Vacasa housekeepers divulge their top vacation rental cleaning tips

Move over, marble countertops. Meticulous house cleaning is the new must-have for attracting today’s germ-obsessed guests.

Cleanliness has always topped the list of what guests are looking for. But today, when health and hygiene is the world’s most pressing concern, it’s downright crucial to getting bookings for your vacation home. Guests are now obsessed with dodging germs, and one negative review citing left-behind grime will have them sprinting elsewhere.

According to Google Trends, vacation rental searches using keywords related to cleanliness have skyrocketed 71 percent* this past summer, showing that travelers are still hitting the road and searching for an immaculate, sanitized place to stay.

When it comes to meticulous cleaning protocols and vacation rental housekeeping, no one knows better than the Vacasa team. Our crew of 2,000+ housekeepers are responsible for cleaning vacation rental homes all over the country with our Vacasa Premium Clean program. Their secret to achieving (and surpassing) Health Canada's recommended standard? They follow routines that allow them to efficiently and thoroughly clean, disinfect, and sanitize every time.

Now, we’re throwing back the curtains—and asked a few of our housekeepers to share their top vacation rental cleaning tips and secrets.

Meet our housekeepers

Amber

Killington, VT

  • Years at Vacasa: 2
  • Favorite Vacasa home: Hall’s Hideaway in Ludlow, VT.
    “It’s on the lake and absolutely gorgeous on the porch at sunset!”
  • Fun fact: Has been cleaning since she was 10 years old.
Chelsea

Mt. Hood & Hood River, OR

  • Years at Vacasa: 4
  • Favorite Vacasa home: Snowed Inn in Government Camp, OR.
    “It's a beautiful home with the best view of Mt. Hood from almost every room.”
  • Fun fact: Has cleaned more than 1,200 homes.
Becca

Lincoln City, OR

  • Years at Vacasa: 4
  • Favorite Vacasa home: Beach Points in Lincoln City, OR.
    “Everyone should take a virtual tour of this property to see its beautiful architecture, unique decor, and lovely pieces of art. Plus, it has a stunning view!”
  • Fun fact: Rose through the ranks and became a senior housekeeper in just four years.

What are your gold standard methods for cleaning vacation rentals?

Follow the wall

Vacasa housekeepers favor a “follow the wall” cleaning technique, which is just what it sounds like—using the walls as a guide to take one continuous path through the home while cleaning. This orderly routine guarantees that each room and even often-forgotten spots are cleaned in a streamlined and systematic way. Chelsea also adds that she turns each room’s lights off to mark it as completed.


Work your way to the front door

Becca’s tip for not being overwhelmed cleaning a large home? She starts at the top of the house or the farthest point in the home, then works her way back to the front door—cleaning room to room, top to bottom, including mopping and vacuuming floors. Afterward, she closes each room’s door before moving onto the next room.


What are some pro vacation rental cleaning tips?

Tackle laundry first

As a senior housekeeper, Becca starts house cleaning by stripping off bedding, then replenishing each bedroom with fresh linens. “Such a simple step makes all the difference in the home and makes you immediately feel as though you have accomplished a good chunk of work.”


Wash laundry in small loads

No matter how much laundry you have to do at your home, Becca’s insider tip is to wash and dry in small loads. This gives your towels and linens more room to soak and remove stains in the washing machine, plus a faster drying time. If you have an older dryer, she recommends doing a second spin cycle to wring out as much water as possible.


Win the battle over bunk beds

When changing the linens on a bunk bed that has a tight fit, Amber has learned it’s best to remove the mattress first to make the bed. “The mattresses usually go in perfectly afterwards,” she says.


Look dirt in the eye

Amber and Chelsea agree that one of the best ways to double-check countertops is to get down to eye level to check for missed spots. “It works every time to get the cleanest surfaces,” says Chelsea.


Micro-effort to clean microwaves

For tough-to-clean spills and grease in a microwave, Chelsea suggests first popping a wet rag into the microwave and heating it for 45 seconds to a minute, making the spots easy to wipe away. “It saves your arm from a lot of scrubbing!” she says.


What spots do homeowners often overlook and forget to clean?

Underneath high-traffic surfaces

Don’t forget to look under couch cushions, the lip under kitchen counters, and even the bottoms of refrigerators and freezers. Want to go above and beyond at your vacation home? Chelsea recommends taking out all drawers and thoroughly cleaning underneath.


Toilet bases

Hard-to-reach places such as the base of toilets and the surrounding floor space are best conquered with hand mopping, Chelsea suggests.


Inside kitchen drawers

Instead of just wiping down surfaces and restocking supplies, you can go above and beyond for your guests by taking stock of what’s broken or missing. “Housekeeping may primarily focus on cleaning, but Vacasa [housekeeping] also ensures our guests have all the items we promise during their stay,” Becca explains. Same goes for checking that WiFi, cable, and the fireplace are working properly.

quote-mark Created with Sketch.
Housekeeping may primarily focus on cleaning, but Vacasa also ensures our guests have all the items we promise during their stay.”
Becca, senior housekeeper

What are your personal favorite housekeeping products?

With hundreds of cleaning products available today, Amber, Chelsea, and Becca dish on the brands that have stood out the most.

Peroxi Max

This powerful, all-purpose cleaner combines peroxide with water, bio-based surfactant and natural orange oil to make it both safe and heavy-duty. “If you allow it to sit the full 10 minutes, it works extremely well,” Amber advises.


Bio-Clean

“This brand is a personal must for me,” says Chelsea about Bio-Clean’s eco-friendly products made of non-chemical ingredients.


Odoban

Becca swears by Odoban, an all-purpose cleaner, disinfectant, and sanitizer. The brand also offers products to eliminate odors, refresh laundry, and control the growth of mildew and mold. “It leaves homes looking and smelling more lovely than they did before.”

Vacation rental cleaning tips FAQ

Absolutely. Dirt doesn’t stand a chance with us. That’s because our housekeepers follow a fastidious process when cleaning every vacation rental. Immaculate housekeeping is all about the details and our checklist ensures no spot goes unnoticed.

Steal our housekeeping checklist >

Vacation rental cleaning takes skill to be done right. From following a patterned regimen, to knowing the right tricks, to using the right products, Vacasa housekeepers use a layered approach to ensure your home is left pristine. Want to know more of our secrets? Read our housekeeping guide.

Yes, our housekeepers come ready with high-quality supplies and products. We use an EPA-approved disinfectant to sanitize surfaces and wear disposable gloves, gowns, and face masks for everyone’s protection.

Want to make sure that even the smallest amount of grit or grime doesn’t drive potential guests away? Let’s talk. Our full-service property management covers Vacasa Premium Clean—professional vacation rental cleaning that meets or exceeds Health Canada recommendations.

What does this mean for you? Never having to clean up anyone’s messes again. Cue the clean.

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*Sources: Google Trends