A guide to cleaning after a New Year's Eve party

Cleaning up after a New Year party is never fun! This guide makes it simple & easy with tips on cleaning that night and cleaning the next day.

Updated 28 June 2019

Full dustbin after cleaning after a new year's eve party

Key steps

  1. The trick to cleaning up after a party is to do jobs such as clearing away uneaten food or treating stains and spillages before heading to bed. You’ll thanks yourself in the morning!
  2. Remove rubbish to the outdoor bins to rid the house of any lingering party smells. 
  3. For a homemade air freshener whilst you set to work cleaning, mix water with white wine vinegar and spritz onto any bad smelling stains. 

There are both advantages and disadvantages to offering to host a New Year party at your home. On the plus side, you don’t need wait hours for a taxi to become available, or pay a fortune to get back to your house. The downside, however, is that you’ll be responsible for cleaning up the mess the following day. Even just the thought of cleaning up after a New Year party is enough to bring us out in a cold sweat, but does the tidying up process really need to be that bad? Not really. By doing a little advance planning, and sticking to a checklist, you could have the house looking decent once more in no time – even if you’re nursing a hangover.

In most cases, it’s advised that you clean up as soon as your guests have left, but the tidying up rules are slightly different for New Year parties. As your guests won’t start departing until well gone midnight, it’s best to leave the majority of the cleaning for the next day, when you’re feeling more refreshed and not quite so sleepy. There are, however, some tasks that should be done before your head hits the pillow:

Cleaning up after a party: Before you go to bed

  • Put any uneaten food back in the fridge. If you leave it out all night, it could start to grow bacteria and you’ll need to bin it. By putting it back in the fridge, it’ll stay fresher for longer, and it means you don’t have to cook the next day.
  • Re-cork or seal any open bottles of wine that haven’t been completely emptied. If you can’t get the cork back in, use some clingfilm to cover the top – you want to keep as much air out of the bottle as possible to keep it tasting fresh.
  • Address any urgent matters in your home, such as spillages and stains. It’s always better to treat stains immediately to avoid them drying and becoming more difficult to remove. Apply a stain remover, allow to soak, and gently dab. You can wash the item tomorrow.
  • Make a clear path from your bedroom to the bathroom by clearing the floor of any clutter. The last thing you want is to be desperate for the loo in the middle of the night and have to navigate an assault course of empty cans, bottles, and food containers.

Tasks for the next morning

On 1st January, you can start the cleaning process is earnest, and the first challenge you’ll want to tackle is decluttering. While the rest of your home may still be a little dirty, everything just seems so much better and more manageable when you’re working in an open, airy environment, rather than one full of towers made of empty beer cans. Here’s how to get started:

  • Collect any rubbish from your house, and place into waste bags or recycling bags. Always check the advice from your local council, but typically you should be able to recycle anything made of glass or plastic, such as dip containers, alcohol bottles, plastic pop bottles, and so on. Foil-based waste, such as crisp packets, should be placed in the rubbish bin as these cannot yet be recycled.
  • Don’t leave your rubbish or recycling bags inside – take them to the bin as soon as possible. Alcohol has a very pungent smell when it’s old, and it can really create a bad odour in the house. Also, if you’re feeling a bit ‘delicate’, it’s best to remove anything that could make you feel worse.
  • Fill your dishwasher with plates, dishes, cutlery, and glasses, and anything else that’s dishwasher safe. This is where a little bit of pre-planning can save you a lot of time, effort, and frustration – make sure that your dishwasher is empty and clean, is filled with salt and rinse aid, and that you have dishwasher tablets in your cupboard BEFORE the party starts.
  • Throw any fabric napkins and tablecloths into your washing machine and wash using a good quality detergent that has built-in stain removers to get rid of any salsa or red wine stains. You can also now wash anything that you applied stain remover to the night before, but be sure to wash in a separate load – smaller items can become tangled in tablecloths, and may not be cleaned properly.

The not-so-pleasant tasks for new year’s cleaning

If you and your guests enjoyed a few too many drinks at your New Year party, there may be some rather unpleasant tasks to deal with in the morning. Here are a few things to look out for, with handy hints on how to clean without gagging:

  • Beware of any mess around the toilet. While everyone tries to be hygienic, once the alcohol is flowing and actions are impaired there may be a few misses. Wearing rubber gloves, wipe the area with disinfectant wipes, and place a bowl of baking soda in the bathroom to absorb any unpleasant, lingering smells.
  • If someone went way over their limit last night and vomited, there may be a leftover smell making its way around your home. If the accident occurred on your carpet, sponge the area with warm, soapy water made with a liquid laundry detergent. Follow this up with a generous spritzing of a mixture of water and white vinegar, and allow to dry naturally. The vinegar will initially mask the bad smell while it works to treat it.
  • Finally, a little bit too much to drink can make people forgetful, and one thing that’s often forgotten is to wash hands after using the toilet. To avoid the spread of germs and bacteria, use a disinfectant spray or wipe to wipe down doorknobs, handles, rails, and anything else that you touch on a regular basis.

Finishing touches

Now that your house is looking like it’s almost back to its former self, you can complete the cleaning process by vacuuming, sweeping floors, and polishing dirty windows and mirrors, which will help to give your home a more refreshed and energetic feel. No matter how rotten you feel on the morning of January 1st, you’ll always feel so much better once you’ve got your house into working order once more. Then you can sit back, relax, and think up some New Year’s resolutions!

These tips work just as well for cleaning up after a home-based stag do or hen do, by the way.

Originally published 19 July 2018