Spring Cleaning: How-To Deep Clean Your Vacation Rental (With Free Download)

Lauren KayeLeave a Comment

Spring cleaning tips for your vacation rental

It’s that time of year again. The snow is melting and signs of life are beginning to re-emerge. Days are getting longer and there’s the promise of warm weather vacations around the corner.

It’s around this time of year that most of us get the itch to sweep out the cobwebs and do a complete top-to-bottom clean of our homes. This season, don’t let that urge stop at your primary residence! Deep cleaning is also a great idea for your vacation rental home.

Even if your property is being cleaned on a regular basis by your housekeeping company, you should do a deep clean at least twice a year to keep your home in great condition for your guests. And spring is an ideal time to give your property some TLC and make sure it’s ready for the busy summer travel season.

To get an idea of what a thorough spring cleaning should involve, we spoke with Nick Russell of Smoky Mountain Service Management, one of Evolve’s wonderful partners, who works with 46 Evolve homes in the Gatlinburg area.

If you’re worried about the additional cost of a deep clean, Nick has a suggestion that can help.

Schedule your cleaning to take place right after guests check out so that it’s still dirty. It saves you a little bit of money because you’re not paying for someone to come in and clean it again right after it’s been cleaned.”

Nick gave us a breakdown of the top things to do during a deep clean, but you can also download our free Spring Cleaning Checklist for a complete room-by-room breakdown.

Shampoo or Steam Clean the Carpets

Steam cleaning your carpets is extremely important for vacation rentals. It’s not just you and your family using the vacation home – additional guests (and pets, if you allow them) contribute a lot of extra wear and tear.

Homes in the mountains that are near ski resorts, in particular, take a beating as guests track in sand, salt, and snow on their boots throughout the winter. Carpet cleaning lifts those stains so your place is fresh and ready for summertime visitors.

Wash the window treatments

Dust and allergens collect in your window treatments year-round. Make sure your guests can breath easy by taking down your drapes, curtains, and blinds to wash them at least once per year to reduce those irritants. This is even more important if you have windows near your kitchen or dining room because it’s likely there’s residual cooking grease on the curtains as well.

But if you use plastic blinds in your home, you might want to replace them once a year rather than washing them because it’s difficult to clean them thoroughly.

Remove and clean all light fixtures

There’s nothing that gives guests the sensation that a home has been neglected more than a dirty light fixture. When you switch on the light only to see dirt and dead bugs collected at the bottom of a globe light in the kitchen, your guests will no doubt get the impression that your property is a little worse for the wear.

During a spring clean, take all light fixtures down and wash them out to prevent any grime from building up. Replace any burnt out bulbs along the way and replace the fixtures spic and span. Your guests will greatly appreciate it.

Clean the nooks and crannies

Inspect every inch of your home for dirt and dust. Closet shelves, vaulted ceilings, and hard-to-reach corners attract dust bunnies and are often neglected during routine cleanings. A spring deep clean gives you the opportunity to address these ‘problem areas’ so your home remains immaculate.

“During a general cleaning, there’s only so much time that can be allocated to that property,” said Nick. “But a deep cleaning take anywhere from 2 to 4 days. It covers much more than what’s done during a general cleaning.”

Clear the vents

Remove the covers to clean the vents for your HVAC and bathroom exhaust systems. Clean any dust that’s collected along the grates and replace filters that look old and dirty.

The longer you put off deep cleaning tasks, the more things start to come unraveled. The dull dirt continues to build over time. Your reviews go down. The property is no longer appealing,” explained Nick.

A clean vent air isn’t something guests regularly notice and mention in a positive review, but a dirty one is something they are likely to mention in a negative review.

Clean out the kitchen cabinets and drawers

Remove everything from your cabinets and drawers and give them a thorough clean, inside and out.

Dust, crumbs, and stray hairs have a way of collecting in those dark corners, and spring cleaning is a great opportunity to do a thorough scourge to make sure everything is sparkling clean.

When you have everything out, you should also do an inventory check. Run through all of your silverware, utensils, cookware, glasses, and table settings. Make sure everything is accounted for and that you have enough supplies to accommodate the number of guests your property sleeps.

“We recommend that you do this twice a year, based around your high and low seasons,” said Nick. “If you do it closer to your peak, you can make sure you have ample supplies for guests to carry through your busy season without worry.”

Move major appliances

Pull out your stove, refrigerator, washing machine, and dryer so you can clean behind them to clear away any dirt or debris that’s stuck back there.

While you’re at it, scrub down all surfaces on your appliances – especially those in the kitchen. Oven warming drawers should be taken out and cleaned thoroughly, and you should run a cleaning cycle on the oven to clear away any leftover cooking debris. You’ll also want to dismantle the shelves and drawers in your refrigerator and freezer so you can wash them to remove any built-up ice or spills.

Tackle time-consuming bathroom cleaning projects

Most bathroom cleaning items will be taken care of during routine cleanings. Toilet scrubbing, mirror wiping, shower cleaning, and supply replenishing should be handled after every guest checks out.

However, there some tasks that will take more time to do and fall outside the boundaries of what’s covered in a typical cleaning.

For instance, Nick explained that a lot of properties in the Smoky Mountains area have jacuzzi tubs, and it takes about 45 minutes to clean each tub. You have to remove all of the jetted components, then soak and clean them, in addition to running a cleaning cycle through the lines. These in-depth cleaning jobs are important for keeping your property in good working order, and they should reduce the need for more expensive maintenance down the road.

Get a general assessment of your property

While you or your housekeeping company clean your vacation rental, it’s smart to conduct a general assessment of the property.

Are there any scuffed sideboards that need to be repaired? Are there loose boards in the decking outside? Are there large cracks in the sidewalk that someone might trip over?

When you’re taking a close look at every inch of your home, you are in a position to stop and look at the property from a different perspective. Put them on your maintenance list so your property is 100% safe and guest ready come high-season.

Deep cleaning is preventative maintenance

In Nick’s experience, deep cleanings can have a huge impact on a vacation rental’s performance.

“A vacation rental is a long-term investment. I think of it in terms of a vehicle. You have to regularly change the oil. You have to put new tires on the car. You have to change the brakes in order to keep your car running,” he said.

If you keep your property in great shape and conduct deep cleans a couple of times per year, you’ll protect your investment.

“You are going to have to spend some money out of pocket for a deep clean, but it’s a short-term sacrifice for a long-term gain. I’ve seen too many properties neglected over the years.”

The good news is that a well-maintained property is going to get better review, earn more bookings, charge higher nightly rates and make more money in the long-run.

Download our free Spring Cleaning Checklist to get a printable copy of these items. Print it out and use it while you’re cleaning, or give a copy to your cleaning company to give them an idea of what you’d like them to do during your annual deep clean.

Did we miss any deep cleaning tips? Have something to add? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

If you’re looking for a vacation rental management service that helps you build a profitable business in the long-term, get in touch. Evolve builds you a custom listing and creates a marketing strategy to get your property more bookings and we have a network of vetted partners, like Smoky Mountain Service Management, who will advise you and take care of your home just how you would, if you were there yourself.

Cleaning Checklist


Impress your guests with a spotless home. Use our free deep cleaning checklist to make sure every room is spic and span this spring.