Why you need to have an STR Cleaning Checklist

A typical Short Term Rental STR Cleaning Checklist

Cleanliness is one of the most important factors involved in getting you a five-star rating and maintaining superhost status. An STR Cleaning Checklist is probably one of the fastest ways to keep that status.

A short-term rental cleaning checklist is a highly developed and task-specific list designed to prevent missing even the smallest cleaning details.

Cleaning can range from easy to difficult but a checklist is certainly going to make the process flow the same way every time, which leads to efficiency, which allows more time to check more things on what we like to call “short days” or same-day checkout/check-in days. This will result in fewer things left to wonder about and happier (read: more willing to leave better reviews) guests.

A simpler checklist

Below, you’ll find a checklist we didn’t write, it is originally credited to http://www.turnoverbnb.com and the blog that lives there. We can also tell you the order in which things are done can save significant amounts of time, and a pro will have that down to a science. This list is NOT the checklist we go by as ours covers everything required to prepare a home for your next guest going well beyond cleaning alone.


  • Wash, disinfect, and put away dishes
  • Sanitize all surfaces, including counters, cabinets, and tables
  • Disinfect the inside of the sink and backsplashes
  • Wipe down the interiors and exteriors of small appliances, including the microwave and coffee maker
  • Clean the inside and outside of the oven, refrigerator, and freezer
  • Refill kitchen supplies, including dish soap, dish towels, and sponges.
  • Clean the windows and dust the windowsills
  • Sweep and mop the floors
  • Take out the trash, disinfect the garbage can, and replace the trash bag
  • Make sure all kitchen supplies are arranged nicely
crop housewife cleaning surface near sink
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com


  • Remove mattress protector, sheets, pillowcases, and blankets and launder properly
  • Dust the tops of dressers and nightstands before vacuuming
  • Wipe down other surfaces, such as ceiling fans and décor
  • Clean smudges from windows and dust windowsills
  • Disinfect high-touch items like light switches and TV remotes
  • Check the room for any personal belongings (if found, notify host)
  • Ensure there’s no sign of damage on bedding, furniture, and other items
  • Vacuum the drapes using an attachment on your vacuum cleaner
  • Vacuum the floors, including under the bed, addressing any carpet stains if needed
  • Empty the trash cans and wipe them down
  • Remove trash and clean trash cans
  • Make sure the bedrooms are stocked with necessary inventory, such as linens
  • Remake the bed with a fresh set of bedding
  • Ensure any décor, artwork, and knick-knacks are arranged nicely
blue pillows on the bed
Photo by EKATERINA BOLOVTSOVA on Pexels.com


  • Gather dirty towels and bathmats and launder appropriately
  • Check the drawers and cabinets for personal items (if found, notify host)
  • Clean the mirrors and windows using a microfiber cloth and glass cleaner
  • Clean and disinfect the counter-tops, back-splashes, sinks, and faucets
  • Scrub the bathtubs and faucets and/or the showers and shower doors
  • Remove hard water stains using a solution of vinegar and water
  • Sanitize the toilets, making sure to clean inside, outside, around, and behind
  • Dust the windowsills, vents, and fans
  • Empty and wipe down the trashcan
  • Sweep and mop the floors
  • Ensure there are enough amenities, such as hand soap and toilet paper
  • Check the entire bathroom for signs of wear-and-tear, mold, and other damage
  • Put out clean towels and bathmats
  • Ensure bathroom items, such as the hairdryer, toothbrush holder, soap dispenser, and more, are arranged nicely
bathroom corner with cosmetics
Photo by Ron Lach on Pexels.com

Living Room

  • Wipe down end tables, coffee tables, other furniture, and shelving
  • Dust appliances, such as televisions and other electronics, and décor
  • Clean the interiors of the windows and sliding glass doors and wipe down the windowsills
  • Dust any light fixtures, such as ceiling fans and lamps
  • Sanitize frequently touched items like TV remotes and light switches
  • Clean and refresh cloth items such as couches, chairs, and throw pillows
  • Launder any throw blankets and replace them once clean
  • Use the attachment on your vacuum cleaner to clean under the couch cushions
  • Sweep and mop and/or vacuum the floors as appropriate
  • Ensure any media, such as books, DVDs, and board games, as well as any décor or artwork, are arranged nicely
  • Make sure the throw pillows are fluffed and the throw blankets are neatly folded
  • Put the welcome book in an area where it will be easily accessible
stylish interior of modern living room with comfortable sofa
Photo by Max Vakhtbovych on Pexels.com

Other Areas of the Home

Dining Room

  • Wipe in between furniture spindles for hidden crumbs
  • Make sure nothing has been stuck to the bottom of the table
  • Wash tablecloths and any other washable fabrics
  • Disinfect any highchairs or booster seats
  • Clean centerpieces

Be sure to move the furniture aside when cleaning the floor to get any crumbs. If there is a wooden dining table, finish by using a wood polish. If there is a glass table, be sure to remove all fingerprints and smudge marks.


  • Remove any dead leaves and branches from the lawn
  • Trim bushes and mow the lawn regularly
  • Remove weeds and other debris
  • Wipe down outdoor furniture
  • Clean railings
  • Sweep the patio and deck

A well-maintained lawn or zero-scaped yard in Arizona creates an inviting welcome to any property. On the contrary, an unkempt or halfheartedly done lawn or yard might make guests second guess their stay. The entire exterior of a house is a preview of a home’s character while the entryway is the invitation to come inside. It may also be a good idea to pressure wash the driveway and any walkways every so often which could be likened to laying out a red carpet for your guests

Benefits of Using a Cleaning Checklist

A detailed vacation rental cleaning checklist will help ensure you have thoroughly cleaned the property for your next guests. It doesn’t even hurt to leave a checked copy out somewhere so your guests can see all that went into the preparation for their stay.

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

How an STR Cleaning Checklist Benefits Hosts

Every host sets their own window for check-in and checkout times but few may initially realize that four or five hours to do all of the things needed to get a house ready for that next guest is not a lot of time and cleaning is a majority of it. If you’re cleaning your own property, this scenario can be relatively stress-free with a cleaning checklist.

If you work with a professional cleaning service, they will likely have developed their own checklist which they should share with you early on that will involve considerably more than just cleaning. Read about what we feel this list left out here: A MORE COMPLETE LIST.

How an STR Cleaning Checklist Benefits Cleaners

As a vacation rental cleaner, your success is largely based on the reviews given by guests to your host. Nothing will end the relationship between a host and a cleaner faster than their getting a poor review as a result of your poor cleaning efforts.

A cleaning checklist helps prevent bad reviews about cleanliness by making sure that you and the host are on the exact same page and that everything should get cleaned is going to be. You can almost guarantee that if it is not on the list, it will be overlooked. When guests — and hosts — are satisfied with your work, you’ll have created a lasting customer relationship.

How an STR Cleaning Checklist Benefits Guests

Guests generally feel more comfortable in rentals that are not only aesthetically pleasing but if we are being honest, that smell good too. An attractive property that is clean and free of clutter can offer guests a chance to escape their everyday lives.

But do you know what guests don’t like? You guessed it: unclean properties — and more specifically, a property that shows any sign of the last person’s stay. Any site you work with is going to have reviews that are heavily swayed by the cleanliness of the property. Guests will be much more likely to give 5-star reviews and book again when their short-term rental is clean.


No matter how you choose to look at it a list is going to help you clean. You will not forget as much as you may have and you will always have something to refer to if you are having an off day. Cleaning is not the entire story though; you will also want a list to check over everything that is NOT cleaning, a turnover list, and then combine them in some way. To find out more about that visit PART 2: CLICK ME!!

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