The Complete Two Day After Party Clean Up Guide [Party Host Edition]

With holidays coming up, we thought that it might be a good idea to talk a little about the best ways to clean up your home after hosting a party – and what better way to do that than developing a two-day after party clean up guide?

Now, you might be wondering: “Why two days? Why can’t I just clean it up in one?”

And that is a great question! But let me tell you, as someone who enjoys throwing the odd dinner party, by the time you are done and have ushered the last person out the door the last thing you’ll want to be doing is the after party clean up.

So we’ve created this handy two-day after party clean up guide to help you break down all the tasks that go into the aftermath of a fun party into smaller and more manageable chunks so that you can enjoy your party and not be worrying about how late you’ll need to stay up to handle the mess.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the first after party clean up checklist for what to handle the night of the party.

Same-Day After-Party Clean-Up Checklist

You want to tackle your after party clean up in the most efficient way, right? To do so, you need to do some cleaning as soon as the party has ended. Leaving these tasks for the following day will only make your cleaning session more cumbersome, so let’s knock out a few of the high-impact items right away.

Round up garbage

This step is crucial for successful after party clean up, especially if your guests ate from disposable cutleries and drank from plastic cups. Grab a big trash bag and make a tour around the house to collect the garbage left, such as food scraps, plastic cups, napkins, gift wrap paper, and confetti. Removing garbage from the surfaces and rooms will motivate you visually and also facilitate cleaning everything left on the next day.

Reminder: if you receive curbside recycling service, make sure to separate the garbage in different trash bags!

Pack leftovers

Take a look at the food and separate whatever can be eaten afterward or frozen for a future event. Use tightly sealed containers or wraps to decrease the outside oxygen flow into the dish. If you’re freezing, use Ziploc bags, and label and date the contents on a piece of tape. (Fun fact – tomato juice reacts with aluminum foil, so don’t mix these two!)

Load the dishwasher

Don’t go to sleep without loading the dishwasher or at least setting up your sink to pre-soak the most stubborn items. There’s nothing worse than waking up the next day to a pile of dirty dishes!

It’s pretty common to end up with sauce stains and a layer of stubborn grease on some utensils. If this happens, don’t let them sit in the dishwasher overnight without running it as the grime layers will dry, making them more difficult to remove. Instead, give them a rinse and leave them to soak in the sink overnight then load them in the dishwasher first thing in the morning. The same advice applies if you are washing your dishes by hand.

You’ll thank your past self for taking care of this step right away.

Wipe down kitchen counters

Round off your kitchen cleaning by wiping down the kitchen counters. First, rinse a microfiber cloth out with clean water. Then, spray some dishwashing liquid of your choice on the surface, grab the cloth, and wipe the counters down. If there are any stubborn stains, you can use a dish sponge or a scrub brush to remove them.

Load the Laundry

Now that you’ve finished up the food and kitchen related tasks, let’s tackle the rest of the easiest tasks to do right after your party. 

Collect the table cloths, dish towels, and hand towels and load them in the laundry. If any of these items has a stain, apply a stain remover or degreaser before throwing them in the machine so that it can penetrate the fabric overnight and yield the best results when you run the washer. 

Wipe up spills

Go through every room where your guest were and check for spills, crumbs, and liquids. Use towels and cloths to clean them. You can also use a multipurpose cleaner to soak spills first, and then wipe them up with a paper towel or clean cloth.

Remove stains on carpets/rugs

You should wipe up any accidental spills on carpets and rugs that you notice straightaway to prevent any staining. However, it’s possible that a less-than-considerate guest may have failed to mention a spill to you (or worse – hid it to avoid embarrassment!).

When you find liquid spills on rugs or carpets, apply a solution of vinegar and water using a microfiber towel and scrub the surface. You can add a touch of baking soda or a mild detergent for tougher stains.

The Next Day After Party Clean Up Checklist

Now that you’ve had a good night’s sleep, hopefully you are ready to leave every nook and cranny of your house looking spotless. Below, you’ll find all the final steps to complete your after party clean up successfully and leave your home looking as spotless as a museum.

Run the dishwasher

Washing the dishes must be the first task you do the next day, whether you’re using a dishwasher or washing the dishes by hand. If you loaded the dishwasher the night before, simply select a wash cycle and let the machine do its job. If you left the dishes soaking the night before, take them out and load the dishwasher. Gain some time and complete other cleaning tasks while the dishes are being done. Once the load is done, put the clean dishes away in their respective places.

Put away decor pieces

Some people love to add décor pieces to liven up the party. The next cleaning step is for them.  

Take down all the decor pieces you’ve hung around the house: balloons, banners, photo-op props, garlands, and birthday hats. Discard the single-use decor pieces. However, have some boxes at hand to store the decor pieces that still are in good condition for future parties. 

Clean kitchen areas

Yesterday you thoroughly cleaned the kitchen countertops. However, there’s a high chance your kitchen appliances are in need of a clean-up, too. Grab a microfiber cloth, dampen it in water, spray dishwashing liquid on the surfaces, and scrub to remove the grease and grime. 

Tidy up & Rearrange

Your guests may have moved chairs and other furniture during the party. If that’s the case, return everything to its original place. You may have also needed to add a little extra seating for your party. Collect all the additional chairs, booths, and poufs, and store them back in the garage.

Wipe the furniture

People coming and going can raise dust into suspension in the air, which will inevitably build up on your furniture. Use a damp cloth to wipe down all the surfaces. Also, ensure you rinse the cloth out with clean water before cleaning a different piece of furniture so you’re not carrying dirt. You can also use special cleaners, depending on the furniture’s material.

Vacuum the floor

In a party, people are constantly walking around, and more often than not, they do it while eating something. So you can be sure there will be lots of crumbs lying around the room. 

Start by cleaning the vacuum bag and ensuring it is empty. Then, vacuum the floor to remove dirt and debris. Don’t forget about sneaky places, like underneath chairs, tables, and other furniture.

Sweep and mop the floors

Sweep up your floor to remove dirt and debris your vacuum may not have been able to catch.  Then, grab a mop based on your floor type, dampen it in warm water, and remove grease stains or mud from your kitchen floor and other floorings. You can also add a floor-cleaning solution to the water for that long-lasting shine and fresh smell. (Dawn dish soap diluted in water makes a perfect low-chemical floor cleaner that is pet and child-friendly!)

Clean bathroom surfaces

The bathroom is one of the most frequented rooms during a party. You don’t have to clean every single bathroom surface, but you do want to clean and sanitize the high-touch surfaces. Spray a disinfectant on the toilet seat, countertop, sink, and faucets, and let it sit for a few minutes to fight bacteria. Then, wipe over the surfaces with a clean cloth.

Clean outdoor areas

If it was nice outside the day of the party, there’s a chance you and your guests spent some time outside. Depending on the type of outdoor space you have, start by grabbing a sturdy broom and do some sweeping to remove use and debris. Then, you might want to hose down the floors, banisters, and walls. Finally, tidy the place up and put everything (furniture, ashtrays, cushions) in their proper places. 

Why Hire a Professional for After Party Clean Up Service

As you can see, an after party clean up is no piece of cake. It takes time, effort, and the right equipment to return your home to a decent state. This said, it’s easy to see why most people struggle to clean up their house after a party and why it becomes an endless cycle where the house is never fully clean. 

If you want to avoid having a messy house for days or weeks, you should consider hiring a professional after party clean up service. There are many benefits of hiring clean-up services. 

First, it’s all done in a day. Cleaning companies have devised efficient systems to clean a house after a party. They already know all the problematic areas and are totally equipped with modern technology to clean a house properly and efficiently. All you have to do is book an appointment at a specific time and that’s it. 

Second, you can personalize the service. Cleaning companies offer add-on services in case their package doesn’t cover a room you’ve used at your party. Third, a cleaning service is affordable. Cleaning companies charge only for the services they provide, so you can budget in advance for this expense as part of the cost of your party.

Ready to get some help with your after party clean up?


  • Jacob W. Bailey

    Jacob is the Cleveland-based founder and CEO of Summit Maids, a local cleaning company with a mission to make a mark on its community by providing good jobs to more than 1,000 people.