We’ve all been on the end of surprise visitors and if they arrive unexpectedly it can sometimes result in a quick dash around the house to hide dirty crockery in the dishwasher before running upstairs to squirt bathroom cleaner around the sink and wipe away any toothpaste residue before your guests notice.

If you made a New Year’s resolution to keep your house looking tip-top for the year ahead, but you can already see the ironing basket overflowing - don’t fret - there are plenty of ways you can cheat an immaculate home.

Cleaning guru Aggie MacKenzie recently revealed that she pops her cushions and pillowcases in the tumble dryer for 10 minutes with a scented sheet of fabric softener when she hasn’t got time to wash them.

She also likes to steam-clean her microwave by half-filling a heat-proof bowl with hot water and adding a few lemon slices, before turning the microwave on high for five minutes to blitz any smells. Afterwards just wipe away food stains with a dry cloth, and - as Aggie says – ta-da!

Aggie’s tips got us thinking of other ways you can spruce up the house five minutes before your guests knock on the door…

1) Freshen up the bathroom

Give your bathroom a two-minute clean by shaking the bath mat so it looks freshly hoovered. Then with a dampened paper towel, wipe the corners of the room where dust and hair can gather.

2) Be tatical with clutter

Fed up with clutter taking over your surfaces? Invest in some wicker storage boxes to keep magazines, board games, shoes, even the kids’ Lego neat and tidy. It will help to open up your living space and make it easier to blitz the dusting in your lounge and living room when you’re on a manic cleaning mission.

3) Clean taps the easy way

Keep the taps in your bathroom looking sparkly by mixing water and white vinegar in a spray bottle. Just spritz over and wipe instantly clean with a damp cloth.

4) Recycle paper

Enforce a rule that prevents piles of paper from stacking up around the house. Try and deal with house admin as soon as you can by investing in a filing system and make 2015 your most organised year yet.

5) Make your kitchen sink sparkle

Got a stainless steel sink which never looks clean? After using your normal anti-bacterial spray, try putting the sparkle back by using a few drops of mineral oil on a soft cloth and buffing around the sink to prevent water build-up and to stop mould in its tracks.

6) Keep pet hairs at bay

Getting pet hairs off the sofa doesn’t need to be hard work if you keep a rubber glove or dry sponge to hand. You’ll be able to clean off a layer of cat or dog fur in a few quick sweeps.

7) Clean as you go

Evening guests don’t need to see what you ate for dinner if you clean as you go. Fill your sink with warm soapy water and throw in any pots, pans and dishes when you finish using them so they can soak while you eat.

8) Remember your dustpan and brush

No time to hoover the stairs? Don’t forget your trusty dustpan and brush it’s much quicker than dragging the hoover out from underneath the stairs and the tough bristles will do just as good a job.

Do you have any tips for blitzing the housework? We want to know! Please leave any Comments in the box below.