Dirty Little Secrets: The Ultimate Guide to Deep Cleaning Your Vacation Rental

Koryn Okey
Koryn Okey

September 18, 2023

Cleaning is an integral part of any vacation rental business, but many types of cleaning are performed throughout the year. 

The difference between vacation rental cleans 

Deep Cleans are typically longer in duration and require more effort because they include moving furniture and cleaning behind appliances. These cleans generally represent a more thorough cleaning than the standard departure clean, focusing on visible items and ensuring a guest-ready property between bookings. 

Onboarding Cleans occur when a home starts renting and is an opportunity to bring a property up to your company’s standards, allow you to set expectations around future work, and inventory the home. 

Departure/Standard/Turnover Cleans are performed after or between bookings. 

Deep Clean Checklist
Ready to get started? This checklist will provide key items to be addressed during deep cleans.
Download our Deep Clean Checklist

Expert advice on completing deep cleans

In our September ELEVATE webinar, we heard from three professional operators about how they tackle this part of their business. 

Cari Boland, Owner Experience Manager at Mt. Hood Vacation Rentals by Meredith Lodging, shared that deep cleans are scheduled 2x a year and coincide with a detailed home inventory of the properties, allowing their team to identify improvements in the home proactively. Throughout the year, as the team finds additional time in homes, they also do what Boland described as ‘Focused Cleans’ where they will empty and wipe down the kitchen cabinets and ensure glassware is all in good condition, for example. This allows their team to maximize their time in-property and avoid build-up. 

Jessica Brantley, Housekeeping Manager at Alabama Getaway Vacation Rentals in Orange Beach, agreed, stating her team will often receive additional tasks that highlight additional areas of the home that need attention during their standard cleaning work, enabling them to ensure ceiling fans and vents are consistently attended to. 

Meanwhile, Jonathan Wicks, Founder of Well & Good Property Services shared that they have trained their team to report partially used homes [those homes that are left in good condition and require less cleaning time], which provides their housekeeping team additional time to focus on high-value areas: Baseboards and walls, Corners, and Kitchen Cabinets. Wicks states: “they don’t cut corners, they clean them.”

No matter the approach, all three professionals agreed that maintaining integrity across cleaning and ensuring properties are guest-ready at all times is imperative. Taking steps throughout every standard clean to ensure the amount of work necessary in a deep clean does not block a house for extended periods of time propels our industry forward and makes everyone’s lives easier in the long run. 

We had incredible audience participation so wanted to share some of the questions from this month’s webinar!

1. How long should a deep clean take compared to a standard clean? 

Across the panelists, the deep clean time they were varied from 1.75x-2.25x the standard clean. This is dependent on the components of the home (knick-knacks, are there high ceilings, how many items need to be moved, how many people will be doing the work, etc.). 

2. How should rates be adjusted for a deep clean?

For companies paying a piece rate (a flat fee for the job), deep cleans are typically paid ~2-2.5x more than a standard cleaning rate. For companies paying hourly, this is an additional hourly rate. 

3. How often should carpet cleaning be scheduled?

Carpet cleaning should always be scheduled as part of the Deep Clean, but it should be addressed as needed if a stain occurs outside of that. The longer a stain sits, the harder it will be to get out, and it could impact future guest’s experiences so you want to remove it immediately! 

4. What tools should be used during a deep clean?

Jonathan suggested a deck scrubber for ceramic tile, while Jessica mentioned she enjoys a toothbrush & Magic Eraser. Cari mentioned that her team has a caddy they bring with them, as well as an extender pole for dusting.

5. Do you have a Deep Clean checklist I can use?

We sure do! You can download the Deep Clean checklist here. As always, you’ll want to review and adjust this to your company’s needs, but this is a great starting point.

Deep Clean Checklist
Ready to get started? This checklist will provide key items to be addressed during deep cleans.
Download our Deep Clean Checklist