Managing Your Vacation Rental

Tips for a Thorough Spring Cleaning

Written by Elizabeth Weedon
5/5 - (7 votes)

Updated April 2024

Whether your vacation rental home has been closed up for the winter or open year- round, a thorough spring cleaning before the season begins is essential.

Why is spring cleaning so important?

Launching into the vacation rental season without a thorough, detailed, deep cleaning can be a recipe for disaster.   If your home hasn’t been deep cleaned before the season starts, it’s impossible to get it thoroughly cleaned during the turnovers.

Guests often have different cleanliness standards, but homeowners should assume all guests are fastidious. The most common complaint in negative guest reviews relates to lack of cleanliness.  And once the rental season is underway, there is rarely ample time during turnovers to accomplish more than just a superficial cleaning.

What are some of the most overlooked cleaning tasks?

Most folks are really good at obvious broad-stroke cleaning, but they forget to clean:

  • inside toaster ovens/ toasters, blenders, coffee makers
  • behind and under as well as on top of furniture and appliances
  • behind and around toilets
  • in closets and on shelves
  • electrical cords
  • overhead light fixtures
  • high dusting and dusting inside lampshades
  • baseboards and wall edges and corners
  • windowsills, which are particularly subject to pollen and dead bugs (which often get overlooked when the windows are closed)
  • the oven and BBQ grill, which are not only important for sanitary cooking, but for preventing a fire as well

In addition to cleaning, check all your appliances to ensure they’re in good working order.

Pest Control

Pests inside your home (mice, ants, bees, spiders), along with mosquitoes and ticks outside, can seriously disrupt your guests’ enjoyment of your property and result in complaints from them.

The best way to prevent issues is to be proactive with pest control prior to your guests’ arrival. See our Home Services Directory for companies that service your area.

What should a homeowner expect from their cleaning company?

  • Have a list of items to be included in the job, and communicate with your cleaner in writing at the beginning of the season so that there is no miscommunication.
  • Make sure your cleaners are doing the job they promised to do.
  • Don’t accept sloppy work.
  • Remember that they are professionals; pay them a fair wage. They’re doing what you don’t want to do or can’t.

What if you as the homeowner decide to do the initial cleaning yourself?

You might want to save some money and do the spring cleaning yourself, leaving the turnover cleanings to the professionals.   Be prepared to put in a lot of effort, and be as thorough as possible.  You will likely need to spread the work out over multiple weeks/weekends prior to the rental season. And be sure to leave eco-friendly cleaning supplies for your guests to use.

Some homeowners have set up a kind of cleaning co-op, sharing cleaning chores with a friend or friends. The work will go more quickly, and misery loves company! Then go out for ice cream to celebrate!

Can you provide a pre-season checklist for homeowners?

Yes, click here to download a checklist to use as a guide each year. Feel free to edit the checklist to include chores specific to your own home.

Any final advice?

Remember, as unpleasant a task as spring cleaning is, there’s nothing worse than having to respond to a disgruntled tenant during the season! Presenting a clean and well-maintained home is critical to your success.

Read about the importance of removing clutter from your home.

Do you have any spring-cleaning tips you’d like to share?

About the author

Elizabeth Weedon

Elizabeth Weedon - Although I’ve worked for since 2008, I’ve been a loyal homeowner on the site since early 1998, just a few months after the website was launched by the Talmadges. I grew up summering on the Vineyard and managed my family's rental home there since the mid-1980’s. I’m passionately devoted to the Vineyard – and to WeNeedaVacation, which I credit with enabling me to hold onto the special property that has been in our family for nearly a century. An enthusiastic member of the WNAV Homeowner Support Team, I endeavor to keep my finger on the pulse of the Cape and Islands vacation rental industry so that I can provide homeowners advice about how to ensure their booking success with us. With owner Joan Talmadge, I am also responsible for editing and writing much of the text on our website, our monthly newsletters, and Homeowner Blog posts.