Vacation rental services like Airbnb and others have become very popular in the last decade, as a way for homeowners to make extra income, and as an affordable way for travellers to enjoy their stay in new places around the world without breaking the bank. However, with the global spread of the COVID-19 virus in spring 2020, vacation rentals began facing challenges that have made both hosts and guests nervous about what the future will hold for this type of accommodation. In this article, we want to help with that by discussing the most efficient and cost-effective methods for cleaning and disinfecting vacation rentals.
Why Is Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Vacation Rental So Important?
For hosts or property managers, knowing how to properly clean and disinfect their vacation rental is essential to offer the safest possible environment to their guests. Being able to do this is the key to continued success in the hospitality business. Moreover, cleaning and disinfecting is the only way for hosts to protect themselves in case someone with a case of COVID-19, diagnosed or undiagnosed, has spent time in their property.
How to Get Started Cleaning and Disinfecting Vacation Rentals
For Airbnb hosts, the American company created last year a 5-step enhanced cleaning process that includes certain mandatory safety practices for everyone in their community. The steps are preparing, cleaning, sanitizing, checking, and resetting the property before new guests arrive to help prevent cross-contamination. Once hosts commit to this protocol, they get highlighted on the Airbnb website.
For everybody else in the hospitality sector, here are our general guidelines to properly clean and disinfect a vacation rental.
The first step is creating a cleaning and disinfecting strategy to tackle an entire vacation rental in between guests. This includes selecting the right tools and products to make the process easier and more effective, as well as stocking up on disposable personal protective equipment (PPE).
At this stage, some hosts might want to consider hiring a professional disinfecting company like us, Disinfect & Fog, instead of doing it themselves, especially when they have multiple properties to take care of and they are in a high-demand area.
Our company works with business owners and homeowners every day to provide them with a cost-effective and long-lasting fogging and spraying service that helps them maintain a safe and healthy environment for their guests, family, employees, and clients. We are local to London, Ontario, but we offer our services across Southwestern Ontario in cottages, apartment buildings, multi-family houses, and any type of vacation rentals.
The second step is to start cleaning, which is not the same as disinfecting. Cleaning means simply removing dirt and dust from surfaces. In the case of vacation rentals, cleaning also means taking out the garbage and washing all garbage cans, as well as all linens, and dishes. Using scrubs, mops, and vacuums is what we recommend in the cleaning stage, paying special attention to appliances, floors, carpets, closets, windows, countertops, cabinets, sinks, toilets, tubs, and walls.
Step number three is disinfecting. This means applying a disinfectant solution approved by Health Canada or the CDC (United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to high-touch areas and surfaces like doorknobs, drawer handles, flush handles in bathrooms, light switches, kitchen appliances, remote controls, small appliances like hairdryers, and other items that are frequently handled by guests. It's important to follow the directions indicated on the disinfectant solution's label (dwell time, application, etc.) to ensure the product’s best performance in killing the largest number of contaminants on surfaces and in the air.
We recommend using one of the disinfectant solutions, such as Ultra-Lyte or Vital-Oxide. They are both safe for humans, animals, plants, and aquatic life, and much more effective than bleach.
We also recommend fogging and spraying as a better alternative for applying any disinfectant solution to different surfaces. In our product portfolio, we have a selection of residential foggers and sprayers like the Cordless ULV Atomizer and the Mini Thermal Fogger that would make this particular task a breeze.
One of the most convenient advantages of using a fogging device is disinfecting the air. It is well known that contaminants and viruses can linger in the air inside a room for hours if not days and they can be easily breathed in by people without realizing it. This is why disinfecting the air is essential for having a truly germ-free space, and fogging machines are the ideal tools for hosts to achieve this when they are cleaning their properties after every stay.
The final step is to provide guests with enough disinfecting supplies to last them for their entire stay. Make sure to include hand sanitizer, antibacterial hand soap, paper towels, disinfectant wipes, disinfectant spray, a trusty multipurpose cleaner, and even some type of PPE. These products will help them keep the place clean and themselves safe.
As an additional tip, the CDC recommends waiting for at least 24 hours before cleaning an enclosed space, but we know this is not always possible between one guest and another. In that case, it is important to enter the property using appropriate PPE and ventilate all rooms immediately after to help air circulate.
Moreover, it could be useful to leave a detailed note in the house informing guests that all surfaces have been cleaned and disinfected, and even encouraging them to use the cleaning supplies available in the house, remove their shoes at the door if possible, and self-monitor for symptoms. Another precaution could be implementing social distancing measures at check-in and check-out to keep everyone safe.
Following these simple guidelines is going to help hosts make the most of their vacation rentals, even during the pandemic.
Let us know what you think about our recommendations and feel free to add any other you think would be helpful.