How to Clean a Vacation Rental
Cleaning a vacation rental is not the same as cleaning your own home. In this post, I will walk you through how to clean a vacation rental. My Orlando-based team has been involved in vacation rental cleaning for several years and we have cleaned over 10,000 appointments to date. By following this guide, your clean should be a walk in the park.
Start with the laundry
First, start with putting all of your linens to wash. Then, clean the towels. If this is a turnaround, you may not have enough time to wash every single comforter. Because of this, many hosts choose to use duvet covers to keep bedding as clean as possible. Please note, laundry is a constraint on your cleaning time. Always start vacation rental cleaning with laundry.
Clean your vacation rental with the same flow each time
Next, check the home for left behind items, damages, major changes, and cleaning tasks that will require extra time. For example, if the shower is in unusually bad shape you can tackle that item first since it will require extra time.
Start with the most difficult rooms first
When you actually begin cleaning, tackle the most difficult room first. You can clean the vacation rental in this order:
- Living Areas
- Outside Areas
Follow the wall to wall method of vacation rental cleaning
Work your way through each room, wall to wall. Start with high areas, such as ceiling fans and move to dusting the surfaces and blinds. In the bathrooms, leave no hair behind and lay out towels. In the kitchen, make sure dishes, pans, pots, and utensils are clean and sanitized. As for beds, they must look crisp like they do when you check into a nice hotel suite. Floors are always the last task. You do not want to leave your footprints behind. Floors look their best when they are freshly swept, vacuumed, and mopped.
Use the right cleaning products
Cleaning a rental is not just about making a vacation property look clean. Your space also has to be clean and sanitized. Find out more about the difference between cleaning and sanitizing here. Also, be careful using harsh chemicals on delicate surfaces. If your surfaces allow it, please use Clorox in showers and bathtubs. Bleach works very well at killing black mildew and germs. Sanitize surfaces with Lysol or Lysol equivalent for the safety of your guests. With laundry, make sure you bleach whites and wash on a warm setting to kill germs. Here are my product recommendations:
Best vacation rental cleaning products
- Easy-Off Specialty Kitchen Degreaser Cleaner, 16 fl oz Bottle
- Cerama Bryte Best Value Kit: Ceramic Cooktop Cleaner 28oz, Scraper, 10 Pads, Burnt-on Grease Remover 2oz
- Weiman Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish - Streak-Free Shine for Refrigerators, Dishwasher, Sinks, Range Hoods and BBQ grills - 22 fl. oz.
- Pine-Sol Multi-Surface Cleaner, Lemon Fresh, 28 Fluid Ounce Bottle
- Scotch-Brite Heavy Duty Scrub Sponges, Powerful Scrubbing for Stuck-on Messes, Tougher than Your Worst Messes, Stands Up to Stuck-on Grime, 9 Scrub Sponges
- Cleaning Scrub Sponge by Scrub-it - Non-Scratch - Scrubbing Dish Sponges Use for Kitchens, Bathroom & More - 24 Pack
- O-Cedar EasyWring Microfiber Spin Mop, Bucket Floor Cleaning System
- Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Multi-Surface Everyday Cleaner, Lemon Verbena, 16 Fl Oz, Pack of 3
- Granite Gold Daily Cleaner Spray And Refill Value Pack - Streak-Free Stone Cleaning Formula, Made In The USA
- Weiman Granite Cleaner and Polish - 24 Ounce (2 Pack) Safely Cleans and Shines Granite Marble Soapstone Quartz Quartzite Slate Limestone Corian Laminate Tile Countertop
- Orange Glo 2-in-1 Clean & Polish Wood Furniture Spray - 16 oz - 2 pk
Kitchen and Living Areas
- Tilex 01100 Mold and Mildew Remover, 16 Ounce, 1 Bottle
- Clean-Up Cleaner w/Bleach, 32 oz. Bottle
- Clorox Gel Cleaner with Bleach 30 Ounce Spray Bottle
- Scrubbing Bubbles Bubbly Bleach Gel Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Extended Neck to ensure Freshness, Rainshower Scent, 24 oz
- Bagcraft 300591 Sani/Shield Printed Toilet Seat Band, Paper, Blue/White, 16" Wide x 1-1/2" Deep (Case of 1000)
- Windex Original Glass and Window Cleaner Spray Bottle, Original Blue, 23 fl oz - Pack of 6
- 12"x12" Microfiber Cleaning Cloth 6PCS 3 Colors(Green Blue Orange) Reusable Wash Clothes for House Boat Car Window Cleaner 2PCS Screen Cloth as Gift
- Mr. Clean Magic Eraser Original, Cleaning Pads with Durafoam, 9 Count
How to inspect a vacation rental cleaning
Don’t forget, every vacation rental clean needs to be inspected. This is called the final walk-through. Here is how to inspect a vacation rental:
- Check every dresser, drawer, closet, and under every bed to make sure nothing has been left behind by previous guests.
- Pantry and cabinets need to be checked for left behind food. All dishes must be clean.
- Surfaces and floors must have no streaks, hand prints, or footprints.
- Hair needs to be checked for. Pay special attention to the bathrooms for small hairs.
- Document any damages by taking pictures and pay special attention to items needing maintenance. Photo evidence is required for claims on Airbnb and VRBO.
How long should cleaning a vacation rental take?
Vacation rental cleaning on average takes 2-4 hours. Cleaning time is determined by 4 main factors.
- Size of property & number of beds
- Condition guests left home in after departure
- Experience level of your vacation rental cleaner
Best vacuum for cleaning vacation rentals
For cleaning hard floors and hair, we recommend the Bissell Zing Canister, 2156A Vacuum, Green Bagless To clean carpets and floors, heavier duty Oreck Commercial, Professional Upright Vacuum Cleaner, U2000RB1 is recommended.
Best supplies to leave for guests
Our cleaning team leaves enough starter amenity for the first night. If you want to provide them with bathroom kits (think soap and shampoo) in addition to essential amenities like toilet paper and paper towel, we recommend this Terra Pure set.
Cleaning expectations for vacation rentals
Travelers expect a clean property upon arrival, always. Therefore, it is helpful to ask previous guests to do their part. Even though they pay a cleaning fee, they can do a few tasks to help your cleaning crew timely prepare your home for new guests. These checkout instructions may include:
- Stripping the beds
- Starting the towels or washing towels they used (host preference)
- Taking out the trash
- Starting the dishwasher
- Double checking for items and not leaving any personal belongings behind
- Setting the alarm and locking your door
Guest cooperation goes a long way in helping your cleaning team prepare your property for a 5-star experience on the next turnaround.
Cleaning your vacation rental requires a lot of attention to detail, preparation, and a passion for the process. Remember, we all need to do our part to create memorable guest experiences and happy guests. My hope is that this post serves as inspiration, and a starting point in your own vacation rental cleaning process. You can also reference our vacation rental cleaning checklist. If you are in need a vacation rental cleaning service or want to become a cleaner with our team, please leave a comment below. Any feedback? Please share. If you found this post helpful, please pass it along to your friends.