30 minutes to a spotless house: lessons learned from an Airbnb Superhost

30 minutes to a spotless house: lessons learned from an Airbnb Superhost. I’ve always admired (actually, am bitterly jealous) of my girlie Malea who always seems to have a Pinterest-perfect house. Everything’s spotless. So I pinned her down to share her secrets, and one pan of homemade sweet rolls later, she spilled everything. You’re welcome.


As told by Malea Petersen.

I have always loved staying in hotels. There, I can require the impossibly high cleaning standards that I’m totally incapable of achieving in my own home. But when we decided to utilize the guest cottage in our side yard as an Airbnb guest suite, I realized things had to change. To be a Superhost, your place has to be “Sparkling Clean.” This is the most sought-after accolade and something that puts you at the top of the heap when it comes to searches. I knew soon, there would be guests who were just like me. They would also want glorious spotlessness in their Airbnb surroundings that was unlike what they could achieve at home, either. However, then the reality of complete strangers coming into my cottage and judging me for my slovenly housekeeping became very real. I had visions of someone wielding a black light that would illuminate my guest cottage like a murder scene in a CSI episode, and all the things I’d stuffed into drawers and hid under artfully arranged throw pillows would make their grimy appearance. Then, there would be The Condemnation. I actually had a nightmare where I was standing in a town square in medieval times and the peasants were circling me, shouting “UNCLEAN!”

It’s not that I’m a complete slob, but I did everything in half-measures, cleaning up the kitchen but leaving a pile of laundry in the hallway. Scrubbing the bathroom to a gleaming shine but never making the beds. Throw in kiddos, work, writing, and church? The house never looked clean to me. Really clean.

Because there’s only a two hour period between check-out and check-in, I had to develop a speed cleaning system that could make the entire place shiny and smelling of lavender in minutes. But once I had it down, I was unstoppable. The same plan works just as well in our house. And it’s never been cleaner. I spend 30 minutes a day making our place look like one of those “after” pictures on Pinterest. And once you get it down, I promise you’ll clean like this forever.

So, here we go…


1. Keep all your cleaning supplies together.

I use an old-school cleaning caddy stuffed with everything I need, from fabric freshening spray to magic sponges. I use a feather duster every time- it keeps you from ever having to drag down pictures or clear crowded spaces by simply keeping them dust-free. Window and mirror cleaner, anti-bacterial spray, extra garbage sacks, paper towels, and furniture polish.


2. Put things in boxes.

No, this is not like my former method where I would simply jam unrelated items into a drawer until I couldn’t close it anymore. But when setting up the living area in the cottage, I put all the TV remotes, charging cords and plugs in one pretty box. That got me thinking… Next was adorable little bottles and toiletries that all went into a basket in the bathroom. In the kitchen, food items – like condiments – nestle together in a clear plastic box in the fridge so I can track what needs to be replaced for the guests. Like items contained with like make it so easy to see what you have. Sneaky inside tip: when something is taken out of the box, basket or drawer, it is returned right back to its place as soon as we’re done with it. No sticking it on the counter with a vague promise to do it in a minute. Do it now.


3. Two sets of linens, but only two.

When I strip all the beds in the house – including in the guest cottage – I throw them all in the washer while I’m making the beds with the other set of sheets. Same with towels and washcloths. Our washer and dryer are in the guest cottage, so I have to speed-wash all of our laundry between check out and check-in. Sneaky inside tip: It’s easy to end up with 3,011 unmatched sheet sets with the occasional novelty Santa pillowcase. Purge. You just need two sets.


4. Run the dishwasher at night, empty it the first thing in the morning.

Stashing dirty dishes just after we’ve used them into the dishwasher keeps our table and counters clean. I put in the pots and pans, even if I know I’m washing them by hand later. It’s amazing how much better a clean kitchen can make me feel- no nagging sense that it’s one more thing I need to do. Sneaky inside tip: Wipe down all the appliances after you start the dishwasher. It keeps the crud from building up and turning into something you can’t get off with a jackhammer.


5. When taking out the garbage, take out ALL the garbage.

The kitchen garbage can fills up faster than the rest of the little waste bins scattered around the house, but at least every other time when I’m hauling out the kitchen mess, I swoop through every room with a fistful of small bin liners and replace the dirty bag with a clean one.


6. Clean the tub, toilet, sink, and shower every time you bathe.

Mr. Magic Sponge and spray cleaner are your best friends. Spray everything, and by the time you’ve dried your hair, wiping everything clean and shining the mirrors takes less than five minutes.


7. Invest in a useful vacuum with lots of handy attachments.

Cleaning is so much easier with a vacuum that goes from carpet to hardwood to tile. Those long wand attachments are great for getting the tops of shelves and swiping away cobwebs, etc.

Time it… I promise it’s all done in thirty minutes!

(Image credits via Pixabay)

(Cover image credit: Pexels)


New Year’s Resolution Series: Developing The Mindset For Success

New Year’s Resolution Series: Developing The Mindset For Success. Happy New Year! If one of your new resolutions is to develop the right mindset for success, there’s no one better than Dan Young to guide us- the owner of PC Laptops and one of the nicest humans we know. (Editor’s note: if one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to take better care of yourself, have a look at our blog on “Gentle Ways To Care For Yourself During Busy Times,” which is found here.)

It looks like Salt Lake City could be getting the 2030 Winter Olympics! Only because… um… everyone else seems to be dropping out. We have the release date for season 3 of “Stranger Things!”


In Tell Me Something Good: the lovely story of a dad, who when his daughter couldn’t come home for Christmas because of her schedule as a flight attendant, bought tickets for all 6 of her flights to spend time together. That’s love!

New Resolutions Series – The Secrets To Your Success – 1.4.19

New Resolutions Series – The Secrets To Your Success. The Todd is back from his sick bed and still germy. Imagine bringing your son from North Carolina for a holiday visit, and the high altitude here in Utah sparks headaches so violent that a trip to the ER reveals he has brain cancer… just in time for treatment. It’s a miracle. There’s a GoFundMe account raising money for his treatments, you can find it here.

Then, there’s an epic story of the slickest robbery in Italy- ever. It’s cooler than the movie. And in our New Resolutions series, if one of yours is building your career, Dan Young from PC Laptops is here to tell you how.

If you missed any of our New Year’s Resolution series…

  1. Developing the mindset for success is here.
  2. What do you do when things fall apart? Learning to never give up is here.

Cover image credit: Flazingo Photos