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June 2018

Your Essential AirBnB Must Clean List [GUEST BLOG]

Written by Samantha Steele
Cleanliness and Hygiene

AirBnB can make you a tidy income - if you keep it thoroughly clean and hygienic.

Have you joined the throngs of South Africans making a tidy side-income from renting out rooms and property on AirBnB? You’re not the only one. From Joburg to Cape Town and everywhere in between, there are close to 50 000 AirBnBs in our country - with the number of listings growing year on year by 143%.

As one of those new AirBnB-ers in a new and highly competitive market, we’ve learnt some valuable lessons about keeping our rental as hygienic and clean as possible - all for those beautiful five star reviews. In the end, a sparkling clean AirBnB is one of the biggest factors that leads to a good rating, and in the end, more bookings. As Learn AirBnB explains: “After you land your booking, your work to improve your Airbnb search rankings is not done. Everything you do from now until you get a 5-star rating will add to your future search rankings. According to one ad hoc study of listings in South Africa conducted by a tech savvy host, guest satisfaction might be the #1 factor for search ranking.”

As both a guest and a renter, I know a clean, hygienic space is vital to a good experience, and yes - a good rating too!

Here is your essential guide, as a host, to conducting a thorough turnover for an exemplary guest experience.

The Essentials

These might sound obvious, but they’re sometimes forgotten when doing a quick turnaround between guests.

  • Appearances Matter: Dust And Wipe Your Surfaces

Nothing can really shake you out of a bad first impression, and dusty, sticky, and messy surfaces are some of the key ways to disappoint a guest walking into your space. This includes wiping plant leaves, hard to reach spaces, and catching the lint balls underneath the couch. This is a quick fix and makes a huge difference to how clean the space feels.

  • Sweep and Clean the Floors

The same goes for your floors! Either grab the vacuum cleaner or the broom and make sure all the dust and dirt is tidied up. This dirt you might not see, but believe me, it makes a big difference subliminally.

  • Take Out The Trash

Easily forgotten, because if it’s a short term guest it might just be a banana peel in the trash, but be sure to clean up any bins available (especially in the bathroom).

  • Check For Any Hidden Or Forgotten Items

You’ll be amazed at how often guests forget things - from chip packets thrown under the bed, to pants left in the bathroom, and more odd knick knacks strewn about in unexpected places. It makes a really bad impression if a new guest checks in and finds a pair of underwear stuffed down the back of a couch - it looks like you don’t thoroughly clean the AirBnB.  

  • Check The Toiletries

If you are providing basic toiletries, make sure they are topped up. An empty shampoo bottle in the shower looks unkempt and messy.

  • Does Your Spot Have All The Supplies It Needs?

If you’re out of toilet paper, you’re going to have an unhappy guest. Check that all the bare minimum basics are still up to scratch - and for that included washing up liquid for the dishes, kitchen paper towels, hand soap for the bathroom, and of course, toilet paper.

  • Let In Some Air

Open the windows to let the space breathe a bit, and to air it out before your next guests check in. 

Take a look at our ultimate guide to bathroom hygiene for some tips on keeping your bathrooms clean and hygienic.

The Turn Over

AirBnB Cottage Melville (21)

Now that you’ve checked all the basics, it’s time to do the proper turn over in two key areas of the AirBnB experience - the bed, and the bathroom. For both of these, I highly recommend purchasing two sets of both towels and bedding so you’re not trying to wash, dry and make up the spot in under 24 hours.

  • Towels

Apart from beautiful, fluffy, and of course DRY towels, it’s important to look out for makeup stains and other unfortunate marks. I find it’s best to leave a darker face towel specifically for removing makeup. Every time you have new guests, it’s important to put out fresh, clean, nice-smelling towels.

  • Bedding

The same goes for bedding. We have two sets that we wash, dry and finally iron to leave that ‘hotel bed’ feeling in the room, from the sheets to the cushion covers (including the decorative cushions). Fresh white bedding makes a fantastic impression, and it’s one of the first tactile experiences a guest will have in your space.

  • Kitchen

It’s also vital to keep your kitchen spick and span. Clean the dishes, wipe down the sink and chopping boards, and keep your surfaces (including underneath the kettle and other hidden spaces) dirt and germ free with an anti-bacterial spray.

Other spots not to be missed

It’s important to remember every few months to do a proper clean of the space, and not just the superficial cleanings you do between guests.

This includes:

  • Clean inside, under and behind the oven, and the fridge (some bicarb in a mug helps absorb odours from enclosed spaces).
  • Defrost the freezer.
  • Clean and shake out carpets.
  • Clean underneath the bed.
  • Clean all inside of closets.

Now you’re ready to stand out from the crowd, rake in those high ratings and fly to AirBnB SuperHost level.

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Samantha Steele

Samantha Steele

Samantha is a content enthusiast with a background in journalism. After a few years working as feature’s writer at various magazines, she was promoted to online editor at Your Family magazine and won Caxton's Online Editor of the Year in 2015. She has written for a variety of publications, including Forbes Women Africa, Mail & Guardian and Elle. She now uses her expertise to develop robust content strategies as the Content Director at Spitfire Inbound. Sam also runs her own AirBnB on her off days.

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