How to Make Your Vacation Rental Sparkle and Shine


How to Make Your Vacation Rental Sparkle and Shine

This is the perfect time of year to spring clean your vacation rental or vacation home and get it primed and ready for the busy summer season ahead. Whether you decide to roll-up your sleeves and do it yourself or hire a professional cleaning service, giving your vacation rental a thorough cleaning and sprucing up before you have back-to-back guests is a must at least once a year, if not more.

Your vacation home deserves a little pampering now and again and your guests will notice that you've taken the time and effort to keep your rental fresh, clean and inviting. Here's how to make your vacation rental sparkle and shine—and get that glowing report from your visitors and guests after their stay.


Out with the Old

Give your vacation rental a once over and see if anything stands out as dated, worn out or junky. Take this time to discard any worn or broken items and replace where necessary. Has your welcome mat seen better days? Are your towels and wash rags dingy or torn? How about that toilet bowl brush? You may not think that these minor things are a major deal, but they are. Guests will appreciate the little touches and that make a big difference during their stay.

While you've giving your rental the once over, declutter and remove any unnecessary items. You may like a lot of trinkets and knickknacks, but that doesn't mean your guests will. Oftentimes less is more. Less things means more openness, more space and a cleaner look. See what items are not necessary to the form or function of the room and consider removing those things.


Top to Bottom CleaningDusting

Top to bottom cleaning is just what sounds like: start at the ceilings and work down. This is helpful for a couple of reasons. One, you are less likely to overlook something if you systematically clean this way. Two, you'll be cleaning in a way where the dust settles downward, making it an easy and efficient way to accomplish your tasks. Most of the dust will end up on the floor by the end of your cleaning sweep, so you can just vacuum up what remains.

As you're working from the top of each room to the bottom, don't forget to give a good, thorough dusting and cleaning of the ceiling fans, light fixtures, window ledges, picture frames and whatever else you encounter on the ceilings and walls that gets overlooked during the regular cleaning cycles. Replace any lightbulbs that are burned out or flickering. Wipe down any glass cabinets, doors or tables with a streak-free cleaner.


Surface Cleaning

Clean everything that has a surface. Even if it looks clean, you'll want to take the time to wipe it down and give it a little extra time and attention. Don't forget to give the door knobs, light switches, window ledges some much needed attention. It helps to clear any and all surfaces (don't forget to declutter) since you'll be wiping those other items down anyway, and then you'll be able to work faster and not miss any spots or areas that need extra attention.

Don't Just Dust Over It

Dusting is not enough when it comes to deep cleaning your rental. It's recommended that you remove all of your glass and ceramic items from shelves and tables and wash them with a little dish soap and water. This includes things like knickknacks, dishes, vases, candleholders and glassware to really get in the nooks and crannies of those items for a deeper clean than a dust rag or feather duster will do. Use a toothbrush to really get into the crevices and remove that dirt and dust buildup. For specialty items that require a specific cleaner, be mindful of those items and take this time to polish or clean them up as directed.

Pay special attention to that dusty bookshelf by hand-wiping the books with a soft cloth, and do the same for any magazines and games you have on-hand for your guests' use. You'd be surprised how much dust these items accumulate over time.


Windows to WallsWashing Windows

Two of your biggest areas that need a thorough cleaning are your walls and your windows. Give a thorough wipe down of your walls to remove any dirt marks, handprints, or scuff marks. A magic eraser does a pretty good job of getting rid of those extra stubborn stains. Take note of any rooms that may need a clean coat of paint in the near future.

Windows are the other large area of your vacation rental that require some extra attention. It's a big job but one that can affect the overall light and brightness in your room. Dirty windows are quite noticeable and have an effect on the overall lighting in the room. Clean all windows inside and out. Wash screens with dish soap and water, using a brush to really get in there and get them clean and then rinse thoroughly.

Your curtains, draperies and window treatments accumulate a lot of dust and dirt over time. Check the labels. You'll find that many window treatments are machine washable. Follow the instructions and give them a wash. Dry and rehang for an instant brightness and freshness booster to any and all rooms. Wipe down blinds. Wooden blinds just require a damp cloth, where plastic and metal blinds can be safely cleaned with dish soap and water.


Appliance TLCAppliance TLC

Your appliances deserve some tender loving care before the busy rental season kicks in. Give each of them a nice, deep clean.

  • Clean out the refrigerator and wash down the inside shelving and drawers. Freshen up the fridge with some baking soda and don't forget to degrease and degrime the outside, especially the top. Vacuum the coils.
  • Give the microwave a meticulous cleaning inside and out.
  • Clean the coffeemaker well and run a vinegar-water mixture through it.
  • Run the cleaning cycle in your oven and dishwasher.
  • Wipe exteriors of washer and dryer, clean lint traps and detergent compartments.
  • Clean and vacuum behind appliances.

Deep Clean Carpets, Upholstery, Furniture & FloorsDeep Clean Upholstery

This is the time to rent that steam cleaner for your carpets or have someone come in and do them professionally. Remove furniture cushions, vacuum underneath them and in the cracks and crevices. Take the cushions outside and beat them by hand gently to remove dust before putting them back in place.

Wax wooden floors and furniture to both clean them and give them shine. Polish and shine non-wax, linoleum and tile floors with cleaners specifically designed for the specific material it's made of to give them a clean shine.


Freshen Up

Open windows to let the fresh air in and let the stale air out. It's good to leave them open while cleaning with chemicals to give yourself good ventilation, too.

Deodorize drains where odors can build-up unknowingly. Hot water, baking soda and vinegar work well or you can choose a chemical cleaner designed for the job. Just be sure to rinse the drains when finished. Clear drains of anything clogging them like hair in the bathroom drains or food particles in the kitchen drain.

Vacuum and clean air vents and change filters to help minimize dust and maximize freshness.


Outdoor MattersOutdoor Matters

The outside of your vacation rental is what your guests see first. It can leave a powerful first impression and one that you want to be overwhelmingly positive. Take a good look at what needs special attention outdoors and focus on those things, making improvements where you can. You'll also want to give a good cleaning to all of your exterior elements.

Be sure to:

  • Power-wash the exterior
  • Wash decks and porches
  • Clean outdoor furniture
  • Jazz up entryways and make them eye-catching
  • Boost curb appeal by improving landscaping, planting flowers, sprucing up focal points.


You're obviously not going to be accomplish all of these cleaning tasks in a single day, so make a plan to spend a few days making time for each of these home-cleaning elements. Roll up your sleeves, put on your rubber gloves and enlist the help of a few willing family members of friends. Or, call in the professionals if you prefer. Before you know it your vacation rental will sparkle and shine, while being ready for the busy season and primed for all of the summer excitement that is yet to come.

Looking for more cleaning tips and tricks? Who else to turn to but the domestic goddess herself, Martha Stewart. She has a helpful Spring Cleaning Checklist, as well as a Printable Spring Cleaning Checklist for your convenience.

Happy Spring Cleaning!


Did we miss anything? What else do you do to make your vacation rental or summer home the best it can be and ready for the busy season?

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