The dirtiest thing in your kitchen, according to a survey

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I am not guided by inner contentment or the enchanting brilliance of a spotless countertop. No, my main motivation for cleaning my space is almost always to make sure the people who see it don’t think I’m dirty. (Even if those people are just the UPS guy and my local Thai place’s delivery guy.) I know I’m not alone, so I think we’d all appreciate the results of a recent study that discovered the things in our home that are most likely to repel potential guests.

AreaRugs.com compiled a list of 68 different sights, smells, and behaviors that could potentially be detected in or around a home, then asked 1,000 Americans how each circumstance would affect their impression of their host when they first visit their host’s home.

The largest kitchen postponed? It’s not a sink full of dirty dishes (although that is number two). That’s what most potential guests thought a dirty litter box was the main thing that was likely to give them a bad impression of their host.

Which, honestly. I also don’t want feces near my cooking surfaces. But times are tough, square footage can be scarce, and sometimes your layout means there’s only one natural place for a litter box to live. If you find yourself in that sitch, take this as a cue to make sure the litter box is first on your list of things to clean when guests arrive — even before you tackle the dishes or the overflowing trash can. (And you may want to keep in mind that our simple checklist for ‘cleaning for guests’ in three steps turns four now, for you.)

The survey also made a point of separating responses between men and women. As you can see in the infographic above, each gender weighed roughly the same on most kitchen expenses, but the battle of the sexes showed more division when it comes to bathroom cleanliness.

In the bathroom, the respondents (both men and women) felt that their impressions generally depended on a dirty toilet bowl and moldy tiles. But men were much more lenient about leaving the toilet seat on, and women found that missing towels and trash cans was likely to leave a bad taste in their mouths. Which, frankly, justifies my crusade in college telling every friend I had that all they needed to impress girls they brought home was a garbage can with a lid in the bathroom (tampons have to be somewhere to).

When it comes to a guest’s overall impression of a home, cobwebs and stains on the carpets and upholstery were the things most likely to put them off – meaning you’ll need to order some Wine Away and familiarize yourself with this tutorial on how to remove stains from furniture. And for those stubborn stains that just won’t come out? Perhaps the best method is distraction. The potential guests in the survey said they would be impressed to see freshly cut flowers, a large book collection and lighted candles in their host’s home.

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