Cleaning your rental property may not be the most glamorous task, but a clean space can improve your reviews online and increase repeat bookings. While the usual cleaning suspects are critical—including vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen, and scrubbing the bathrooms—sometimes the little details can have more of an impact than you realize. Here are a few easy-to-tackle but often-overlooked areas that can make a big difference in the appearance of your property.
The microwave can get really dirty in a short amount of time. Since the inside of the microwave isn’t the first thing renters see, it’s often overlooked. But when someone opens the microwave and finds it dirty with the previous renter’s food, it can sour a positive first impression. Even worse, with the amount of food allergies today, dirty microwaves can be dangerous. Here’s a simple trick for keeping it spotless:
- Fill a small bowl with about one cup of water.
- Cut a lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
- Place the bowl in the microwave and cook on high for three minutes.
- Let the bowl sit, uninterrupted, for five minutes.
- Open the door and remove the bowl. Wipe down the ceiling and walls of the microwave. Sometimes the turntable can be removed and washed in a sink, if necessary.
Just like the microwave, the inside of the dishwasher can become very dirty, and has the potential to turn a positive rental experience negative very quickly. Take a few moments to clean it out between renters for sanitary reasons, and to avoid mold and future damage to the appliance. The dishwasher can also be cleaned while you are tackling other items around the house.
- Remove any excess food particles.
- Pour baking soda on any food stained areas and let sit for five to 10 minutes.
- Use a small sponge or toothbrush to wipe away baking soda. Some stains need to sit for a longer period of time than others. Bonus: Baking soda also helps cut down on food odors.
- Pour two cups of vinegar on the bottom of the dishwasher.
- Run the dishwasher on energy saving mode.
- Let it sit closed after the cycle is completed for about 20 minutes.
- Open and wipe down the inside. Vinegar will help remove food stains as well as hard water stains.
Lots of renters won’t even use the oven if they are on vacation. Regardless, it’s important to check its condition between renters. If a food spill is left unchecked, it can lead to smoke, odors and even fire. For difficult food spills in the oven:
- Place an oven-safe bowl of water on the middle rack.
- Set the temperature and 450 and bake for 20 minutes.
- Wipe down the walls of the oven. Use towels and sponges as required to remove baked-on food.
One of the places most people forget to clean is located right above their heads. Ceiling fans, picture frames and vents all collect dust. No renter wants to turn on a ceiling fan on a hot day, only to create a dust storm. Purchase a long handled duster, and wipe all of these high and hard-to-reach areas down in between rental agreements.
Even if a home isn’t perfectly clean, certain smells can give a cleaner impression. Use universally pleasing scents such as vanilla or lemon to make your rental property feel crisp, clean and warm when renters arrive. While you can use air fresheners or candles, you can also dab a bit of vanilla scented oil onto a cotton ball and place it in the air filter of the vacuum. When you run the vacuum, it will infuse the air.
Pro Tip: Create a Cleaning Kit
Most rental agreements specify leaving a space “broom clean.” The act of simply leaving cleaning supplies where renters can see them and access them encourages cleaning. Assemble a small cleaning kit on every floor of your rental home, and stock it with fresh, easily recognizable cleaning products. Make sure the product labels and instructions are easy to read. If you have special instructions on how to clean something, such as the kitchen counters, make sure to include these instructions in written form near the applicable cleaning products.
Here’s what to include in the cleaning kit:
- Instructions for cleaning
- Paper towels and rags
- Window cleaner
- Dust cleaner
- All-purpose cleaner
- Bathroom cleaners — toilet, shower, floor, etc.
- Rubber gloves
- Air freshener
- Make sure to exclude anything that could cause damage to your property if used improperly, such as bleach.
Keeping a rental property in top form is easy if you establish a cleaning routine that encompasses all areas of the space. It is important to leave nothing out, and complete the same tasks every time the property is rented. Create a checklist for yourself, or your property manager, to ensure nothing falls between the cracks.
Some bonus cleaning advice, if you have an odor you can’t locate or get rid of, here’s a post about 20 Common Household Odors and How to Remove Them Fast.
About the Author
Bonnie Dewkett is a cleaning and organizing expert who writes for Quill.com and The Joyful Organizer. She is passionate about helping people declutter and loves to see the positive impact that getting organized has on their lives.