Cleaning tips from seasoned Hosts
StarCleanOxford short let cleaning 25/09/21
Guests care about cleanliness—a lot. According to Airbnb data, a lack of cleanliness is one of the top reasons guests leave a negative review. On the other hand, a spotless space can lead to positive reviews, earning you a “Five Star Clean” compliment for your listing. Who wouldn’t want that?
How cleaning for guests is different
You might not mind a dust bunny here and there, but guests will mind—and they’ll let you know about it in their review. Cleaning for guests requires much more attention to detail than you might use when cleaning for your own family. Another key difference? You’re cleaning up after the previous guest while also preparing for the next one. Remember to free up space, from the closet to the bedside table to the fridge. “You don’t want the new guest to find a half-eaten chicken from the previous guest,” says host Alex from San Francisco.
Focus on the pain points
Certain items—towels, sheets, floors, and the bathroom—are particularly sensitive for guests. And it’s not hard to see why. No one wants to feel like their shower or sleeping space is unhygienic. These areas need to be thoroughly cleaned between each guest, with a so-clean-you-could-eat-off-it level of care. Other tasks, like dusting the ceiling fan or swapping out the shower curtain, can be done less frequently. Consider investing in periodic deep cleans to cut down on work between bookings and save time in the long run.
Avoid a hairy situation
Nothing turns a guest off like finding someone else’s hair in their space. Hosts Sue and John from Oxfordshire tackle stray hairs with an unexpected household item: “After I wash all the bedding, I take a lint roller to the sheets, pillowcases, and blankets.” Host Laura, suggests a mop swap: “Clean bathroom floors on your hands and knees. It’s quicker and easier, and you won’t miss any hairs.” Finally, clean the bathroom drains regularly to make sure they’re not clogged with hair. After I wash all the bedding, I take a lint roller to the sheets, pillowcases, and blankets.— Sue and John, Salt Lake City
Kiss clutter goodbye
Decorative objects can add character to a space, but they add something else, too: dust! The more stuff you have strewn around, the greater surface area you need to clean. Plus, it just feels messy. Hosts Jessica and Henry from South Korea keep their personal items to a minimum. “While it may make the space seem a bit bare, it also means guests have plenty of space for their own items, and it’s easier to maintain a clean image.” So channel your inner Marie Kondo, thank your stuff for a good run, and send it on its way.
Get help when you need it
If you know you’re not going to be able to do all the cleaning yourself, hire a professional—and provide them with detailed direction. You might also want to identify a backup cleaner in case your go-to falls through. And remember, you can include a cleaning fee* to offset the expense of keeping your space in tip-top shape. Another way to manage the workload? Leave enough time between bookings to do a thorough cleaning before the next guest arrives. It’s a good idea to update your reservation settings to block time between reservations.
Try these host hacks
Hosts have so many ideas for tackling the unique cleaning needs of an Airbnb property. Here are some standouts:
- Load the washing machine first. “The first thing I do is get all the bed linens and towels and throw them into the washing machine, and that’s going while I’m doing the rest of the cleaning. It’s efficient.” —Emma-Kate
- Polish wood floors. “I have hardwood floors. I polish them on a regular basis so when guests walk in they see gleaming floors. It gives an overall perception of cleanliness that’s reassuring.” —Tammi
- Clean light switches. “Those things can get nasty, but you don’t notice them because you’re used to them. A bit of rubbing alcohol should do the trick.” —Adam
- Look under beds and in bedside drawers. “There’s nothing worse than finding left-behind personal items in the bedroom.” —Rob
- Clean window sills, light fixtures, and ceiling corners. “Sometimes these can be full of dirt that you’d never notice during the day when most cleaning takes place. But a guest lying in bed at night will see that.” —Sarah
- Don’t forget the shower curtain. “The shower curtain often gets forgotten. I have a plastic liner, and I spray it and wipe it down after every guest. I also replace it every month or two.” —Tammi
- Fold the bathroom tissue. “I fold the bottom of the toilet paper. It’s a small thing, but it feels fresh and shows you care.” —Emma-Kate
- Top off hand soap and shampoo bottles. “It’s nice having bathroom amenities that feel new. A full and closed bottle makes the guest feels like the first person to use it.” —Alex
With a little extra effort—and a few clever tricks—you’ll be well on your way to “Sparkling Clean.”