As a short-term rental operator, it should go without saying that your property should be spotless. And given that Airbnb hosts are, after all, business owners, it's important to set up a protocol for cleaning.
So today we're talking Airbnb cleaning tips and checklist to keep your rental property guest-ready.
In this article, you’ll learn about the wall-to-wall method and the four-step cleaning process used by industry professionals. Just want the cleaning checklist to make sure your house is spotless? Download it for free here.
If you’re in the short-term rental space, your property is your brand. While factors such as booking and travel experience can play a role in a guest’s experience, the quality of your property is the single most important determinant of whether a guest will leave a positive review or a negative one.
With that in mind, let’s talk about property cleanliness.
When guests arrive at your property, they expect a home that’s tidy, clean, and inviting. Any deviation from this expectation will negatively impact how guests will view your property.
If guests walk into your property and it’s clean, everything’s going as expected, so they’re happy. This can lead to a five-star rating for cleanliness and some positive word-of-mouth that can help you attract future guests.
If guests walk into your property and there’s trash lying around, they’re going to be annoyed and frustrated because they’ll have to pick up the trash before being able to enjoy their stay. This will lead to a poor review for you. And who likes getting a bad rating?
Surely you don't leave trash lying around, but can you say with 100% certainty that your property is perfectly clean?
That’s because most people haven’t developed a consistent cleaning methodology and clean their properties haphazardly. This risks the chance that you may have overlooked something like a single hair, which can cause your guests to look around for other things that are wrong. And before you know it, your guest hits you with a three-star rating for cleanliness.
Professionals are systematic in their cleaning processes, and if you have an Airbnb cleaning checklist to follow after every guest, you'll avoid ever unknowingly leaving your property dirty again.
This is the exact cleaning process used by industry professionals:
With the wall-to-wall method, you’ll have a systematic way to clean your property and ensure everything is up to standard, so you never have to worry about leaving a spot unchecked. This Airbnb cleaning checklist will ensure speed and quality when cleaning a property, no matter the size.
As you’ve probably guessed, this approach to cleaning involves going through your property wall-to-wall, using the walls to keep track of what you’ve cleaned.
I’m going to walk you through an example to better illustrate this method.
When you enter your property, the first step is identifying where the kitchen is. If it’s to your left, start cleaning on your right. You want to leave the kitchen for last because that’s where most of the work is.
Pro Tip: When cleaning the kitchen, you can even trick yourself into feeling inspired by telling yourself that you’re “almost done” since you only have one small area left.
Put your hands on the wall and go along it, moving up and down and left to right. You want to “follow the wall” as you clean, so you can keep track of your progress if you have to stop for any reason.
If there’s a kitchen island or coffee table in the room, create imaginary walls around them but don’t forget to look under them.
Here are some suggestions for what you might want to include in your cleaning kit:
All of these items can be stored in a five-gallon bucket that has a nylon bucket liner and pockets on the inside and outside for additional storage.
According to Durk Johnson, executive director of the Vacation Rental Housekeepers Professionals, his favorite cleaning products include:
Note: Bleach kills bacteria, not mold and mildew because they’re spores. Bleach just takes care of the color, so use bleach if a guest complains of mold and mildew, then go back and clean with something like Spor-Go afterwards.
If you’re using a contractor, you don’t have to worry too much about this because any safety concerns fall on them. But if you’re doing it yourself or have employees, the following section is going to be super important because it may save you from facing a $5,000 fine.
To start off, you should always wear closed-toe shoes when cleaning. This means no bare feet or flip-flops. Closed-toe shoes can protect you from stubbing your toe and cleaning chemicals you accidentally spill.
You should also wear gloves and safety glasses to protect your hands and eyes.
Never clean with bleach and ammonia together because the two can combine to make chlorine gas, which is toxic.
All of your cleaning products must have proper labels.
This means NO creating or mixing cleaning products, NO sticking white labels on bottles, and NO writing over them with a sharpie.
If you’re in the U.S. and are found doing so, OSHA can fine you up to $5,000 per bottle written with a sharpie.
The reasoning behind this policy is to protect individuals in case of emergencies. If someone spills a chemical on themselves and needs to be rushed to the hospital, doctors must look at the product label to determine how to treat the patient. If there’s no label or it’s incorrect, doctors may not be able to treat the patient in time or may do so incorrectly.
You should read the safety data sheet for every product you use to ensure your safety.
For instance, some oven cleaners recommend you use chemical-impervious gloves (these are different than the normal disposable gloves and tend to cost more) and face shields. If you find that oven cleaner’s safety data sheet says this, you should probably change products since it’s usually not worth the hassle of purchasing new equipment.
If you want to see what the product manufacturers recommend for protection, read section 8 of the product’s safety data sheet.
It’s always a good idea to check any regulations that may affect your cleaning.
In the U.S., you are required to have a bloodborne pathogen policy and train cleaners accordingly if they are in your employ. For instance, you may have to pay for Hepatitis B immunizations for your employees.
With these Airbnb cleaning tips in mind, you now know the fastest and safest ways to clean your property to ensure your guests have a phenomenal experience at your property.