How long should it take for me to clean a unit?

I think I’m taking way too long to clean a unit. Today I cleaned a unit by myself after a guest stayed 4 nights. She was tidy and the place needed a regular cleaning. It’s a one bedroom, one bath w/ a shower, full kitchen; it’s a regular apartment. No laundry, I bring clean linens and drop off the dirty at the cleaners.

I timed myself, I took one 10 minute break, and it took me 4.5 hours to clean the place up.
Here’s a link so you get an idea of what I’m working with: link deleted

The guy I work for thinks I’m taking too long to turn a unit and I tend to agree with him. What amount of time should I be shooting for in the above described scenario?

Are you completing the washing as well in that time frame, how many loads.

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No loads of laundry. The linens get dropped off.

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I’m not sure what you mean by “she was tidy so just needed a regular cleaning”.

My listing is a small private bedroom w/private bathroom. Guests have use of my kitchen and terrace.

Almost all my guests leave their space tidy, but tidy isn’t the same thing as clean. It takes me an average of 1 and a half- 2 hours to clean the guest room and bathroom, and anywhere from a half hour to an hour to make sure outside areas and the kitchen are clean (if I’m here alone, between guests, those areas may not be kept super clean and tidy). There is no living room to clean, use isn’t offered to guests. The time doesn’t include doing laundry.

I’m very thorough and efficient and clean the same way every time.

I suspect you just need to develop a more efficient way of cleaning.
Every listing is different- some have rugs or carpets to vaccuum or shake out, some just have tile or wood floors to wash. Some have a lot of heavy furniture to clean under and behind, some have lighter, smaller furniture it’s easy to shift around. So there’s no exact amount of cleaning time that would be the same for various listings, just because of their size.

My cleaning routine is that I slide the bed over to the other side of the room, as it is light and on felt pads, and the floor is tiled. Same with the bedside table and chair. That’s all the furniture in the room. Then I clean that side of the room starting with brooming down any cobwebs, then shaking the curtains to remove dust. Then I wipe down the windowsills, picture frames, etc. Sweep the floor. Then I wash the floor, using the same water I used to wipe everything down-it isn’t very dirty.

While that half of the floor is drying, I go clean the bathroom, except for the floor, because I need to walk back in there to get water or rinse the cleaning cloth.

Now one half of the bedroom floor is dry, so I move the bed and other stuff back into place, giving the bedside table, chair, lamp, etc. a quick wipe down. Then clean the other side of the bedroom as I did the first.

Quick break time. Then make the bed, replenish bathroom supplies, and wash the bathroom floor.

I’ve done this so many times that it’s rote by now.

Also make sure you have all your cleaning supplies close at hand, so you aren’t wasting time walking back and forth to get stuff.

Of course your place isn’t the same as mine, and there may be a lot of kitchen appliances that are time-consuming to clean. The point is to develop an efficient routine. Like if there’s food crusted into the stovetop, pour some water on it and let it soften while you do something else, so it may only need a wipe up instead of a scrub.

But also the guy you work for shouldn’t expect you to get the cleaning done in too short a time, either. First impressions are important and set the tone for the stay. Guests may tend to overlook small things that might otherwise lead to complaints if they walk into a super clean place. If they find some cobwebs you “missed”, a dish with bits of food caked on, or a hair stuck to the shower wall, they are going to tend to be looking around with a critical eye and give less than stellar reviews.

For the size of the place you describe, seems like 2 and a half hours would be a reasonable cleaning time.


My room with private bath also takes 1.5 to 2 hours but that includes running the washer and dryer. I swap out new linens while the ones I took off go through their cycle. I have an extra hour or so to iron the sheets/pillowcases but that is during my tv time and takes longer because I get distracted!

As Muddy said, I also have a set routine. That ensures I don’t miss things that may look clean but can be hiding cobwebs or stray hairs. I have a bucket of cleaning supplies that I carry from room to room, before scrubbing I use the vaccum to go over the bathroom shower floor to help with stray hair (assuming the floor isn’t wet when I start), and do dusting/disinfectent wiping of surfaces from top to bottom before making the bed and vacumning. We live in a very dusty area and even our heapa filter can’t keep up. Once a month or so I take everything off shelves and dust each item rather than just dust around them. We have A LOT of books and decorative stuff on floor to ceiling bookshelves so those days I add 1/2 to 3/4 hour to the routine.

We do allow uses of the kitchen but rarely does a guest do anything that makes extra work beyond my regular daily family cleaning chores.

It used to take longer but as the routine got established I became more efficient.

I completly agree with Muddy as well on the comment about first impressions. It pays to take time to make a unit shine.

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It’s also really dusty where I live, and quite buggy at some times of the year. I have always left one night prep time between bookings, so I don’t have to rush to turn over the room. I also ask my guests to just leave the bedding on the bed, not strip it. Because of the dust or dead or live bugs that can accumulate until the next guest arrives, I just like to leave the used bedding on the bed until I am ready to put the clean bedding on and have doubles or triples of everything so I don’t have to wash stuff immediately.

And there are cleaning chores, like you taking everything off the the shelves to dust once a month, that I also only do occasionally or as needed. Like cleaning the ceiling fan, washing the windows, or unclipping the curtains and washing them.

I don’t make a habit of ironing sheets on an ironing board unless they are really wrinkled. What I usually do is take the iron to the bedroom and run the iron over them on the bed, which is easier than wrangling them around on an ironing board. I do the bottom sheet, then usually just iron the top of the top sheet where it folds down over the duvet or blanket. (I learned this ironing on the bed trick from hosting forums) No guest has ever complained that the sheets weren’t crisply ironed.

Same experience as you re the shared kitchen. Not all my guests actually cook- they may eat out and only use the kitchen to make a coffee or stash a couple of beers in the fridge. The ones who do prepare meals always clean up after themselves, so they don’t create any extra work there. They might put some clean dishes away in the wrong place, but that’s no big deal.

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We have one studio with and one without a kitchen.

Just to add the cleaning time for the kitchen studio is quite a lot. Even if the kitchen is left somewhat spotless at first sight it turns out that pots, pan, oven, microwave, glassware, silverware lack any appropriate washing before they put it back.

It baffles me what some guests consider ‘clean’. I’m not talking about water stains from drying without wiping them dry - I mean caked on food, grease etc.

Plus the obligatory hair in the silverware tray, crumbs in the drawers for dishes, pots and pans, so basically the entire kitchen needs a thorough clean almost after every guest who prepares meals.

All the Airbnbs I’ve stayed, we saw kitchens with leftover spilled milk in the refrigerator, tons of hair clips inside the silverware drawer (including hair), sticky floors and more (see photo). We try to do our best in picking decent listings for our stays but apparently the other guests don’t seem to have issues with such ‘cleanliness’.


I too take a long time but that’s because I also clean the base molding, ceiling fan blades, move furniture to vacuum underneat, etc. You can probably do it in 3 hours by just doing the basics.

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Having a robot vac running daily saves me a lot of cleaning, as well as not allowing food or drink in the rooms I offer.

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My 220 sf room can be turned over in about 2 hours. That includes the laundry which I wash and put right back in the room unless it needs stain treatment. I do have extras and switch out duvet covers or blankets a lot in the winter. In summer there are fewer items on the bed. I don’t have any carpets or upholstery and no kitchen. Just a coffee maker, toaster oven, fridge and microwave. There is minimal furniture and it’s all rental friendly.

I think once I was used to a place like the one you are cleaning and had a routine I could probably average 3 hours per turnover. Some tasks don’t have to be done each time like dusting fan blades, cleaning the top of the refrigerator, rewashing dishes in the kitchen, vacuuming out drawers, etc.

I also recommend a robot vac. I check corners and around furniture edges for what it missed but it cuts some time on the floor cleaning and it gets under things like the bed.

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For what you describe, 4-4.5 hours sounds about right to me. We have 2 units that are very small 2 bed/1 baths with full kitchens (regular apartments) and a large 3-room studio with a kitchenette and each of them take about that long, even 5 hours, after a 2-5 day stay (they take much longer after a 2-5 months stay). Like you, we send the linens out so are not dealing with laundry either. It’s definitely the kitchens that add a lot of time. Nearly every guest has mentioned that the units are spotless and I like that.

However, as a frequent guest, I can tell you that most hosts are not cleaning so well so I’m not convinced that it’s necessary. I just don’t know how to clean “good enough” so I go for spotless because I know what that looks like.


I have a 1-BR without a kitchen. It takes me about 2 hours with laundry, but some of that is down time waiting for the laundry to finish. It takes me 3-4 hours if the guests were especially messy and/or stayed a long time (muddy footprints, stained linens, food on surfaces or spilled in mini-fridge, extra dirty bathroom, trash on floor, moved furniture etc.).

I’m like @JJD as I go for spotless too. Everything that can shine, must shine.

I have two apartments, one 600 sq. ft. and the other below 500. Each takes about four hours to clean.

As others have mentioned, robots are great. I have the robot vacuum do the floors first, then the washing robot. (I have two as both apartments are fully tiled.)

The only time I cut corners is when both apartments have same-day turnovers but otherwise, absolutely everything is cleaned, polished, wiped, rinsed, scrubbed, disinfected and so on and so on.

The kitchens and the bathrooms take most of the time.

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Yes, I’m sure that just the kitchen cleaning doubles the amount of time it takes to clean after many guests stay in a self-contained unit.

While many hosts say they could never share their kitchen with guests, and many homeshare hosts don’t allow anything other than light kitchen use (making a sandwich, heating something in the microwave) or no kitchen use at all, my experience is that the guests are very respectful when sharing the host’s kitchen.


@FtLaudHost - one great things about hosting in South Florida is that our rentals can be easier to clean than those in some areas.

It’s normal for us to have tiled floors throughout (much easier than carpet or rugs), blinds instead of curtains and, in general, finishes that are quick to clean and won’t hold lingering smells.

When I’m looking at rentals as a guest I never choose places that are fussy and flouncy. I tend to imagine myself cleaning the places and some look to be cleaning nightmares. So having apartments that are relatively minimal, without sacrificing necessary amenities, can be more practical.

Try to discourage your owners if they want to add decorative touches to the apartments (‘a plant would look good there’ or similar) because every time something is added, it’s something else you have to clean.


I once saw a profile that had several small casitas and the host also lived onthe property. He was a “collector” and had completely filled these little casitas, which otherwise looked quite cute, with all his endless collections of stuff. There was far too much furniture crammed in them, so it looked really difficult to manuever between everything, and every surface was piled with his “treasures”. It’s not that it wasn’t cool stuff- it was, art and craft from all over the world, oddities, musical instruments.

But it was the ultimate in clutter and there was no way on earth he or anyone actually could have cleaned those places unless they spent an entire day on one little casita.

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I have a 1100sq ft bungalow with 2 bedrooms (1 king/2 twins) and 1 bath.

I’ve been cleaning it myself since we started about 14 months ago. It still takes me approx 4 hrs and I feel like I’m pretty efficient. Most people leave it tidy (fridge emptied, dishes washed) but even with that, every surface still needs to be wiped, every floor cleaned, mirrors cleaned, etc.

I don’t ask guests to strip beds, gather towels, empty trash or anything like that. Maybe that would save a little time?

Even though it’s not a big task to clean the coffee bar area, I find that I’m always happy when folks didn’t make coffee!

It is easier to inspect bedsheets for stains while linens are on the bed. I find that when guests strip the bed (I don’t request it), about half the time they are hiding something. Guests frequently pile up the used towels in the shower or on the bathroom vanity sink as well. But I don’t have a preference about that. Gathering all their trash together helps but I still have to look in all three trash cans for anything that needs to be cleaned before a new bin liner is put on.

Without asking for anything I find that 85% of my guests tidy up appropriately.

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It appears to be excessively long to me.

Think of it this way - What is your hourly rate? Take what you charge for cleaning and divide by the time it takes you. Is it worth your time?

Most house cleaners I’ve used charge $50 an hour. I figure my time is worth at least $25 per hour. If it is taking you 4 hours, you would need to charge $100.

I used to clean one bedroom and a bath in an hour, excluding the laundry which I did while doing other things. Yes, I would do a deeper clean every couple of months, but cleaning baseboards every time is ridiculous. I hustled, and would be sweating at the end, but I’m there to work not have fun.

Have a system, minimize the number of steps you take, declutter the area and use easy to clean items in your space. Every time you walk out of the room and back in it takes time, and time is money.

My process for a lower level bedroom with separate bath:

  1. Carry in all cleaning supplies and linens (have a caddy for your cleaning supplied if you can’t keep them in the area).
  2. Start in the bath - toss out the towels, start at the tub, clean your way out the bathroom (tub, toilet, sink and mirror, mop floor on your way out. Trash is the last to empty in case you need to throw anything out.
  3. Bedroom; strip sheets, toss out of the room. Make bed.
  4. Dust starting in one corner and around the room; take caddy with polish, rags, window cleaner and do everything while you go in a circle around the room checking drawers, closets, under bed, etc.
  5. Vacuum your way out; grab trash on the way. Keeping bags at the bottom of trash cans helps with not having to go get one each time.

You can do a deep clean every so often or pick one extra thing to clean each time (i.e. windows, crown molding, baseboards) and rotate through the list.

Happy cleaning!

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@Mike_Kedanis that’s a great cleaning itinerary!

I clean room by room (ie: strip bed, mirrors, dust, make bed, vacuum). I wonder if I’d save time doing all the dusting first, then make all the beds, then kitchen, then bathroom, then vacuum the whole house. I’ll experiment and report back!

Your list made me realize that I have to spend time re-stocking amenities we offer, so that definitely adds time.