Managing Your Vacation Rental

Tips for a Thorough Spring Cleaning

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

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.

People often have different standards for cleanliness, but homeowners should assume that all of their guests are fastidious. The most common complaint in negative guest reviews relates to 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
  • window sills, which often get overlooked when the windows are closed and are particularly subject to pollen and dead bugs

And let’s not forget the dirty oven and BBQ grill.  They are easy to miss but very important for both sanitary cooking reasons as well as preventing a fire.

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 that they are doing the job they promised to do.
  • Don’t accept sloppy work.
  • Remember that they are professionals, and pay them a fair wage. They’re doing what you don’t want to do or can’t. Pony up!

What if the homeowner decides to do the initial cleaning his/herself?

You might want to save some money and do the spring cleaning yourself, leaving the turnover cleanings to the professionals.   But 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 in the midst of the season! Presenting a clean and well-maintained home is critical to your success.

Also, 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.