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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.

Understanding the importance of a detailed 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.

Tailoring your checklist to your property

Begin by assessing the unique features and requirements of your Airbnb property. Consider the layout, amenities, and specific instructions or preferences you have for maintaining your space.

For example, a 4-bedroom Greek island villa versus a 4-bedroom cottage in Scotland. Both are large properties, but with very different cleaning requirements. Think sandy feet and salty air versus muddy hiking boots and freezing pipes! 

Of course, no matter what unique characteristics your home has, all properties will have a set of items on the cleaning checklist that are identical. The bathroom for a cosy studio apartment needs to be as spotlessly clean as a spacious villa. 

We’ve included a full cleaning checklist below. BUT! Before diving in, it's worth remembering that most cleaners will work multiple homes a week, sometimes multiple in one day. That presents a risk that a checklist becomes a little robotic. In short, there’s a risk that the spirit and soul of the clean gets missed. You want your home to feel both clean AND welcoming.

And so, we came up with the 3 most important things that a clean property should deliver.

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. 

Speaking of which…

The essential components of an Airbnb cleaning checklist

  1. Pre-cleaning preparation

- Gather cleaning supplies and equipment: ensure you have all necessary items like cleaning solutions, vacuum cleaner, mop, dusters, and fresh linens.

- Ventilation: open windows to allow fresh air circulation during the cleaning process. (Very important as part of ensuring the fresh scent mentioned earlier.)

  1. General cleaning tasks

- Dust surfaces: shelves, tables, lamps, and décor.

- Vacuum or sweep floors: including under furniture and rugs.

- Mopping hard surfaces: ensure cleanliness and shine.

- Cleaning windows and mirrors: use appropriate cleaners for streak-free surfaces.

- Disinfecting high-touch areas: doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, and handles.

  1. Kitchen

- Clean appliances: wipe down the stove, microwave, fridge, and dishwasher, set the oven to self-clean mode

- Sanitising countertops: remove any stains or spills.

- Washing dishes: ensure all utensils are clean and put away.

- Checking supplies: restock essentials like dish soap, paper towels, and trash bags.

  1. Bathroom

- Scrub and sanitise fixtures: sink, toilet, shower, and bathtub.

- Replacing towels: provide fresh towels for each guest.

- Refilling toiletries: ensure an adequate supply of soap, shampoo, and toilet paper.

  1. Bedroom

- Change bed linens: replace with freshly laundered sheets, pillowcases, and duvet covers.

- Check scatter cushions, throws and blankets for marks and rotate for cleaning as required

- Vacuuming or cleaning under the bed: eliminate dust and debris.

- Checking amenities: confirm alarm clocks, charging stations, and other amenities are present and functional.

  1. Outdoor areas (if applicable)

- Sweep patios or decks: remove leaves, debris, and dirt.

- Cleaning outdoor furniture: wipe down tables, chairs, and cushions.

- Check BBQ is clean and has sufficient gas

  1. Final inspection

- Walkthrough: conduct a final check to ensure all tasks are completed.

- Quality assurance: Pay attention to small details that could impact guest satisfaction.

  1. Sense check

- Tidy property: does it look ready, as opposed to just clean?

- Well made beds: is the sleep ambience optimal?

- Fresh scent: do I smell detergent or vacation?

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.

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’? 

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).

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.

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