The Essential 8: Cleaning Supplies You Should Stock at Your Vacation Rental



Ahh, the age-old question for vacation rentals and Airbnbs: how much cleaning should you expect guests to do when they stay at your property?

The debate rages, but one thing is certain: guests are more likely to clean on their own if you provide them with the right cleaning tools and supplies. After all, who is going to willingly do dishes when all they’ve got to work with is a musty old sponge?

Many of you are getting it right, according to The Distinguished Guest’s Hospitality Quiz—68% supply a brand-new sponge for every set of guests. Yay!

(Tip: There’s still time to take the Hospitality Quiz yourself and instantly see the results from nearly 700 respondents—and counting!).

But what else are your vacation rental peers providing? What should you provide?

Note: Our blog posts contain affiliate/referral links. Click here to learn more. 

Here are the Essential Eight cleaning/kitchen supplies your guests shouldn’t have to go without:

1. Dish Soap

I leave a fresh (or refilled), small 2 to 4 oz. bottle of dish soap for each set of guests. My go-to brand is Dawn because the blue matches my décor (’s true), but not only that, it also cuts grease like a champ.  

Every so often, I buy a dozen of the small bottles so I have them handy, and then refill with a large economy bottle as needed. As soon as the bottle starts looking the worse for wear, I replace it.

TDG Recommends:  Economy Bottle Dish Soap or Meyers Dish Soap

2. A New Sponge

As you might have guessed, every guest at my property is, without question, the owner of a pristine new sponge, wrapped in plastic. My preference is the Scotch Brite blue sponges, since they are the non-abrasive and easier on my pots and pans.

It’s not a luxury but a must, in my view. Build it into your cleaning fee! After checkout your cleaner can use the sponge to finish the job, then toss it. It’s a small amount of money well-spent.   

TDG Recommends: Scotch-Brite Sponge

3. Dishwasher Detergent

Single-use dishwasher pods are a godsend for guest convenience and limiting overuse. Sadly, I find they don’t always dissolve in my dishwasher, but your mileage may vary depending on your own dishwasher brand.  As for me, I leave a liquid bottle and replenish as needed to ensure my dishes get sparkling clean. 

TDG Recommends: Seventh Generations Detergent Gel

4. Laundry Detergent

Luckily, my washer doesn’t have the same problem as my dishwasher, so I’m a huge fan of the single-use pods for my vacation rental’s laundry. Unsure how many pods to keep in stock? Take the average number of nights guest stay at your rental and multiply that by two. For example, my average guest stay is 10 days, so I provide 20 pods (in hopes that no vacationer will feel the need to do more than two loads of laundry a day!).

TDG Recommends: Kirkland Signature Brand Laundry Pods

5. Multi-Surface Cleaner

This one is important: if you leave a nice-smelling, organic cleaning product, guests will be more likely to use it to clean your counters. I have a lot of glass, so I swear by Mrs. Meyer’s—which is a natural product that’s safe on most surfaces. I leave one bottle under the sink and my cleaner refills as necessary with my backup supply locked in my storage closet. 

TDG Recommends: Mrs. Meyers Multi-Surface Cleaner

6. Carpet Cleaner

To my dismay, condo regulations for second-floor units like mine dictate that I must have carpet in my vacation rental (insert sad face). If you have a choice for your vacation rental or Airbnb (lucky!), I’d go hardwood all the way. But if you have carpet—or decorative area rugs, even—definitely stock carpet cleaner. Accidents happen, and most guests will be anxious to get their mess cleaned up quickly.

I have tested several carpet cleaners and for me, Folex has performed best. Plus it’s easy to use and is scent-free. 

TDG Recommends: Folex

7. Paper Towels

The majority of our quiz respondents leave at least 1 or 2 rolls of paper towels for each set of guests, which I’m happy to see! To the 3% who aren’t leaving any at all, you might want to rethink. It’s just not hospitable to leave guests with no way to wipe a surface, dry their hands or clean your carpet. Purchase a good-quality paper towel like ADD LINK. If you “subscribe” on Amazon, you’ll save money and won’t have to think about re-ordering paper towels again.

TDG Recommends: Kirkland Signature Brand Paper Towels

8. Trash Bags

Since Costco is my go-to place to shop, I usually have more than enough trash bags on hand at my rental. I stash a few boxes in my owners closet and my cleaner replaces the large roll under the kitchen sink as needed. It’s an inexpensive no-brainer for me. Maybe I’m lucky, but my guests always abide by the “use what you need, and no more” mentality. 

TDG Recommends: Kirkland Signature Brand Trash Bags

Even though many vacation rentals owners, managers and Airbnb hosts are reluctant to leave too many supplies for guests, on average, offering these conveniences won’t break the bank—for my three-bedroom, three-bathroom condo, I estimate that the average I spend on these guest-friendly consumables for each turnover is approximately $7.00.

Worth it! And who knows, it may encourage guests to leave your space in a better better shape than they would otherwise.

Happy shopping!

And a Bonus: Handheld, Cordless Vacuum 

If your property is in a sand-prone area, or just has lots of tile and hardwood, a cordless vacuum is a lifesaver for your guests. (Especially guests like yours truly, who find the feeling of sand on a tile floor to be like nails on a chalkboard!)

Really, having any kind of vacuum accessible for your guests is a plus, but the advantage of a cordless, handheld vacuum is that its slim, lightweight, and nearly effortless for guests to use. Which, of course, ups the chances that they'll contribute a quick mid-week clean. 

We know Dyson products are a bit of a hit to the wallet, but some items are your rental are just worth the splurge—and this is one of them. 

TDG Recommends: Dyson Cyclone V10 Lightweight Cordless Vacuum 

Note: Our blog posts contain affiliate/referral links. Click here to learn more.