Busy vacation rental property owners need a summer cleaning checklist for beach homes to give each guest a perfect, 5-star-rating experience. According to TurnKey’s 2019 Consumer Travel Survey, cleanliness is the most important factor for guests, and sand, unfortunately, is one of the worst culprits.
Sand sneakily seeps into each and every corner of a beach home; once it’s in the house, it’s even harder to get out. And that’s just sand. Summer cleaning for beach home owners includes window washing, prep for summer storms, pest prevention, and much more. To make your beach home maintenance a breeze, we’ve compiled a summer cleaning checklist for beach homes with 20 steps you can’t miss during the busy vacation season.
Create a designated “beach gear area”
Few things track sand into the home like recently used beach gear. Whether it’s towels for laying out or boogie boards for hitting waves, virtually any item that leaves the house for the beach will come back covered in sand. That’s why a designated “beach gear area” such as a garage or shed is essential. The idea here is to have one designated place, unattached from the house, where beach items can safely “live” without tracking sand into the home.
Leave a shoe bin by the door
Similar to beach gear, shoes worn to the beach or even on beach-adjacent streets will pick up sand—and that sand will no doubt find its way into your home. Similar to a beach gear area, buy a shoe bin or organizer and leave it right by the door so guests can’t miss the reminder to take off their shoes before entering the house. You can also have an outdoor shoe bin and an indoor shoe organizer to help guests protect their nicer shoes while keeping those beach-only flip flops on the porch.
Stash a spray bottle by the entrance for easy sand removal
Shoes aren’t the only things that get sandy at the beach; guests’ feet and legs are major sand culprits at summer beach homes. If you leave a spray bottle at the entrance, guests can spritz off their sandy feet and legs before tracking debris through the house. Of course, if you have an outdoor shower or an easily accessible hose, this is even better! Just include your post-beach tips in the instruction book so guests know exactly what to do.
Use doormats inside and outside to trap sand
A doormat is of the easiest ways to catch sand, dirt, or mud before it infiltrates the house. These inexpensive mats come in outdoor and indoor styles, giving guests two chances to remove unwanted debris before stepping foot in your home.
Shake out the door mats regularly
To keep the door mats clean, shake both out after every guest visit. It’s best to do this away from the house (i.e., off the porch) so debris has no chance of dirtying up your beach home.
Vacuum couch cushions to remove sand
While the preemptive measures help, sand can (and will) find its way into your home. After each beach home rental, use a vacuum to suck up any unwanted sand to keep your couch clean and cozy for the next guest.
Vacuum the floors and behind furniture
Whether it’s sand and dirt or cobwebs and crumbs, your floors will quickly get muddied with unwanted debris in the busy summer months. That’s why it’s important to vacuum the floors; sweeping or mopping isn’t as effective on sand. With the vacuum cleaner out, you might as well get behind tables and couches to ensure the next guests enjoy a fresh clean—and a great first impression.
Wash the windows and windowsills
There’s nothing quite like the smell of saltwater in the air, but the salty ocean breeze leads to overly dirty windows. To keep your windows spotless, SF Gate recommends cleaning the glass with a solution of white vinegar and water regularly. When cleaning, don’t forget to dust off the windowsills so guests can open the windows to enjoy the view without battling old cobwebs.
Power wash patio furniture
Fortunately, you don’t have to power wash patio furniture weekly, but it’s a necessity when opening your home for the season. That said, keep an eye on the furniture in between guest visits. Clean up sticky messes and wash off anything that looks like mildew to keep your patio fresh for guest use the entire season.
Buy covered storage bins for outdoor cushions
Summer storms brew in a matter of minutes—especially near the ocean—and any cushions left to the elements can easily get destroyed. To keep your cushions safe and fresh, leave a waterproof and covered storage bin outside where guests can easily stash cushions after each use. To guarantee they use the bins, leave a laminated note attached to the bin or have a “reminder” list as they re-enter the home.
Sweep the deck to remove sand and debris
Given its outdoor location, sand tends to congregate on the deck—which inevitably leads to the house. Keep a broom handy to sweep away the sand and kindly ask guests to do their part with deck-cleanliness reminders in the instruction book.
Keep cleaning products by the grill
A grill is a major draw for potential guests, but if they arrive and can’t use it due to built-up grease or residue, you can expect a complaint—or worse, a bad Vrbo review. Leave cleaning products near the grill or in an obvious place in the kitchen so guests can clean up after their cookouts, and give the grill a thorough cleanse and maintenance check in between occupants.
Flip and rotate mattresses
Get the most out of your bedding investment by flipping and rotating mattresses at the start of every season. This simple trick—and, of course, clean sheets—will give guests a fresh and cozy sleep experience that feels more upscale hotel than guest room at a home.
Stash extra towels in a private closet
According to Neel Parekh, CEO of LA-based cleaning service MaidThis, towels are unexpectedly vulnerable to sand damage. Parkeh recommends storing extra towels somewhere that guests can’t reach so they don’t get destroyed in the sand. Alternatively, keep low-cost beach towels readily available so guests leave your nice bathroom towels at home.
Check for pests
Pests come out in force every summer—especially in warm climates—so it’s best to get your home and deck sprayed in the beginning of the season with ongoing surveillance for termites, cockroaches, palmetto bugs, and flies. We recommend finding a reliable local pest control company and sticking with them to ensure pest problems are handled in a timely and effective fashion.
Clean the garbage cans
One simple way to prevent pests is cleaning out your garbage cans. Now, this is more than taking trash to the curb and calling it a day. This means actually washing your cans with soap and water to keep pests away and your house smelling clean.
Inspect and clean the gutters to prevent leaks
Debris-filled gutters can lead to roof leaks and water damage, so it’s best to get ahead of the problem by removing leaves, twigs, and scraps at least every season. Homes in heavily wooded areas require more frequent gutter cleanings, particularly after large, powerful storms.
Add “beach cleanliness” reminders throughout the house
While proper cleaning inevitably falls on the homeowner, your job will be much easier if guests pitch in to help. Leave small, colorful notes throughout the house reminding guests to remove shoes, take out the trash, or leave beach gear outside. You should also have a “beach home cleanliness tips” page in your guest instruction book so they know how to best help during their visit.
Restock the first-aid kit
From bee stings to scrapes and scratches, summer’s best outdoor activities can lead to unexpected injuries. You can help guests stay safe and healthy with an up-to-date first-aid kit and a list of phone numbers and local drug stores for emergencies.
Invest in professional cleanings regularly
As a busy property manager, you hardly have enough time to clean your own home, let alone your beach rental properties. That’s why it’s best to invest in the experts. A professional local cleaning service can do wonders for your home—not to mention positive guest reviews—but it does require a bit of oversight on your end. Here’s how to best manage housekeepers for a spotless vacation rental.
To keep your property in top shape in the late summer months and beyond, we’ve prepared an overview of everything you can do to transition your beach rental from summer to fall.