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Airbnb Cleaning – Keeping Your AirBNB Units Clean In the Time of Covid-19 (with Checklist)

There’s a lot of conflicting information appearing on the internet regarding Airbnb cleaning at the moment.

It’s not surprising really. We’re all chasing a moving target as governmental protocols are issued, revised and updated.

This article aims to provide up to date guidelines with a sprinkling of common sense. 

We understand that a lot of you are still hosting your units and properties right now, be it opening up your residence for longer stays, welcoming local guests, or providing shelter to medical workers on the front lines of the coronavirus (COVID-19) response. If you are still hosting, it is essential to rethink your cleaning routine to make sure you are doing what you can to protect yourself and your guests.

As we said, we would like to help, so we have put together a number of guidelines based on insights and suggestions from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Airbnb themselves and from some of our own research.

Why Cleaning is More Important than Ever

Cleanliness has always been a top priority for hosts and their guests, but it is even more critical as we are all striving to lessen the spread of infection. As per the ECDC, it is possible for someone to contract COVID-19 by touching a contaminated surface — like a light switch, remote control or doorknob — and the virus may live on some surfaces for numerous hours or even days. That is why it is crucial to clean and disinfect surfaces that have frequently been touched, particularly between reservations.

Note: According to ECDC recommendations, we recommend limiting access to your space — including for cleaning — for 24 hours right after each guest stay. 

The Difference Between Disinfecting and Cleaning

When it comes to controlling germ spread, it makes it easier to understand the difference between disinfecting and cleaning. Disinfection occurs when you use chemicals to kill germs (like spraying with a bleach solution). You can reduce the risk of infection by first cleaning, then disinfecting.  Cleaning is the act of removing dirt,  germs, and impurities (like when using a soapy sponge to wipe off a visibly dirty counter or stovetop). 

Here are some recommendations to follow when you clean your space between the guests. If you work with a cleaning specialist, inform them to use this list as well.

1. Wear disposable equipment while you clean.  Personal protective equipment (PPE) such as gloves, face masks, and gowns, or facial cloth could provide extra protection. After each cleaning, make sure to throw your gloves out and wash your hands properly right away.

2. Ventilate the rooms before you clean up. Allow the air to circulate for at least 20 minutes. Keep all windows open during the whole cleaning process, if possible.

3. Wash your hands extensively before and after each cleaning session. Use soap and water and wash them for at least 20 seconds. If that’s not achievable, at least apply a hand sanitizer with at least 70% alcohol. 

4. Clean, disinfect. Use soap or detergent and water to remove dirt, grease, germs, and dust. Spray with a disinfectant once the surface is clean. Let it stand for a couple of minutes, then wipe — and if you do not use disposable wipes or paper towels, it is best to use a brand new cleaning cloth for each changeover.

5. Make sure you prevent touching your face while cleaning. To stop the spread of germs, the ECDC advises that you do not touch your face, eyes, and nose with unwashed hands — so pay extra attention when cleaning.

6. Use an appropriate disinfectant. The most popular household disinfectants as well as cleaning alternatives with diluted household bleach or at least 70% alcohol are considered to be effective against coronavirus. Pay close attention to regularly touched surfaces, such as light switches, remote controls, doorknobs, and tap and shower handles. 

7. Do not forget about sofas, drapes, carpets,  and other soft, porous surfaces. Gently remove any grime or visible dirt, then wash with the proper cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces—Machine-wash items as instructed by the manufacturer, if possible.

8. Wash all linens at the highest temperature suggested by the manufacturer. This involves hand and bath towels, mattress covers, bed linen, kitchen towels, and blankets. Make sure to wear gloves when handling dirty laundry, and take care to prevent shaking laundry, which may raise the spread of germs.

9. Clean and disinfect laundry baskets. If possible, consider using a liner that is either disposable or that can be placed in a washing machine.

10. After each cleaning, empty the vacuum cleaner. You should wipe a vacuum cleaner with a disinfectant, along with appliances such as a dishwasher and a washing machine.

11. Take a moment to check the expiry dates while restocking your supplies. And remember to never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleaning solution that could release toxic gasses that are hazardous to inhale.

12. Line rubbish bins, placing bags in the bins will make it easier to dispose of tissues and other waste.

13. Dispose of or wash the cleaning supplies. If you are using disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and other disposable cleaning supplies, remove the trash after you’re done. If you use cleaning cloths and other reusable products, make absolutely sure that the machine is washed at the highest heat setting appropriate for the material.

14. Remove all cleaning equipment safely. When you have finished cleaning, immediately remove any safety outerwear such as clothes, masks, or gloves and dispose of or wash it accordingly. Remember to clean your hands at least 20 seconds afterward.

15. It may be a very good idea to put all cutlery (used and unused) into the dishwasher as these items could end up in people’s mouths. 

Helping Guests Protect Themselves

Like you, guests would like to take additional steps to reduce their risk of infection. You can help promote social distancing by offering self-check-in and check-out. Consider installing a smart keypad lock, or a key lockbox, and remember to refresh your listing to add self-check-in instructions. You can also reduce person-to-person contact by avoiding regular maintenance during your guest’s visit.

To help guests establish a higher level of cleanliness and sanitation, make sure your space is well stocked with vital amenities and probably add a few extras. Things like this:

  • Toilet Paper
  • Hand soap
  • Disposable gloves and wipes
  • Antibacterial hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels
  • Tissues
  • Extra bin bags of all sizes

Be sure to store a lot of extra sheets and towels, especially for guests who stay for more than a few days. You can inspire guests to clean up themselves by supplying disinfectants and other cleaning products. You may even want to print and distribute the above cleaning guidelines so that if they decide to wash or clean linens, they can do so in accordance with the guidelines of the ECDC.

Telling Guests About Your Enhanced Cleaning Routine

Guests will want to know all the extra steps you are taking to reduce the spread of infection. So it is a good idea to mention your improved cleaning routine in your listing description. If you do, please be very careful about the words you choose — while it is okay to say that you are taking extra care to sanitize your space because of COVID-19, you cannot make baseless claims, such as calling your “COVID-free” space. 

Checklist of items to clean and disinfect


  • Light switches
  • Thermostats
  • Air vents
  • Surfaces
  • Window sills and window handles
  • Remote controls
  • Tables
  • Fan and lamp chains
  • Garbage and recycling bins
  • Hairdryers
  • Keys
  • Ironing boards and irons
  • Railings
  • Doorknobs


  • Cabinet handles and pulls
  • Sinks
  • All cups, plates, bowls, knives, forks, spoons and utensils


  • Pressure cooker
  • coffee maker
  • Oven
  • Toaster, etc.


  • Oil
  • Salt, and pepper shakers
  • Regularly used containers and spices, etc.

Kitchenware that is not dishwasher safe: kids’ plasticware, ceramic bowls, etc.

Hard-backed chairs


  • Faucet handles
  • Sinks
  • Toilets
  • Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and soap dispensers
  • Shower curtains and doors
  • Showers and tubs


  • Luggage racks and hangers 
  • Nightstands

Cleaning appliances:

  • Vacuum cleaners
  • Dishwashers
  • Washer/dryer units

Kids’ items:

  • Portable playpens and cribs 
  • High chairs
  • Toys

Other amenities:

  • Surfboards
  • Bikes
  • Books
  • Games

We hope you will find these cleaning guidelines beneficial as you navigate your hosting during these testing times. We will continue to update our suggestions as the situation evolves. In the meantime, please visit the ECDC website for more information about COVID-19.

Update: Airbnb now has a new standard of cleanings that you can check and follow their guidelines.

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