Living 160 miles from our holiday cottages, we are unable to manage the turnarounds, particularly now the market is so short break driven. Even thought we’re lucky enough to have a fantastic housekeeper who manages the cottages like they are her own, regular back to back bookings leave little time for ‘deep’ cleaning.
Every month we stay at our cottages and it is only when you live like a guest that you notice the tiny little grubby areas starting to build up. Just as you’ve finished your days scrubbing and relax back in the bath, you spot the marks on the underside of the shower soap dish, or the wine glasses tucked away at the back of the cupboard that have become dull over time.
Whenever we leave, our housekeeper comments that the cottage ‘gleams’ and I am convinced that the monthly ‘deep’ cleaning, combined with a regular high standard of cleaning during turnarounds, contributes to both overall guest satisfaction (and repeat bookings!) and also the longevity of the furnishings and fittings within the cottage.
So what little extra things can you do to make your cottage shine out above the rest?
- Polish all chrome: taps, kettles, toasters – if it’s shiny, make it sparkle (an ecloth is fabulous for this and it’s such an effortless task that really adds a sparkle).
- Remove grubby finger marks and grease marks from stainless steel – ovens, extractors, appliances (baby oil works wonders).
- Check all glassware and make sure it sparkles – no one likes taking a wine glass out of the cupboard and seeing lip stick marks the previous guest has left!
- Deep clean those ovens and defrost fridges – it goes without saying that ovens, microwaves and fridges should be clean and incorporated in the regular turnaround but every so often they may need some extra cleaning and also defrosting. You may find lining the trays and racks with kitchen foil keeps the oven cleaner for longer (but make sure the foil is replaced regularly to ensure it is free from marks and crumbs).
- Clean inside kitchen cupboards and remove everything so you can give them a good wipe out (don’t miss the crumbs in the cutlery tray!).
- If crockery is cracked or chipped, bin it and replace.
- Make sure pans are free from grease and grime and replace when tired and scratched.
- Disinfect and wipe out the bins inside and outside of the property.
- Refill the dishwasher with salt and rinse aid – guests rarely do this and your glasses will soon get ruined with water marks if you don’t!
- Descale the kettle (and pop the shower head in the water afterwards to descale that).
- Put all hanging utensils through the dishwasher (especially those around the hob that get splattered with cooking fat).
- Clean the front grills of extractor fans (kitchen and bathroom) as they gather dust between the slots.
- There are plenty of opportunities to really make a bathroom shine so polish all the chrome (toilet roll holders, taps, towel rails etc), clean the mirrors and shower enclosures and make sure all the ceramic is dust and hair free.
- Clean/wash shower curtains and remove limescale and stains – if you can’t get the stains out, replace them.
- Replace silicone and mastic if it is marked with black mould.
- Wash pillow and mattress protectors to keep them fresh and stain free.
- Hoover mattresses & high up areas such as the top of wardrobes and lamp shades, along with the lower level dust traps like under beds and dressing tables.
- Wash duvets and pillows and replace when they have lost their bounce or become marked.
- Clean all light bulbs (particularly pin spots) to remove dust and dulling, and hoover lamp shades. It is also worth double checking all the bulbs are working!
- Make sure windows sparkle inside and out (sunny days will really show up the marks!) and clean all glass with window cleaner (picture frames, tea lights, log burner door, mirrors etc).
- Give all the upholstery a good hoover to remove dust off curtains and crumbs from under the sofa cushions (plus the dreaded nail clippings!). Also wash removable covers periodically.
- Move furniture and hoover/clean underneath (particularly larger items that may not be moved during regular cleans).
- Wash nets, bed drapes, cloths and doilies to keep them crisp and white.
- If you take pets, you may want to spray the house with a flea/mite spray.
- Remove any mould marks around windows and touch up the paint if necessary (it will also help prevent curtains getting stained as mould is hard to shift!).
- You may also need to touch up paint on walk way areas that get knocked by cases such as stairways and halls.
- Wash skirting boards, door frames and architraves.
- Keep an eye on carpets and curtains and have them cleaned before they start to look grubby.
- Floor mats and door mats – wash them regularly (Turtle Mats are fantastic door mats – they may cost a little more but they wash and tumble dry, time and time again).
- Empty the filters on tumble dryers – surprisingly, they are now the second most common cause of house fires!
- Kick the spiders out of cracks and crevices. Also go behind radiators with a radiator brush.
The list is endless and, regardless of whether you do your own cleaning or have a housekeeper, regular, thorough deep cleaning is essential and not just a spring-time activity. First impressions are so important so make sure your cottage shines from the moment your guests arrive and hopefully it will be reflected in your reviews; helping to gain repeat bookings!