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When starting your vacation rental business, you’ll likely be thinking about what furniture and decoration you’ll include to make it truly dazzle on your website or any other advertising channel you plan to use. There are other tasks, however, which while maybe not as fun, they’re just as (or even more) important than others: vacation rental cleaning and maintenance.

Because we know preparing a vacation rental so it’s ready for others isn’t the same as tidying up your own house, we’ve come up with 10 useful tips which will leave your house so sparkling that guests will have no reason to complain.

To skip this article and download the free checklist for cleaning and maintenance directly, CLICK HERE!

1. Prioritize

What should you clean most frequently? Easy: everything that’s on display. Even if you’re not going to have guests in the next few days, you need to assure that whatever people can see from the outside is absolutely spotless. This includes the garden, windows and anything else of this nature. Once inside, you need to go over all the basics such as floors and other surfaces that guests will notice upon entering your property.

2. Make a list for guests pre check-out

Don’t be afraid to ask guests to perform a few simple vacation rental cleaning tasks before they lock the door and leave your property after their stay. But be careful not to overwhelm them with too many tasks that will make them feel like they are working – or worse – doing your job for you.

Creating this list involves noting down tasks that will make the process easier for both you and your guests. I will also allow you to prepare your home even more quickly for the next incoming guests.

Some ideas to consider adding to your guest pre check-out list are:

  • Return any furniture to its original location
  • Throw away any open/half-eaten food items from the fridge
  • Load and run the dishwasher
  • Leave towels in the laundry basket
  • Take out trash or leave it in the desired location
  • Check drawers to make sure no valuables are left behind
  • Shut all the doors and windows
  • Turn off lights and unplug small electrical appliances

Add any other elements that are specific to your property and if your guests follow these steps correctly, remember to send them an email or thank you message.

3. Charge a deposit which includes a cleaning fee

It’s always recommended to charge a security deposit to cover any possible damages to your property. So, why not add an additional cleaning fee? This amount will be charged to your guests in case they don’t leave your home in the good, hygienic conditions you lay out in your house rules.

These types of policies exist to defend your business’ best interests, so it’s more than OK to use them if guests haven’t been responsible at your property. Even more so if you have provided them with a pre check-out list that they haven’t followed!

In case you don’t return the deposit (or a chunk of it at least), attach and send photographs of the imperfections to justify the charges to your guest.

4. Turn to the green side

Why not help the environment at your rental, too? Planet earth will thank you, and you’ll earn brownie points from your guests for worrying about the environment and actively doing something to protect it!

There are plenty of ecologically friendly cleaning and maintenance related things you can do at your vacation rental. For example, only buying cleaning products that you know are greener, more natural and won’t pollute the water. You can also buy a trash can with separators for garbage and recycling (or various different containers for storing each kind of trash). Bonus tip: help guests to recycle at your home by making a list of what items can go in each recycling bin!

5. Have direct contact with your cleaning personnel

In case you don’t clean your vacation rental personally, make sure you speak directly with the company or professional who does. Ensure they know which areas they should pay special attention to; how they should leave furniture; which cupboards certain things belong in and so on. Clear up any doubts they might have about the cleaning and maintenance of your vacation rental before their first job so that no stone is left unturned.

6. Think about cleaning when furnishing your vacation rental

Anticipate any issues by thinking about what will be more likely to get dirty, or which things will need more maintaining (which you’d hope to avoid!). For example, don’t add lots of ornaments or trinkets around the house, as they will get dusty easily and will be an annoyance that slows down cleaning staff. Additionally, think about adding elements which will help protect furniture and surfaces from damages, such as table covers or waterproof mattress protectors.

7. Make cleaning go by unnoticed

Your objective is to make the guest neither notice nor think about the cleaning of your vacation rental. You don’t want your guests to be unable to enjoy the impressive views or the stylish paintings you’ve chosen just because the carpets smell stale. Don’t let them leave with a bad impression just because of that stain on the floor, or the fact you didn’t de-grease the coffee pot.

Recent studies have concluded that cleaning (or indeed, a lack of cleanliness) are one of the principal reasons that lead guests to complain. In fact, they wouldn’t hesitate to leave a bad review about your property on the internet if there are problems regarding cleanliness.

So what can you do in the case that you (or your cleaners) have left something dirty? If your guests notify you of any issue regarding cleaning or maintenance, act as quickly as possible to resolve it. If the guests don’t tell you until they leave and you receive a negative review, breathe deeply and respond as calmly and best you can.

8. Carry out a deep clean at least twice a year

When your high season is about to begin or end, be sure to carry out a thorough check of your vacation rental when it comes to cleaning and maintenance. There are plenty of things that need to be reviewed regularly, although with less frequency than other, more visible aspects.

Think big and remember to check things such as the rubber seals or grouting in between your bathroom tiles, the backyard irrigation system, the inside of all of your house’s drawers and any possible dripping tap. With these general reviews, nothing should be overlooked.

That’s why we’ve created a list of the most important elements to pay attention to when undergoing a deep clean of your rental!

9. Think in future terms

Inspect all of the things that are in good condition now, but that will need to be replaced in the short or medium-term. This way, there will be fewer investments that catch you off guard, and you’ll be able to dedicate a portion of your budget now, in order to save you stress in the long-term!

10. Prepare your home for periods with few or no bookings

To save you work in the future, prepare your home every time it’s going to be vacant for a few days or weeks. What do we mean by that? Wash and replace all the bedding, towels and other linens that need to be cleaned, in order to avoid the spread of bacteria. Or, leave all beds without bedding, empty the refrigerator so nothing can go off inside, and unplug all electrical items because even though they’re switched off, they may still consume energy!

Need help with other aspects of your vacation rental? Lodgify isn’t just a software that will make the vacation rental owner life easier for you, our team constantly prepare articles and eBooks that can be useful and help you to manage your business further!

What do you think about this article?

Vacation Rental Cleaning: 10 Things to Bear in Mind
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(2) Comments
  1. rik Reply

    This article is proof of very good common sense and provides practical tips and tricks for home owners of vacation rentals and guesthouses.

  2. Taylor Bishop Reply

    Thanks for these tips for cleaning a vacation rental. I actually didn’t know you could potentially charge a cleaning fee if guests don’t leave the home in good conditions. I’m interested to learn how much this fee should be or if it should reflect the cost of what it would take to hire someone to clean the place.

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