Vacation Rental Cleaning Guide & Checklist (Complete Guide)

The Ultimate Guide To Vacational Rental Cleaning

Dec 22

The Ultimate Guide To Vacational Rental Cleaning

by Alessandra Mendes

The Ultimate Guide To Vacational Rental Cleaning

If you own one or more vacation rental properties, then you know how important it is to provide a fresh and clean space to each and every guest. It’s the first thing they’ll notice as they enter the property, and it’s also the thing most likely to influence guest reviews. A dirty home can not only affect a guest’s trip, but it can also destroy your reputation as a vacation rental provider.

In order to provide your guests with a clean space, you’ll need to put a cleaning plan in place that allows you to clean thoroughly and efficiently, and that also allows you to reduce the amount of time required between guest checkout and check-in.

If you’re not quite sure how to go about this, not to worry – we’ve got you covered. We’ve put together the ultimate guide to cleaning your vacation rental to help you whip your property into shape so you’ll never have to worry about lack of time or negative feedback over cleanliness again.

What Is a Vacation Rental Cleaning?

A vacation rental cleaning is one in which you prepare your rental for guests, changing the linens and restocking the essential items while you do so.

Cleaning a vacation rental involves more than just a regular household cleaning, though. Because your guests are paying to stay there, they’ll expect a hospitality-level clean, which requires more thorough methods. Areas you might not clean that often at home, such as inside the refrigerator and microwave, will need to be cleaned between each guest at your vacation rental. You’ll also need to address areas a regular household clean might simply overlook, like doorknobs, light switches, and all those other nooks and crannies.

With your rental requiring such a deep clean between each guest, you might be worried that you’ll be unable to handle this in time, especially if you aren’t an experienced cleaner. But using our vacation rental guide, you can make sure that you tackle everything necessary to leave your guests with a spotlessly clean space. From the equipment needed right down to the tasks themselves, we’ve got a step-by-step plan for getting your rental check-in ready as quickly as possible.

Hot to Get the Most Efficient and Effective Vacation Rental Cleaning

The first step in cleaning your vacation rental property is to get organized and put your plan in place. Knowing how and in what order to attack each cleaning task will help you reduce the amount of time required to get your place in order. Once you have your plan, you can simply follow it to the letter to get the most out of your cleaning time.

As you prepare your plan, keep in mind how long it will take you to complete each task and plan around that. For example, bed linens will need a few hours to wash and dry, so you should strip beds and place linens and towels in the washer when you first arrive. You should always clean from top to bottom in each room, and from the inside of your property out. This way, you won’t be tracking dirt or dust into an area you’ve just cleaned and you’ll end at the door of each room. 

Remember, speed is important when you’re cleaning between guests. If you’re frequently booked, you may have mere hours to get the property ready for the next guest, and no one wants to arrive at their vacation rental and have to wait while the cleaners finish the job. However, this does not mean you should clean so quickly that you cut corners. It needs to be both fast and thorough.

Equipment and Supplies Needed for a Vacation Rental Cleaning

Each vacation rental property will have its own cleaning needs, but most properties will need the following items in order to perform a thorough deep clean.


  • A quality vacuum cleaner for both carpets and hard floors
  • A mop and bucket or a flat mop with both wet and dry pads
  • Several microfiber cloths
  • Both long and short handle dusters
  • Some scouring pads
  • A toilet brush
  • A clean bucket for mixing cleaning solutions
  • Rubber gloves to protect your hands
  • A few trash bags to dispose of waste

Cleaning Solutions

  • Glass cleaner
  • Toilet Cleaner
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Disinfectant cleaner
  • Carpet Spot Cleaner
  • Wood Polish

While these items are a great start, your property may require additional specialty items, such as marble, granite, or stainless-steel cleaners. Look around your property while creating your plan to determine if you need something more than what we’ve included in our list.

Vacation Rental Cleaning Tasks

When you’re ready to get started, you’ll want to follow a cleaning checklist to make sure that you never miss a thing. We’ve listed below some of the most important things to look out for in each room, as well as the checklist we use to clean vacation rental properties:

General Areas

Your guests should be able to feel comfortable in every part of your vacation property, and the best way to do that is to offer them a spotlessly clean space in each room. This means you’ll need to include tasks that you might otherwise delay or overlook in your own home, such as cabinet and appliance handles and inside of the cupboards. 

No matter which room of the house you are in, you should check and wipe down the following:

  • Windows
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Cabinet handles
  • Oven handle
  • Refrigerator handle
  • Cobwebs on light fixtures or in corners
  • Electronic remotes
  • Anything else that is frequently touched

Before you get started on individual rooms, it’s a good idea to go around and grab anything that needs to be washed and start the laundry. These include bed linens, bathrooms towels and mats, kitchen tea towels, etc. Then, you can use the below checklists to make sure your rooms are sparkling clean for your guests.


One of the most important spaces is your vacation rental property is the bathroom. If you provide your guests with a spotless bathroom, they’ll know the rest of your property must be clean too. On the other hand, if your bathrooms have even a single hair left over from a previous guest, it will make your new visitors wonder how clean the entire property is. 

You’ll need to ensure that towels, shower curtains, and bathmats are in excellent condition, and you’ll also need to check for any signs of mold and address those as quickly as possible.

  1. Wash all towels and bathmats
  2. Dust light fixtures, above doors, mirrors, and decorations
  3. Clean the entire toilet, including inside and outside the bowl and under the seat
  4. Clean behind the toilet
  5. Scrub soap scum from the tub and shower floors
  6. Clean any hair out of the drains and off the walls, and clean door tracks
  7. Make the faucet shine with window cleaner or stainless-steel cleaner
  8. Clean counters and sink, including the drain
  9. Clean the mirror
  10. Disinfect cabinet and door handles
  11. Vacuum and mop the floor using disinfectant
  12. Replace all complimentary toiletry items


These days, many people want the convenience of a fully furnished kitchen; it’s one of the major reasons why they’re turning to vacation rental properties instead of booking hotels. That’s why it’s important to provide them with a clean space and utensils for preparing food. 

You should clean the inside of each appliance and disinfect and wipe down the outside as well. If you provide any items such as spices, cooking oils, or condiments, make sure they’re within date and they look clean. You should also make sure there is a supply of cleaning supplies, tea towels, and sponges for washing dishes. 

  1. Wash any linens, such as tea towels
  2. Check that dishes are clean, or wash and put them away
  3. Dust light fixtures, range hood, cabinets, and door frames
  4. Clean microwave inside and out
  5. Clean oven and stove, including dirty drip pans
  6. Clean drawers and cabinets inside and out
  7. Empty refrigerator and wipe shelves
  8. Clean sink, including drain, plug, and garbage disposal
  9. Clean counters, including backsplash, and any tables and chairs
  10. Disinfect light switches and door handles
  11. Remove garbage and replace with clean bag
  12. Mop floor

Dining Room

Check the floor, table, and chairs for crumbs and spills so that your guests can enjoy their meal without focusing on sticky spots.

  1. Wash any linens such as tablecloths and napkins
  2. Dust light fixtures, decorations, curtains, and door frames
  3. Clean table, including between the leaves, and check that nothing is stuck to the underside
  4. Wipe down dining chairs and clean into the crevasses to remove crumbs
  5. Disinfect light switches, door handles, and remotes
  6. Vacuum and mop floor


The bedrooms are quite possibly where your guests will spend the most time, so you should put extra effort to make them comfortable and inviting. The mattresses and pillows should be comfortable and clean, and you should check for stains or tears after every guest. It’s a good idea to have at least two sets of sheets so that you can change them out quickly.

  1. Wash and replace slept-in linens
  2. Dust light fixtures, nightstands, TV, decorations, curtains, and door frames
  3. Check between mattress and headboard and under the bed for lost items or garbage
  4. Empty out all dressers and closets
  5. Disinfect light switches, door handles, and remotes
  6. Vacuum and mop floor

Living Areas

Guests should be able to feel at home in the living area of your property, but they won’t be able to do that if they’re reminded of your previous guests. Check the furniture, TV remote, and anything else guests are likely to use.

  1. Wash all used blankets and check if pillow covers need washing as well
  2. Dust light fixtures, tables, TV, decorations, curtains, and door frames
  3. Clean the TV screen
  4. Vacuum or wipe down all sofas, including beneath the cushions
  5. Tidy up bookshelves or magazine racks
  6. Disinfect light switches, door handles, and remotes
  7. Vacuum and mop floor

Cleaning the Rental Yourself vs. Hiring a House Cleaning Company

Plenty of people choose to clean their vacation rental properties themselves to save money and to have a chance to inspect the property themselves. However, it isn’t always the best option. Before making this decision, keep the following things in mind.

Should You Clean Your Vacation Rental Property Yourself?

Ask the following questions when deciding if cleaning yourself is the right move:

  • Are you available to visit the property during turnover hours?
  • Do you enough time to thoroughly clean all of your properties between guests?
  • Is your time better spent on other things?
  • Do you enjoy cleaning and want to clean your property?
  • Will you get bored and start cleaning less thoroughly?

As you answer these questions, remember that you may have to clean your vacation rental property several times a week if it becomes popular. If it doesn’t sound like something you want to do, you may want to consider hiring a professional cleaning company.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Cleaning Company for Your Vacation Rental?

The cost for a vacation rental cleaning will depend on a number of factors. The company will need to take into account the size and number of properties you need cleaned, the location, how frequently you need them to visit, and the extent of cleaning you require.

You may be able to secure a discount if you have several properties needing to be cleaned, but generally speaking, you can expect to pay between $50-$90 per hour depending on the size of the company and the number of cleaners they’ll need to send. 

When you consider the time it will take you to clean your own properties and the impression it will leave for your guests, this may work out to be more economical than cleaning yourself.


If you need a professional to clean your vacation rental properties, book with Cleaning Glow today!



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