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Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist for Owners

Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist for Owners

If you are a short-term rental owner and don’t have a rental cleaning checklist yet, then here is why you should come up with one as soon as possible. Cleanliness has to be a top priority for any rental or vacation property owner. This vital aspect not only ensures guest satisfaction but also reflects on the overall reputation and success of your investment. 

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Therefore a comprehensive cleaning checklist will ensure that your property meets the highest standards of hygiene and comfort, which are critical in attracting and retaining guests. Impressions are formed instantly and shared widely in the short-term rental business, therefore, having a meticulously clean rental directly impacts your property's desirability.

Now, the questions that one might ask are, does regular residential cleaning differ from vacation cleaning? Do I really need a cleaning checklist? 

Yes, there are differences between residential cleaning and short-term rental cleaning. Unlike the periodic nature of traditional home cleaning, vacation rentals require a more dynamic approach. Each guest turnover demands a thorough and systematic cleaning process, addressing every nook and cranny of the property. 

This level of cleanliness involves a deep sanitization process that assures guests of their safety, especially in the current health-conscious climate. A cleaning checklist is therefore designed to be more comprehensive, catering to the unique needs of short-term rental properties and ensuring that every guest's stay begins with a spotless, welcoming environment.

Importance of First Impressions and Guest Satisfaction

vacation rental cleaning checklist, Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist for Owners

As guests step into a rental, their initial perception sets the tone for their entire stay. This moment, fleeting yet powerful, is where opinions are formed and expectations are set. For property investors and managers, understanding the impact of these first impressions is paramount. 

It is at this critical juncture that guests gauge the value and quality of their accommodation. A pristine, well-maintained property immediately conveys a sense of professionalism and care, fostering a welcoming atmosphere that resonates with guests. Conversely, any hint of neglect or disarray can irreparably tarnish the guest's perception, regardless of the amenities or location offered by the rental.

Guest Satisfaction: The Cornerstone of Business Success

Guest satisfaction encapsulates the entire experience, from the ease of check-in to the comfort and cleanliness of the living space. Satisfied guests are the cornerstone of business success in this industry. They are more likely to leave positive reviews, recommend the property to others, and even become repeat customers. 

This cycle of satisfaction and promotion is vital for the growth and sustainability of any short-term rental business. To achieve this, property owners and managers must prioritize every aspect contributing to a guest's comfort and satisfaction. 

This includes ensuring functional amenities, providing prompt and courteous communication, and maintaining an immaculate environment. Each of these elements plays a crucial role in shaping the guest's overall experience.

Cleanliness: The Non-Negotiable Standard

Guests expect to arrive at a property that is not only visually appealing but also hygienically sound. This level of cleanliness requires meticulous attention to detail, something that a well-structured rental cleaning checklist can facilitate. 

Generally speaking, for short-term rental property investors and managers, investing in high standards of cleanliness is a critical component of their operational strategy.

A Sample of a Short-Term Rental Cleaning Checklist

vacation rental cleaning checklist, Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist for Owners

General Guidelines

  • Ensure all cleaning supplies are stocked and in good condition.
  • Wear appropriate protective gear during cleaning.
  • Follow a top-to-bottom, left-to-right cleaning pattern to ensure thoroughness.

Entryway and Living Areas

  • Dust and clean light fixtures, ceiling fans, and vents.
  • Wipe down doors, door handles, and light switches.
  • Clean windows, window sills, and blinds.
  • Vacuum carpets, rugs, and upholstery.
  • Mop hard floors, paying attention to corners and edges.
  • Arrange furniture neatly and remove any clutter.


  • Clean and sanitize countertops, backsplashes, and cabinet fronts.
  • Clean major appliances (refrigerator, oven, microwave, dishwasher) inside and out.
  • Wipe down small appliances (coffee maker, toaster).
  • Scrub and sanitize the sink and faucet.
  • Restock kitchen supplies (paper towels, dish soap, sponges).
  • Empty and clean the trash can.
  • Sweep and mop the floor.


  • Strip and wash all bed linens, including mattress covers and pillow protectors.
  • Dust furniture, lamps, and décor items.
  • Vacuum the floor, including under the bed and other furniture.
  • Ensure closets are tidy and hangers are available.
  • Check for personal items left by previous guests.


  • Clean and disinfect the toilet, shower/tub, and sink.
  • Wipe down mirrors and fixtures.
  • Restock toiletries (toilet paper, soap, shampoo).
  • Wash and replace towels and bathmats.
  • Empty and clean the trash can.
  • Sweep and mop the floor.

Outdoor Areas (if applicable)

  • Sweep patios, decks, and outdoor furniture.
  • Clean grill and outdoor cooking areas.
  • Tidy up landscaping elements (remove leaves and debris).

Safety and Maintenance Checks

  • Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
  • Ensure fire extinguishers are accessible and in working order.
  • Look for any maintenance issues or damages and report them.

Final Walk-Through

  • Do a final inspection of each room for cleanliness and readiness.
  • Make sure all lights and electronic devices are turned off.
  • Secure the property by locking doors and windows.

Special Considerations (COVID-19 and Beyond)

  • Disinfect high-touch surfaces (e.g., doorknobs, remote controls).
  • Follow any additional cleaning protocols as recommended by health authorities.
  • Provide hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes for guests.

Invest in Airbnb Rental Properties With The Short Term Shop

At The Short Term Shop, our focus is on managing and facilitating short-term rental and vacation property transactions. We cater to property investors by providing expert advice and actionable plans for the acquisition, sale, and management of their properties. 

If you're facing any hurdles in managing your property, our specialized agents, dedicated solely to short-term rentals, are ready to assist in streamlining processes and boosting your property's financial performance.

For insights on the efficient management of short-term rentals and to enhance the return on your investment, schedule a consultation call with one of our agents today.

FAQs About Short-Term Rental Cleaning Checklists

What is the Airbnb cleaning checklist?

The Airbnb cleaning checklist is a comprehensive set of guidelines provided by Airbnb to assist hosts in preparing their short-term rental properties for guests. This checklist emphasizes the importance of maintaining high standards of cleanliness and hygiene. 

It includes tasks such as thorough cleaning of all rooms, sanitizing high-touch surfaces, washing linens, and ensuring that the property is well-stocked with essential supplies. This vacation rental cleaning checklist aims to ensure guest safety and satisfaction, aligning with Airbnb’s Enhanced Clean protocol, especially in the wake of health concerns like COVID-19.

Does Airbnb include daily cleaning?

Generally, Airbnb does not include daily cleaning in the standard service for short-term rental properties. Airbnb stays typically operate differently from hotel services, with cleaning usually happening before and after a guest’s stay. 

However, some hosts may offer additional cleaning services during a guest’s stay, often for an extra fee. This service, if available, is usually detailed in the listing's description or arranged directly with the host.

How do I manage my Airbnb cleaning?

Managing cleaning for an Airbnb involves creating a consistent and efficient process. Hosts should develop a detailed vacation rental cleaning checklist to ensure that all areas of the property are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized between guests. This might involve hiring professional cleaning services or undertaking the cleaning themselves. 

Effective management also includes scheduling cleanings in a way that allows enough time for a thorough job between guest checkouts and arrivals. Utilizing digital tools or apps for scheduling and inventory management can also streamline the process.

What is the average cleaning fee for Airbnb?

The average cleaning fee for Airbnb can vary widely depending on factors such as the size of the property, location, and the extent of cleaning required. Typically, cleaning fees can range anywhere from $20 to $150 or more. Hosts determine this fee based on the actual cleaning costs they incur, ensuring that the property meets the standards expected by guests while covering their expenses.

Do Airbnb hosts clean the house?

Airbnb hosts are responsible for ensuring that their short-term rental properties are cleaned and ready for each new guest. This responsibility can be met either by the hosts themselves or by hiring professional cleaning services. The choice often depends on the host’s preference, availability, and the scale of their Airbnb operation. 

Regardless of who performs the cleaning, it is crucial that the property adheres to the cleanliness standards set by Airbnb to ensure guest satisfaction and compliance with Airbnb’s policies.

How is the Airbnb cleaning fee calculated?

The Airbnb cleaning fee is calculated by the host and is usually based on the size and type of the property, the depth of cleaning required, and the local cost of cleaning services. This fee is meant to cover the cost of cleaning the property after a guest's stay to prepare it for future guests. 

The cleaning fee is set by the host and is displayed to guests at the time of booking. Hosts need to balance making this fee reasonable for guests while ensuring it covers their cleaning costs. This fee is separate from the nightly rate and is not refunded to guests at the end of their stay.

Avery Carl

Avery Carl

Avery Carl was named one of Wall Street Journal’s Top 100 and Newsweek’s Top 500 agents in 2020. She and her team at The Short Term Shop focus exclusively on Vacation Rental and Short Term Rental Clients, having closed well over 1 billion dollars in real estate sales. Avery has sold over $300 million in Short Term/Vacation Rentals since 2017. An investor herself, with a portfolio of over 100 Doors, Avery specializes in connecting investors with short term rentals with the highest ROI potential, and then training them to manage their short term rental from their smart phone from anywhere in the world.

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