How to handle cleaning with short turnarounds?

My current (and first guests) who initially booked for 2 nights, and extended several times, will be leaving on Thursday morning after 15 nights. Someone else is scheduled to come in that same afternoon. My official checkout time is 11 am. My official check in time is 2 pm. That gives me something like 2 to 3 hours to make sure the room is ready for the next guest.

Now, I haven’t been inside the guest bedroom since the guests arrived, so I don’t know if there are any problems.

While I don’t anticipate problems in this particular instance (I hope I’m right) this is really more a general question. Suppose there are problems. These might include significant cleaning problems, or perhaps some kind of damage. What would one do with a short amount of time (like a few hours) to fix them?

One specific question - is it correct to say that the guest room/bedroom is off limits to hosts while the guest is staying there? This is certainly my understanding.

The guests room is off limits while they are there, but I have on my listing mandatory weekly cleanings for exactly this reason. I’ve seen some gross stuff. Just make sure you have your camera ready and you have enough sheets ready if you have to throw the ones they were using out. That’s just what I do.

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Ah, mandatory weekly cleanings! Excellent idea, why didn’t I think of that? Do other people do that too?

@faheem - yep! I tell my guests in advance that I will come in and do a ‘light service’ every five days (change sheets and towels and top up the breakfast provisions). I have a three month booking coming up in what will be my brand new studio apartment/efficiency and although my guest was happy to clean the unit himself (I gave him a hearty discount for such a long stay), I have insisted on popping my head in once a week to make sure all is ok under the guise of ‘fresh towels and sheets and a quick mop of the floor’!

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First, contact your next guests and ask them what time they are checking in, maybe you have more time than you think. Second, you must have extra sheets and towels for when you don’t have time to complete all the laundry. Two or three hours is plenty of time to clean a room and bathroom in most cases. Obviously this means no extraordinary cleaning like wiping down the ceiling fan or washing all the windows. Just changing linens, sweep, mop, scrub the toilet, shower and sinks, polish everything dry so it looks clean not streaked. This only take me about 40 minutes in my little room.



Sure, two or three hours is plenty under normal circumstances. I’m concerned about the not-normal circumstances. :slight_smile:

Hi @suzehamling,

What do you say if your guests say - please don’t bother, it isn’t necessary? :slight_smile:

In my specific situation, there are no breakfast provisions in the room, and the guests aren’t using my towels, according to them. So that just leaves the bedsheets. Also, the bathroom isn’t attached, so it’s been getting (and will get) regular cleanings.

Have you made this 5 day cleanings mandatory, like @ehv5002? Do you have it written in the house rules or somewhere else?

I have a mid-week light clean and linen change for guests who are staying for more than eight days. But it isn’t mandatory. Most guests appreciate it though. I have a full apartment to get ready and almost always have back-to-back guests. Checkout is 11 and check in is at 4 which gives me plenty of time.

@faheem - I leave a personalised information sheet on the bed for when they check in detailing internet access, local shops, house rules etc and just say on there ‘your room will be serviced on XX/XX/XX’. No one’s objected, they’ve all thought it was pretty marvellous. 99% of my guests are from overseas so maybe they think it’s a local custom and don’t want to offend :wink:

@suzehamling Ah, that sounds very organized. Thanks for the tip. :slight_smile:

I’ve already got a guest guide, which isn’t personalized. But I certainly could add that information on that. Though I wonder if the guests will read it - I wouldn’t bet on it.

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Hi @jaquo,

I certainly have a smaller space to clean. Just one room - the bedroom itself. I’m inclined to follow the suggestions here and schedule periodic cleanings. Though it could get awkward if they refuse it…

@faheem - I bet you find that most of your guests will leave your room in great shape. Be sure that they know where to find trash bags and where the trash cans are kept outside. Message them on the evening before checkout to say that you hoped they’ve enjoyed their stay and ask them if there’s anything you can do to make their checkout run smoothly.

I do this every time and often guests will respond with ‘do we need to strip the beds?’ or ‘what should we do with our used towels?’ or whatever. (Yes, it’s in the manual but we know that guests don’t read!)

Also when you’re getting the room ready for the next guests, do the bathroom first. Incoming guests often want to use the loo as soon as they arrive! Then do the bed. If guests are early (or if you’re running late) then a clean bathroom and a made-up bed makes it look as though you’re almost there, even if you think you still have plenty to do.

When I am giving guests the house tour when they arrive I always point out where the cleaning materials are!

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Hi @jaquo,

There’s a rubbish bin in their room. I don’t know if they are using it though. But I’ll ask if they need additional trash bags.

I’ll do that, thanks.

The bathroom is separate from the bedroom, so it’s been getting daily cleanings, though we’ll do an extra thorough cleaning once the guests have removed their stuff.

I would recommend you move the check in time to 4pm for any future guests. The back-to-backs guest bookings are really stressful!


Hmm. Ok, I’ll consider that, thanks.

I am very detailed in cleaning and my studio is small but still have my check in time at 4pm because it’s the little things like fixing a problem that will really delay you. I can’t tell how many folks wanted to check in early and basically let them know I will try my best but the best I can do is an hour earlier. I think a two hour window is cutting it close and I noticed that longer term guests leave much more dirt and wear and tear.

Well, you have a great ‘out’ if there’s a problem. You are very new at this - you say "oh, I’m so sorry, this is my first change of guests - I’m so happy you’re here - please, go have a coffee at this nearby cafe - my treat. "
Or something…most people are so understanding when they realize you are new and figuring it all out.

But yes, when booking, always ask when they will arrive and by what method of transportation. I couldn’t live without that. Sometimes they still show up early, but it is in my listing “don’t show up early - the only surprises I like involved cake or jewelry”. (This isn’t true, actually, but it works!)

Good Luck!

As said above, ask. You never know what time they have planned to arrive. They may say they aren’t going to get there until 10pm. So, you have a good bit more time to prepare. OK, so, then if they say 10pm, you can say, great, I’ll be sure it’s all set for you by 8pm. You’re bought yourself extra time at no cost and will prevent them from popping in early.

Also, if they have in mind to arrive before your posted normal checkin time, you can head that off before they come and show up at noon. It’s a good time to reinforce the rules.

It’s a good idea to keep a small box or lidded basket of cleaning materials in the room. Shove it under a table or somewhere. (In our apartment, it’s a whole cupboard). It’s a good idea to put something that they might need (paper napkins, one of those mini sewing kits, Windex, air freshener, stain remover etc.) in there and mention those items so that they know that the cleaning kit is not off limits to them.

When you are showing guests their room, pointing out it’s features and amenities, say something like ‘oh, you can ignore that, it’s my cleaning kit. However, if you need an extra trash bag, some paper towels (or whatever else you choose to supply) then you’ll find them in there’.

But you’ll probably find that most of your guests are as eager for a good review as you are so they’ll keep your room in good condition :slight_smile:

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