The ultimate vacation rental cleaning checklist

Your go-to guide to vacation home housekeeping

Our downloadable vacation rental cleaning checklist has everything you need to know to impress your guests.

After 1,803,120 cleans (and counting!), Vacasa knows what it takes to earn a five-star review in vacation homes from Kona to Key West.

And because sanitary accommodations have never been more important, we’ve created a handy vacation rental cleaning checklist to help DIY managers keep up. Download the full cleaning checklist to see everything you should take care of before your next guest arrives. Let’s get into the details of cleaning your rental.

Contact us and we'll talk you through it. Call 866‑842‑8520 or email newhomes@vacasa.com.

Vacasa’s comprehensive vacation rental cleaning checklist by room type

Bedroom cleaning checklist

☐ Dust the bedside tables, TV cabinets, dressers, and chests of drawers

☐ Check the drawers and closets for belongings left behind

☐ Wipe out and wash window sills, shades, and windows

☐ Move all furniture and vacuum the floors

☐ Roll up area rugs, sweep or mop underneath, and replace. Wash all small rugs

☐ Clean all ceiling fans, light fixtures, pictures, mirrors, and accessories. Check the light switches to ensure that they work

☐ Clean all spots on the walls, doors, frames, ledges, and vents

☐ Strip the bed(s); wash mattress pads, pillow protectors, and blankets

☐ Clean headboards, baseboards, behind beds, and under beds

☐ Remove all mattresses, then vacuum and wipe down bed frames


Kitchen cleaning checklist

☐ Sweep and mop the floor

☐ Pull out all dishes from cabinets and wash out each shelf. Wash down cabinet doors inside and out

☐ Make sure drawers are organized and crumb-free

☐ Wash and put away all dishes and utensils. Scrub pots and pans inside and out, including the tops and bottoms

☐ Place a roll of paper towels on counter and an extra one under the sink

☐ Clean stovetop, under the top, backsplash, and inside and outside of the stove drawer

☐ Clean the entire oven inside and out, including racks, exhaust vent, light cover, and door

☐ Clean small appliances (can opener, coffee maker, microwave, blender, etc.). Use a large toothbrush on hard-to-reach areas

☐ Clean the entire counter top. Remove any stains carefully

☐ Clear out the refrigerator, then wipe down inside and out

☐ Wipe down freezer inside and rubber seal; empty ice bin and wash

☐ Clean dishwasher and refill rinse aid

☐ Wash all small area rugs

☐ Wash trash cans thoroughly inside and out. Deodorize and replace liner

☐ Wash light fixtures inside and out. Dust and wipe down hard-to-reach light fixtures, like chandeliers


Living room cleaning checklist

☐ Dust all surfaces, including the blinds

☐ Check sofa cushions for dirt or stains (and clean if there are any visible imperfections). Remove all cushions, then clean sides and underneath

☐ If the sofa includes a sofa bed, wash the mattress pad and put back on bed

☐ Vacuum or mop the floor, moving furniture and rugs to clean underneath

☐ Clean all ceiling fans and light fixtures, and check to see if all bulbs are working

☐ Clean baseboards behind all furniture

☐ Clean the inside and outside of TV cabinets, stereo cabinets, coffee tables, side tables, credenzas, etc.

☐ Clean TV using an appropriate chemical and cloth, being careful not to scratch the screen

☐ Clean mirrors, pictures, plants, and all accessories

☐ Vacuum drapes, including the top


Bathroom cleaning checklist

☐ Sweep and mop floor. Clean all baseboards, doors, ledges, switches, and vents

☐ Wash the entire tile in tub area and clean grout

☐ Scrub tub thoroughly, including any jets

☐ Clean the glass shower doors

☐ Wash shower curtains and small rugs

☐ Clean mirrors, pictures, and accessories

☐ Clean toilet bowl, top, tank, and base

☐ Add one roll of toilet paper on the holder and leave two under the sink

☐ Scrub sinks, countertops, and ledges. Clean cabinet under sink and all drawers

☐ Clean/polish towel bars, paper holders, and light fixtures

☐ Clean trash can and deodorize


And there’s more where that came from, especially if your vacation rental home could use a deep clean. Download our free, printable vacation rental cleaning checklist to see all the tasks.

Get your complete cleaning checklist.

Vacation rental cleaning FAQ

There are many approaches to cleaning your rental. Some folks opt for the room-by-room method, while others do their least favorite tasks first.

At Vacasa, we’ve spent over a decade perfecting our cleaning services, creating an approach which emphasizes efficiency. Our professional cleaning service team members learn to assess, prioritize, and execute thorough cleans in every home they’re assigned.

A key takeaway from our tried-and-true cleaning method is to start with the tasks that take the longest. So if you’ve got a mountain of dishes to do, get the dishwasher going before you head off to the living room to vacuum. You’ll get a lot more done when you can do two or three tasks at once!

Want more details? Check out our vacation rental cleaning FAQ or read some of our own housekeepers' top cleaning tips.

That depends on the size of your home and its features. A one-bedroom condo will take significantly less time than a six-bedroom cabin with a sauna and home theater. It also depends on how long your guests stay at your place—consider how much use your home will get with a week-long stay compared to a weekend.

You know your home best. So, track your cleans as you go to figure out how much time you’ll need to allot between when one guest leaves and your next guests arrive. That way you can set realistic expectations for yourself—and prevent miscommunication with your guests.

It’s important to be cautious, especially in times like these. Keep a stock of gloves, face masks, and sanitizer on hand every time you clean your vacation home.

Here are a few CDC-recommended best practices for using personal protective equipment:

  • Anytime you change gloves, make sure you remove them safely
  • Change out the gloves you wore to strip bedding and towels, and wear new​ gloves to make the bed(s)
  • If your gloves tear or become visibly contaminated, swap them for a fresh pair immediately
  • Throw gloves away after you finish cleaning—never wash or reuse disposable gloves
  • Dispose​ of masks as soon as they become moist, damp, soiled, or torn
  • Wear masks so that they fully cover the nose and mouth and prevent fluid penetration
  • Avoid touching the front of your face mask (only touch the ear loops/ties/band)
  • Wash ​your hands with soap and water (or use hand sanitizer if soap and water is not available) after gloves and masks are removed and disposed of

And keep up with changing guidelines and recommendations from the WHO and CDC—your guests will thank you for it!

The short answer: yes, absolutely. In addition to wearing adequate personal protective equipment (PPE), the CDC, the Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (VRHP), and Vacation Rental Management Association (VRMA) recommend these extra steps to lower the risk of transmission while cleaning your home.

  • Improve ventilation
    As you work through your vacation rental cleaning checklist, make sure you’ve turned on any fans and opened as many windows as possible. These measures help air out your home and decrease the likelihood of contamination (with the bonus of keeping you cool while you work).
  • Sanitize, then disinfect
    Once you’ve finished cleaning, spray high-touch surfaces with a CDC-approved disinfectant—think doorknobs, countertops, the arms of chairs, light switches, faucets, and so on. Once you’ve sprayed the disinfectant, try not to touch these surfaces again.
  • Use hot water when doing laundry
    Be sure to wash all towels, linens, and bedding with hot water (and dry them with high heat). When laying out fresh towels or making beds, change your gloves to minimize the chance of contamination.
  • Limit the number of people in your home
    By keeping the number of people coming in and out of your home minimal, you make it easy to reduce the threat of contamination while you clean (and make a lot less work for yourself). If you have maintenance workers coming, ask that they wear PPE while in your home, and be sure to follow these COVID-19 cleaning guidelines after they leave.

It’s a lot of work, we know. But a trustworthy, professional cleaning service can eliminate your stress. See how we’ve risen to the challenge—and learn more about cleaning with COVID-19 in mind—by checking out Vacasa Premium Clean, an enhanced cleaning program exclusive to Vacasa homeowners.

A fresh-feeling home requires the right cleaning supplies. And while a few Lysol wipes and a Magic Eraser might make your home look great at first glance, we think it’s important to thoroughly clean before welcoming guests.

We recommend using EPA-approved cleaning products, like the ones listed here. And always make sure you use cleaning products in accordance with the instructions on the label.

On top of cleaning products, our professional housekeepers also carry an arsenal of tools. If you’re going the DIY route, follow our lead and buy:

  • A 5-gallon bucket
  • Bucket sleeve with pockets (like a utility belt for the bucket)
  • Grout brush
  • Squeegee
  • Mop with extendable handle
  • 6 mop cloths: 3 soft, 3 scrub
  • Scrub brush with nylon bristles
  • Multiple microfiber rags

And it never hurts to have duplicates of all these, as tools wear out and get damaged over time. After all, housekeeping is much less of a headache when you have the right cleaning products on hand.

As you clean your home, you’re bound to notice things that could look better (but could wait for another day). These tasks are what deep cleans are for—and you’ll find more than a few deep cleaning ideas listed in our downloadable vacation rental cleaning checklist.

We recommend performing a full vacation rental deep clean at least once a year, which covers things like dry-cleaning curtains, scrubbing down the baseboards, or pulling out kitchen appliances to clean behind and underneath them. Another approach is to tackle one item from the deep cleaning checklist every time you do a turnover cleaning—that way, you spread out the work throughout the year rather than leaving it to do all at once.

If you encounter a problem while cleaning but aren’t sure if it’s something you should deal with now or later, ask yourself these questions:

  • Will my next guests notice it?
  • Will their experience at my home be worse if I don’t do something about it before they arrive?
  • Will the problem escalate rapidly?
  • Could this be potentially dangerous?
  • Will this become expensive or destructive if I wait to address it after my next guests leave?

If you answered yes to most (or all) of these questions, you should probably address the issue right away instead of relegating it to your deep cleaning checklist. After all, guest safety and comfort is your top priority—and your turnover and deep cleaning checklists should reflect that.

Comprehensive vacation rental cleaning checklists are great, but full-service vacation rental management is better.

It’s safe to say that this checklist—while helpful—might be too much of a good thing. So if you’d be happy to never do a stranger’s dishes ever again (or if you’ve never had time to manage a vacation rental in the first place), let’s talk. Vacasa’s full-service vacation rental property management covers professional cleaning service, exclusive marketing tech, and 24/7 guest support. Our amazing local team would love to help you reclaim your time—and get you more out of renting.

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