How to put Airbnb's 5-step cleaning process into practice

Get guidance on implementing the 5-step cleaning process.
By Airbnb on Jun 4, 2020
7 min read
Updated Jun 4, 2020


  • The cleaning process is made up of five steps: prepare, clean, sanitize, check, and reset

  • We know it can be difficult to adopt a new cleaning routine, so you can find additional tips, custom checklists, and more in the cleaning section of your Performance tab

    • You can also reference Airbnb’s expert-back cleaning handbook to help put the 5-step enhanced cleaning process into practice

    Because cleanliness matters more than ever, Hosts of accommodations need to commit to Airbnb’s 5-step enhanced cleaning process—and we’re here to help you put the process into practice. This article will walk you through the 5 steps, plus additional guidance, tips, and best practices to help you follow a consistent cleaning standard. These best practices are based on the enhanced cleaning handbook, which was developed with health and hospitality experts with your well-being in mind.

    Before cleaning, it’s important that you or your professional cleaners consult your local authority for guidelines on the appropriate length of time to wait before entering the space. For example, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests waiting as long as possible (at least several hours) after the guest leaves, before entering the space since this can help reduce your exposure to germs. To leave enough time to complete the cleaning process, you may also consider adding a booking buffer between reservations by updating your settings for preparation time.

    To help get you started, we’re sharing best practices about the 5 steps of the cleaning process: prepare, clean, sanitize, check, and reset.

    Step 1: Prepare for safer cleaning

    • Ventilate rooms before and while you clean. Regulatory authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend opening outside doors and windows and using ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the space before beginning to clean and sanitize. Ventilate the space for as long as possible before and during cleaning.
    • Gather the right cleaning supplies. We recommend only using disinfectant and sanitizer solutions that are registered with your relevant governmental agency (e.g. the European Chemicals Agency or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency).
    • Review the safety guidelines for your chemicals. Always read the labels on your products to understand their active ingredients and how to use them properly.
    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If that’s not possible, use a hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol at a minimum, and refer to your local governmental agency for the latest guidelines.
    • Wear protective equipment. Before you enter the space, consider putting on protective equipment such as disposable gloves and masks or cloth facial coverings.
    • Take out all the garbage. Starting with this step helps prevent dirty garbage from contaminating the space once it has been cleaned. Make sure to line all the garbage cans with fresh bags, which will make it easier to dispose of tissues and other waste.
    • Collect all dirty linens throughout the space. We’ve heard from from Hosts that laundry is one of the most time-consuming activities between turnovers. Collect dirty linens as soon as you enter the space, and avoid shaking them, which could increase the spread of germs.
    • Unplug before cleaning. For your safety and to protect fixtures, remember to unplug appliances before cleaning. Plugged appliances that are turned "off" are still connected to electricity until unplugged. You can also shut off the power at the breaker.

    Safety reminder: Consider wearing clean protective equipment before you enter a space. Referring to all safety labels can also help you understand how to use cleaning chemicals properly.

    Step 2: Clean dust and debris

    Cleaning is when you remove germs and dirt from surfaces—for example, using a soapy cloth to wipe off a kitchen counter or stovetop. It’s important to complete this step before sanitizing your space.

    • Wash linens at the highest heat setting recommended by the manufacturer. Remember to wash your hands before you handle any clean linens.
    • Wash all dishes, and empty the dishwasher. It’s important to wash the dishes used by guests to help ensure hygienic standards. If you don’t have a dishwasher, wash dishes using hot water and antibacterial dish soap. To help avoid cross-contamination, start by walking through the space and collecting dishes from every room.
    • Dust the space, and sweep or vacuum the floor. When dusting, start from the top down to ensure there are no visible signs left over. Sweep all hard surface floors, and vacuum carpeting.
    • Clean hard surfaces with soap and water. Wipe each surface down to remove dirt, grease, dust, and germs. Hard surfaces include things like countertops, tables, sinks, cabinets, and floors. When mopping, work from the back corner of the room to the front, and dispose of the water in a sink that hasn’t been cleaned yet.

    • Clean soft surfaces based on the manufacturer’s instructions. Soft surfaces include things like carpet, bedding, and upholstery. If soiled, carefully remove any visible dirt or grime, then clean with the appropriate cleaners. If possible, machine-wash items according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

    Safety reminder: To help prevent the spread of germs, don’t touch your face while you’re cleaning.

    Step 3: Sanitize with disinfectant

    Sanitizing is when you use chemicals to reduce the number of germs and bacteria. During this step, we require Hosts to sanitize all high-touch areas. For example, Hosts can sanitize door knobs, light switches, and cabinets by spraying these surfaces with chemical disinfectant.

    • Once a hard surface is clean, spray it with disinfectant. Focus on sanitizing all frequently- touched surfaces in the space (such as doorknobs and light switches). Be sure to sanitize electronics based on the manufacturer’s cleaning directions.
    • Let the disinfectant stay wet for the specified length of time. The product label will specify the wet contact time needed for the chemicals to effectively sanitize a surface. This allows the chemicals time to kill as many germs as possible.
    • Allow surfaces to air-dry. If the surface dries before the wet contact time, there’s no guarantee that the product has killed the pathogens claimed on the label.

    Safety reminder: Referring to all safety labels helps ensure you're using cleaning chemicals properly.

    Step 4: Check your room-by-room checklists

    You’ll have access to custom cleaning checklists based on your listing details. Make sure to refer to the best practices in each room-by-room checklist, and share with your hosting team or cleaning professionals.

    • Double-check that all high-touch surfaces were sanitized. Address anything that might’ve been missed.
    • Note any maintenance issues or missing items. As you’re passing through to check for completion, note any items that need to be replaced, refilled, or restocked.

    Step 5: Reset the room

    To help avoid cross-contamination, it's important to finish cleaning and sanitizing a room before resetting it for the next guest.

    • Dispose of and wash your cleaning supplies. Throw away disposable products such as disinfectant wipes. Be sure to also clean any other tools that were used. Wash any cleaning cloths at the highest heat setting possible that is appropriate for the material.
    • Safely remove any cleaning gear once you’re done cleaning. Dispose of or wash any protective gear according to their usage guidelines. 
    • Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. If that’s not possible, use a hand sanitizer containing 60% alcohol at a minimum, and refer to your local governmental agency for the latest guidelines.
    • Visually assess each room to ensure the stage is set for the next guest. Imagine yourself as the guest entering the space for the first time.
    • Set out cleaning supplies for your guests. We’ve heard from guests that they want the ability to clean on their own while staying in your space. Empower your guests by setting out cleaning supplies they can use, such as hand sanitizer, disposable paper towels, disinfectant spray or wipes, and extra hand soap.
    • Restock your cleaning supplies. Be sure to check expiration dates and refill any supplies that you’ve used so you’re ready for the next turnover.

    Safety reminder: Always keep chemical products out of reach of children.

    Commit to higher standards for cleaning

    Now that you know the 5-step cleaning process, it’s time to update your current routine and apply these techniques to every room in your space. We know it can be difficult to adopt a new cleaning routine, so we’ve put together a comprehensive cleaning handbook that includes expert-backed guidance, safety tips, and checklists to help you put Airbnb’s 5-step enhanced cleaning process into practice. We’re requiring Hosts of stays to follow Airbnb’s 5-step enhanced cleaning process between each stay.

    Once Hosts commit to follow the 5-step cleaning process, their commitment to enhanced clean will be shown on their listing page to let guests know they’ve agreed to follow a consistent cleaning standard.

    Please note that the cleaning requirements may be updated over time as expert guidance changes. Based on evolving science, Airbnb’s 5-step enhanced cleaning process and the detailed cleaning handbook aim to prioritize the health and well-being of Hosts and guests.

    We know that introducing a new process into your routine takes time, so we’re developing education and product features to help you efficiently and accurately complete these cleaning standards. Check out the cleaning section of your Insights tab for education, tips, and custom checklists. For detailed guidance, you can also download the cleaning handbook.
    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication. The 5-step enhanced cleaning process provides a simple set of requirements for cleaning your listing. For more information on how to implement those steps, please refer to the entire Airbnb cleaning handbook. As a Host, you may need to take extra steps to protect yourselves, your teams, and your guests, and you should always consult and comply with any relevant local laws or guidelines. Airbnb is not responsible for any injuries or disease resulting from following this cleaning process. For cleaning guidelines and rules specific to where you host your region, please bookmark this Help Center article.
    Jun 4, 2020
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