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Cleaning the Vacation Rental Before You Leave
I am not afraid of putting in the effort to follow the vacation rental house guide when it comes to cleaning up after myself. Usually the cleaning instruction list is straight forward, easy to understand and simple to carry out but not always.

Leave it the way you found it
With the exception of laundry or bedding, most vacation rental cleaning lists look like: remove all used bedding, put the dirty laundry in the bath tub, wipe down the counters, take your stuff out of the fridge, take the trash out, fill and run the dishwasher, (sometimes) put a load in the clothes washer and run, maybe run the vacuum. Basic stuff. Easy to follow.
These activities, if you are maintaining the rental during your stay and have responsible people with you, take up all of, maybe, an hour. Maybe.

The cleaning list from hell
However, once (and only once) was the list somewhat extensive. It included everything from above but also had the following:
Wash all non-carpeted floors using the supplied mop, bucket and cleaner. (It was a terrible mop and we had to buy one.) Wipe down inside of refrigerator. Clean out inside of microwave. Make sure all dishes are cleaned in dishwasher and put away in their proper spot (had to buy more dishwashing detergent.) Wash and dry masterbedroom linens, have them folded and put on master bedroom bed. Wipe down all toilets!

Read the housebook upon arrival
The house book said: “If any of the above items are not done you will not receive your deposit back.”
I read the house book upon arrival and was furious. I called the owner and she was direct and said something like “Well, it’s in the house book, and we told you you had to do some typical cleaning before you left. You knew this before you signed the agreement so that’s all I have to say.  A few descriptive adjectives flew into my head as she told me this but I bit my tongue. I looked at my copy of the rental agreement and she was right, it said “typical cleaning prior to leaving is required.”
I’m sure I could have pushed her on this as I had my computer with me with ALL of my previous rental agreements on it and could have given her a “real” description of “typical cleaning” requirements but that would have taken longer than actually cleaning.

How to handle a vacation rental clean freak
During our stay, we fastidiously complied with the potential cleanup list. We did as she asked, exactly. As I said, I did buy the new mop and other cleaning supplies, but we did not charge her. We followed the instructions exactly and in the end got our deposit back.  In other words: do what they ask you to do.  Remember, you have the right to post a review later.

What really pissed me off was that we had some friends with us. They were aghast at what they had to do during their vacation to keep track of their “filth.” I felt sorry for them and for that matter those future vacation rental owners due to the owner’s onerous demands.

Our friends travel a lot and I thought they would appreciate seeing what it’s like in a rental as opposed to a hotel. The mom was miffed and I mean way mad at what she had to tend to with her kids during the stay. She said she would never rent a house again if this is what she had to do each time.

How it turned out
After I got back my deposit I posted a scathing review of the owner, not her house, on her site. Which, surprise, never got posted to her site. I have the posting on my computer and will post it to a site for reviews soon, probably on  (You’re welcome Flip.)

Bottom line to cleaning Vacation Rentals
When renting a home, know what you’re in for on every front. Make sure you understand what your responsiblities are from entrance to exit.

The Vacationers Guide to Vacation Rentals
The best way to get the full spectrum of things you need to cover is to buy The Vacationers Guide to Vacation Rentals, What to do Before, During and After your next Vacation.
Make some trails! (But keep them clean!)

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One Response to “ Clean that Vacation Rental Before You Leave ”

  1. Devin Tomasek
    February 1, 2011 at 11:45 am

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