Midday Fix: Housekeeping tips and tricks for holiday entertaining from the pros

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Taira Siebenaler, Director of Rooms

Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
120 E. Delaware Place



Get rid of all those wrinkles in your linens
Keep the iron in the closet! We have a much easier way to tackle those wrinkles in your bed and table linens. Fill a spray bottle with water, and simply spritz the linens – do not saturate. Run your hand firmly over the linens, and let dry. If you REALLY want to impress your house guests, you can add a sprig of lavender to the bottle before spraying the bed linens.

Tackling undesirable odors
Before your guests arrive, you want to make sure there are no undesirable odors in the house that might take away from holiday scents. Again, this is easy; we promise it won’t get in the way of your preparations! Simply place cups of vinegar around the house for two to three hours. One cup per room is sufficient. Before you know it, the house will smell fresh and clean.

Wowing guests with five-star touches
You can create a five-star experience right in the comfort of your own home!
Be the hostess with the mostess, and surprise your guests with turndown service. Sneak into their room, and leave a bottle of water, chocolate and an eye mask next to the bed.  You can even place electric candles around the room to create a warm, cozy ambience, like we do at the Hotel with turndown service.

The Magic Eraser is certainly magical
Our Housekeeping team loves the Magic Eraser! It’s truly magical when it comes to cleaning base boards, doors, door frames, walls, you name it. You can hide any wear and tear and make your house look new again before guests arrive. Go room by room, like we do, and you’re sure to find some scuffs to wipe away.

Giving your table a sparkle
It’s easy for glassware and silverware to look old and tarnished. Don’t worry about getting out the stinky silver polish and scrubbing each and every piece!
To clean your wine glasses easily and efficiently, boil water, dip the rim of the glass into the boiling water, and turn it clockwise for 5-10 seconds. Then wipe them dry with a clean cloth.
Use a similar method to clean your silverware. Boil water, dip the pieces in for a few seconds each, wipe dry with a clean cloth, and they will look brand new!

Setting the tone
Before your guests arrive, you want to make all of the last minute adjustments to set the mood for the event. This involves lighting, temperature, and noise – all things that we pay close attention to when preparing guest rooms, the restaurant, and meeting and event spaces:

Lighting – If you are having an evening gathering, let’s say for Christmas or New Year’s Eve, you don’t want the lighting to be too bright and, of course, too dark that guests are unable to read a menu or observe your beautiful table décor. Try to adjust the lights, so that they are 50-60 percent of their max.

Temperature – Most people set the temperature to what they want it to be in that moment, however, it’s important to consider your guest count, keeping in mind that the more guests you are expecting, the warmer your home will be. So, put on an extra layer while you’re setting up…and turn that temperature down!

Noise – Music is always a key factor when setting a mood. For example, the music that we play in our guest rooms upon arrival is different from what we play in the restaurant and lobby areas. Once you have decided what music is appropriate for your event, make sure it is loud enough that the words can be heard, but soft enough that your guests can have a conversation without struggling to hear one another.

When red wine isn’t our friend
If your guests are having too much fun, and accidentally knock over a glass of red wine on your dining room rug, don’t sweat it! Quickly blot the area (do not rub!) with a clean damp white cloth. Spread salt over the entire area (the more, the merrier) and let it sit overnight. The salt absorbs any remaining wine. In the morning, vacuum the area to remove the salt.


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