What Is the Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning Initiative All About?

COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the travel and hospitality industry, and vacation homeowners have quickly adapted their methods and practices to comply with new standards for travel. Vacation rental owners have been anxious to re-open safely and fill those unexpected vacancies, but guests are still wary. They want to be sure the rental meets the highest standards of cleanliness. Airbnb is helping with this by launching the Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning Initiative.  

What’s Airbnb Enhanced Cleaning Initiative about?

The Airbnb host cleaning checklist is a five-point system designed to clean and sanitize your property effectively. It is a system created to uphold cleaning standards in response to COVID, and recognize the vacation rental owners that are going above and beyond to provide clean and safe vacation rentals for their guests. Hosts who follow the 5-step protocol and complete the quiz will get a special cleaning highlight displaying “Committed to clean” on their Airbnb listing.

The five points are:

1. Prepare

The first step to an effective, Airbnb-approved clean is preparing for the clean. It involves making sure you’re using high-quality cleaning supplies and that you have everything you need so you’re not going in and out of the property, or jumping from room to room, to get the supplies you need. Washing your hands, wearing protective equipment, and ventilating the rooms is all part of this stage. 

2. Clean

One of the major components of the Airbnb cleaning initiative is understanding the difference between cleaning and sanitizing. The cleaning step of this process involves removing dirt and germs from the surfaces of the home. It means washing all linens, wiping counters, mopping and vacuuming floors, taking out the trash, doing the dishes, and dusting. Cleaning is done to prepare for sanitizing. This is the most time-consuming part of the cleaning process, but arguably the most important. 

3. Sanitize

Sanitizing a vacation rental property

Sanitizing your rental helps to prevent the spread of germs. Disinfectant chemicals are used on surfaces that are touched the most frequently, such as light switches and doorknobs. Sanitizing can only happen when a surface is clean, which is why it is so important to clean thoroughly first. Read the labels on your cleaning supplies to determine how long the sanitizing chemicals should sit on a particular surface before wiping it down. Allow sanitized surfaces to air dry for optimal effect. 

4. Check

Once rooms are cleaned and sanitized, hosts can use the Airbnb cleaning checklists to go through each room and make sure everything is as it should be. The cleaning handbook walks vacation rental owners and their cleaning teams through a thorough double-check of their home. This inspection step allows you to spot maintenance issues that need to be addressed, and take care of common guest problems before they become problems at all. 

5. Reset

After the home has been cleaned, sanitized, and checked, there’s one final step that needs to be done to prevent cross-contamination. This vital step helps keep the germs contained and reduce the risk of taking dirt, debris, and bacteria from one place to another. To properly reset the home, hosts can dispose of or wash their cleaning supplies and clean out the vacuum cleaner before moving to another property. Properly discard your protective gear and set cleaning supplies up for the next guest. This final step is critical in ensuring your guest walks into a clean, organized, and safe space. 

Airbnb Hosting Cleaning Commitment Quiz

Hosts committed to this level of clean can learn more about each of the steps on Airbnb’s website. Once you take a test about what you’ve learned (and pass it,) you’ll earn a special cleaning icon on your listing page. You also get a “committed to clean” sign to display on your property. 

The answers to Airbnb’s cleaning quiz aren’t too difficult if you read through their guide. In fact, it’s an open-book test, so you can read through their cleaning resources if you have any doubts. If you choose the wrong answer, you’re told why it’s wrong and you can try again. The goal is to educate hosts and preach their enhanced cleaning protocol.

Airbnb Cleaning Highlight On Listing

Enhanced clean highlight

Once you’ve completed the enhanced cleaning quiz, a special icon and highlight will be added to your listing and give more visibility to your cleaning efforts: 

But before getting this highlight, you’ll have to click on the “Commit to clean” button and will be reminded of the following: 

  • You need to fully implement this Airbnb cleaning protocol into your rental business
  • If you don’t comply with the protocol, you may be removed from the program and/or from Airbnb
  • You will have to abide by the cleaning guidelines issued by local and national authorities

Airbnb Booking Buffers

In the US Airbnb cleaning handbook, they recommend leaving at least 24 hours between stays by changing the preparation time setting for their listing or adding the 72-hour (3 days) booking buffer between stays. 

Show the guests that you are involved

These are unpredictable and uncertain times for everyone, and everyone is learning how to navigate this new normal. As a vacation rental owner, the best thing you can do is be honest and transparent with your guests. Open communication with guests about your cleaning policies and expectations can help ease a worried guest, and make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to healthy and safe travel. 

Having the Airbnb “committed to clean” signage in your home and on your listing page is one way to communicate with guests that you are intentional about offering a clean and sanitized vacation rental. Be open and honest about cleaning procedures when in communication with guests, and take time to hear their concerns. 


Proper cleaning of your vacation rental is more important than ever, and the Airbnb enhanced cleaning initiative gives owners and cleaning teams all of the information and resources they need for a deep clean that is Airbnb approved. Learning the five-step process, passing the test, and implementing what you learned will not only help you create a clean and sanitized environment, but it also shows guests that you are committed to giving them a clean place to enjoy their vacation. 

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