Cleaning a house requires a whole list of skills, but cleaning a house quickly, from top to bottom, is a skill that in my book approaches super-hero status. And when you’re getting a whole house ready for guests in under 4 hours, you need all the super-hero-ness you can find. So I’m going to give you our secrets to how we do it with our AirBNB rental home.
If you missed the last post about getting a house ready to rent as a vacation property, definitely check that one out first. But if you’re caught up, or just wondering how to clean your home fast, roll up your sleeves, grab your gloves, and read on!
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One more thing… if you want to skip all the reading and just grab the checklist, be my guest! Simply scroll all the way to the bottom of this post for downloading instructions.
How to Clean Your Home FAST for Guests
If you’ve been a reader for a while, then you know I hate cleaning house. I mean, I wrote the book (or really just the article) on Why I Quit Spring Cleaning as well as my latest one on 9 Genius Cleaning Hacks. If there is a way to get out of cleaning, I will find it. However, keeping a clean rental house is essential to making guests happy and getting good reviews, so it has to be done. With cleaning, if I can’t avoid it then the next best thing is to get it over with as quickly as possible. To that end, here is how we clean our rental house super-fast in between guests.
Cleaning Time Frame
When cleaning a house between guests, you need to give yourself a reasonable amount of time. We set our check-out time at 11am, and check-in at 3pm. Plus, we ask guests to let us know via text if they check out early, so we can get an early start on the cleaning. To be honest, it takes the two of us almost that whole 4 hour window to clean the house from top to bottom, so every extra minute helps.
The most time-consuming part of the cleaning process is washing and drying the linens, specifically the towels. (Our rental house sleeps 12, so that can make for a lot of laundry!) You can cut down on this time if you take linens with you to launder off-site, but we like to do them on property to get it over with, and so we don’t have to remember to bring them back and forth.
The key to getting your cleaning done quickly is to time a few things strategically. Here’s the specific order you should do things to clean your home fast:
- Gather the dirty linens and throw a load of sheets in the washer.
- Check the dishwasher. If there are dishes to be cleaned, load them and turn on the dishwasher.
- Clean the bathrooms. Work from the top down. Start with sink tops, then the shower/tub. Then scrub the toilets and wipe them down thoroughly. Finally, use glass cleaner on the mirror and all the faucets and handles. Don’t forget to give the door handle a quick wipe-down too!
- Switch the sheets from the washer to the dryer. If there are more sheets to be washed, add another load of sheets to the washer. If all the sheets have been done, add any blankets or coverlets to the washer.
- Clean the kitchen. Be sure to check the fridge and cabinets for any leftover half-eaten food, and do the inside of the microwave and oven. And don’t forget the coffee maker!
- Remove the first load of sheets from the dryer. Switch the washer load to the dryer. Add a load of towels to the washer. (Finish all the sheets before starting the towels because the towels take longest to dry and you can use that time to make the beds.)
- Vacuum the carpets and sweep the floors.
- Check the dryer. If all the sheets are done remove them, and transfer the next load to the dryer.
- Put the freshly cleaned sheets on all the beds. (If you have a partner this part goes so much faster!)
- Put away the dishes from the dishwasher, if there were any.
- Wipe down tables, ledges, windowsills and any other dusty surfaces.
- Check the dryer. You should be drying the towels by now, which takes the longest by far. Just keep checking in between other jobs, so you can keep the process going between the washer and the dryer.
- Mop all the hard floors.
- Replace towels in the bathrooms, and refill any soaps and toilet paper rolls.
- Straighten outdoor furniture and sweep front porch and back patio. Be sure the front door and door handle are clean and easily accessible.
- Check the dryer one more time. (By this time, if there have been a lot of towels to clean, we usually have to call it quits for the day and take any damp towels home to dry for the next guests. This is why we have multiple sets of towels for the house.)
There you have it – 16 easy steps to clean your home fast. OK I know 16 is a lot, and none of them are really easy, but at least now you have a plan, right? That’s gotta be worth something! Make life a little easier, and download your cleaning checklist (below) to keep on hand the first few times. After that, it’ll all become second nature.
Cleaning a house isn’t rocket science, and for the most part you just need the basics like toilet cleaner and soft scrub, but there are a few products that can make the job easier and faster. These are a few of my favorite things when it comes to helping me with my cleaning. As with any job, having the right tools can make all the difference!
Cleaning caddy – especially useful for two story houses, so you can keep all your tools together and with you as you move around.
Glass cleaner foam – I just learned that I’ve been cleaning mirrors wrong all my life.
O’Cedar Spin Mop – this one is my favorite. It’s like a salad spinner for your mop!
Disposable gloves – because eww.
The other tool that’s worth mentioning is lint-free rags. We don’t use disposable wipes because that would be a lot of wipes going into the trash. Instead we use scrub brushes for the sinks and tubs, toilet brushes for the toilets, and rags for wiping down all other surfaces. Then we just bring them home and wash them in between uses. Hopefully we’re doing something good for the environment, and it saves lots of money on product.
Vacation Rental Property Series
I hope this is helpful information for you as you’re getting your house ready for guests! This is the second in a series of four posts on vacation rental property management. Be sure to check out the others too:
- Getting Your House Ready to Rent
- Cleaning Your House FAST (You’re here)
- Setting Up the Perfect Listing
- How to Manage your Property & Make it Work for You
I’d love to hear from you if you have any quick cleaning tips, or just want to complain together about how much we hate cleaning! Leave me a comment below…