Stain Removal Tips: How to Clean Your Vacation Rental Like a Pro

Property Manager Tips
Stain Removal Tips: How to Clean Your Vacation Rental Like a Pro

Despite your best efforts and your highly trained cleaning crew, crusty messes, spills, and stains might plague your rental property from time to time. When you need to turn over the rental for the next guest, you’ll want to be sure the home is clean from top to bottom and that includes stains on linens, decorative pillows and even upholstery. This will go a long way to get you the good reviews you’re looking for. 

From learning how to get a stain out of a couch to general tips on how to clean upholstery, we have a few tricks for you to use inside your short-term rental. We understand that you have professional-grade processes in place for bed linens and towels, but this helpful list should give you a boost when it comes to on-the-fly cleaning in other parts of the rental when time is of the essence.

What Happened in My Short-Term Rental? Common Stains and Spills 

Almost all property owners have been there; you enter your property after a guest has just checked out and find it full of stains and messes. You might be thinking, “Now I have to charge an extra fee and learn how to clean stains in my Airbnb?” While the situation might be unpleasant, you can learn to identify common stains and how to get rid of each one. 

Juice or Red Wine Stains

Chances are your previous guest was on vacation, so they may have enjoyed some adult beverages. Unfortunately, red wine is notorious for leaving tricky stains on carpet, fabric and upholstery. If you see a very dark red stain on something, it’s probably from red wine. 

Pet Stains

You might notice pet stains in your short-term vacation rental as discolored or slightly damp spots on carpets, rugs, or upholstery. These stains often have a distinctive odor and can vary in color from yellow to brown, depending on the surface and age of the stain. Commonly, they appear in corners, under furniture, or in secluded areas where pets may have had more privacy to cause accidents.

Coffee and Tea Stains

Coffee and tea can leave unsightly marks around your rental. Light greenish-brown stains are probably from tea and dried brown marks from coffee. You might see these on coffee tables, countertops, and furniture upholstery. 

Blood Stains

Except in cases of serious accidents and injuries, blood stains in your rental are probably nothing to worry about. Things happen, and your previous guests might not have known how to remove the blood stains. We have handy tips for removing blood from fabric and upholstery in this guide. 

Cosmetic Stains on Furniture and Pillows

Cosmetics can leave gnarly stains on furniture and pillows if they’re not removed properly. Luckily, there are plenty of methods for quickly removing makeup stains throughout your rental. As a result, your next guests can get ready without seeing the cosmetic evidence of the last ones. 

Check the Tags: Finding the Right Stain Removers

Furniture, pillows, and other items in your rental will have manufacturer’s instructions on how to clean the items. Make sure you check the tags before starting the stain-removal process. Some furniture can only tolerate water and steam, while other pieces can handle soap and stain removers. 

Paying attention to the instructions on the tag will ensure that you don’t ruin the furniture in your rental properties. 

Efficient Stain Removal From Rugs and Fabrics: Quick Tips and Tricks

Most stains come out quite easily with a little time and the right cleansers and removal methods. Here are some of the best stain removal methods for the most common messes guests leave in rental properties. 

Red Wine and Juice Stain Removal

If you’re dealing with a red wine stain, apply salt and soda water to the area. You should see the red stain turning pink and lightening a bit. Let this mixture soak for a minute or two before blotting the stain away. Rinse the area with cold water and let it air dry thoroughly. 

If the stain came from non-alcoholic fruit juice, use a mixture of cold water, distilled white vinegar, and a drop of dish soap instead. Allow the mixture to soak for about 15 minutes before rinsing the area through blotting motions. 

Pet Stains

To remove pet stains, start by blotting the affected area with a clean, dry cloth to absorb as much moisture as possible. Then, apply a mixture of water and vinegar or a specialized pet stain remover to the stain, gently scrubbing it into the fabric with a soft brush. Finally, rinse the area with clean water and blot dry, or use a wet vacuum if available, to remove any remaining cleaning solution and moisture. Products that contain enzyme cleaners, typically found at pet superstores or online, are also useful for pet stains.

Lighten Tea and Coffee Stains

Create a paste with either distilled white vinegar and carbonated water or lemon juice and salt. Apply either mixture to the tea or coffee stain and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. 

Then, rinse the area with cold water and see if the stain has lightened at all. You may need to repeat this process a few times to get rid of the stain. Avoid rubbing the stain into the fabric, though. You could also consider quick cleaning tools that are currently on the market such as Tide To Go pens.

Blood Pre-Treatment and Removal

To remove blood from upholstery or cloth, begin by dabbing a damp paper towel or cloth over the stain. Make sure you only use cold water to wet the towel. After you’ve blotted as much of the stain away as possible, prepare the pre-treatment. 

Mix cold water with hydrogen peroxide and soak the stained area with this solution. Let the pre-treatment sit for about 30 minutes to lighten the stain. Next, wash away the solution and proceed to wash the fabric either in the washing machine or by hand. Continue to use cold water and avoid heat. 

Cosmetic Stains

Blot the stained area with a wet paper towel. Try to soak up as much of the makeup residue as possible, avoiding rubbing or grinding the stain further into the fabric. 

For skin-colored cosmetics like foundation and concealer, use hydrogen peroxide and blotting motions. You can also gently scrub at the stain using an extra toothbrush, as this may help break up any powder in the cosmetics. 

For lipstick stains, use a few drops of anti-grease dish detergent and water. The lipstick will come out as long as the dish soap is designed to fight oil-based messes like grease. 

Remedies for carpet and rug stains

To tackle stains on carpets and rugs, which are often caused by common incidents like food and drink spills, pet accidents, or dirt tracked in from outside, begin by gently dabbing the area with a dry cloth to absorb excess liquid. Then, apply a cleaning solution appropriate for the carpet material, such as a homemade mix of water and gentle laundry detergent or a commercial carpet cleaner, using a soft-bristled brush to lightly work it into the stain in a circular motion. After treating the stain, thoroughly rinse the area with water and pat it dry with a clean towel, ensuring no cleaning residue remains.

Different materials require different cleaning methods. Wool, for example, is more delicate and can be damaged by harsh chemicals, whereas synthetic fibers like nylon are more resilient. Different stains respond to different treatments, too. Organic stains like food or blood may require an enzyme-based cleaner, while synthetic stains like ink or paint might need a solvent-based remover. 

Remember: never let a stain sit! More than likely, you will find the stain after the guest has gone, but the faster you get to work on clean up, the easier the process will be.

Successfully Remove Stains From Your Rental Property with a Few Simple Steps

You don’t have to spend lots of money hiring outside cleaning companies or stockpiling expensive products. Most stains come out with the use of traditional home remedies, like vinegar and salt. 

Now that you know how to get a stain out of a couch, washcloth, or other absorbent fabric, you can make your rental look like a million bucks. Impress your next guests with these efficient cleaning methods. Mess too big to clean up yourself? Get a quote from Safely today to have a short-term rental insurance policy in place that can help when these types of disasters are too much for small stain removal. Then you can focus on more important things like running an efficient business, making money, and keeping your guests happy.

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Amber is the Claims Leader at Safely and has been with the company for over four years. She manages a team of claims adjusters, working with company leadership to improve processes, maintain accurate documentation and educate team members across various departments on best practices. Before joining Safely, Amber worked as a GAP Adjuster Supervisor. Her early career includes serving as a customer service representative and unit manager at Assurant Specialty Properties as well as business operations manager at Farmers Insurance. Amber was born in Dayton, Ohio and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance.

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