7 Tips for Keeping Your Home Clean and Green

Cleanliness is a key factor to consider when owning and maintaining a vacation rental home. Travelers are looking for a tidy, comfortable place to stay, and owners want to keep their rental in great condition for as long as possible. But cleaning a house or apartment can lead to a whole host of environmental concerns: unhealthy chemicals going down the drain and polluting the air, the overuse of disposable products, and the frequency with which you have to clean a home that welcomes new tenants weekly, to name a few. Here are seven tips that will help you go green and clean at the same time.

1. Before purchasing cleaning products and other items for your home, consult GoodGuide, a comprehensive online info center that rates products based on the greenness of the chemicals they contain and the way they are manufactured. This resource covers dish soap, laundry detergent, air fresheners, coffee and tea, appliances, tissues, toilet paper, and more. Your careful choices will help keep your guests—and the surrounding environment—healthy, whether they are settling into a vacation routine or cleaning up at the end of their stay.

2. Supply rags, sponges, cloths, and brushes for cleaning so that guests don’t feel compelled to go through a roll of paper towels in order to tidy up. Simple, friendly instructions on keeping these materials clean and dry will make them last longer.

3. Offer a clothesline and clothespins so that renters can easily dry towels, bathing suits, and laundry without using any unnecessary electricity. Let the sun and breeze do the work of a dryer—or, if the weather is not so balmy where you are, consider drying racks or an indoor clothesline.

4. Provide lots of screen doors and windows that can be opened effortlessly. These will help whisk away stuffy air and odors in a much healthier manner than chemical air fresheners can. In some locales, carefully planned ventilation can even avert the need for energy-guzzling fans and air conditioners.

5. Opt out of the antibacterial soap hype. The FDA has found that these cleansers do not prevent sickness any better than regular ones, and even have the dangerous effect of promoting “super germs” that are increasingly resistant to antibacterial products. Stick with the simple cleansers and your guests will be just as happy.

6. Setting up a compost bin will not only keep extra waste out of landfills; it will also prevent the garbage from getting smelly and cause guests to go through fewer plastic garbage bags. Composting at a vacation home can get a little complicated, especially if you will not be around to monitor the system you have set up. So this green option is best for committed owners who have the time to show new guests the ropes, tend to the compost pile every few days, and make use of the rich soil in a nearby garden.

7. If you hire a cleaning service for your rental home, make it an eco-conscious one.
Picking a cleaning company with green values protects your guests’ health as well as the workers’ wellbeing, and prevents your vacation home from becoming a dumping ground for dangerous chemicals and wasteful practices.

Joanna Eng is a New York-based writer and editor who covers travel, green living, food, careers, entrepreneurship, and more. Her travel experiences have ranged from hostel hopping in Mexico to staying with distant relatives in China to renting a beach apartment in New Jersey.

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Tips and Tricks for Not Scaring Away Your Guests this Halloween

Written by: Noelle

Before you know it, Halloween will have come and gone, and being named creepiest house on the block will no longer be a compliment. While vacation rentals offer privacy, more space, superior amenities, and better value than most hotels, there are some unique home features that can be off-putting to an unsuspecting guest.

Spider ridden cobwebs, mounted animal heads, and unfamiliar sounds are some of the house features that are likely to scare off visitors, especially once Halloween has passed. Don’t let one small thing spoil an otherwise great property review! Use these tips and tricks to de-spook your home this holiday season:

The Creepy:

“Deer head above fireplace, creepy. I think it stared at me the whole time!…[but] Overall we had a great, relaxing vacation.” –Anonymous vacation rental review

Hanging an occasional hunting trophy on the wall is alright but covering your walls from floor to ceiling with everything from dead rodents to bears could potentially be overkill. When decorating, try to find a balance between giving your property character and creating an environment that might make some of your guests, especially animal lovers, uncomfortable. If your taste does gravitate towards taxidermy inspired décor, post as many pictures of your property and its furnishings as possible to give prospective renters a better idea of what to expect.

The Spooky:

“First night was a little “scary” as you hear every noise echoing about – it’s all wood floors – no carpet – and you hear every pop & creak…[despite the noises] I would stay again & I would recommend this cabin!” –Anonymous vacation rental review

Many older houses will undoubtedly have some creaks and squeaks. Drippy faucets and squeaky door hinges on the other hand are a quick fix with a little help from the plumber and a can of grease. Remember, unfamiliar noises can seem a lot scarier in the middle of the night than they do in the daylight so try to identify and address any strange sounds that could be unsettlingly to a new house guest.

The Scary:

“We checked in late at night, so I think the most difficult part of that was finding which unit was ours, in the dark, without assistance… [However, based on the rest of our stay] We would definitely consider going back!” –Anonymous vacation rental review

While you may not be able to personally welcome your guests upon their arrival, there are still ways for you to make sure that they feel safe and secure while staying in your home. Keep in mind that many guests may be visiting your property for the first time. Prior to their departure, provide directions that are as detailed as possible to avoid any confusion. For houses in more secluded or wooded locations, install motion sensor lights to help guide those arriving late into the night. Don’t forget to check that the locks on all windows and doors are working properly. Finally, if your house has a home security system, make sure to leave clear instructions on how to operate the alarm.

While the creepy, spooky, and scary mentioned above can make some travelers uncomfortable, the good news is that many renters are forgiving as long as they enjoy the rest of their stay. So, in the spirit of Halloween, make your guests feel extra special by leaving them a treat—a candy bowl on the coffee table or a goodie bag filled with local specialty items is always a nice surprise!