Last Updated on July 25, 2023 by Rental Recon
Working with a new cleaner or cleaning service can be difficult, as I have discovered. So a checklist can be very useful in getting a cleaner up to speed with your expectations. I thought I’d share my Airbnb house cleaning checklist that I put together for all of my rentals. I hope you can get some use out of this!
Utilizing an Airbnb Cleaning Checklist
Checklists provide detail for each step of a process, allowing you to stay organized and more efficient. An Airbnb cleaning checklist will save you time, streamline the cleaning process, and ensure that no cleaning task will be missed whether you clean your vacation rentals yourself or use a cleaning service.
An Airbnb cleaning checklist ensures that your rooms are clean and adequately prepared before the next guest checks in.
Airbnb House Cleaning Checklist – Living Room:
- Reposition Furniture
- Clean All Living Room Furniture
- Sanitize All Light Switches and High Touch Surfaces
- Vacuum/ Mop all Flooring
- Reset TV Remote to Correct Channel. Reset Any Smart TV Applications
- Clean Windows
- Reposition Airbnb House Manual
Clutter can make your guests feel stressed and anxious. You want the living room to be a space that looks and feels relaxing and calm because that is where your guests will spend most of their time.
Dusting is very important in living rooms because TV screens attract dust due to their electromagnetic waves. Fingerprints, dirt, and dust can interfere with your guests’ TV viewing experience. I like to use dryer sheets (fabric softener sheets) on the TVs in my Airbnbs, because the sheets can reduce the static cling on the TV screen, helping to repel dust.
Bathroom Cleaning Checklist:
- Clean All Flooring
- Clean & Sanitize Sink, Shower, Toilet, Light Switches, and Other High Touch Surfaces
- Refill Soap or Soap Dispensers
- Refill Guest Toiletry Supplies, If You Provide Them
- Clean Toothbrush Holder
- Provide a Clean Shower Mat and Curtain
- Resupply Toilet Paper. Fold the Edge of Toilet Paper Into Triangle
- Provide Fresh Towels
- Provide Fresh Black Makeup Wash Cloth
- Take Out Trash and Provide New Trash Bags
Most of the worst reviews for Airbnbs are for the bathrooms. This is where your guests will be the most critical of cleanliness.
Make sure your bathroom is free from mold and mildew. Don’t forget the shower curtain. I use cloth shower curtains and plastic liners. I always wash the cloth shower curtain and spray and wipe down the plastic liner after every guest. I replace the plastic shower curtain liner every 1-2 months.
Shower walls and ceilings are often overlooked. I like to use microfiber cloths to wipe these down. The bathroom drains can get gross, so I clean them out after every guest as well.
Kitchen Cleaning Checklist:
- Clean & Sanitize Sink and Counters and High Touch Surfaces
- Clean All Flooring
- Clean & Re-Stock Coffee Maker
- Empty Ice Tray in Freezer
- Scrub Any Dirty Dishes Before Placing Into the Dishwasher
- Start and Then Empty the Dishwasher
- Make Sure All Eating and Cooking Utensils are Clean
- Clean the Outside and Inside of the Microwave, Refrigerator, and Oven
- Clean Out Unused Food Items from the Refrigerator
- Re-Stock Napkins, Paper Towels, Soap, and Other Supplies
- Provide Fresh Dish Towels and Wash Cloths
- Take Out Trash and Provide New Trash Bags
One of the biggest reasons travelers choose Airbnb vacation rentals over hotels is that they want a well-equipped kitchen to cook in to save money or because of dietary restrictions. Kitchens are high-traffic areas, so your kitchen will need a deep clean after every guest.
Guests always leave leftover food in the refrigerator. While you may want to leave condiments and unopened food in the fridge, it’s best to throw everything away. Most people are skeptical of any opened containers of food or condiments. If you use a cleaning service, it might also be their company policy to throw everything away.
We provide single-serve packets in our Airbnb, such as salt and pepper, coffee, creamers, ketchup, etc. This may seem wasteful, but probably less wasteful than throwing away a full bottle.
Bedroom Cleaning Checklist:
- Remove Dirty Sheets/ Blankets/ Mattress Protectors
- Inspect Sheets, Blankets, and Mattress Protectors for Any Stains- Treat
- Wash Dirty Sheets/ Blankets/ Mattress Protectors
- Wipe Down Headboard (if Applicable)
- Provide Fresh Sheets and Pillow Covers
- Provide “Hotel Corners” When Making Bed
- Sanitize High Touch Surfaces
- Inspect Fresh Bedding for Hairs or Particles
- Check the Dresser and Under Bed for Any Clothing Left Behind
- Vacuum or Mop the Entire Room
- Turn Off the Alarm Clock if Set
Your vacation rental is your guest’s home away from home. Most likely your guests are away so they can relax and destress. Make sure the bedrooms are clean, organized, and tidy so that your guests will have the best night’s sleep.
I like to use a lint brush on the bedding to make sure there are no stray hairs. Don’t forget about those high-touch surfaces, like light switches and doorknobs. I wipe those down with disinfecting wipes.
Rental Recon Sheet Tip: Fold your set of sheets, and place them inside one of the set’s pillow covers. Then stack the “pillow cover sets” on top of each other based on what bed they apply to. That way you won’t have to sift through sheets trying to determine where it goes.
Utility Room Cleaning Checklist:
- Empty lint from the dryer
- Check for clothing in the washer/ dryer
- Check for clothing in the hamper
- Wipe Down the Exterior of the Washer and Dryer
- Refill Any Cleaning Supplies for Your Guests.
I always wash the bed linens and towels as my first step in the cleaning process. That way I can do the rest of the cleaning while that is going.
Outside Cleaning Checklist:
- Sweep Any Porches
- Clean and Reposition Any Patio Furniture
- Re-Stock Firewood, Paper, and Matches (if Applicable)
- Throw Out Any Trash Left Outside
- Clean Grills/Grill Tools or other Outdoor Cooking Devices
- Pull Weeds and Keep Landscaping Neat
- Maintain Pool and/or Hot Tub
Don’t forget about the outside of your rental! Guests will see this first when they arrive so make sure it looks neat and inviting.
Are your windows clean from the outside as well? I clean my outside windows at least once a year using this product. It gets the windows sparkling clean.
Do you have a pool or hot tub? Skim the pool after each guest and brush the walls and floor of your pool at least every two weeks or in between guests. Vacuum once a week or when you notice debris accumulating. For our Airbnb, we have a pool service come once a week to do the cleaning, chemicals, and filter maintenance.
Check out our article on the best vacuum cleaners for Airbnb here…>>
- Inspect for Any Hairs in the Bathroom
- Open All Blinds and Reposition Curtains
- Clean Any Scuffs on the Floors
- Provide Keys in the Correct Place/ Reset Any Codes
- Notify the Owner of Any Excessive Messes or Damage
- Turn On Exterior Lighting (if Applicable)
- Lock Exterior Doors Before Leaving
I have my Airbnb house cleaning checklist laminated with checkboxes and kept where my supplies are located. Of course, this checklist is specific to my home, and will probably need to be refined to fit your home.
I highly recommend walking through your Airbnb after the cleaners are finished. I realize this may not be an option for some hosts, but it works well for me. I still catch minor issues that need to be addressed before the next guest shows up. Everything from random hairs to lint on pillows still make an appearance from time to time.
These items may seem trivial to some, but random hair can really turn off guests and may lead to a bad review. Guests always comment on the rental’s cleanliness. I can’t count how many times Airbnb hosts receive bad reviews because of substandard cleaning.
Airbnb Cleaning Tips:
Stains on Linens
For those guests that leave unsightly blood or other stains on your sheet or pillowcase, there is hope! Get out your hydrogen peroxide. It will make those stains disappear rather quickly. You can also try Oxy Clean. The odor blaster is my personal favorite for getting rid of lingering smells on linens.
In order to remove those pesky stains, white towels and sheets are highly recommended. Your best friends are bleach and hot water. In addition, use a commercial-strength detergent. Check out this article on motel-quality detergents.
This product is another great detergent option. The smell is not too strong, comes in powder form, and has a large 5-gallon pail. Make sure to read all of the reviews/ recommendations to make sure it works with your specific washing machine. It may not work for high-efficiency machines.
If you prefer to use ordinary household detergent, also use hot water and a tablespoon of Oxy Clean to attack stains.
Please also be aware that some commercial-grade products or bleach may not be appropriate for septic systems.
Baking Soda Deodorizer
I sprinkle a good solid amount of baking soda on my carpets periodically. This keeps the carpet smelling fresh and odor-free. Just sprinkle on your carpet, and let it sit overnight when you don’t have a guest staying. Vacuum up the following morning. That’s all it takes.
Bad Odors that Linger
For guests that break your Airbnb house rules and smoke in the house, or cook something that lingers for days, I bring out my ozone machine. This machine works great for eliminating those baked-in smells that just won’t come out any other way. Make sure to follow the instructions, as you shouldn’t be present when they are in operation.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, cleaning and disinfecting your Airbnb vacation rental is even more important than ever. Creating an Airbnb cleaning checklist should be at the top of your to-do list to keep you or your cleaning service on track and ensure those five-star reviews.
In my experience, cleaners typically charge between $25-$50/ hour. Some cleaners provide a flat cleaning fee per visit, based on square footage and whether deep cleaning is necessary or just a little tidying up. My cleaner charges $30 per hour, and it typically takes her an hour.
My cleaner has all the dishes washed and put away, and throws all towels and sheets in the washing machine. It is up to me to put the wet clothes in the dryer and then fold and put away the linens. But it saves me a little cash, so that works for my situation.
Hosts set their own cleaning fee. If you host in the US, Airbnb does ask if you support their Living Wage Pledge, which states that you pay your cleaners a minimum of $25/hour. You don’t have to check this box on the listing, but since most cleaners ask $25/hour minimum, you might as well check the box to show your support for that cause.
Since the cleaning fee is determined by the host, you can inflate the cleaning fee to cover items such as soap, coffee, and other operational items necessary for your short-term rental.
But be aware that when a guest sees your nightly price, that rate includes the cleaning fee (averaged over the number of nights they are staying). So the higher your cleaning fee, the less competitive you will appear.
It turns out that most of the cleaning companies in my area would not even call me back once I told them I needed a cleaner for my Airbnb. Why you may ask? They don’t want to work on weekends. I wouldn’t want to clean on the weekend either, but something had to give. So I turned to Facebook.
Surprisingly, the second cleaner I contacted worked on weekends. I have been using her ever since. I have heard good things from other Airbnb hosts about Thumbtack and TaskRabbit, but I haven’t personally used them.
Here is how I screened my cleaner. First off, I asked for references. If they don’t have any, I’d move on to the next option. Secondly, I asked if she does background checks on each of her employees.
Third, I checked to see if they would provide me with a copy of their business liability insurance, which they happily provided. If you ask these questions when selecting your new cleaner, you will have added peace of mind.