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kim woodburn
Photograph: Kim Woodburn

Kim Woodburn’s house rules: cleaning tips for party hosts

The cleaning expert and drag icon tells London’s party throwers and goers how to keep homes spick and span during the festive season

By Kim Woodburn

I wouldn’t have a house party; mucky beggars messing up my home? I’m not that daft. If you choose to do so, take these precautions and you won’t go wrong, my loves.

1. Lay down the law, loves

These are your friends, so before the party you say, ‘This is what’s going to happen. I love you, but if you’re not willing to adhere to these rules, mate, you can’t come.’

2. Ditch the shoes

When people enter your home, get them to take off their shoes. They’re your mates and that’s what mates are for. There’s more damage done with dirty shoes than you can shake a stick at.

3. Reach for the soda

Have some soda water in a spray bottle. If somebody drops a coloured drink on your cream carpet, spray soda water as quickly as you can on that mark. Soak it. Grab the paper towels. Rip one off. Bang, bang, bang! Then if you have a slightly dark mark, you can easily shampoo that off with a carpet cleaner by hand the next day.

4. Keep it food-free

Stress to guests that there will be snacks. Sausage rolls; sausages on sticks. But you won’t be cooking. That is absolutely fraught with danger. A whole bowl of curry could go over the sofa!

5. Cover it up

Always have coasters. You can go to a charity shop and pick up six for two quid. Have them everywhere. All drinks leave a mark on a table. People associate those stains with hot drinks. Not true.

6. Say NO to hanky-panky

Don’t let people sneak off for a bit of hanky-panky. Those sorts of nonsenses – the perspiration and all the passions (well, we’re all grown up) – they leave stains! If you want to have a bit of the other, dear, GO HOME!

7. Get some rest, dears

I’d have the party on a Saturday so I can prepare. And then, go to bed, dear, sleep it off, get up and face the mess. You won’t have damage if you keep all these rules. It’s only hard labour when you’ve allowed it to get filthy. When you’ve done that, you deserve what you get, dear. You’re a clot!

Now you’ve gone cleaner, why not go greener?

green home
Illustration: John Devolle

Five hacks for a greener home


The home might be where the heart is, but it’s also the source of 14 percent of the UK’s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Committee on Climate Change. Living a greener life when you’re miles away from the countryside can sometimes feel like mission impossible. But don’t give up on the dream just yet. Here are some top tips to help make your London abode more eco-friendly.


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