The Overlooked Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist

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Managing your vacation rental cleaning process and keeping your vacation rental property spotless seems like a pretty simple process, but is it really? In any property type, there are

With this Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist, we’ll make sure you remember all of the smaller jobs that you need to try to do monthly. We also have a list of products that we recommend for short-term rental property owners and you can check it out here!

We’ll bet that you don’t remember to wash your curtains every three to six months or wash your scatter cushion covers after every guest. Who knew, right? Well, hopefully, you knew if you’re running a short-term rental listing like an Airbnb

Here are the most important things in your vacation rental to target when you’re doing a deep clean!

Here is our Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist!

1. Washing Machine

Cleaning a washing machine?! What? Yep. Cleaning the washing machine in your vacation rental might sound silly but you’d be surprised how much gunk can accumulate in your washing machine. Throwing a dishwashing tablet or some washing machine cleaner in the drum and setting the machine to its hottest wash will leave your machine sparkling clean. You should also clean out your washing machine filters every two months to minimize the risk of blockages.

Vacation rental cleaning supplies for vacation rental owners

2. Dryer Vent

Dryer vents cause so many fires. This isn’t just a cleaning hack, it could quickly turn into life-saving action. Making sure your dryer vents are clean of fluff and lint is a great way to protect your home and ensure that your washing dried even faster! Plus, no vacation rental cleaning checklist is complete without it!

3. Remote Controls

In an article by Meghan Jones for Reader’s Digest titled ‘The Truth About TV Remotes Will Make You Never Want to Touch One Again’, she described remote controls as “a major germ hub”. The publication also labeled the remote control as one of the germiest spots in every hotel room. Make sure you wipe down your remote controls with antibacterial spray, including those for the air-conditioning units, after every guest.

Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist 1

4. Door & Cabinet Handles

Before COVID, we’re willing to bet that wiping down door handles was not part of most hosts’ regular cleaning regimes. Obviously, in the wake of the pandemic, we were all given a bit of a wake-up call about germs. Hopefully, by now, hosts are wiping down all door and cabinet handles after every guest, with absolutely no exceptions! Pay special attention to bathroom and kitchen doors and cabinet handles.

5. Light Switches

It’s easier to develop a cleaning checklist by thinking about ‘high-traffic areas and items’, and working from there. Light switches are constantly being touched, so they need near-constant cleaning. This is another surface that you absolutely must disinfect after every guest. Light switches and even plug sockets can carry a frightening amount of pathogens.

Vacation rental cleaning checklist for busy hosts, including cleaning supplies

6. Appliances

Kettles, coffeemakers, microwaves, toasters, and air fryers must be regularly wiped with antibacterial spray. Even if your previous guests haven’t used the appliance, wipe them down anyway and always include them in your vacation rental cleaning checklist. It can’t hurt to be too clean, and your guests will almost certainly notice how spotless your listing is and rate you accordingly, which will affect your success!

Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist 2

7. Decorative Pillows and Throws

It’s pretty common to have nice-looking pillows and blankets scattered around your property listing, but what most hosts overlook is how often these need to be cleaned. Just because they are not slept on, it does not mean they are not used. We would advise having three sets of decorative cushion covers and simply swapping them out after every guest. That’s one set on the pillows, one in the wash, and one ready to be used after the current guest checks out.

8. Ceiling Fans

Allergy sufferers will not be happy with your listing if you’re not regularly cleaning your ceiling fans. Ceiling fans are like magnets for dust. While you don’t quite need to clean your fans after every guest, at least once per month is a good idea to keep your listing dust-free and safe for allergy sufferers.

vacation rental cleaning checklist for vacation rental housekeeping professionals

9. Shower Curtain

Mildew is real, and can actually be quite harmful. We would recommend using a shower curtain cleaner after every guest and replacing it every six months. We would also recommend having a darker shower curtain, rather than a pale or white one, to help disguise any cleaning mishaps.

Dynamic Pricing Tool for Airbnb Hosts

10. Bathroom Drains

Some drains, like those in bathtubs, are obscured by a plug. Does this mean you don’t need to clean the drain? Absolutely not. Drains trap dead skin cells, soap scum, and hair – none of which you want to find in the drain of your rented accommodation. Bathrooms, bedding, towels, and kitchens are pressure points for guests and if you want a five-star review, you’re going to have to make sure these areas are spotless!

11. Under Beds and Couches

Dust collects under all furniture; if you don’t clean it, guests will have the unpleasant side effect of finding random duet bunnies across their floor. All you need is a breeze or a gust from an air-conditioning unit and your clean floor will be ruined. Stay ahead of the danger and make sure you clean under your furniture!

12. Bedding

Of course, you wash your bedding, and we’re not insinuating that you don’t. Instead, we recommend adding a step to your cleaning regime. Once you’ve washed and ironed your bedding, make sure you go over it with a lint roller. Nothing, and we do mean nothing, makes a guest more uncomfortable than finding random hair in their beds. It immediately makes them think your bedding is not clean, and most will refuse to stay the night!

Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist 3

13. Nozzles and Tops of Products and Cleaning Items

Shampoo and conditioner bottles, dishwashing liquid, condiment bottles, and the like are incredibly difficult to clean but they absolutely need to be cleaned to ensure that they don’t look unclean. 

How Often Should I Deep Clean My Vacation Rental?

It’s a nice idea to run your vacation rental through a deep cleaning after every guest, but the truth is, some things get damaged when they’re washed/cleaned too often. Below, we’ve divided cleaning tasks into categories: after every guest, on a monthly basis, every six months, and annually.

After Every Guest

The following things need to be done after every single guest. Making exceptions to this list can quickly mean that the overall cleanliness levels of your listing start to drop, and we all know what happens after that. For those of you that don’t, one of the most common complaints from Airbnb guests is that the cleanliness of their rented property was subpar. They don’t need much more of an excuse to give your vacation rentals a one or two-star review.

Clean vacation rental home before guests arrive & charge cleaning fee

Of course, there is always the option to hire a professional cleaning service. However, depending on the service, they may need you to highlight the areas of your vacation rental property which you want cleaning, and when. Your cleaning process can sometimes be very unique to you and your vacation rental, so keep that in mind when hiring a professional cleaning service to keep your vacation rental cleanliness up to standard.

  • Wash & replace bedding

  • Clean toilet, sink, shower, and bath

  • Remove hair build-up from drains

  • Replace bath and shower mats

  • Disinfect plastic shower curtains

  • Clean toilet brush

  • Replace toilet paper rolls

  • Clean mirrors and glass surfaces

  • All carpets and rugs must be vacuumed, all tiled or wooden floor areas must be swept and mopped

  • Dust shelves and all eye-level surfaces

  • Replenish trash bags

  • Check laundry or utility room for mess and tidy

  • Clean kitchen sink and surfaces

  • Run all used kitchenware on a hot dishwasher cycle

  • Remove the dishwasher filter and rinse away leftover food

  • Dry and shine all glasses

  • Replace kitchen paper towels

  • Vacuum soft furnishings like couches and fabric chairs

  • Check stock of tea, coffee, and toilet paper

  • Disinfect all handles, door knobs, and light switches (all high-touch surfaces)

  • Ensure all lights and light fixtures are in working order

  • Replace the water in your Jacuzzi or hot bath, if you have one

On a Monthly Basis

  • Wash decorative scatter cushion covers

  • Run the dishwasher on a self-clean cycle

  • Clean the dryer’s internal filter to remove lint

  • Remove the dishwasher filter and soak it in disinfectant and hot water

  • Deep clean trash cans (both internal and external)

  • Replenish cleaning supplies

  • Mop floors with hot water and disinfectant and clean grout with a small brush to dislodge grime

  • Run a descaling solution through your coffee maker

Cleaning supplies, cleaning routine and cleaning checklist for vacation rentals

Every Six Months

  • Oil coffee tables and wooden cutting boards

  • Use a water vacuum to deep clean living room furniture like couches and chairs

  • Use a water vacuum on mattresses and headboards

  • Replace bedroom pillows

  • Have duvets and heavy quilts dry cleaned

  • If you have a pool, hire a professional cleaning service to scrub pool tiles to remove any build-up

  • Busy new bath mats (After a few months, even after washing, dirt can build up and mold can grow)

  • Purchase new bedding linen for main bedrooms

Complete cleaning checklist before guest arrive


  • Buy new bedding linen for supplementary rooms

  • Purchase new bed duvets

  • Check fire extinguishers & replace them if necessary

  • Send rugs to be deep cleaned

  • Paint walls in high-traffic areas, some smudges cannot be removed and scuff marks from suitcases are particularly hard to scrub away

  • Clean the external dryer vent

Developing a comprehensive cleaning checklist for yourself (and making sure it’s completed before your guests arrive) is no easy task (neither is remembering to keep paper towels in stock, but still!). Use your cleaning checklist to plan your cleaning schedule and you’ll never be left with a bad cleanliness review again!

Do you have any suggestions for things we need to add to our Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist? Let us know at

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I love writing and I am seriously passionate about real estate and technology. I've been writing about both topics for nearly 10 years and there isn't a development in the world of tech without me reading about it!