The coronavirus has threatened to upend the travel industry, with all types of companies – from airline companies to cruise-ship companies to hospitality companies forced to explore different measures to protect their customers and employees.
Since the outbreak, the immediate effect it has had on the travel industry is massive. Cancelled events, cancelled flights, and a rapid reduction of bookings has caused hosts around the world to rethink and re-plan their yearly strategies.
Since the spread, and as someone in the vacation rental industry, hygiene has been nothing but a hot topic.
Apart from the simple measures that you’ll need to take like frequent hand-washing, you also need to be aware of how to deep-clean your house before and after any guests to protect yourself and others.
Here’s a comprehensive guide on the cleaning knowledge you need to be able to keep coronavirus at bay in your vacation rental.
First things first, how does COVID-19 Spread?
Coronavirus is spread from person-to-person who are in close contact from each other (around 6 ft) and is spread when the person coughs or sneezes, spraying away droplets that can be inhaled into the lungs. Another way the virus is spread is through surfaces, where the virus can live for up to 8 days. If you touch an infected surface and then touch your face, the virus finds a way into your body through your eyes, nose or mouth.
The best way to prevent the spread of a virus is to wash your hand frequently for 20 seconds, and avoid touching your face completely.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done. Not only does the average human touch their face more than 16 times an hour, but it’s also hard to keep track of all the things you can’t touch.
Your Two-Step Cleaning Method.
Even if you’ve hired a company to come to your house and clean, you still need to make you’re cleaning & disinfecting yourself. The two-step cleansing method involves, cleaning first, then disinfecting.
- You’ll be removing all germs, dirt, and impurities from the surfaces. This does not kill germs, but it lowers your initial risk of infection and spreading it further.
- This is the part where you’ll be using chemicals to kill germs and bacteria. This will not clean the surfaces, but will instead kill the germs and lower your risk of spreading the infection.
How to Clean Your Rental Thoroughly
One of the most effective ways of stopping the spread of the virus is to constantly ensure that you have an ultra-clean environment. You will need to make sure you clean and disinfect anything your guest may have touched or interacted with, including but not limited to:
- Door knobs.
- Bathroom handles.
- TV Remote
- Touch screens.
- Kitchen utensils.
- Any appliances.
- Stair railings.
- Light switches.
- Any fabrics. (more on this later).
Let’s start with hard surfaces:
- Start off by wearing disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
- Your gloves need to be immediately discarded after cleaning and you have to wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap after you remove them.
To clean surfaces: Spray the surface with white vinegar and wipe down with a clean cloth that you later dispose of. Use warm water, or dip a cloth in detergent to thoroughly clean.
To disinfect surfaces: Use an alcohol-based disinfectant (with a minimum of 70% alcohol), or use household bleach that includes sodium hypochlorite and dilute it in cold water. This breaks down Coronavirus’ cell walls.
- Make sure you don’t mix household bleach with ammonia or other cleaners.
- Mix 1/3rc cup bleach per gallon of water.
- Use any EPA-approved products or ones with “disinfectant” on them.
- Pay attention to shared devices like game consoles, remote controls, and home phones.
- To make your disinfectant work harder, learn about the length of time it takes to work on the back of the bottle. The contact time needed to kill a germ is different from one product to the other and ranges from 1 minute to 3 minutes.
For soft surfaces:
Soft surfaces include carpeted floor, rugs, linen, mattresses, sofas….etc. Make sure you put all of them in the washing machine using the warmest possible temperature and using products that are suitable for porous surfaces.
What about clothing, towels, and linens?
The best way to ensure a clean house is to use disposable ones and dispose of all towels, linen, and clothing used by any of your guests.
Of course, this is not always possible. Here are the steps on how to deep-clean them:
- Use disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry.
- Make sure you don’t shake the dirty laundry so you don’t spread the virus around.
- Do not use reusable gloves for this.
- Use the warmest temperature.
- Clean and disinfect the hangers and hampers.
- Use detergent and bleach for white loads.
- Use peroxide or color-safe bleach.
- Use the sanitize option for your washing machine.
- Dry your clothes on the hot cycle for 45 minutes.
For the dishes:
If you have a dishwasher, make sure you set it on the sanitizing cycle. If not, make sure you thoroughly wash all the dishes and let them dry.
Tips for Your Guest’s Next Stay
We’ve compiled a list of short tips that you can use to make your next guest’s stay a success.
✔️ Leave 2 days empty between stays
Leave the home empty for the first day, and do the cleaning on the second day. You’ll increase your unbooked days a bit but it’s a small price to pay under the circumstances.
✔️ Install air purifiers
Some air-purifiers have the ability to kill and capturing viruses. While this doesn’t substitute killing, it helps slow the spread of the virus.
✔️ Let your guests leave the shoes by the door
Shoes carry dirty and germs into the house. Add a “shoes-free” zone policy to your house.
✔️ Provide hand sanitizers for your guests
Buy a bulk of hand sanitizers everywhere around the house to remind guests to use them. Put them specifically in high-touched areas and by the front door.
✔️ Keep your guests informed
Put up signs in the house with the right prevention measures. Some of the most important include:
- Wash your hands with warm water & soap for a minimum of 20-seconds.
- Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing with a tissue and dispose of it immediately.
- Avoid any contact with anyone who seems unwell.
- Minimize hand-shakes and physical contact.
- Keep your distance away from people.
- Keep windows open for air circulation.
- Disinfect surfaces frequently.
Here are the three things you should do now:
- Mention it in your rental listing description
Write in your description exactly what you do to keep your house disinfected before and after every stay. Mention all the measures you’re taking and ideally add it as the first sentence of your description.
- Tweak your rental listing title
Add “DISNIFECTED AFTER EVERY STAY” or “CORONA SAFE” in your title or use it within your first sentence.
- Inform every visitor before their stay of the house rules & prevention measures.
Add a list of house rules including the following:
- It is not allowed to bring over five people at a time to the house. Make sure to use the disinfectants provided to clean up right after.
- Provide face masks and little bottles of hand sanitizer and advise guests to wear them when they’re outside.
- If they’re going to be shopping, they need to ensure that they sanitize everything new coming into the house before they get in, and thoroughly wash their hands after.
You can find some additional useful advice on how to be a safe host, and maximize space for guests this holiday here.