MEMPHIS, TN--(Marketwired - November 19, 2014) - From tackling the naughtiest holiday stains, like red wine on the carpet and cranberry sauce on an antique table cloth, to cleaning the crevices most commonly inspected by mothers-in-law, keeping a clean home around the holidays can seem like an impossible task. This year, Merry Maids, the nation's leading home cleaning company and part of the ServiceMaster (NYSE: SERV) family of brands, is sharing its expert tested tips and tricks to keep homes and hosts on the "nice" list.

Between entertaining unexpected guests and hosting get-togethers with friends and family, having a clean home is never more important than it is around the holidays. 

"The holidays are a fun, but often stressful time of year. People are busy shopping, cooking and volunteering, and have little time to keep a clean and tidy home," says Debra Johnson, home cleaning expert for Merry Maids. "The good news is that there are simple tips and strategies to getting a home in tip-top shape -- from being selective with holiday décor to having a laundry closet packed with your trusty cleaning solutions -- making cleaning easier and far less stressful."

Johnson shares her tips for getting and keeping a spic and span home for the holidays:

Double-Duty Holiday Décor
Holiday décor is essential to giving spaces a more festive appearance, but it can also double the amount of housework you have each day. Give your holiday décor a second life -- fill a vase or hurricane with sparkly tinsel leftovers that may have fallen to the floor and use it as a festive holiday centerpiece. Also, coal is not just for the naughty this year -- it can serve as a great odor absorber, too, and can hide the scent of your holiday meal prep work.

Tackling the Naughtiest Holiday Stains
While red wine, cranberry sauce and turkey gravy are real crowd-pleasers, they aren't so kind to upholstery and carpets. If you notice that one of your guests got a little too cozy with her red wine and the evidence is left behind, blot it right away with a white cloth until all of the liquid has been absorbed. If the stain's dry, whip up a quick solution of dishwashing liquid (1 tbsp), white vinegar (1 tbsp) and warm water (2 cups) to blot away the stain.

Mother-in-Law Approved Cleanings
If anyone is making her list and checking it twice, it's your mother-in-law checking in to see if her child's home is naughty or nice. Before you host dinner for the family, leave no seat cushion unturned. Vacuum under the sofa and by the baseboards, and don't forget the bathroom -- when was the last time you changed your shower curtain liner? Last but not least, make sure the kitchen is spic and span -- not just the windows and floors, but the appliances and cabinets, too.

Holiday Party Prep
With all the cooking, shopping and office soirees, who has time to clean? Ditch that mindset and create a plan of attack one week in advance, taking on one room or chore every day. Johnson recommends starting with the rooms that are used the least (such as a guest bedroom), which are unlikely to be disturbed. Then take on the rooms used more frequently, such as the kitchen, which will likely need another cleaning in a week. By the time your guests arrive, your only worry will be whether or not you have enough cookies to go around.

Cleaning with Minutes to Spare
Before you know it, the holidays are here, your guests are arriving and your home could use some cleaning. Before you curse the extra appetizer or dessert that took up your last hour of precious time, take 15 minutes to simply make your home appear like you've spent a full day cleaning it. Grab your microfiber cloth and broom, and set your kitchen timer. Sweep up the porch, fold the throws in the living room and fluff your throw pillows. Toss any old magazines on the coffee table and give it a good swipe with the microfiber cloth as you breeze through the home. Put a fresh stock of toilet paper in the bathroom, put away your toothbrushes and leave a festive box of tissues behind. Lastly throw the dishes in the dishwasher and turn it on -- by the time dinner is ready, you'll have clean (and warm) dishes that are perfect for serving.

The holidays should be a joyous time to celebrate with friends and family, serve delicious meals and make memories, but a clean home to host it all is in order. But you better not shout and you better not cry -- a trustworthy team of Merry Maids cleaning specialists is nearby. A local Merry Maids team can create home cleaning plans customized for each home's needs to ensure a consistent, reliable, and thorough cleaning process every time. To find the Merry Maids location nearest you, visit For more information and to stay up-to-date on the latest Merry Maids news, visit, "Like" the brand's Facebook page or follow Merry Maids on Twitter.

About Merry Maids
Merry Maids is the largest home cleaning franchise network in the United States. Merry Maids provides services in 49 states and the District of Columbia through approximately 70 company-owned locations and 390 franchised outlets. Through its company-owned and franchise locations, Merry Maids employs more than 8,000 home cleaning professionals that service homes on four continents, including more than 200,000 homes in North America every month. Merry Maids is a business unit of The ServiceMaster Company, LLC, one of the world's largest residential and commercial service networks. The company's brands include Terminix, American Home Shield, ServiceMaster Restore, ServiceMaster Clean, Merry Maids, Furniture Medic and AmeriSpec. Go to for more information about Merry Maids or follow us at and

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Andrea Salzman