The Ultimate Rental Cleaning Checklist: How to Prepare Your Rental Property for Guests

Rental cleaning checklist

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Are you moving out of a rental soon? Packing and cleaning can be stressful, but having a comprehensive checklist makes the process much smoother. A thorough cleaning ensures you get your full security deposit back while leaving the space fresh for the next renters. This rental cleaning checklist covers every room, with step-by-step instructions for deep cleaning and sanitizing. 

From scrubbing floors to wiping down cabinets, this guide helps you check everything off your list before turning in your keys. With clever tips and a detailed task list, this rental cleaning checklist transforms a dreaded chore into an efficient, hassle-free process. Before you hire a cleaning company, follow each step to make your rental sparkle and earn back your full deposit. Move out with confidence knowing every corner has been cleaned!

Why Cleanliness Matters in the Rental Business

Keeping your rental home spotlessly clean should be a top priority for any host. Travelers expect and deserve lodging that is clean, sanitary, and comfortable. A detailed cleaning checklist is essential for rental owners to keep things running smoothly.

Benefits of Proper Cleaning

  • Attract more renters and earn higher ratings/reviews
  • Create an inviting living environment for guests
  • Reduce damage from wear and tear
  • Minimize the spread of germs
  • Prevent bug infestations
  • Allow renters to easily maintain tidiness
  • Lessen the need for cleaning between visitors
  • Decrease costs associated with repairs and replacements

First impressions matter, and cleanliness makes a statement about the quality of your rental from the moment a visitor walks through the door. The small upfront investment of time to thoroughly clean goes a long way toward building your reputation, pleasing tenants, and operating a successful rental property.

Essential Household Items to Stock

It’s also essential for owners to stock their rental property with all necessary supplies for housekeeping duties – from brooms and mops to paper goods and light bulbs.

Ensuring your rental unit has everything a tenant needs for basic cleaning and household duties means they can easily maintain tidiness during their stay. Be sure to have ample supplies of the following:

Cleaning Tools and Supplies

  • Quality vacuum
  • Microfiber mop
  • Broom and dustpan
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Disinfecting wipes and spray
  • Glass/window cleaner
  • Dish soap

Basics and Replacement Items

  • Light bulbs
  • Air filters
  • Batteries
  • Paper towels
  • Toilet paper
  • Garbage bags

Also provides essentials like clean linens, towels, cookware, dishes, utensils, pots and pans, coffee makers, and more. These simple but important items allow visitors to feel right at home.

Comprehensive Rental Cleaning Checklist

Meticulously cleaning your entire rental with this detailed checklist helps set the framework for a positive experience. Leave no surface overlooked, and don’t hesitate to get on hands and knees or climb ladders to clean cracks, corners, walls, and ceilings.


The kitchen should shine since it’s where tenants prepare meals daily.

  •  Clear and wipe down all counters
  •  Clean outside of appliances (refrigerator, oven, microwave, coffee maker)
  •  Scrub inside microwave
  •  Descale coffee maker
  •  Take out trash and recycling
  •  Sweep and mop floors
  •  Clean cabinets, handles, drawer pulls
  •  Scrub inside drawers
  •  Wash interior shelves
  •  Clean the pantry and wipe the shelves
  •  Dust light fixtures
  •  Clean switch plates and door knobs
  •  Empty sink and clean garbage disposal
  •  Sanitize sink basin
  •  Shine faucets and handles
  •  Clean dishwasher exterior
  •  Run dishwasher empty on sanitizing cycle
  •  Replenish dishwasher detergent, rinse aid
  •  Ensure adequate cookware, dishes, utensils


As one of the most used spaces, bathrooms require meticulous attention.

Basic Cleaning

  •  Clear countertops
  •  Take out trash
  •  Clean mirror(s) and medicine cabinet
  •  Dust light fixtures
  •  Clean switch plates, outlets, and door handles
  •  Sweep and mop floors


  •  Remove shower curtains and wash or replace if needed
  •  Scrub walls with soap scum remover
  •  Clean glass shower doors with window cleaner
  •  Scrub floor basin with bathroom cleaner
  •  Sanitize and shine faucets and handles
  •  Flush and sanitize the toilet fully


  •  Polish chrome sink fixtures
  •  Disinfect sink basin
  •  Clean inside drawers and under the sink
  •  Ensure functioning plumbing and adequate water pressure

Storage Areas

  •  Fold clean hand towels attractively
  •  Ensure the toilet paper holder is full
  •  Check stock of toiletries, soap, shampoo
  •  Clean exterior of shelving
  •  Dust top of door frames

Dining Room

The dining area should allow visitors to comfortably sit down for meals.

  •  Dust lighting fixtures and bulbs
  •  Clean table and chair legs
  •  Disinfect table top
  •  Shine glass tabletops
  •  Wash chair seats/cushions as needed
  •  Shake out table pad/tablecloth
  •  Spot clean walls
  •  Clean window treatments
  •  Mop or vacuum floors
  •  Provide placemats and cloth napkins

Windows and Doors

Ensuring windows operate smoothly and doors have adequate locks reassures visitors.


  •  Vacuum window tracks
  •  Clean window and door frames
  •  Wash window panes thoroughly
  •  Test locks on all windows
  •  Ensure screens are secure
  •  Confirm windows open easily without sticking


  •  Polish doorknobs
  •  Clean sliding door tracks
  •  Test keyless locks are working
  •  Check door sweeps permit easy opening/closing
  •  Ensure locks engage properly
  •  Confirm entry doorbell operates correctly

Laundry/Utility Room

Having an area to wash clothes can greatly add to a traveler’s convenience.

  •  Ensure washer and dryer are clean inside/out
  •  Run empty laundry cycle with afresh tablets
  •  Clean the dryer exhaust vent thoroughly
  •  Provide laundry supplies: detergent, dryer sheets, iron
  •  Sweep and mop flooring
  •  Empty the lint trap in the dryer
  •  Check washer for leaks
  •  Test to confirm all settings operate

Garage/Outdoor Areas

While infrequently used, maintaining tidy outdoor spaces prevents pests while also enabling travelers’ full enjoyment.


  •  Sweep out dirt, dust, leaves, cobwebs
  •  Clear any clutter from floors and shelves
  •  Arrange outdoor items neatly
  •  Ensure the garage door operates smoothly

Outdoor Areas

  •  Wash outdoor furniture cushions
  •  Put away loose decor items
  •  Trim overgrown bushes near doors/walkways
  •  Remove weeds from patio areas
  •  Clean outdoor railings and surfaces
  •  Power wash decks/porches as needed
  •  Ensure secure gates/fences

House Exterior

Curb appeal makes a strong first impression, so keep the entry tidy and have a marked house number.

  •  Remove clutter from the front porch
  •  Sweep front steps and entryway
  •  Wash welcome mat
  •  Ensure visible, well-lit house/unit numbers
  •  Clean outdoor light fixtures
  •  Wash windows (if accessible)
  •  Clear dead leaves/debris

Regular Cleaning Tips

Even with the most thorough cleaning, dirt still accumulates between visitors. Get in the habit of quick cleanups before the next occupants’ arrival.

  • Switch all linens including mattress pads
  • Wash all towels and bath mats
  • Disinfect doorknobs, light switches, TV remotes
  • Vacuum thoroughly including underneath beds
  • Clean ceiling fans and fan blades
  • Dust baseboards, windowsills, blinds
  • Check/replace air filters
  • Clean grease or dirt that accumulates in the kitchen
  • Descale showerheads to prevent mineral buildup

According to cleaning expert Flynn (2021), cleaning should start from the top down, moving horizontally from one end of the room to the other. This ensures no areas get missed.

Cleaning Kitchen Appliances

Kitchen appliances get a lot of use, so pay special attention to cleaning them thoroughly.


  •  Remove shelves and drawers and wash in the sink
  •  Clean inside refrigerator walls, compartments
  •  Shine exterior surfaces
  •  Dust top and back vents
  •  Replace the water filter if needed


  •  Remove racks and wash with degreaser
  •  Clean inside oven walls with oven cleaner
  •  Use a toothbrush to clean crevices
  •  Polish exterior surfaces
  •  Ensure all burners operate


  •  Remove debris trapped in the bottom drain
  •  Clean door gaskets and hinges
  •  Wash removable parts in the sink
  •  Confirm that the rinse aid dispenser is full
  •  Test heating element fully sanitizes

Electronics and Entertainment

Travelers often use downtime for streaming shows or playing games. Ensure electronics are cleaned and connected.


  •  Dust screen, components, stands
  •  Ensure secure wall mounts if applicable
  •  Confirm TV remotes have batteries
  •  Test all HDMI ports to connect
  •  Verify cable/satellite service active


  •  Reset the WiFi router and confirm the password displayed
  •  Connect gaming consoles if available
  •  Provide info for accessing WiFi

Safety Features

Safety should also be a top focus so occupants feel secure and protected.

Smoke/CO Detectors

  •  Replace batteries in all detectors
  •  Test units are correctly located
  •  Confirm the functioning alarm sound
  •  Check fire extinguishers not expired

Security System

  •  Ensure all sensors are operating
  •  Provide info on arming/disarming system
  •  Confirm monitoring service active
  •  Test perimeter alarms sound

Extras and Hospitality

Going above and beyond with small extras makes visitors feel pampered.

Welcome Basket

  •  Fill a basket with local snacks
  •  Include area guides/maps
  •  Provide a list of house rules/instructions
  •  Leave personalized note


  •  Stage beds attractive with decorative pillows
  •  Leave mint on a pillow with a turn-down service
  •  Provide soft robes in closets

These additions show you aim to delight at every opportunity!

Employ a Professional Cleaning Service

Trying to prep your rental completely on your own can be extremely labor-intensive. Consider outsourcing to rental cleaning pros who can efficiently refresh your property between visitors. Vetted services:

  • Thoroughly clean all rooms/spaces
  • Use commercial cleaning agents
  • Have specialized equipment like steamers
  • Replace consumables
  • Know what areas require attention
  • Can provide deep cleaning periodically

This ensures your valuable asset stays spotless and minimizes your effort. The small investment is well worth higher ratings and minimal headaches.

According to guidelines from Vrbo (2020), hiring professional cleaners can be a smart investment for rental owners. Not only do they efficiently handle the work, but experts know the best practices to meet hospitality standards.


Why is a cleaning checklist important for rental properties?

A detailed cleaning checklist ensures no areas get overlooked when preparing a rental unit for new guests. It helps rental owners efficiently clean to the highest standards expected by travelers. Following a checklist saves time, minimizes work between guests, and leads to better reviews.

How often should my vacation rental get cleaned?

Most rental owners do a full clean before and after every visitor’s stay. For longer-term rentals, a light cleaning every 2 weeks is ideal. High-traffic areas like bathrooms may need cleaning mid-stay for rentals over 2 weeks.

What supplies do I need for cleaning a rental home?

Having commercial-grade cleaners along with specialized tools like a vacuum, mop, grout brush, and duster makes cleaning more efficient. Stock up on microfiber cloths, disinfectants, disposable wipes/gloves, and replacements like light bulbs.

What are some things often overlooked when cleaning rentals?

Windows, baseboards, ventilation systems, walls, lighting, and small spaces like closets easily get ignored. Remove cobwebs inside and out. Clean switches, tracks, racks, fixtures, and door jambs. Inspect for leaks, chips, cracks, and stains.

Should I hire professional cleaners for vacation rental turnovers?

Yes, hiring a rental cleaning service saves tremendous effort for visitors. Experts clean thoroughly in less time, provide their supplies, replace consumables, and offer deep periodic cleanings. This ensures 5-star unit condition.

What special cleaning considerations apply during COVID-19?

Use EPA approved disinfectants effective against coronavirus. Allow ample turnover time for thorough cleaning/air exchange. Focus on high-touch points like remotes, switches, and door handles. Provide hand sanitizer and extra throw blankets so guests minimize contact.

How can I add special touches to impress my rental guests?

Small details make a difference in hospitality. Welcome baskets with local goodies, branded amenities, soft linens, and little luxuries like fresh flowers, snacks, or wine show you want to delight visitors.

What if my rental property has a mouse/bug problem?

Contact pest control right away if you notice any signs of mice, cockroaches, ants, or bed bugs. Use humane traps and treatment methods when possible. Prevent infestations by sealing cracks, clearing clutter, and keeping all areas meticulously clean inside and out.

Following these rental cleaning tips will keep your property in pristine shape and travelers happy during their stay! Let me know if you have any other questions.

In Summary

Preparing a rental unit for incoming guests is an involved, multifaceted process. But armed with this comprehensive top-to-bottom rental cleaning checklist, owners have a blueprint for completely refreshing any living space. Meticulously cleaning all areas—from shampooing carpets to polishing fixtures—ensures visitors walk into a pristine, welcoming environment.

Providing a sparkling clean, comfortable home is the cornerstone of five-star hospitality service. With ample time, the right tools and supplies, and an eye for detail, rental owners can exceed travelers’ expectations. Implementing specialized deep cleaning between stays leaves the property move-in ready. Following these best practices for cleaning and maintenance makes hosting smooth while earning accolades from happy tenants. Applying these checklists and procedures will bolster reputations, generate repeat visits, and support thriving rental businesses for the long term.

Leave the work to professionals!

A company with a new generation of cleaning and restoration concepts is here to serve you.


“Very superior work . Arrived on time and cleaned my home extremely well. Two hard working women for three hours cleaned my home very well. I would highly recommend this cleaning service.”


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Omer Faruk Cevikol<br/><span id="position">Owner</span>
Omer Faruk Cevikol

Omer Faruk Cevikol is the owner of Next Day Cleaning. He aims to deliver the best cleaning services along with his dedicated team and the author of Next Day Cleaning blog. You can find Omer on LinkedIn and Instagram.

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