Cleaning Your “Home Away from Home”

Purchasing or renting a vacation home is one thing many of us have on our bucket list; one of those things that we create goals and save money for. Some people purchase homes closer to their main home so they can travel there frequently. Others purchase homes further away, closer to their favorite climates or landmarks.

Vacation properties, or second homes, are a nice place to get away from the day-to-day hustle and spend your time relaxing. The problem is that, like your main home, they also require maintenance and upkeep. This can be hard to do, especially when you’re not there all the time.

So if you’re thinking about checking that goal off your list (or if you already have), here are some things you may want to consider doing to keep your home in tip-top shape.

Create a Maintenance Schedule

Start by considering how often you will be visiting your vacation home. Is it once a year for a whole summer, or is it multiple times throughout the year for mini-vacations? Here is where you’ll also want to take into account how far your vacation home is away from your main home, as well as the type of climate it’s in. Does it get cold in the winter time or does the temperature stay about the same all year round?

Make a plan and create a schedule. Includes the number of times you will thoroughly clean your vacation property, and when you plan to do it (or have it cleaned professionally). Include in this plan not only cleaning, but normal home maintenance, yard work, and even pool cleaning if necessary.

It’s important to have this schedule. You know what they say, “Out of sight; out of mind.” So if it’s on your calendar and planned ahead of time, it’ll be much easier to be proactive.

Vacation Property Cleaning

Many owners and renters opt to hire professionals like The Maids® to take care of their second homes. They may also contract with plumbers, maintenance workers, and lawn care professionals to handle things while they’re away. However, others opt to take care of it themselves. After all, it’s a reason to have to visit your home away from home!

If you’re going to tackle the maintenance and cleaning on your own, we’ve developed a cleaning checklist for vacation homes. Here are a few things you’ll want to make sure are on your list.

Bathrooms, Kitchens, and Laundry Rooms

These rooms can easily start to smell if not taken care of properly. Between plumbing, food, and storage in your kitchen and bathrooms, there are many places that can quickly go awry. 

  • Clean out storage spaces. We’re talking cabinets, pantries, and anything that houses perishable items. Get rid of foods that can go bad, and consider other things that can expire, like cleaning supplies, makeup products, etc.
  • Clean the refrigerator. If you’re going to be away for longer periods of time, don’t leave food in your fridge. You can empty it completely, give it a good scrubbing, and then unplug it and leave the door open to prevent it from getting musty while you’re away. You can also leave an opened box of baking soda in the fridge to help collect any lingering odors.
  • Unplug all appliances. Make sure everything is turned off and also unplugged. Unplugging can prevent an even bigger mishap if your appliance becomes faulty. Before you do so, you’ll want to make sure you’ve emptied any water from your dishwasher or clothes washing machine. You may also want to consider disconnecting hoses to these appliances.
  • Take care of the plumbing. Clean out the garbage disposal, and (if necessary) winterize your plumbing. To do this, shut off your water supply under the toilet and flush it. Shut off the water supply to the sink in your kitchen. You can also use an antifreeze that’s made for plumbing systems. If you have any questions, please contact a professional plumber for this task.

Bedrooms, Family Rooms, and Living Spaces

These are the rooms where we spend most of our time, and though they may not look that dirty, we assure you…dirt and grime can add up over time.

  • Clean the linens. Strip the bedding and wash it before you leave for a long period. Wait to put the new ones on until you come back so you aren’t sleeping in dust that’s collected over time. Consider washing curtains, especially if you leave the windows in your vacation home open often.
  • Allow air to circulate. Think of any items or furniture that might be preventing airflow. When you’re not in and out of your house and using it all the time, air does not circulate as well. Leave closet doors ajar and dresser drawers open. Move furniture slightly away from the walls, and even pull out the cushions on your couch. 
  • Cover what you can. Use furniture covers, old sheets, or anything you can to cover your furniture while you’re away. It’ll help the dust to collect on the covers, rather than your furniture. Covering furniture can also help with absorbing excess moisture if your vacation rental is in a more humid environment.

General Cleaning and Maintenance

Finally, you’ll want to make sure you give your home a good once-over to make sure it’s sparkly clean and ready for you to relax on your next visit. 

  • Clean the house from top to bottom. On our website, we have many different tips for cleaning your home.
  • Take out all the trash. Make sure to walk the house and include items that might go bad or those small trash cans hidden away in the corner.
  • Shut everything off. This might just be lights and electronics if you’ll only be away for a short time. If you’ll be away for longer periods, you’ll want to consider utilities and appliances as well.
  • Reduce potential odors. Previously, we discussed leaving an open container of baking soda in your refrigerator. You can also do this throughout the house to absorb odors or excess moisture. Some people also use products like charcoal or cat litter for the same purpose.
  • Check for maintenance tasks. Ensure your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are in working condition. Replace air filters as needed, and set your thermostat to a temperature that won’t overwork your home appliances while you’re away.
  • Lock it up. Close any curtains. Lock your windows and doors, and set an alarm, camera, or other devices if you have one. It’s just as important to protect your vacation home as it is to protect your main home.

When In Doubt, Call The Maids®

It may seem like an easy feat to just take care of things yourself. However, many vacation homeowners quickly find that it can be overwhelming to keep up two houses on your own. Lucky for you, The Maids removes more dirt, dust and allergens than conventional cleaning services and we back all of our services with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. 

If you want to keep your home away from home looking fabulous all year round, just give us a call!


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