Do you have a second home that you're thinking of renting this summer? If so, it's time to start making preparations. If you've rented before, you'll know that in order to have a smooth experience, it's crucial to have a vacation rental agreement that includes details such as deposits, dates of arrival and departure, minimum stay, maximum number of occupants, cancellations, etc. The rental agreement should also include cleaning fees. Be specific about what the cleaning fees will be and if extra fees will be charged if the house is left particularly dirty. But it's important to remember that your renters will expect the house to be spotless when they arrive. If the house hasn't been in use for a while, it may be in need of some extra TLC. Time to roll up your sleeves and do a thorough “deep cleaning” that will leave your vacation house or condo sparkling.
Deep Clean the Kitchen
One of the reasons your tenants may prefer a rental to staying in a hotel is the ability to cook food in a kitchen. It's important that your kitchen is shining and spotless when the renters arrive. Clean all surfaces like countertops, cabinet doors and backsplashes thoroughly with warm soapy water. Use an old toothbrush to clean difficult-to-reach spots, like the grime that can accumulate around drawer pulls and cabinet handles. Pay particular attention to details when cleaning kitchen appliances like the cooktop and oven. If necessary, remove the oven racks and scrub them in warm soapy water. You should also remove shelves and drawers from the refrigerator to wash them; wipe down the interior with warm water and baking soda, then dry the refrigerator interior thoroughly. The sink should be sparkling too—remove mineral stains with a mixture of vinegar and water. If you have a garbage disposal, check that it's working properly. And don't neglect the dishwasher--remove racks and utensil holders to clean them, then remove any food debris and dirt from the interior, and complete cleaning the dishwasher by running a full cycle with an empty machine and a cup of vinegar in the rack or a cup of baking soda sprinkled on the bottom. Lastly, mop the kitchen floor and launder rugs, dishtowels, curtains, etc.
When Vacuuming Isn't Enough
With today's powerful vacuum cleaners, you can get a lot of dirt out of carpets and rugs. But if the carpet needs more drastic treatment, consider renting a steam cleaner to get your floors looking really nice. Apply a pre-treatment spray to any heavily soiled or stained area first. To steam clean the carpet, follow the manufacturer's instructions about filling the cleaner with water and cleaning solution. Avoid getting the carpet overly wet when you're cleaning it and allow it to dry completely.
With all the recreation and sporting activities that the season offers, the bathrooms in a summer rental are often in high demand. Get off to a good start before the renters arrive by deep cleaning your bathrooms. Grout is one area where bathroom grime can build up, so scrub it with an old toothbrush and detergent. If tiles are looking dull, scrub them with a solution of vinegar and water to restore the shine. Clean sinks, tubs, showers, toilets and counters till they sparkle, and don't forget hard-to-reach spots like behind the toilet bowl. If the shower curtain is looking a little grungy, don't spend precious time on it—replace it with a new curtain in a shade that will complement the freshly laundered towels that you place in the bathroom as the finishing touch.
Outdoor Furniture and Decks
Part of the joy of renting a summer home is spending time outside, so don't neglect your home's exterior. If your deck is looking dirty after the winter, use a wood cleaner in a pump spray to clean the deck, remove trodden-in grime with a stiff-bristled brush and wash down the deck with a garden hose. If you're going to stain or seal the deck, allow it to dry thoroughly for a couple of days after cleaning it. To clean your patio, sweep it thoroughly, hose it down with soapy water and scrub any stains with a stiff-bristled brush. If there are any signs of moss, mildew or mold on patio flagstones, remove them with a solution of bleach and water. Inspect all outdoor furniture to make sure it's clean and looking fresh. For most of your furniture, washing it with warm soapy water will do the job, though you may need to clean teak or wicker furniture with Murphy's Oil Soap or a similar oil-based soap. Patio cushions should also be cleaned with a solution of warm soapy water, then rinse them down thoroughly. Add a teaspoon of borax to the cleaning solution if the patio cushions have any signs of mold.
If you want to rent your vacation home this summer but you don't have the time to give it a thorough cleaning, one option is to hire professional cleaners who will take the chore off your hands. Use our Services Directory to find top cleaners. Our system of reviews will allow you to evaluate the work of your cleaners once the job is done.