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Vacation Rental Owners: What Does a “Deep Clean” Really Mean?

It’s springtime in the mountains! Here in Summit County (and I’m sure in every ski destination in the country) people are tired. It’s been a long winter, and everyone involved in the service industry — from restaurant employees to ski-lift operators and yes, vacation rental companies like Summit Mountain Rentals — have been working overtime to make sure every visitor to our area has had best winter vacation possible. And, all over town, people are talking about taking a break to rejuvenate and recharge their batteries, such as a trip to the beach or some other warm clime.

And in our business, our vacation homes and condos have had a long winter, too! For the properties we manage, “rejuvenation” comes in the form of a “deep clean.” What does that mean, exactly? Well, think of a deep clean as a “spring cleaning on steroids.” It’s a thorough, systematic, top-to-bottom inspection and cleaning of virtually every surface in our rental properties. And if you own and manage your own vacation property, here are some tips on how to perform an annual deep clean after your busy season.

1. Have a plan
Our cleaning crews follow a six-page “deep clean checklist” for every property (which you’re welcome to download here). It covers every interior and exterior area of each property, including:

  • Entryway
  • Dining room
  • Kitchen
  • Living areas
  • Bathrooms
  • Bedrooms
  • Laundry closet/room
  • Garage
  • Any “outside living areas”: decks, patios, etc.

2. Allow enough time
How long does it take you to do a normal clean on your property after a guest leaves? Two hours? Allow for 2-3 times more time for a thorough deep clean. For one of our standard two-bedroom condominiums, our professional cleaning crews allow up to 6-8 hours for a deep clean. And one of our large 6-bedroom homes can take more than one day for a top-to-bottom scrub.

3. Leave no stone unturned (and no shelf uncleaned)
Now’s the time to clean everything! Start from the top and work down. Here are just a few things to think about during a deep clean that can get overlooked during a standard guest-departure clean:


  • Remove and dust art/knickknacks, fake plants, etc. from above cabinets and clean above cabinets.
  • Clean all major appliances (refrigerator, stove, microwave, etc.) inside, out, top, sides and underneath as accessible. And don’t forget those small appliances: coffee maker, blender, toaster, toaster ovens, juicers, waffle irons, griddle, mixers, coffee grinder, can openers, etc.
  • Empty contents of all drawers and clean inside.
  • Inspect all cookware, dishes, glasses, silverware, utensils, etc. for cleanliness. Wash any that are dirty. Replace any cookware that is un-useable. Throw away broken glass/plates.
  • This is also the time to take a thorough inventory of all kitchen items and bring everything back to its property quantities. If your property can accommodate, eight guests, then make sure you’re back to having 12 (1.5 times the sleeping capacity to allow for loss/damage) matching dinner plates, salad plates, bowels, water glasses, wine glasses, full silverware settings for 12, and more. (Click here for a list of kitchen supplies every vacation property should have.)


  • Vacuum and clean bathroom ceiling vent using hand vacuum.
  • Dust vanity light fixtures – remove globe/glasses to clean.
  • Clean all mirrors and windows
  • Stick (use chopstick or toothpick) clean all corners of sink/faucets/countertops.
  • Stick (chopstick or toothpick) clean all corners of toilet; remove and wash all toilet attachments and fasteners.

Living areas and bedrooms
Again, think about areas that you rarely clean — and clean them! For example:

  • Dust ceiling fans first before dusting elsewhere; wipe fan blades if accessible.
  • Dust all electronics: TV, DVD, stereo systems, docking stations, etc.
  • Remove every item from every shelf and dust/clean all items and shelves.
  • Dust all wood/plastic blinds.
  • Fireplace: clean glass, mantle, hearth, clean firewood bins, empty ash bins.
  • Telephones and light switches. (Think about it: these get handled all the time.)
  • Clean all sides (inside too) of baseboard heaters. Wipe with rag and use handheld vacuum to clean inside.


  • Sweep.
  • Clean grill, check grill cover.
  • Wipe down garbage cans inside/out as needed.
  • Rinse/clean private hot tub cover.

Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. But an annual deep clean is essential in keeping our rental properties in top condition for guests to enjoy year-round — and it should be part of your property’s annual maintenance routine, too.

Again, feel free to download Summit Mountain Rentals’ deep clean checklist to make sure you don’t miss anything. And if you have questions about deep cleans — or need any information on managing your vacation property — please contact us at or post a question/comment in the comments section below.