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Who Cleans an Airbnb?

If you own a short-term rental or Airbnb property, regular cleaning is essential. But should you DIY it or hire a pro? This guide can help you decide.


[Updated: Feb 04, 2021 ] May 04, 2020 by Aly J. Yale
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Cleaning your Airbnb or other short-term rental between each guest is critical. Not only is it necessary for sanitary reasons, but it also ensures your guests have a good experience. After all, bad ones can lead to negative reviews and fewer bookings.

Though you can certainly clean your vacation rental yourself after each stay, that may not fit with your schedule or personal skill set. In some cases, hiring a professional cleaning service may be your best bet. Airbnb even lets hosts charge a cleaning fee to help cover the costs of these services.

Are you an Airbnb host trying to decide how to keep your rental property clean and sanitary? Let's take a full look at all your options.

Cleaning your Airbnb yourself

Your first option is to clean your vacation rental yourself after each guest checks out. This can mean more legwork, for sure, but if you have the bandwidth to do it, you might be able to save yourself some cash by going this route.

Of course, you'll also need to be a pro at cleaning. A quick wipe-down of the counters and just changing the sheets isn't going to cut it. If you want glowing reviews and repeat business, then you'll have to be very thorough when cleaning your property -- and it should take at least a few hours each time you do it.

Let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of DIYing your Airbnb cleaning:

Pros Cons

• It may save you money.

• It offers more control over the property's condition.

• It means more work.

• It takes up more time.

• It takes bandwidth away from managing your business.

How do Airbnb cleaning services work?

For most investors, hiring a housekeeper or maid service is the best way to handle Airbnb cleaning requirements. It allows you to focus more on the business side of your operation, while still ensuring your property is clean, sanitized, and ready for every new guest who comes in.

Professional cleaners generally offer two services you can choose from in this scenario:

  • Deep cleaning services: This is a smart move every quarter or so to make sure the baseboards, door frames, grout, and other detailed areas are kept tidy.
  • Turnover cleanings: This is what you'd have between each guest. These typically include changing sheets, cleaning the toilets and tubs, vacuuming and mopping the floors, and other must-dos.

A quick note: In light of Airbnb's updated cleaning protocols post-COVID-19, more regular deep cleanings may be necessary.

Here's a quick synopsis of the benefits and drawbacks of hiring a professional Airbnb cleaning company:

Pros Cons

• Less work on your part.

• A more thorough clean.

• Helpful if you're managing the property remotely.

• Costs more money.

• Less control over the condition of the property.

Where to find Airbnb cleaning services

There are plenty of companies that offer cleaning services specifically for Airbnb and other types of short-term rentals. You can also look to local maid services and cleaning companies. Though they might not have designated Airbnb turnover programs, they'll likely be able to help with the cleaning needs of your property.

To find potential local Airbnb cleaners in your area, you can:

  • Look to Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Yelp (NYSE: YELP) for cleaners and maid services in your city.
  • Ask for recommendations from other Airbnb hosts in your area.
  • Search contracting sites like Angie's List, Thumbtack, or HomeAdvisor (NASDAQ: ANGI) for nearby house cleaning companies.

Many short-term and vacation rental management companies include cleaning services as part of their fees, so if you'd like some help running the back end of your rental business as well as keeping your properties clean, hiring one might be a smart move to consider.

Choosing the best Airbnb cleaning services

Obviously, if you're opting for professional cleaning, you'll want to make sure you're getting the best service for your money. To do this, get quotes from at least a few different cleaning company options before deciding who to use.

You'll want to ask how each one handles these aspects of the process:

  • Experience: Do they have experience in the short-term rental space or some sort of hospitality? Are they familiar with the cleanliness expectations guests have in these properties?
  • Supplies: Do they provide their own cleaning supplies? Are they eco-friendly and safe for kids or pets? Will they restock toilet paper, shampoo, and soap for you?
  • Towels and linens: Will they clean and launder these, or are you responsible?
  • Scheduling: What's the process for scheduling a turnover clean? Are they available on short notice or on holidays? Is there an extra fee?
  • Fees: What do they charge for a deep cleaning versus a turnover cleaning? Are there any discounts for repeat business or high-volume clients?
  • Availability: If you have a number of properties, you might want to ask about a company's team size and client commitments. Do they have enough workers and available hours to ensure all your homes are clean when you need them?
  • Communication: Will you be able to communicate with cleaners directly? Can they send you photos of the home to ensure it's cleaned to your satisfaction?

If you manage your Airbnb properties remotely, you'll also need to ask about the process for handing off supplies, if they expect you to be responsible for those. Should you mail them? Can you give them extra cash to handle the restocking on your behalf? Make sure you're clear on how this will be handled and what the costs will be.

Cleaning requirements are changing

Though finding the right cleaning service is definitely important, you should also make sure you're staying up to date on the latest Airbnb cleaning protocols. The company announced a new cleaning initiative in late April 2020, detailing enhanced protocols to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in Airbnb properties.

The initiative recommends hosts commit to a 24-hour buffer period between stays to allow for proper cleaning. It also encourages cleaners to use personal protective equipment while servicing a property. Find full details at Airbnb.com.

The bottom line

There are many options when it comes to short-term rental cleaning services, and if you're really short on cash, you can even consider detailing your Airbnb property yourself. Just make sure you have the time, resources, and know-how to do it right. Your property's long-term success depends on it.

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Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Aly Yale has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (C shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.