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The ultimate Airbnb cleaning checklist

Creating an effective cleaning checklist is pivotal for maintaining an exceptional Airbnb space. Whether you're a seasoned host or just starting out, a comprehensive and organised cleaning checklist ensures consistency, efficiency, and guest satisfaction. A well-structured checklist not only streamlines the cleaning process but also guarantees that no detail is overlooked.

What is an Airbnb cleaning checklist?

An Airbnb cleaning checklist serves as a roadmap, guiding cleaners through the essential tasks required to prepare a property for new guests. It’s more than just a list; it’s a tool that helps maintain cleanliness standards, enhance guest experiences, and contribute to positive reviews and ratings.

Airbnb cleaning checklist

Pre-cleaning preparation

  • Gather all cleaning supplies and equipment (cleaners, vacuum, mop, etc.)
  • Open windows for ventilation and a fresh scent

General cleaning

  • Dusting: all surfaces, including shelves, tables, lamps, décor, light fixtures, ceiling fans, blinds, and ledges
  • Floors:
    - Sweep/vacuum all floors, under furniture, and rugs
    - Mop hard floors
    - Vacuum carpets and rugs
  • Windows and mirrors: clean with appropriate cleaner for streak-free shine
  • Disinfect high-touch areas: doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, etc.


  • Appliances: wipe down the outside of all appliances (stove, microwave, fridge, dishwasher). Run dishwasher on a clean cycle if dirty. Set the oven to self-clean mode (if available)
  • Countertops: sanitise and remove any stains or spills
  • Sink: clean and disinfect sink and drain
  • Dishes: wash and put away all dishes and utensils
  • Supplies: restock dish soap, paper towels, dishwasher detergent, sponge, and trash bags
  • Rubbish: empty domestic and replace with a clean bag
  • Inside fridge: wipe down and remove any expired food. Check temperature setting
  • Inside microwave: wipe down and clean turntable
  • Inside oven: ensure clean and free of spills (run self-clean later if needed)

Living room

  • Furniture: dust and polish all furniture. Arrange per reference photo
  • Soft surfaces: vacuum all sofas, chairs, and under furniture. Check for debris between cushions
  • Electronics: dust TV screen and sanitise remotes


  • Linens:
    - Strip used linens and replace with fresh, laundered sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers
    - Check for stains on pillows, comforters, and blankets. Rotate or launder as needed
  • Surfaces: dust all surfaces, including nightstands, dressers, etc.
  • Under bed: vacuum or clean to eliminate dust and debris
  • Closet: tidy up, remove wire hangers, and dust shelves
  • Electronics: disinfect any remotes or light switches


  • Fixtures: scrub and sanitise sink, toilet (including base, lid, and seat), shower/tub, and taps. Polish chrome
  • Mirrors: clean with streak-free cleaner
  • Drains: check for hair or blockages, clear if necessary
  • Tiles: clean tile surfaces and grout
  • Linens: replace with fresh towels and bath mats
  • Supplies: restock toilet paper, soap, shampoo, and other toiletries

Additional areas (if applicable)

  • Dining room: dust table, chairs, and décor. Sweep or vacuum the floor
  • Laundry room: wipe down washer and dryer. Clean lint trap. Restock laundry detergent
  • Outdoor areas: sweep patios/decks, wipe down furniture, clean BBQ grill, and clear debris
  • Entryway: sweep front walkway

Final inspection

  • Walkthrough: thoroughly check each room to ensure all tasks are complete
  • Sense check: does the property look and smell inviting and guest-ready?

Additional notes

  • Customise this list for each specific property
  • Use reference photos as needed to ensure proper arrangement of furniture and items
  • Report any damage or maintenance issues for repair
  • Leave a welcome note for guests

4 tips to improve your Airbnb cleaning checklist

1. Customise your Airbnb cleaning checklist

Don’t forget the point earlier in this article that every vacation rental property has its quirks and unique features that demand specialised attention. Remember the example of sand and salt in a beach home versus mud and rain in a hiking home!

Tailor your checklist to accommodate any specific needs that serve both the guest AND your ability to lessen the clean up job on turnover day. For instance, if it’s the beach home, how do you help the guest leave their sand outside? If it’s the hiking home, how do you make it easy for the guest to transition from muddy mess to ‘shower-ready’? 

2. Document your Airbnb cleaning checklist

Creating and maintaining a documented checklist will help to keep you and your cleaners on the same page. Clear documentation ensures there is no misunderstanding. 

Using a service like Touch Stay to create a cleaning guidebook will allow you to document everything. It'll also allow you to add videos and photos that can be helpful for those who might not always like to read.

Need the sofas and cushions staged a specific way? Use a photo to show them.

Need the hot tub to be set before the guests arrive? Use a video to show the cleaners how.

The Touch Stay cleaning guide has a template that will ensure you don't need to create it from scratch, but it will also allow you to tailor for your own specific needs. You can then share it with your cleaners as a simple web link.

3. Communicate with your cleaners

A checklist is great, but we all know that poor communication ruins so much in life. If your cleaner isn’t aligned with your list AND your style, the relationship will deteriorate and end quickly! Here’s what we suggest for effective communication with your cleaners:

  • Walk them through the home with the list

Give them context by explaining the list as you walk through the rooms. If you are a remote host, record a short video explaining things. And next time you visit your rental, why not film a walkthrough. Hey, you could even add the video to your Touch Stay cleaning guide so that it’s easily accessible for your cleaner. 

  • Fill in the unsaid stuff that’s important to you

This is so important, in life as in cleaning, don’t assume people will understand your unique style. Do you prefer the green cushion to be behind the grey one? If it’s important, say it. In fact, if it’s that important, then add it to your list and include a photo of it too! 

You might also have a home with delicate décor or requiring special care for certain surfaces. Standard cleaning products that your cleaners use may not be appropriate, so make sure these instructions are clearly outlined in your checklist.

  • Consider bonusing the clean

It’s not directly related to communication, but it is directly related to incentivising good listening. The latter is part of the cleaner’s obligations in your relationship. If you feel that incentivising them to listen and remember important details is necessary, then why not provide a bonus payment if those important details are delivered. Perhaps even provide a bonus payment linked to every 5-star first impression rating left by the guest (remember you can add the First Impressions widget to your Touch Stay guest guide).

4. Streamline the process

To optimise efficiency, consider the following tips:

  • Colour-code or categorise tasks: use different colours or categories to organise tasks, making it easier to follow and execute.
  • Provide time estimates for each task: helps in planning and managing the cleaning process efficiently.
  • Include photographic references: add images for clarity on how certain areas should look after cleaning.
  • Consistency is key: ensure that the checklist is consistently followed by all cleaning staff to maintain uniform standards.

3 things that should be on EVERY Airbnb cleaning checklist

You know how sometimes you walk into a home and it smells like it’s been cleaned? The whiff of detergent might be comforting to some, but it’s not particularly pleasant. Nor is seeing the floor slightly wet, suggesting the cleaners were scrambling 2 minutes before you walked in! First impressions are HUGE and, whilst those examples will mean the home is clean, it doesn’t feel much like the start of a vacation.

Here are our 3 most important things besides having a clean property:

1. Tidy property

This sounds like a clean property, right? Yes, but being clean versus being tidy are very different things when it comes to first impressions. Is everything where it should be? Are all the cupboards closed? Are the lamps plugged in? Does it look like a home that feels relaxed and at ease, or one that just got hastily cleaned? We know from our own work here at Touch Stay that first impressions are critical. So much so that, as part of our guidebook, you can add a First Impressions widget for your guests to complete shortly after arrival, giving you a chance to fix any problem before it becomes one. 

2. Well made beds

Possibly THE most important part of any stay is getting a good night's sleep. Sleep is a very psychological affair, beginning with the ambience of the room. And part of that ambience is a well made bed. I recently stayed in a Disney resort hotel and found that the sheets weren’t properly tucked in because one side was tucked in more than the other. I knew at 2am the sheets would get all ruffled so I had to remake the bed. Ambience destroyed.

3. Fresh scent when you walk in

No, I don’t mean the fresh scent of bleach 😉 I get it, I know how tough it is to ensure the cleaning schedule finishes well before the guest arrives, but there are ways to ensure the sanitised odour isn’t the first thing to grab my senses.

For example, our very own Tyann Marcink, a vacation rental host and manager in Branson, Missouri, has this to say about appealing to the senses:

For our Branson brand, our cleaners have a seasonal spritz they like to put in the houses on arrival day. Pumpkin spice for fall, Christmas cinnamon for the holidays, fresh linen other times of the year. A simple touch that makes our guests feel welcomed the moment they step into the home!

- Tyann Marcink, Branson Family Retreats

Because presentation, attention to details, and first impressions are so important, we felt it was worth highlighting before diving into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of a well thought out cleaning checklist. 

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How you’ll benefit from an Airbnb cleaning checklist

A meticulously crafted cleaning checklist is an invaluable asset for any Airbnb host. It not only ensures a sparkling clean space but also contributes significantly to guest satisfaction, positive reviews, and repeat bookings. By tailoring the Airbnb cleaning checklist to your property's specific needs and optimising the cleaning process, you can guarantee a welcoming and pristine environment for your guests, setting the stage for memorable experiences. By communicating your expectations clearly to your cleaner you’ll also make their job easier and hopefully more satisfying.

Empower your cleaning team to get the best job done with a Touch Stay cleaning guide. Start your 14-day free trial today