If there's something that can ruin a good vacation, it's a dirty home. Guests want to enjoy relaxing days together with their loved ones, while hosts want to make their business successful and attract more customers.

Therefore, vacation rental owners and property managers should make sure the unit is in perfect condition, whether they handle the cleaning work themselves or hire professionals.

How can a property owner or manager keep a vacation rental property clean? Is there a way they can make sure they offer an all-around experience to their guests? Fortunately, yes, there is!

With a vacation rental cleaning checklist, you can take care of your rental home's cleanliness and make the process more straightforward. Here's everything you need to know about it. Read on!

Cleaning Vacation Rentals: What Do You Need to Start?

Tools needed

Both hosts and guests care about how clean a rental home is. Actually, it's one of both parties' biggest concerns.

However, you shouldn't panic! If you list all the products, tools, and equipment you need, you'll have everything on hand before getting to work.

While each unit is different and requires unique maintenance, these are the cleaning supplies and tools most owners need during this process:

  • Glass cleaner
  • High-quality carpet vacuum
  • Microfiber mop (You'll need wet and dry pads if any room has a hardwood floor)
  • Pumice stone
  • Toilet brush
  • All-purpose cleaner for floors and kitchen
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Trash cans
  • Wood polish to add a beautiful finishing touch to wooden surfaces
  • Scrub pads for stubborn grime
  • Disinfectant for germ-prone areas, such as bathtubs and toilets
  • Fresh paper towels
  • Trash bags

However, as mentioned, all properties are different. Therefore, before starting the deep cleaning process, you should think about the specific tools you may need for certain areas or spaces.

Designing a Plan Always Helps

A vacation rental cleaning checklist can be much more than an itemized list to mark what you need or should and shouldn't do.

Based on the information you can find on this list, you can create a deep cleaning plan detailing all your duties. This way, keeping the property in top condition is much easier, and you can manage your time better.

However, those who have rental vacation businesses often seek help from a professional cleaning team to get better results and see their companies succeed.

Hiring professional cleaning service providers is the best way to go if you don't have experience handling some tools or don't have enough time to do a deep cleaning before guests arrive.

Vacation rental housekeeping professionals also know all the tricks to clean properties in no time and make sure all appliances, furniture pieces, and rugs are handled the right way, protecting them to extend their lifespan.

In addition, experts always meet with rental vacation owners to discuss their needs and objectives, ensuring that the properties are left sparkling clean and ready for guests to enjoy some quality time there.

Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist: Essentials

As mentioned, keeping the vacation rental unit clean is a must. Nobody wants dirty accommodation to ruin their vacation, right?

Therefore, property owners and managers must clean, check, and double-check all items on this list before their guests arrive:

Vacation Rentals' Common Areas and General Cleaning

Property owners and managers must ensure the vacation rental unit is cozy and make guests want to stay forever. Thus, there are several aspects they must take into account.

First, guests may notice any tiny difference. Therefore, you should pay attention to spots you can easily miss or forget to clean.

Some spots that property owners often forget to clean but get grubby quickly include light switches, doorknobs, light fixtures, and cupboard handles.

Ensure that these areas are clean.

Also, if you don't want your home to feel unwelcoming, you should also check the following household items:

  • Oven handle
  • Refrigerator handle
  • Rugs (Don't forget to clean the excess dirt under or around them)
  • Cobwebs on light fixtures
  • Food on cupboards
  • Spaces between couch cushions
  • Cobwebs in corners
  • Coffee tables (Always check if there's no dust on them)

If you plan your rental cleaning ahead, carefully review each space in your home and add more items to this list, if necessary.

Cleaning the Living Room

After listing all the products and tools you might need, it's time to divide the vacation rental home into different spaces. One of the most important is the living room.

Property owners and managers must make sure that their guests feel completely comfortable with the living room's cleanliness. It's the first space they see as soon as they arrive at the vacation rental. Also, they're going to spend a lot of time relaxing there.

Guests don't want to use a sticky TV or sneeze every time they get near a lamp because it's covered in dust. Therefore, you should make sure to do the following:

  • Clean and disinfect TV remotes
  • Clean the TV screen carefully
  • Disinfect light switches after removing dirt from them
  • Vacuum rugs and spaces under the sofa
  • Wipe down all sofas (you can also vacuum them)
  • Wipe down or vacuum cushions
  • Keep magazine racks tidy
  • Clean bookshelves and organize all the books you have there
  • Wash all used throw blankets
  • Vacuum under each living room furniture piece
  • Remove area rugs to clean the floors well
  • Dust blinds and any other surface
  • Mop the floor, moving the furniture pieces to clean underneath
  • Clean ceiling fans carefully
  • Check if all the bulbs in the living room are working
  • Clean mirrors, plants, pictures, and all the accessories you may have

Cleaning the Kitchen

Another of the most important areas in a vacation rental cleaning checklist is the kitchen. Actually, many people choose properties to rent based on these spaces.

Having a fully-furnished and well-cleaned kitchen can attract many guests and help you grow your vacation rental business.

Therefore, while doing this thorough cleaning, you cannot forget the kitchen. First, make sure you clean each amenity inside and out. Pay attention to each appliance, cupboard, drawer, and worktop.

It's also essential to check if all the food is in date, including spices, condiments, and oils. If possible, make sure there's always a fresh, high-quality supply of sponges, tea towels, and other cleaning supplies.

Also, you must add these duties to your checklist if you want to keep your vacation rental spotless:

  • Wipe down the microwave inside and out
  • Double-check that all the dishes are clean and there is no dried food on any of them
  • Take out the trash and replace the dirty garbage bag with a new and clean one
  • Cleans off all smudges and fingerprints on surfaces, especially on cabinets
  • Clean the oven
  • Make sure the stove is clean and ready to use
  • Empty the fridge and clean each area
  • Clean the backsplash behind the sink, if there is one
  • Clean crumbs or leftover food from the drawers
  • Sweep and mop the floors
  • Wash cabinet doors inside and out
  • Place a new roll of paper towels and make sure there is an extra one under the sink
  • Don't forget to clean small appliances, including the coffee maker, can opener, microwave, and blender
  • Remove any strains from the countertop
  • Empty the freezer and wipe down inside and out
  • Carefully clean the dishwasher
  • Remove all dishes and utensils from the shelf
  • Clean shelves

Don't forget to check if there are other details or hidden spaces you need to clean in your kitchen and add them to this list!

Cleaning the Bathroom

If there's an important space beside the living room and the kitchen, it's the bathroom. All the guests look for accommodation options with impeccable spaces where they can take a shower or do their skincare routine.

However, bathrooms can be the most difficult areas to clean, as damp conditions mean that mold can easily build up there.

Therefore, a vacation homeowner should inspect all water-prone areas and tiles. If there's a problem there, it's essential to re-seal them with silicone or seek help from an expert to find the right solution.

Also, if your vacation rental offers towels to guests, make sure they are in excellent condition. The same is true for shower curtains, bath mats, or other essentials that make these spaces comfortable and warm.

In this regard, your vacation rental cleaning checklist should include the following bathroom-related duties:

  • Clean and disinfect the toilet, making sure to clean the entire piece, including the bottom half
  • Clean the mirror
  • Use window cleaner or a stainless steel cleaner to make the faucet spotless
  • Scrub grime soap from the tub to make it shine
  • Dust off all decorations
  • Check if there is hair in the drain or on the walls and clean it out
  • Clean around Jacuzzi tubs or jets
  • Wash all towels and bathmats
  • Clean and disinfect behind the toilet
  • Replace all toiletry items with new ones
  • Mop floors and disinfect them, if possible
  • Clean baseboards, ledges, vents, doors, and light switches
  • Make sure the glass shower doors are sparkling clean
  • Wash shower curtains
  • Wash small rugs if you have some there
  • Clean the cabinet under the sink
  • Polish towel bars or toilet paper holders
  • Make sure there's always toilet paper
  • Clean trash cans
  • Deodorizes to create a welcoming atmosphere!

Cleaning the Bedrooms

If you think vacation rental cleanliness is important, you can't forget about bedrooms. These spaces are where your guests will rest after a long day.

Do you want your vacation rental property to be a relaxing space that your guests love and where they want to be on their next vacation? Make sure it has a clean bed with fresh and comfortable pillows, mattresses, and cushions.

Bedrooms are the most important part of your vacation rental cleaning lists, so you must prioritize certain things.

If you want your mattresses and linens to last, you should invest in high-quality options. Also, you should have two sets for each bed.

It's also essential to add these duties/items to your vacation rental cleaning checklist:

  • Replace dirty linens in the slept-in beds with new and fresh sets
  • Check between beds' headboards and mattresses to see if there are lost items or garbage
  • Straighten out the bed skirt
  • Dust the nightstand carefully
  • Don't forget to clean light fixtures, especially small nightlights
  • Disinfect all remotes
  • Clean the TV screen if you have one there
  • Always get around the edges or around furniture when vacuuming the floor to make sure it's perfectly clean and dust-free
  • Disinfect bedposts if possible
  • Check under the bed to see if previous guests left personal items
  • Empty dressers and closets
  • Dust all drawers chests and TV cabinets
  • Move all furniture when cleaning to pick up dirt or items under them
  • Clean ceiling fans and pictures
  • Clean mirrors, if there are any

Cleaning Utility Room

If you want your vacation unit to shine, you can't forget the laundry or utility room. These are some of the things you should include in the list:

  • Clean and disinfect the washing machine
  • Remove any soap or softener pills left on the washing machine
  • Clean the dryer lint well
  • Restock complimentary laundry products, including softener, detergent, and dry sheets
  • Disinfect all machines, including buttons and knobs
  • Move the machines and clean the dirt under them
  • Check if the laundry racks are clean
  • Clean the sink and any accessories or pieces in its drain

Cleaning the Vacation Rental House Exterior

Your property's exterior must also be clean and welcoming to your guests. Therefore, you must also complete the following duties and items in your vacation rental cleaning checklist:

  • Remove debris from the garden
  • Wash chair cushions
  • Disinfect and clean safety railings or ladders in the pool, if there is one
  • Clean burnt food from the barbecue, if there is one
  • Sweep out patios
  • Pull weeds from the garden
  • Cleaning bird droppings from garden furniture
  • Use a window cleaner to clean glass railings

Cleaning Doors and Windows

A complete cleaning checklist should also have a section for doors and windows.

Even if the entire property is in perfect condition, having dirty doors and windows can ruin your guests' vacation. Therefore, you must make sure they're perfectly clean.

These are the items that you must add to a comprehensive cleaning checklist:

  • Hire a cleaning team to handle exterior windows (You may have to pay a cleaning fee – some guests are willing to pay it, too – but it's essential if you don't want your windows to have streaks)
  • Clean the window frames
  • Dust the curtain rods
  • Vacuum the curtains and wash them when necessary
  • Clean the exterior doors' kickplates
  • Clean the windows' interior glass
  • Disinfect all door handles
  • Clean any bugs or dirt that may be trapped in the window track

Final Thoughts

A vacation rental cleaning checklist is ideal for those who want their properties to be ready to use and in perfect condition for their guests.

If you want your vacation rental business to be successful, keeping your units clean is essential. That's why you need a cleaning checklist with all the essentials you can't forget!

Do you need help renting out your vacation rental property? At Doorloop, we have everything you need! Visit our website and find free forms for all your rental processes!


Should I Make a Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist If I Hire Professional Cleaning Service Providers?

Although it is not necessary because professional service providers know everything they need to do to keep vacation rentals in perfect condition, a cleaning checklist can make the process much easier.

How Can I Protect Myself While Cleaning A Vacation Rental?

It's a very important question! Besides cleaning supplies, you also need equipment to protect yourself, including gloves and masks.

If you notice that your gloves have become dirty or visibly contaminated, discard them and use new ones. Remember to add this safety equipment to your cleaning checklist!

How Often Should I Update My Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist?

If you haven't upgraded your property, you can use the same cleaning checklist and cleaning supplies to prepare the unit for new guests.

You should only update the cleaning checklist if you have made major changes to the property or think you forgot something.

What Should I Do If I Want to Keep the Vacation Rental Clean During My Guests' Stay?

If you want to clean the whole property or an area during your guests' stay, you must reach an agreement with them before signing the rental contract. Remember that you should discuss all the important details, such as dates and times.

How Long Does It Take to Clean a Vacation Home?

It depends on the size of the property, how many rooms it has, and your cleaning skills!

David is the co-founder & CMO of DoorLoop, a best-selling author, legal CLE speaker, and real estate investor. When he's not hanging with his three children, he's writing articles here!

Legal Disclaimer

The information on this website is from public sources, for informational purposes only and not intended for legal or accounting advice. DoorLoop does not guarantee its accuracy and is not liable for any damages or inaccuracies.