Happy spring everyone! If you’re a Short Term Rental host, there’s no better season than this to spruce up your rental. As those summer bookings approach and warmer days start to crop up, it’s time to roll up your sleeves, throw open the windows, and give your STR a proper Spring cleaning
No matter how stringent your cleaning regiment is or how much your guests respect your space, time takes an inevitable toll on all vacation rentals. There’s the general wear and tear, dust and dings, but there’s also some random stuff that only a deep cleaning will catch.
Below are questions to ask yourself and areas to take an extra good look at.
1) WHAT WASN’T PART OF YOUR ORIGINAL RENTAL?
Time to open all the drawers. Guests have a weird habit of leaving random stuff in low-traffic drawers. Whatever you find, if you didn’t bring it into your STR, out it goes!
Crusty condiments in the fridge, half eaten bags of chips and crackers in cabinets, expired yeast packets in the cabinet. Auxiliary food items notoriously linger in STR kitchens. We like the hotel approach better: only encountering food left out intentionally for us by thoughtful hosts.
The longer you’ve run your rental, the more items you’ve probably brought into your space. Avoid the clutter and challenge yourself to remove a handful of items that you introduced over the years that now detract from the space more than they help.
2) WHERE ARE YOU SCARED TO LOOK?
How about the bottom of all your trash cans? Many could use a good power wash and thorough sanitization.
Your normal cleaning routine probably involves working around your furniture. Good spring cleaning is the exact opposite: it’s all about displacement. Move furniture, appliances, trinkets, completely out of their usual position before you go in with your cleaning supplies. There are always fun surprises waiting behind the stove...
Fall and winter tuck all sorts of goodies in between the window panes and window screens. Open up each set in your rental and put that vacuum extension to use. Wipe down any mud, muck, and grime that still lingers. As many of you know, Jonathan is a huge advocate of using a leaf blower on these things too!
Here’s a (scary) question: would you take a blacklight near your STR’s toilet? Routine cleanings usually do a decent job polishing up anything porcelain, but the surrounding tiles, baseboards, and even walls could probably benefit from a spring cleaning scrub. Also, when’s the last time that toilet brush was replaced?
3) WHAT FABRICS AREN’T ROUTINELY WASHED?
Curtains love to collect dust, smells, and stains, especially if they grace your floors. Take them down and give them a good washing. Just don’t bring them back into your space until everything else is spick and span to ensure they remain clean.
Tackle each layer of the bed, from the mattress pads to bed skirts. The latter is a human and pet hair magnet!
Gather up all the throw pillows and blankets for a good washing.
4) WHAT’S STAINED?
Without their cases, how do your pillows hold up in the light of day? Remember, guests strip the bed all the time. New pillows might not be as expensive as you might think.
If small rugs just inside the door are doing their job well, they’ll either need a good wash and some stain remover, or to be replaced altogether.
White dishes can be beautiful, but they deserve a once over. Any rings inside those coffee cups?
5) WHERE ARE CRUMBS HIDING?
Couch cushions are a common culprit. Pull them all out and vacuum meticulously.
Take any container with an open top, empty the contents, and flip it over for cleaning. From crocks filled with kitchen utensils to baskets brimming with toiletries, the bottoms of such things usually need to be cleaned.
Kitchens create crumb collections left and right: cracks between counters, divots between floorboards, beneath silverware trays, in toaster trays, in fridge drawers, beneath the microwave’s spinning plate. Go to town!
And then there are the crumbs caked onto the dishes. Your Spring cleaning should include a hard core scrub of every dish or utensil to which your guests have access. If your STR doesn’t have a dishwasher but your own kitchen does, take those dishes home with you for sanitizing. While all the dishes are out of the cabinets, clean the cabinets themselves. If you use contact paper or padded shelf lining, replace anything that’s run down.
6) WHERE ARE YOUR DUSTING BLIND SPOTS?
Scrutinize the area around the bed. We’ve seen cobwebs hiding under lampshades, dust that’s settled in the nooks and crannies on the underside of headboards, and window sills that need more than a quick swipe.
Wall hangings: take ‘em down and tackle them piece by piece. While they’re off the wall, spritz any glass with a touch of Windex.
Throughout the entire space, check these off one by one: all baseboards, all door frames, all blinds, and all window sills. Then ask yourself, where do you usually skimp on dusting because of complexity. Tackle vent grates, newel posts, and all those spots that need a step stool or ladder to reach.
7) WHERE IS WATER INVOLVED?
Keep your guests’ morning coffee tasting delicious and descale all your coffee makers. There’s the classic approach with white vinegar or if you have one of their machines, you can pick up Keurig’s solution here.
Empty the ice tray, clean out the holder, and make a batch that’s all fresh. If you have a water filtration system of some sort, either Brita or built into your fridge, make sure that filter is fresh and didn’t expire months (or years) ago.
As you’re cleaning tubs and sinks, notice whether or not the drain is backing up at all. Some Drano has been in order in more than one STR we’ve visited.
Keep an eye out for any tell-tale sign of mold. Dehumidifiers really can make an incredible difference here.
8) OTHER INTERIOR ITEMS TO CHECK
Test all the lightbulbs in your Airbnb as well as all the battery operated items.
Tupperware seems to constantly lose its other half. Match up all sets in your kitchen and remove any lone odds and ends.
Information gets outdated faster than anything else. As you spruce up your rental, get rid of any outdated travel guides, takeout menus, or incorrect details in your house manual.
Safety check! Examine your fire extinguisher, outlet plugs, and first aid kit. Make sure everything’s stocked and nothing’s expired. Empty all vents, especially behind the dryer to prevent a fire hazard, and swap out your air filters.
Every now and again we see piece of furniture that looks a bit dangerous. Double check anything that looks off-kilter and any furniture you assemble yourself. For those top-heavy furniture pieces, we’re big fans of wall anchors to help prevent accidents. Also tighten handles and knobs on cabinets and drawers.
For scrapes, paint touch ups and furniture markers are game-changers. Cleaning up these signs of wear and tear will make your STR look newer faster than anything else.
Now for the scuffs. If you have never used the Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, trust us: these little sponges truly do feel miraculous! They create the tiniest abrasions, pulling the unwanted material right up. Any scuff or stain on your walls, counters, tubs, sink, you name it, these erasers can almost always make them disappear. They were very popular back in our college days!
Think about what your guests touch the most and then sanitize: the door knobs, the drawer handles, the light switches, the sink handles, and the keys.
OUTDOOR CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE
Pressure wash exterior of house, roof, porches, decks, etc
Remove cobwebs from undercover areas
Shake out or replace entry mats
Touch up front door
Stain the deck
Scrape and paint anything peeling
Add fresh mulch
Trim trees & shrubs
Remove dead tree limbs
Remove dead trees & shrubs
Caulk around windows and doors
Fill cracks in concrete, foundation, & garage
Old plants in planters
Replace/repair broken fence boards
Swap out light fixtures of old/dated
If you'd like a copy of our Exterior Spring Cleaning Checklist, click below to download!
We hope you found this article extremely helpful for a thorough interior and exterior cleaning and maintenance. We've got to keep those 5-Star reviews rolling in!