Below is a sample chapter titled “Cleaning Team Checklist” from Daniel V. Rusteen’s book Optimize YOUR Airbnb: The Definitive Guide to Ranking #1 in Airbnb Search. It’s a book of strategies for the intermediate and advanced host to maximize both the online and offline guest experience. You can claim the checklist (plus other bonuses) in Word format with the purchase of the book. We at TurnoverBnB are proud to have been mentioned in the book and on the recommended companies section of the book’s website.


Cleaning Team Checklist

Key Points

  • Cleanliness is the #1 complaint of Airbnb guests.
  • Hiring a responsible, timely cleaning team will be one of your hardest tasks.
  • Don’t go budget. In this area, you want to hire for quality over price.
  • A good cleaning team can act as an emergency contact, live check-in help, and replenish consumables.

Hiring a quality cleaning team is going to be one of your most important tasks. When I started my property management company, I negotiated for the cheapest cleaner and then tried to lower their rates even more by guaranteeing them a certain amount of jobs per week. This was the wrong approach. Yes, I got a killer rate on the cleanings, but the quality was not as high as I needed. It wasn’t bad, but with Airbnb, it needs to be perfect.

If you hire budget cleaners you will:

  • Receive lower cleaning
  • Waste time dealing with upset guests with high cleaning standards (think one stray hair on the toilet seat example).
  • Spend more money on linens as their organization will be

Trust me, hire expensive cleaners as they will save you time and earn you more money in the long run. Below is my full cleaning team checklist. If you don’t get cleaning right, you won’t get hosting right!

You must understand that unless a cleaner has experience with hotels or short-term rentals, the requirements are markedly different than a typical residential cleaning. The checklist highlights these differences, but you should also be aware of them and ensure the cleaner grasps these differences. Higher end cleaners will more efficiently internalize the differences into their daily jobs. Ideally, the cleaners will speak the local language as they are likely to interact with guests. Additionally, if you cannot easily communicate with them, many tasks will be lost in translation and things will go uncommunicated as it will be easier to do so.

The cleaner must be aware of the end product. The end product is a five-star cleaning review. You must ensure the cleaner knows how valuable cleaning ratings are. The better cleaning job, the higher the cleaning reviews, the more reservations, the more money for both you and the cleaner. For this reason, I always choose to work with a local cleaner. If you work with a corporation, the individual cleaner is not incentivized to do a good job as they don’t receive any benefit from spending an extra five minutes getting the place presentable for the guest.

Here is the checklist (circles represent items specific to vacation rentals):

The checklist

  • *Proactively check for damage, missing/stolen items, or items left by guests and immediately notify host. Also notify host if excessively
  • **In addition to the items you are responsible to refill below, it is your responsibility to communicate to host when any of the following supplies are below 25% of capacity: garbage bags, dishwasher detergent, ant spray, air freshener spray, sponges, and laundry
  • ***Put furniture/pillows/appliances in original
  • ****Where possible, open blinds in rooms to maximize natural light.


  • Wash all dirty dishes or place in dish washer and start
  • Wipe down inside of oven, microwave,
  • Sanitize sinks/countertops.
  • Wipe down all appliances/surfaces (including the toaster crumb tray and inside pieces of coffee maker/grinder).
  • Sweep/vacuum/Swiffer/Mop if needed.
  • Empty
    • Put out clean dish
    • Empty fridge of anything opened or expired except for
    • Ensure that dishes and silverware already in storage area are
    • Ensure presentation of kitchen items are correct (mugs with mugs, forks with forks, ).
    • Refill ice trays and put in
    • Refill (if needed): paper towels, dish soap, coffee,


  • Remove all items from sink, shower, shelves, racks,
  • Spray all the surfaces at once using a multi-surface
  • Clean toilet (be sure to clean the bottom side and behind the lid).
  • Clean mirror with glass
  • Sweep/vacuum/Swiffer/Mop if needed.
    • Put out one hand
    • Crease toilet paper (
    • Refill: toilet paper, hand soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel soap,


  • Wipe all surfaces using multi-surface disinfectant.
  • Make
  • Sweep/vacuum/Swiffer/Mop if needed.
    • Check for stains on sheets or blankets, inform
    • Check closets, under bed, and drawers for prior guests personal items that may have been left behind, notify host if you find
    • Neatly fold and place two body towels and one hand towel per bed (

Common/Living Areas

  • Wipe down all surfaces, even the shelving that’s up high; use glass cleaner where
  • Sweep/vacuum/Swiffer/Mop if needed.
    • Presentation is Please create a good first impression for the guest by organizing pillows, chairs, blankets, etc.
  • If patio/outdoor space, make presentable with a light clean, sweep, and furniture
  • Place house manual, local guidebooks, and keys in one obvious location.

Final Check Before Leaving (*Is the house as presentable as it can be for the guests?)

  • No obviously uncleaned areas (crumbs, marks on walls, ).
  • Dishwasher is
  • AC/heater turned
  • Stove top/oven is
  • Trash has been emptied from every receptacle and replaced with a new trash
  • Lights are turned off; windows and doors are
    • Plants are
    • Proper amount of towels are laid out in bedroom, bathroom,
    • Household consumable supply levels are
    • All light bulbs in all rooms are
    • Doors to bedrooms are

Other Notes:

  • Please use fragrance-free cleaning agents (i.e. avoid Lysol Lemon smell, Bleach, ).
Pro Tip 2

Pro Tip 2

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