidenty
If someone’s vommed or spilled a drink somewhere, cover the stain with baking powder as soon as possible to absorb the scent. Sofa covers can go in the washing machine so are easy-peasy to fix, or try a mix of salt and soda water on furniture.
If people have been using your bedroom as the chill-out zone/sick-bay, things are trickier. Hollow-fibre duvets and pillows can go in the washer. But, when it comes to the mattress, Janet says: ‘don’t get it too wet, but give it a good scrub with some stain remover and, if you can, stand it against the radiator to dry.’ Clue for next time: buy a mattress protector.
The floor is going to be gross. Accept it.
I once had to mop three times after a party where everyone sat in the mud because it was dark and they thought our garden was paved. But Janet says that if you’ve brushed the floor properly pre-mopping, this shouldn’t be the case (my bad). Work on small sections of floor until they’re clean rather than the whole thing at once, which also makes it easier to tag-team with housemates.‘Use an old-fashioned mop that you ring out' advises Janet. 'The foam ones wear out really quickly, and change the water as soon as it starts looking murky.’
If you’ve got carpet, use ice to make sticky patches scratch-off-able and trim down any areas where there might be cigarette burns. Then, spray on a carpet cleaner before you hoover to bring out the dirt.
Call in the professionals
It might seem like a baller move, but since you’ve not paid for club-entry or travel, getting a pro to deal with the mess isn’t actually that extravagant. You can use apps like Handy to book a cleaner or do a ye-olde Google search to find one. Laura, 25, says: ‘My housemates agreed that we couldn’t deal with the clean-up ourselves so all chipped in £10 each for a cleaner to come the next morning. We let them in as we went to bed.’ The dream.
And, if all else fails…
Make sure you have the Best Party Ever so that all the scrubbing seems worth it. From experience: off-the-chain house party equals forgotten clean-up. Dull house party equals clean-up that leads to a potential house war. Let’s do some shots, y’all!
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Picture: Francesca Allen
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