A sparkling clean home is essential to getting five star-reviews.  Guests expect hotel level, or better, cleanliness, which requires consistent, focused attention.  Whether you clean your short term rental yourself or hire a cleaning crew, a checklist is essential to saving time and making sure all the details are right in between guest check in and check out.

Amy and I both strongly believe that naturally derived cleaning products without harsh chemicals create a more guest friendly environment, so you’ll find that for the most part that is what we recommend.

We find that putting together a caddy of the supplies you’ll need throughout your rental will help save time and frustration on turnover day! There’s a million caddy’s available; we use this Sterilite one.

Front Entry

Spend a few minutes on curb appeal.  Clean out any cobwebs or bugs from lights.  Remember the entry will be the first and last impression for any guest.  Sweep main walkways.


Load and run the dishwasher. We recommend Method Power Dishwasher Soap.  Gather any dirty kitchen linens, including potholders and dish towels and either restock with clean items or launder.  Be sure the counters are wiped clean, including the corners and between cracks. Clean refrigerator and microwave inside and out, wiping off any fingerprints on the outside and cleaning any food or drink spills inside.  It’s a good idea to check the refrigerator drawers for items left behind that might spoil. Mop, sweep, and/or vacuum the floor: be thorough and get under the cabinets. Take out trash and recycling and replace trash can liners  Once the dishwasher is done, unload dishes, and check dishes and flatware for cleanliness while unloading.

We’ve fallen in love with the Scotch-Brite Greener Clean sponges for cleaning dishes and  countertops in the kitchen. They’re non-scratching and made from natural fibers that don’t harm our waterways when bits and pieces escape down the drain, which inevitably happens.


Your guests will pay extra attention to bathroom cleanliness, so it’s important to be extra vigilant here. Check the drains and remove hair or anything that might be clogging the drain between every guest. These inexpensive drain snakes may not seem like anything special, but they make removing hair from further in the drain than you can see a really easy task!

Thoroughly scrub the tub shower, toilet and sink – they should shine and there shouldn’t be any hairs (I know gross. Your guests think so, too.) or debris anywhere in site.  Bon Ami is a great old fashioned product with simple ingredients that will provide the deep clean your guests will expect. If you have glass shower doors, folks swear by treating them with Rain-X once a month to keep soap scum and hard water deposits away, but in between guests a water and vinegar solution works best.  Wipe down the mirrors with either a vinegar and water solution or Method Glass Cleaner.  Clean countertops and every surface. Empty the trash can and replace with a fresh liner (reused grocery bags are totally fine for this). Replenish toilet paper, tissues, and any other bathroom amenities that you regularly supply.  Restock clean towels and washcloths. Mop the floors and be sure to clean behind the toilet and under vanities.


Change the linens and make sure the bed is made nicely.  Arrange the pillows. Restock backup blankets and extra towels.  Vacuum the room, including and especially under the bed.

Public Areas

Dust everywhere and not just around things:  pick up and dust under nicknacks. If you are using a cleaning service, provide photos of how things are arranged to make sure things are put back properly.  Vacuum thoroughly carpets, rugs, and upholstered furniture. Sweep and/or mop hardwood floors. Fluff and straighten throw pillows. Straighten all of your wall art.


Keep a list of valuables and counts of soft goods and check to be sure that nothing is missing.  Again, photos are helpful to provide a quick comparison. Look for damages to any items. If damage is found take photos.

Also, keep track of supplies such as toilet paper, paper towels, dishwashing soap, shampoo and conditioner, etc and replace or refill when running low.

Check all lightbulbs throughout the home to make sure you’re not about to accidentally leave a guest in the dark.

Deep Clean

Create a regular schedule for deep cleaning to keep your short term rental in top shape, which should occur monthly or quarterly:

  • Run disposal with baking soda or vinegar to keep smelling fresh
  • Empty condiments and expired food from refrigerator
  • Clean oven (we’re fond of the Method Heavy Duty Degreaser)
  • Clean inside of refrigerator
  • Wipe down cabinets, inside and out
  • Inventory flatware, dishes, glasses  and equipment and replace missing items
  • Clean baseboards
  • Thoroughly mop hardwood floors
  • Shampoo carpets and rugs
  • Wash shower curtains: replace if mildewy.
  • Treat glass shower doors with Rain-X

Cleaning SOS

There will be some spills that need special treatment.  If you offer a pet friendly rental, we recommend keeping Biokleen Bac-out Stain & Odor Remover on hand to leave your space smelling clean even if there was a pet accident.  For carpet stains, Folex Carpet Cleanerworks magic even on red wine.  If your glassware becomes cloudy, rinse them with hydrogen peroxide to bring the sparkle back.