The Ultimate Cleaning Checklist Template [for Vacation Rentals]

May 05 2023
featured image of vacation rental cleaning checklist

Get tips on how to use Hostfully to optimize your vacation rental business and make more profit.


What’s in this article?

Whether you run one vacation rental property or are working to grow your Airbnb business, you’ll know how important cleanliness is to the guest experience. One dusty shelf or a stain on a towel can undermine all the effort you put into giving your guests an exceptional stay, and result in a negative review that hurts your host rating.

But turnovers are fast-paced and sometimes you have mere hours between one guest leaving and another checking in.

It’s important to be thorough with your cleans, but you and your team don’t have hours to spend double-checking to make sure your unit is in prime condition. 

So how can you ensure you meet guests’ standards of cleanliness while maintaining an efficient operation? By using a vacation rental cleaning checklist! 

Use this checklist or share it with your cleaning staff to make the cleaning process more thorough and efficient. This way, you can easily give every guest the experience they expect–one that will result in 5-star reviews–from your vacation home.

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Why you need a vacation rental cleaning checklist

Let’s face it, turnovers can be stressful. There’s no room for error when you have one guest checking out at 10 in the morning and the next arriving at 3 p.m. And a simple error like forgetting to sweep under the bathroom cabinets can mean disappointed guests and negative reviews.

The best way to stay organized and efficient with your cleanings–and make sure you always meet guests’ expectations–is to use a vacation rental cleaning checklist.

This means your team will never have to wing it and your guests will always arrive at a property that matches their high standards of cleanliness.

Vacation rental cleaning checklist

Use this checklist to streamline your cleaning process. And remember that cleaning a house in the proper order is essential to ensure your cleaning team isn’t creating more work for itself.

It’s best to have cleaners use a top-down strategy and work their way out of the room they’re cleaning to keep footprints from spoiling freshly mopped floors and dust from settling in places they’ve already cleaned.

Click to download (It’s free!)

Free Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist

A clean rental means happy guests. Download our vacation rental cleaning checklist and share it with your cleaners to ensure your properties are always spotless.

Home systems

Start with the basics and perform the following checks and quick cleanups.

While some of these checks might seem basic, bear in mind that, if they are missed, they could have a serious impact on future guest experiences or cause maintenance issues down the road.


Note that some of these checks may overlap with your vacation rental maintenance checklist. It all comes down to how you divide responsibilities between your cleaners and maintenance staff.


  • Turn on all the lights to check if any bulbs need replacing

  • Collect all the laundry for washing and drying, whether that’s on or off-site

  • Start the self-cleaning oven if necessary

  • Set the thermostat to an agreed-upon temperature for guest arrival

  • Collect and remove all garbage

  • Dust and check all vents, fans, heaters, and A/C system

  • Ensure all smart locks are working and replace batteries if necessary

  • Collect any items guests have left behind and follow your lost-and-found procedure

  • Check to make sure the home is free of any pest infestations

  • Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors

  • Check that noise sensors are still plugged in and installed

Living room & common areas

A person vacuuming a gray carpet in a living room with a yellow sofa and a white coffee table
Living rooms and common areas are high-traffic zones, so you want to be sure you’re keeping them in prime condition.

Living rooms and common areas are where guests will spend a lot of their time, so odds are these spaces need a bit more attention than the rest of your property.

  • Clean the inside of windows

  • Sanitize high-touch areas like remotes, light switches, and doorknobs

  • Clean any fingerprints off screens and glass surfaces

  • Clean mirrors and dust decorative items

  • Steam clean and dust upholstery on sofas and chairs as needed

  • Fluff pillows and fold throw blankets

  • Wipe down the coffee table

  • Adjust curtains and check for stains, tears, or fading

  • Wipe down vertical blinds

  • Sweep, vacuum, or mop floors and tidy up baseboards

  • Clean up any scuffs on walls as needed

  • If there’s a fireplace, remove ashes, clean fireplace, and restock wood


A person wearing turquoise gloves spraying and wiping down a ceramic cooktop
Having a spotless kitchen is key to getting 5-star reviews.

When cleaning the kitchen, not only do cleaners have to wipe down surfaces, but they also need to tidy the inside of drawers, cabinets, and the refrigerator.

Just remember that guests are hyper-sensitive to any missed areas in the kitchen—no one wants to prepare food in a dirty area.

  • Deep clean the fridge and freezer, disposing of any leftover food

  • Check the pantry and cupboards for non-perishables and toss expired items

  • Clean cupboard shelves and doors

  • Clean and disinfect the inside of the microwave

  • Shake crumbs out of the toaster

  • Inspect taps and drains to make sure they are functioning properly

  • Wipe down the range hood and light fixture

  • Empty and clean coffee maker and restock pods or coffee filters

  • Restock fridge and pantry with any food items you provide

  • Ensure all the pans are clean and neatly organized

  • Restock any supplies you provide to guests, like paper towels, dish soap, sponges, and trash bags

  • Disinfect the garbage can and make sure it is free of any odors

  • Disinfect around and inside the sink

  • Clean the front and interior of the dishwasher and ensure the seal is clean

  • Wipe down stovetop and check that the oven is clean

  • Disinfect kitchen table and wipe down chairs

  • Clean and disinfect countertops

  • Wipe down backsplashes

  • Stage with fresh flowers or your trademark special touches to enhance the guest experience


A person wearing orange gloves spraying down and cleaning a bathroom sink
Make sure your team pays attention to the details when cleaning the bathrooms at your units.

While bathrooms are generally built with materials that are easy to wipe down, it’s important that your vacation rental cleaning checklist include specific checks for areas where dust or hair can easily accumulate.

  • Replace bath towels, hand towels, and bathmat

  • Sanitize wastebaskets

  • Clean mirror

  • Disinfect sink, shine the faucet, and clean counters

  • Clean toilet and ensure the base of the toilet is spotless

  • Replace toilet brush

  • Scrub and disinfect shower stall and bathtub

  • Clean shower track and soap rack

  • Restock toilet paper

  • Stage with complimentary toiletries and any other special touches

  • Wipe baseboards, vacuum and mop floor

  • Clean under the cabinet or vanity and anywhere else dirt, dust, and hair can collect


A person wearing orange gloves kneeling down to wipe down the floor of a bedroom
Clean and organized bedrooms will help make your guests feel at home.

Bedrooms are straightforward rooms to clean. But, while they may be less time-consuming, you still need to pay attention to detail.

Even the smallest stain on a sheet can stand out to guests and hurt your review score.

  • Dust ceiling fans

  • Open all drawers and sanitize the inside

  • Disinfect all surfaces

  • Replace batteries in clocks and remotes as needed

  • Disinfect handles

  • Dust shelves in closets

  • Check to ensure linens are in good condition

  • Change out linens and make beds

  • Stage with any special touches to enhance the guest experience

  • Wipe baseboards and vacuum or mop the floor

Utility room

A person moving laundry from a front-load washing machine to a front-load dryer
Just because guests don’t frequent this space doesn’t mean you shouldn’t keep your utility room tidy.

Although guests won’t spend a lot of time in utility rooms, these spaces should still be pristine.

Here’s a quick cleaning checklist for these types of rooms:

  • Empty lint in the dryer

  • Wipe out the washing machine and dryer

  • Clean out the utility sink and make sure the drain is clear

  • Restock cleaning supplies

  • Mop or vacuum floor

Outdoor spaces

Person using a leaf blower on a grass lawn
Maintain a clean and organized outdoor space so guests can enjoy it during their stay.

Don’t underestimate the importance of tidying your outdoor space if you have one.

Without a checklist, it’s very easy to miss out on key areas and create a poor impression.

  • Straighten up and inspect outdoor furniture

  • Sweep entrances clear of debris

  • Clean the barbecue

  • Check stairs and outdoor rails for safety issues

  • Ensure planters and garden beds are tidy

  • Make sure that the automatic garage door is working properly

  • Tidy up the fire pit and restock wood

Click to download (It’s free!)

Free Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist

A clean rental means happy guests. Download our vacation rental cleaning checklist and share it with your cleaners to ensure your properties are always spotless.

Essential vacation rental cleaning supplies

Having a plan and a rental cleaning checklist is only half the battle. If you’re going to succeed at your cleaning routine, you’ll need the right items to get the job done.

Here’s a list of cleaning products that we recommend adding to your vacation rental cleaning checklist:

  1. Glass cleaner

  2. Multi-surface disinfectant

  3. Oven degreaser

  4. Bleach

  5. Gloves

  6. Microfibre cloths

  7. Lint roller/hair remover

  8. Magic Eraser

  9. Powerful vacuum cleaner

  10. Mop or Swiffer

It’s also a good idea to laminate your cleaning checklist template and keep it with your cleaning supplies, along with an inventory of your cleaning products.

That way, you or your cleaning team can easily keep track of the tasks they need to complete and note down if any cleaning items need to be replaced.

Additional cleaning tasks

While turnover cleans are your biggest housekeeping responsibility, don’t forget about occasional additional cleaning tasks like deep cleans, cigarette smoke cleans, and mid-stay cleans.

Deep clean

During your off-season, either once a quarter or twice per year, you or your cleaners should conduct a deep clean and in-depth inspection of your property.

 This is important to catch major maintenance issues before they occur, as well as keep your property in prime condition.

During a deep clean, inspect your HVAC system, steam clean your carpets, clean light fixtures, and air vents, inspect kitchen supplies and linens, and check the state of your electronic devices to ensure everything is functioning properly.

Cigarette smoke clean 

If you’re a non-smoking property, guests won’t want to smell it on arrival. If any guests break the house rules and smoke at your property, you’ll need a plan to eliminate the smell fast—before the next guests arrive. 

One way to do so is with an ozone generator. But because these treatments can be costly, you should have a policy and extra cleaning fee in place to charge guests who smoke in violation of the rules at your property.

Mid-stay clean 

If you have guests staying for an extended period of time, a mid-stay clean is an excellent upsell opportunity.

You can use guest experience tools to automatically offer this service to your guests.

For example, Hostfully’s Digital Guidebooks have a marketplace section where you can upsell mid-stay cleans, extra linens, bed turndowns, etc. That way, you make it easy for guests to request a clean whenever they want and can boost your revenue.

A Hostfully digital guidebook displaying the Marketplace category
Offer a convenient mid-stay clean within your Hostfully Digital Guidebook using the Marketplace.

Vacation rental housekeeping tips and tricks

Many hosts underestimate the time it takes to maintain a rental property, especially when there are frequent turnovers. High booking rates are a great problem to have, of course, but it can mean you struggle to keep up with all the administrative work—especially if you’re still at the stage where you’re handling maintenance and cleaning personally.

To be more efficient with your cleaning, create and document a repeatable, scalable process that you and your cleaners can follow. This can be centered around your cleaning checklist and include devices that help cut down on turnover time. The aim is to make it easy for cleaners to complete tasks quickly. Also, to easily onboard new cleaners. 

We’ve also compiled a few devices that can help cut down on the time spent on turnovers:

  1. Automated vacuum cleaners, like a Roomba

  2. Handheld fabric steamer for your sofa and drapes

  3. Self-sealing, self-changing trash can

  4. Automatic air freshener dispenser to maintain a fresh smell

  5. Air purifier for removing pollutants and allergens from the air

How to automate and clean efficiently at scale

When you manage vacation rentals, automation is a powerful tool to reduce workload, especially when you deal with numerous properties and frequent turnovers. So if you outsource your cleaners (or have hired in-house cleaning staff), here are a few tools you can use with the vacation rental cleaning checklist outlined above.

If you outsource to a cleaning contractor

With Hostfully’s property management system (PMS), you can create a profile for your cleaning contractor. Then, just copy-paste your cleaning checklist into a template and set up a trigger that sends the cleaner an email whenever a new reservation is generated in the PMS. 

This helps contractors plan their schedule and, since each property is unique, you can also automatically share the checklist that corresponds to the unit in question.

If you use in-house cleaners or outsource

Hostfully partners with vacation rental cleaning platforms like Breezeway, TurnoverBnB, Properly, Operto Teams, and EZcare. Have your cleaners use the mobile versions of these apps to streamline your cleaning processes and communications. 

When you use one of these cleaning apps, they integrate with your PMS. That way, whenever a guest makes a new reservation, your cleaner will automatically get all the info and checklists they need for each unit.

The Hostfully property management system automated messaging feature
Use Hostfully’s integration capabilities to schedule automated messages to your cleaners when a new reservation is generated in your PMS.

If you want to be alerted when issues arise

Some of the cleaning apps mentioned above will create jobs/tasks if something in your vacation rental maintenance checklist is marked as needing attention (for example, if the cleaner finds the heater doesn’t work). If you don’t use a cleaning app, there’s also a simple hack to automatically get notified of issues. 

Choose a PMS that integrates with Zapier, like Hostfully, and create a Google Sheet with the complete vacation rental cleaning checklist. Then, you can set up Zapier to alert you if one of the cells gets marked with anything other than a check.

Make vacation rental cleaning one of the easiest parts of your job

Turnovers don’t have to be a source of stress. By following this vacation rental cleaning checklist, you can streamline your cleans and ensure your short-term rentals exceed guests’ expectations. In turn, you’ll see your host ratings on booking platforms rise thanks to glowing reviews from satisfied guests.

To optimize your vacation rental cleaning process, your next steps should be:

  1. Have a clear plan and expectations using our checklist for vacation rental cleaning

  2. Put together a cleaning kit that ensures you or your cleaners are equipped with the right products for the job

  3. Automate as much as you can using the Hostfully PMS and its cleaning software integrations to make vacation rental cleaning more streamlined and scalable

Because a clean vacation rental means happy guests, positive reviews, and repeat bookings.

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