What Should Be on your VR Cleaning Checklist?

Ben Firn
Ben Firn

September 8, 2019

Delivering an exceptional brand experience is nearly impossible if you run your property care programs with paper checklists and other antiquated methods. According to Durk Johnson, Executive Director of Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals and Founder of Housekeeping Solutions Team, “managers can provide an excellent pre-arrival experience, but if the guest checks into a property that hasn’t been properly cleaned, the manager is at risk to receive negative reviews”.

Ensuring property readiness upon check-in requires short-term rental managers to implement prescriptive cleaning and inspection programs for different event types: back-to-backs, owner stays, standard departure, pre-arrival, etc. Managers who do so are able to perform high-quality work customized to each property, capture rich property data, monitor issues and statues in real-time, and gain confidence that every property aligns with company brand standards.

After reviewing more than 800 different housekeeping checklists, and helping managers perform over 400,000 cleans, we’ve compiled a standard departure cleaning checklist for your short-term rental properties (note: this checklist has 41 requirements, compared to the average length of 22 requirements, and can be tailored to your company’s needs).


- Make sure the furniture and general space is tidy

  • Dust furniture, fans and light fixtures
  • Open all curtains and blinds
  • Sweep Floors

- Make sure the bed and other sleeping areas are clean and presentable

  • Change sheets, and fit to mattress with flat sheet folded down
  • Use reference photo to arrange pillows in accordance with our brand standards
  • Change pillow cases and shams
  • Are the pillow protectors stained?
  • Prop pillows up at 45 degree angle, with opening facing inward
  • Place throw pillows in front of the pillows with pillow cases
  • Rate the cleanliness of the comforter or bedspread
  • Clean under the bed and check for left items, trash, and dust

- Make sure the closet is clean and organized

  • Dust the shelves
  • Remove any wire hangers


- Use reference photo to ensure general area is welcoming and fully-stocked

  • Clean floors, counters, cabinets, and all other surfaces
  • Run garbage disposable with dish soap and water to make sure all debris is gone
  • Empty trash can and replace with new bags
  • Restock kitchen supplies
  • Leave 3 rolls of paper towels under the sink
  • Leave dish soap and dishwasher pods under the sink
  • Leave new sponge under the sink

- Make sure the dishwasher is clean and empty

  • Empty all of the dishes
  • Fill with rinse aid
  • Wipe down the front of the dishwasher
  • Make sure the dishwasher doesn’t smell

- Make sure the fridge is clean and ready for use

  • Remove all food and clean shelves and drawers
  • What temperature is it set at?
  • Ensure contact magnet is prominently placed
  • Wipe down front of fridge (use stainless cleaner if necessary)

- Check the microwave for cleanliness

  • Wipe down front and inside
  • Remove and clean turntable
  • Are all the buttons functioning properly?

- Check the oven for cleanliness

  • Make sure the inside is clean and there is no spilled food
  • Clean knobs and stove top
  • Check under range hood for grease in vent

- Ensure sink is clean

  • Wipe down the faucet
  • Run faucet to test for hot water
  • Clean and polish the inside of the sink

- Check the toaster for cleanliness

  • Remove all of the crumbs
  • Lift toaster and clean exterior

Living Room

- Use reference photo to ensure furniture is arranged correctly

  • Dust the furniture and all surfaces
  • Dust all the lamps
  • Dust the ceiling fan
  • Report any furniture or carpet stains that need extracting
  • Check under the couch and each couch cushion for debris
  • Make sure the sleeper sofa couch has a clean mattress pad
  • Make sure clean sleeper sofa linens are in living room closet

- Are the floors and carpets spotless?

  • Steam mop floors
  • Vacuum carpet

- Dust windowsills, blinds, and ledges

- Check the TV for cleanliness and function

  • Dust the TV screen
  • Sanitize TV remotes


- Make sure the vanity and mirror are spotless

  • Clean, scrub, and sanitize sink, backsplash, mirror, and faucet
  • Report an issue if drain is slow

- Do the shower and bathtub look spotless?

  • Clean, scrub and sanitize shower and tub
  • Polish chrome (easy to do with dry rug)
  • Check to ensure now mildew or mold in shower and tub
  • Are shower head and drain clear?
  • Clean the shower curtain
  • Use vacuum on tiled floors, then mop

- Make sure the toilet is clean

  • Clean and sanitize toilet, including base, lid, and seat
  • Ensure there are at least two full rolls of toilet paper available
  • Ensure there is one bath mat per tub and shower
  • How many towels are there?

Dining Room

- Use reference photo to ensure dining room is arranged correctly

  • Dust the table
  • Dust the chairs
  • Dust the candle holders

- Dust windowsills, blinds, and ledges

- Sweep the floors

Laundry Room

- Check the washer for cleanliness

  • Wipe down the washer and ensure there is no mold in seal
  • Ensure there is enough laundry detergent

- Check the dryer for cleanliness

  • Wipe down the dryer
  • Clean out lint trap


- Make sure the patio furniture is organized and clean

  • Wipe off the patio set
  • Sweep the patio deck of leaves and debris

- Clean garage area of all debris

- Sweep front walkway of all leaves and debris

- Clean BBQ grill

For a printable version of this checklist, head to our learning section and download our cleaning checklist eBook.