7 Brilliant Cleaning Tips to Steal from Airbnb Hosts

updated Jul 1, 2021
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As Airbnb hosts start to book up their calendars again, they have the challenging job of turning around a potentially messy space in a short amount of time. They’ve got to clean and disinfect everything and get it all set up again for the cycle to continue. With a little more downtime than usual, we were able to catch up with a few hosts to talk about their tried-and-true tricks. Here are seven smart cleaning tips that you should steal for your own home.

1. Use essential oils to freshen up the drain.

Marni Mervis, who owns an Airbnb outside Joshua Tree National Park, uses peppermint oil in her sink to fend off a smelly drain. “With guests discarding their leftover food down the disposal, it’s really a simple way to make sure the kitchen remains odor-free,” she says. “Peppermint also has the benefit of deterring some of the critters naturally found in the high-desert landscape.”

Credit: Joe Lingeman

2. Use vinegar to descale things and get rid of hard water buildup.

Katrina Love Senn prefers using non-toxic eco cleaners without chemicals whenever possible in her Airbnb. For descaling, she fills her kettle with equal parts water and vinegar, allowing the solution to sit for at least an hour. “With an old toothbrush or similar, remove any stubborn bits, then boil the kettle and pour away the water,” she says. For stubborn limescale, she recommends leaving the solution in the kettle overnight. Pro tip: You can also use vinegar to descale your dishwasher, coffee maker, and faucets and shower heads.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

3. Clean red wine spills with white wine.

As an Airbnb host, Karen Botha says she frequently comes across pesky red wine stains. It may seem like a waste to pour white wine over a red wine spill, but it’s a lot cheaper than new couch covers or tablecloths. After throwing white wine on the affected surface, layer salt over it to draw out the remaining stain. “Whatever you do, don’t rub it, which will only work the stain into the cloth,” says Botha. 

4. Melt candle wax drippings with an iron.

After candle wax dries on a tablecloth or kitchen linen, Botha suggests bringing out your iron. Simply put a paper towel over the drips, then heat it gently with an iron. Good as new!

Credit: Sarah Crowley

5. Use a lint roller to finish vacuum jobs.

If you want to spot clean smaller spaces like a kitchen rug or dining room upholstery of dust or hair, reach for a lint roller. Airbnb owner Nathan Claire says he uses his for stray particles the vacuum doesn’t grab. “This small, inexpensive tool can pick up not just lint, but also hair, dust, and many other things that get left behind by guests,” he says. “If the previous guests had a pet, a lint roller works great to pick up pet hair off furniture and linens, and it’s also easily disposable.”

Related: The Easiest and Smartest Way to Clean Your Window Screens

Credit: Joe Lingeman

6. DIY a cleaning solution with citrus peels.

For a simple, fresh-scented cleaning solution, save your lemon and orange peels and put them in a jar with either white vinegar or vodka and let it rest. “After a day or so, it makes a great-smelling cleaning solution,” says Airbnb host Saurabh Jindal

7. Steam clean the inside of your oven.

You may already know about putting vinegar or lemon in a bowl with water to clean your microwave. But Jindal says he uses the same principle to easily clean the inside of his oven. “The water evaporates and gets deposited on the walls, thus making it very easy to clean,” he says.

Do you use any of these cleaning tips? Tell us in the comments below.