I’m not overly bothered by a few dust balls under the bed, but that’s in my home. I hate sloppy housekeeping when I’m staying in someone else’s. That’s true of just about every traveler. A less-than-clean house is among the most common complaints from short-term guests. So when we swap or rent out our home, I shut my eyes and imagine: “What if my mother was coming to stay?” Then I clean the place until it sparkles.
Clean the places that are easy to ignore
Clean the edges of the countertops, the backs of the shelves, the top of the refrigerator, under the sofa…all the places you tend to ignore. What about the oven? The shower curtain and blankets? The mattress pad? And the windows – how long since they’ve been washed inside and out?
Sniff for odors
Your guests should be greeted by a clean, fresh smell – in other words, none at all – instead of the odor of cleaning compounds, insect spray, mold, old dog, or perfumed air freshener. Air out the place after doing a heavy cleaning or applying insect spray; treat areas of mold; and avoid using highly perfumed products.
Clean out the fridge
It’s pretty disgusting to find slimy lettuce or curdled milk when you open the refrigerator in your temporary home. Get rid of anything that is spoiled or on the verge, or that might spoil before your guests arrive. Then scrub the inner surfaces of the fridge right to the corners. A box of baking soda on a middle shelf can help deal with any lingering odors.
Prepare bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen
Just before you leave, change the beds, put out fresh towels, rinse out the sinks, wipe down the counters, scrub the toilet, and empty the wastebaskets. Replace the soap bars and toilet paper rolls if necessary. In the kitchen, aash your breakfast dishes and put them away, or leave the clean dishes in the dish drainer. Put out clean dishtowels, and replace smelly kitchen sponges with new ones.