While the travel industry as a whole is taking a major hit, Airbnb hosts are in the same predicament. It’s safe to say that this virus will forever adjust how we live our lives and do business around the globe: When we come out on the other side, things will have changed. Here are 5 things you should be doing to clean your vacation rental now and what to continue until we see the official downfall of the threat of Covid-19.
1. Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning.
The biggest risk to you or your cleaners is turning over your unit after an infected guest has just stayed there. The reality is that no one knows exactly how long Covid-19 lasts on surfaces but we do know that the timeline varies depending on the material where it’s attached. It can last anywhere from a few hours to 5 days, depending on the surface.
The CDC recommends waiting at least 24 hours, or as long as practical, before beginning cleaning and disinfection. This will allow the virus to die off on some surfaces before starting the cleaning and ultimately help keep you safe.
This also means you should consider temporarily eliminating same-day check-ins for safety reasons. We recommend that you make this information part of your listing and promote that you don’t allow same-day turnovers in order to guarantee the safety of your guests.
2. Air out your vacation rental.
Though it was initially thought that Covid-19 wasn’t an airborne virus that could be transmitted via particles in the air, scientists aren’t so sure anymore. More studies need to be conducted but it’s safe to say that the novel coronavirus does hang around in the air — for how long and how far it can reach remains unknown.
Though it may seem counterintuitive due to these “unknowns,” you do want to get some air circulating in your home. If possible, open the windows in every room for a good 30 minutes before you start your cleaning routine. You’ll be in even better shape if you can leave them open while you clean.
It’s not likely that you have Covid-19 droplets in the air, but getting this air circulation going will obviously bring in more fresh air to your Airbnb rental and remove the stale air that’s been sitting in there idly over the last several weeks.
3. Wear gloves and a mask to clean everything.
The CDC is now recommending that everyone wear cloth masks when they’re outside of their home, but now, more than ever, it’s wise to protect your lungs from any accidental damage when using cleaning supplies.
Due to the shortage of single-use masks among our medical community and first responders, we recommend sticking with cloth masks or face coverings. Wash these frequently — definitely after every cleaning.
Along with that, you should be wearing gloves when cleaning. Ideally, single-use gloves will best protect you from unknowingly transferring the virus from one room or surface to another, but those aren’t very environmentally friendly.
You can still use rubber or other heavy-duty cleaning gloves, just be sure to disinfect them between cleanings. If you really want to cover your bases, disinfect the gloves between every room you clean.
4. Use disinfecting cleaning agents to kill any lingering germs or viruses.
Be smart about what kind of cleaning agent you’re using, too. Just like the CDC recommends using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol-level content, so should you use disinfectant cleaners.
Hand sanitizer products are obviously in high demand right now and may be hard to come across. The good news is that according to the EPA, the most common household disinfectants should be effective against coronavirus. This includes bleach, which your cleaners should all have. To have the proper concentration to fight the virus from your surfaces, prepare a bleach solution by mixing 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water.
Be careful to not mix cleaning agents. Mixing bleach or ammonia with other cleaners could release harmful toxic gasses that can injure or permanently damage your lungs, thus putting you in even more danger of contracting a respiratory disease like Covid-19.
5. Disinfect EVERYTHING.
And we do mean everything. While it’s obvious to wipe down high-traffic surfaces like countertops, tables, doorknobs, and so forth, it’s important to disinfect things that are used every day and not thought about.
Here are some things you might not have considered:
- Laundry baskets
- Trash cans (in the kitchen, bathrooms, and bedrooms — all of them!)
- Kitchen, bathroom, and closet cabinet shelves and drawers (We recommend removing and washing everything sitting on a shelf and wiping down the shelves — even behind cabinet and closet doors as well as in drawers to be extra safe.)
- Small appliances, like hair dryers
Want a more comprehensive list? Download Airbnb’s checklist for high-touch areas here.
The more you do, the safer you and your guests will be. As we all work to reach a new “normal,” we can’t be too careful or protective of our homes and spaces. The more you explain to your guests about the precautions and measures you’ve taken, the more trust they will have and the more bookings you’ll rack up in the future.
Be sure to find an Airbnb cleaning company that knows the CDC guidelines and follows them so you can market the precautions you’re taking and ensure your guests’ safety.