The Ultimate Vacation Rental Cleaning Checklist to Help You Exceed Guest Expectations [+ Free Template]

Lizzie Griffin
Lizzie Griffin

October 12, 2023

Whether it’s some grease on the cooktop or crumbs on the floor, a guest checking into a unit that doesn’t meet their standards can cause major headaches. What starts as a complaint can snowball into a bigger issue, resulting in a negative review and even a drop in rankings on online travel agencies (OTAs). 

Cleanliness is one of the most important factors for guests in determining the value of an Airbnb*, and review scores related to cleanliness play a significant role in the success of a short-term rental unit.**

But chances are you’re not cleaning your properties yourself—you’re either using a third-party cleaning company or your own team of cleaners. Even if you trust your staff, how can you be sure they’re covering all the bases with each turnover?

That’s where cleaning checklists can help. We’re here to explain the value of using a vacation rental cleaning checklist, plus give you a checklist template that you can use for your turnovers (be sure to download the PDF). We’ll also outline how you can manage your short-term rental turnovers better by using specialized cleaning operations software. 

Want more 5-star reviews?
Ensure property cleanliness exceeds guest standards for every stay. 
Download the cleaning checklist

Why you need a vacation rental cleaning checklist 

While you may trust your team or the cleaning staff you always use, multiple turnovers in a day means little details can slip through the cracks. A stain on the bathmat or a smudge on the mirror may not ruin a guest’s stay, but they can certainly impact reviews and your reputation. 

By using a vacation rental cleaning checklist, you can ensure your properties meet guest expectations without having to show up and inspect your units yourself. Here are some of the numerous benefits of using checklists for your short-term rental turnovers: 

  • Increased efficiency: When your cleaning team goes into a turnover knowing exactly what they need to do, they’re able to get the job done quicker. 
  • Quality assurance: Having a checklist gives you something to measure the quality of your turnovers against, ensuring staff cover every aspect of the clean they should. 
  • Helps you to scale: With a standardized checklist and efficient process for remote inspections, you can add more properties to your portfolio without increasing your workload. 
  • Higher guest satisfaction: More standardized operations means cleans always meet guest standards, so they’ll be more satisfied with their stay. 
  • Better reviews: Happier guests means more 5-star reviews, helping you move up in OTA rankings and bring in more bookings.

Breezeway cleaning checklist photo upload

Using a digital cleaning checklist helps you ensure the quality of each of your turnovers, especially when your staff can upload photos of their work. 

Vacation rental cleaning checklist

Let’s get right to the good stuff: The checklist. Use this checklist to guide your cleaners and help ensure your properties are always guest-ready—but remember, every property is unique. So while you can use this checklist as a guide, you should definitely customize it based on the specific characteristics of your units. 

For your convenience, you can download the PDF to share with your cleaners or transfer over to a digital checklist


The cleanliness of your kitchen will leave a big impression on guests, which is why you need it to be spotless for every stay. Aside from these checklist items, be sure to include any other tasks your cleaners have to complete depending on the property (such as cleaning a coffee maker or emptying crumbs from the toaster). 

  • Sweep and mop floor
  • Clean and disinfect kitchen sink
  • Clean and disinfect stovetop, countertops, and backsplash
  • Replace used kitchen supplies (e.g. paper towels, dish soap, hand soap, and sponges)
  • Make sure the dishwasher is clean and empty
  • Make sure the trash can is clean and empty and replace trash bag
  • Clean and disinfect silverware tray 
  • Confirm the refrigerator and freezer are clean and empty of leftover food
  • Check the oven for cleanliness
  • Clean and disinfect all small appliances


At the end of the day, your guests want a clean place to store their clothes and a comfortable bed to sleep on. Ensure the cleanliness of your units’ bedrooms by paying attention to the details, like cleaning the insides of drawers and checking the closet for items left by previous guests. 

  • Vacuum or sweep floor
  • Change out linens
  • Wipe down all surfaces, including nightstands and dressers
  • Wipe down all mirrors and picture frames
  • Clean and disinfect all electronics and associated remote controls
  • Wipe out all drawers and chests
  • Clean and disinfect windows, windowsills, and blinds
  • Check the closet for any items that were left behind
  • Wipe down front and back of doors, doorknobs, and door trim
  • Wipe down thermostats and window or portable AC units


A guest finding just one hair in the bathroom sink can drop their review down a star or two, so have your cleaners pay close attention to detail when cleaning your bathrooms. Additionally, don’t forget to have your staff replace and restock any supplies or toiletries, such as toilet paper and hand soap, between each stay.

  • Sweep and mop floor
  • Change out towels
  • Clean and disinfect counters, sinks, and faucets
  • Clean mirrors and any other glass surfaces
  • Clean and disinfect medicine cabinet inside and out
  • Ensure the bathtub, shower, and shower curtain are guest-ready
  • Ensure the toilet is spotless 
  • Clean and disinfect the floor
  • Wipe down light switches
  • Empty trash and replace trash bag
  • Vacuum and clean the bathroom exhaust fan area
  • Ensure the shower and sink drain are clear

Living Room

Whether it’s a popcorn kernel between the couch cushions or dust on the coffee table, your guests will notice the little details that slip through the cracks if you cleaners aren’t thorough enough. While you don’t need to conduct a deep cleaning of your living room after every stay, be sure staff clean and disinfect every surface—that may mean they need to polish wooden cabinets and dust off ceiling fan blades. 

  • Sweep or vacuum floor
  • Clean and sanitize the sofas/armchairs
  • Wipe down electronics and entertainment items accessible to guests
  • Wipe down light switches (wall and on lamps), as well as light fixtures
  • Wipe down thermostat and gas fireplace controls


The front of your house is the first impression of a property for guests, so your cleaning process should include tidying up your outdoor spaces. That includes porches, patios, and decks. Also be sure to schedule in regular maintenance and cleans if you have a pool or hot tub.  

  • Sweep off patio, deck, and/or porch
  • Wipe down front and back of doors, doorknobs, and door trim
  • Wipe down any outdoor furniture and other amenities (such as fire pits or grills)

Want more 5-star reviews?
Ensure property cleanliness exceeds guest standards for every stay. 
Download the cleaning checklist

How to manage your vacation rental cleaning operations and inventory 

Having a comprehensive checklist is just part of the solution to running smooth turnover operations. The key is using vacation rental cleaning software that helps you share these checklists, track task status, carry out quality control on your turnovers, and manage your inventory. 

Breezeway, for example, lets you create customizable checklists you can share with cleaners. You get notified when tasks are completed, and staff can upload photos of their job so you can ensure quality cleans without having to show up at the property to inspect them. 

Additionally, Breezeway’s inventory tracking features mean your cleaning supplies and guest amenities are always well-stocked. Your supply levels are automatically updated when cleaning tasks are completed, and you can monitor stock via an inventory management dashboard. 

Cleaners never show up to a property just to find there’s no glass cleaner or vacuum filters, and you never run into a situation where you realize two hours before a guest is set to arrive that there’s no laundry detergent or toilet paper left.

Breezeway inventory tracking

Breezeway’s inventory dashboard ensures you never run out of cleaning products right before a turnover. 

Simplify vacation rental cleaning with Breezeway checklists 

By using a standardized checklist, you can feel at ease knowing your properties are always ready for your next guest. They give your staff clear guidelines on what they need to do to prepare for each check-in, and there’s no confusion over which tasks are required for turnover cleans and which fall under the scope of deep cleans. 

To make your checklists even more practical, create customizable digital checklists with housekeeping management software like Breezeway. Your cleaners can easily access them via the mobile app, and you get updates with photo uploads to ensure your property is up to guest standards. 

Plus, Breezeway’s dashboard gives you an overview of your turnover schedules, task status, and cleaning supply inventory, helping you smoothly manage housekeeping operations even as you add more properties to your portfolio. 

Want more 5-star reviews?
Ensure property cleanliness exceeds guest standards for every stay. 
Download the cleaning checklist

*BnB Facts

Frequently asked questions about vacation rental cleaning checklists 

How can you use software to automate vacation rental cleaning scheduling at scale?

By using short-term rental management software, you can automate your turnover processes, even while you scale your business. That’s because a specialized housekeeping management tool like Breezeway comes with features that take manual tasks, like creating cleaning schedules and coordinating staff, off your hands. 

When you automate these tasks, it’s easy to add properties to your portfolio without creating more work for yourself. This software also helps ensure all your properties meet guest standards with customizable cleaning checklists and photo uploads, no matter how many units you operate.