Safer vacation rental cleaning

Dispel the myths about cleaning products and create a healthier indoor environment for your guests – and your cleaning staff

Cleaning may not be the most exciting subject but it is certainly a really important one for anyone running a vacation rental. If you get it wrong, it can have a severe impact on the guest experience and result in bad reviews.

However, having a pristine short-term rental does not have to mean spraying bleach everywhere and using harsh chemicals.

In this article we will dispel some of the myths about cleaning products. As such, we will show you how choosing safer vacation rental cleaning ingredients will be the best choice for your guests, your staff and nature.


1. Toxic chemicals are not the only way to remove germs & bacteria

This was a topic which was particularly prevalent during the pandemic. Governments advised us to clean our homes with substances like bleach. However, we were also told that the best way to remove the virus from our hands was to wash them with soap.

It is a myth that the only way to remove germs and bacteria is to use harsh chemicals like bleach. In fact, many ingredients in cleaning products have been linked to hormone disruption and reproduction problems. Tried and tested natural cleaning ingredients include vinegar, bicarbonate of soda and lemon as well some essential oils like neem.

There are many safer vacation rental cleaning products on the market now which can be bought in bulk making them affordable as well as effective.


DID YOU KNOW? – Having green cleaning products can get you up to 3.50% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.

Why is it part of the criteria? Green cleaning products are naturally derived, non-toxic, and biodegradable, meaning they have less impact on the environment. They can help lessen both water and air pollution, and effectively fight climate change and ozone depletion. 


2. Synthetic fragrance does not always create a welcoming ambience

Many property managers may think that their guests need to “smell” that their vacation rental has been cleaned. However, what is probably less known is that household cleaners are some of the biggest contributors to indoor air pollution. In some cases, the air inside a home can be on average 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside.

Fragrance is such a personal choice and synthetic scents tend to be much stronger than natural ones. So think carefully about the welcome you give guests and choose natural fragrances which will be a lot more subtle.

Furthermore, the rise in allergies and chemical sensitivity is worth considering. Some research has shown that 1 in 3 adults have experienced health issues related to fragranced products. Ultimately, this covers both respiratory and skin allergies like asthma and eczema. Consequently, make sure to think about the cleaning products you use but also your laundry detergent. When someone visits the doctor with an allergy, one of the first questions they will usually ask is about the laundry and cleaning products that person uses.

If you want to be sure about any cleaning products (or bathroom supplies), look for the word “parfum” or “fragrance” which will usually imply that the product includes a synthetic fragrance which could be a cocktail of hundreds of chemicals.


3. Reduce microplastics released during washing

As well as avoiding synthetic fragrance to create safer vacation rental cleaning practices, you could also consider installing a filter to collect microplastics from laundry. These tiny particles of plastic are released during washing, particularly from synthetic fabrics. Subsequently, they are washed away and some can end up in waterways and from there the ocean.

Consequently, this offers another good reason to buy natural fabrics like organic cotton, linen or bamboo for bedlinen and towels. These have a soft, luxurious feel but do not contain synthetic materials like polyester.


DID YOU KNOW? – Offering eco-friendly bed linen and/or towels can get you up to 3.50% on the Sustonica criteria! Check out our standard.

Why is it part of the criteria?  The bedding and towel industry is heavily reliant on cotton as part of its materials, and when it isn’t sourced sustainably it can wreak havoc on the environment & local communities.


4. How to choose the best vacation rental cleaning products

It is very hard to actually know what is in cleaning products. In most countries manufacturers are not obliged to list all the ingredients and they usually include hard-to-understand scientific names. You might see something like this in the list of ingredients: “<5% Non-Ionic Surfactants, Perfumes, Disinfectants”. That list could include hundreds of different chemicals and you have no idea what they are!

However, the good news is that many manufacturers in this space are offering “eco-friendly” or “green” cleaning ranges. As mentioned, they can usually be bought in bulk and may often be highly concentrated making them even more cost-effective.

Nevertheless, it is still worth undertaking due diligence when choosing your vacation rental cleaning partners by asking a number of key questions. Of course, this will include finding out about their ingredients but also their packaging, transport and relevant certifications such as organic and cruelty-free.


5. Better for guests, better for staff and better for the planet

As we said at the beginning, adopting safer vacation rental cleaning practices will create a healthier environment inside your properties for your guests.

However, your housekeeping staff will thank you too. They are the ones who are having to use cleaning products all day long to maintain high standards of cleanliness. If they are constantly breathing in harmful chemicals and synthetic fragrance, it is not going to be a pleasant experience for them. There does not appear to be any data about cleaning staff and allergies but you may have anecdotal evidence yourself.  Certainly, if you explain to them why you have switched to safer vacation rental cleaning products, they will understand that you care about their health as well as that of your guests.

We have already mentioned the potential dangers of some toxic chemicals which have been linked to certain cancers, reproductive problems as well as allergies. These chemicals and microplastics do end up in waterways and ultimately seas and oceans. As such, they are having an impact on marine life and the health of our oceans.

Explaining to guests why you have introduced your cleaning practices will demonstrate that you care about them, your staff and the environment. With 1 in 3 people having at least one allergy, the chances are that one guest in a group will have some form of sensitivity.

Furthermore, this cleaning policy would be a great one to include in your Sustainability Chart where you list all the practices you have implemented. And it will get you up to 3.13% in the Sustonica criteria!


Choosing safer vacation rental cleaning products is easy to do and a simple way to show that you care about the health of your guests, your housekeeping staff and the natural world



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