A 5-Step Game Plan on Making Your Super Bowl Party Cleanup Easy and Stress-Free

published Feb 8, 2023
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Friends together watching tv at home
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It’s an annual dilemma: You want to invite your fellow football fans over for the big game, but you don’t want to be stuck with a super-sized mess after the final score. Luckily, we have some touchdown-worthy tips that’ll make cleanup a breeze when the party is over. Here’s a five-step game plan for throwing a stress-free, easy-to-clean Super Bowl party come Feb. 12. 

Start with the entryway

Maybe not in Arizona, the site of this year’s big game, but for much of the country, February means snow and slush. “Before guests arrive, place additional doormats outside and inside your front door and to the entrance of internal party hosting rooms,” says Johanna Constantinou, brand and communications director of Tapi, a flooring company.

Constantinou adds that “one of the easiest tips to protect your flooring during parties is to ask attendees to remove their shoes before entering.”

Serve mess-free food

Avoid messy tailgate favorites like saucy meatballs and Buffalo wings and think of messy food’s opposite. “Instead of doing chicken wings, do bite-sized chicken tenders or nuggets,” shares ​Jennifer Bishop, owner of J. Leigh Events in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Mess-free food not only means less cleanup for you, but it also helps avoid sticky stains on your furniture and floor. “Don’t do meatballs in the crock pot in the sauce; do a meatball skewer or on a toothpick — just a bite,” she adds. Bishop also recommends a centrally located cheese board. “It’s all contained in one space, and you can easily eat it with one bite, and it’s a beautiful presentation.”

Additionally, for a situation where you’re trying to keep it extra tidy, have a designated drink area and a designated food area, shares Bishop. That way your cleanup at the end of the night is even more simplistic.

Avoid china and stemware

Super Bowl tensions can be high, so consider saving the fancy plates and glasses for another day. Scrap the stemware and instead try disposable plates, utensils, and cups. Lots of stores and online retailers sell bamboo or plant-based plates and utensils that require no cleaning and aren’t as harsh on the environment as other options, like styrofoam. “They’re sustainable and compostable, and that’s what you want to do if you’re not wanting to clean up a lot,” says Bishop.

If you do decide to go with glassware, however, have guests keep track of their glass with wipe-off markers or themed charms to prevent them from grabbing multiple glasses.

Have multiple trash cans visible

Don’t make people guess where to put down their finished plates or cups. Be sure you have multiple trash bins in high-traffic rooms. Bishop recommends having a trash can and recycling bin for every 20 to 30 guests, placed in high-traffic areas where you set up food and drinks stations.

Entertaining with patio space? Bishop recommends at least one receptacle outside, too. For a double benefit, Bishop says to add a cardboard trash can or recyclable trash can to gather beer and soda cans.

Remove stains immediately 

Even with the best-laid plans, something will likely get spilled or stain your carpet. If this happens, don’t freak out, just act fast. According to Constantinou, it’s best to tackle water-soluble stains (think mud or dark soda) by blotting — not scrubbing — the mark with a generous amount of this cleaning solution: two pints of water with a quarter of a teaspoon of white vinegar. With a clean cloth, gently press the stain from the outside in.