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Vacation Rental Cleanliness: We compare 6 vacation rental cleaning checklists for you

vacation rental cleanliness
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Keeping your short-term rentals clean is both a challenge and a necessity as a property manager. If a guest notices stained towels or dirty surfaces, their negative review can hurt your business, and you might need to issue a refund or some other form of compensation. One way to streamline and standardize your cleaning procedures is to use a vacation rental cleaning checklist. A checklist will ensure your cleaning team knows what to do and can be held accountable for any oversights. 

There is no shortage of cleaning checklists available to property managers, so in this article, we’ll compare six and share the benefits, limitations, similarities, or differences of each. By the end of this article, you’ll be able to choose the right checklist so you can take your vacation rental cleanliness to the next level.

Airbnb Cleaning Checklist

To provide peace of mind for travelers and set a standard of cleanliness for hosts, Airbnb unveiled its cleaning checklist. Airbnb referenced guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and worked with former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy to develop a cleaning protocol that the site urges all hosts to follow. The document contains two parts: a checklist of tasks to complete during a cleaning and a list of “high-touch” surfaces that should be disinfected between stays. 

The list of frequently touched surfaces is helpful, though some of the items might not be relevant for your properties. You may want to use Airbnb’s list as a reference to create a custom list that’s more relevant for your specific rentals. And while the cleaning checklist also contains many valuable points, the steps seem to be in no particular order and cannot be used in sequence. You can make this list more useful by rearranging Airbnb’s actions into your custom checklist.

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Download Airbnb’s checklist here.

MaidThis Cleaning Checklist

As a professional cleaning company, it makes sense that MaidThis would develop a detailed, comprehensive vacation rental cleaning checklist. MaidThis’ document contains dozens of steps, which are conveniently arranged by room (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.) and follow a logical sequence. In addition to tasks related to cleaning and sanitization, the checklist also includes some more aesthetic steps that will enhance the guest experience, such as “ensure the presentation of kitchen items are correct (mugs with mugs, etc.)” and “crease toilet paper.” However, these extra steps take extra time, and if you’re purely focused on efficient, effective cleaning, then you may want to omit these hotel housekeeping-style tasks.

Download MaidThis’ checklist here.

vacation rental cleanliness
Vacation rental cleanliness, a hot topic which can be fixed with meticulous cleaning checklists

Evolve Cleaning Checklist

Property management company Evolve can coordinate cleaning services for owners, but they’ve also made their checklists available to the public. Unlike some other checklists, Evolve’s packet of documents includes three checklists: cleaning, pre-stay, and post-stay. The cleaning checklist is similar to others, with cleaning processes organized by room, and the document format allows cleaners to sign off on each step. 

The pre- and post-stay checklists, however, don’t focus on cleaning tasks, but instead on general property upkeep and maintenance. Steps include testing the keyless entry system, checking stock of kitchen items, and verifying that all electronics are functioning properly. While you may not need to perform the pre- and post-stay tasks before and after every stay, especially if your property gets a lot of short reservations, they are worth doing on a regular basis to proactively avoid guest inquiries or complaints.

Download Evolve’s checklists by entering your email address here.

vacation rental cleaning checklist

iGMS Cleaning Checklist

In addition to technology that helps you manage your cleaning team, iGMS offers their own downloadable cleaning checklist. This checklist includes a robust list of steps for every room, including the exterior and outdoor spaces, and also has space for you to add your own custom steps so you can customize it for your property. 

On iGMS’ website, you can also find a checklist for mid-stay cleanings, which can be helpful for property managers who get mid- to long-term bookings and offer cleaning service every week, for example. The mid-stay checklist is shorter than the post-stay procedure and includes steps like replacing towels and restocking toilet paper and paper towels. iGMS also offers a nice list of cleaning products that every property manager should have on hand, like disinfecting wipes, a vacuum cleaner, and mold/mildew remover. This “shopping list” can be especially useful for new property managers.

Find iGMS’ cleaning checklist here.

vacation rental cleanliness
vacation rental cleanliness

TurnoverBnB Cleaning Checklist

For a company that specializes in short-term rental cleaning services, the cleaning checklist that TurnoverBnB provides on its website doesn’t quite compare with the others that we’ve included in this article. TurnoverBnB’s list consists of a few steps for only the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, and living room, and the measures provided are inadequate for the standard of vacation rental cleanliness that guests expect. It doesn’t mention any steps to disinfect surfaces, replace lightbulbs, or check stock levels of detergents or bath products. This checklist can be an excellent place to start for property managers who want to create their custom checklist, but we don’t recommend using it as is.

See TurnoverBnB’s cleaning checklist here

Lodgify Cleaning Checklist

One of the most comprehensive checklists comes from Lodgify, and it’s available on their website or for download when you enter your email address. Lodgify’s list, like some others here, includes a detailed list of steps to complete per room – including the bedroom, bathroom, dining room, kitchen, and exterior. The only thing we would add is that some actions, like “disinfect light switches,” only appear on the lists for some rooms. You should be sure to disinfect the light switches in all of your rooms.

Besides the standard cleaning checklist, Lodgify includes a list of must-have cleaning products, some ideas for mid-stay cleaning checks, and a cleaning and maintenance procedure for the off-season. The off-season checklist can be helpful for properties in seasonal markets that either close completely or don’t have many guests during part of the year. You’ll want to check the plumbing systems, light bulbs, and landscaping every month or so even the property has no guests.

View Lodgify’s checklist here or enter your email address to download.

Which checklist will work best for your property management business? To get the most utility out of these checklists, we recommend downloading a few and taking pieces of each to compile your custom checklist. With a custom checklist, you can ensure that every aspect of your unique properties is cleaned and disinfected and that everything in the unit is fully stocked in and in excellent condition. Once you have a reliable process in place, you can sit back and watch the good reviews roll in.

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Rental Scale-Up

Thibault is the founder of Rental Scale-Up. He owns vacation rentals in St. Barths and Bali. He also leads innovative projects for companies within the vacation rental industry. Feel free to reach out to Thibaut Masson on Linkedin.

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