If you’re the owner of a short-term vacation rental property, you want your guests to be happy, comfortable, and above all, healthy. As a host, you already know that it’s imperative that your home be immaculately clean. After all, reviews can make or break your Airbnb or VRBO business – and cleanliness is of utmost importance – especially when it comes to guest reviews. If a host receives a negative review for a dirty home, it’s usually the end-all for any new bookings. Throughout the ongoing pandemic, you’ve ramped up your cleaning and disinfection efforts tenfold, and your property is probably a whole new level of white-glove clean. But what if your guests are uncomfortable as a result of something that’s not visible to the naked eye? We’re talking about allergens and irritants – pesky substances that can come from even the most seemingly innocent sources. In this article, we’ll give you the rundown on how to reduce allergens and irritants in your short-term rental property so your guests can breathe easy.
Preparing Your Short-Term Vacation Rental for Guests With Allergies & Asthma
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology (ACAAI), more than 50 million Americans experience allergy symptoms, and 24 million have asthma. As a result, there is a massive market for allergy-friendly Airbnb listings, with many travelers willing to pay more to stay in a space that won’t make them feel sick. In fact, some potential guests will actively search for “allergy-friendly” Airbnb listings, which means you could increase the audience for your property by making a few adjustments to your regular cleaning and maintenance routine. It’s important to note that if a guest has a severe allergy, transparent communication is key to ensure a smooth experience for all.
Although completely eliminating allergens from your rental property is impossible, there are several surefire ways in which you can drastically reduce common allergens and neutralize their threat. Here’s how:
Eliminate Chemical Irritants & Allergens
Most store-bought cleaners, disinfectants, and laundry products available today are loaded with harsh chemicals that are highly irritating to those with allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivity. To help ensure your guests are comfortable during their stay in your rental home, avoid using harsh chemical cleaning products like bleach, ammonia, and fragranced laundry products. The most notorious chemical irritants are usually easy to spot. The government requires the makers of harsh cleaning materials to label their products with words like "DANGER," "POISON," or "USE IN A WELL-VENTILATED AREA." These warnings should clue you in that the product contains chemicals that can be harsh to the lungs and skin. Common irritants in conventional cleaning agents include bleach and ammonia. But also be wary of “natural” labels, as some of these solutions may be made with allergens, such as lemon, coconut, or tea-tree oils. Instead, choose alternative cleaning and laundry products that are free from harsh chemicals, synthetic fragrances, strong odors, dyes, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Clean Without Harsh Chemicals
When it’s time to clean your short-term rental property, reach for Vital Oxide: our all-purpose cleaner, sanitizer, EPA-registered disinfectant, odor eliminator, and more. Vital Oxide will replace your current household cleaners, sanitizers, disinfectants, and air fresheners with one product designed to enhance your environment – without any harsh chemicals, noxious fumes, or harmful residues. This multi-use product is perfect for use in all areas of the home and beyond. Additionally, Vital Oxide is tested and proven effective against SARS-CoV-2 (the coronavirus that causes COVID-19), with a contact time of just five minutes. After use, Vital Oxide breaks down into simple salt and creates no harmful byproducts.
Our Anti-Allergen Laundry Detergent is ideal for use in short-term vacation rentals. This plant and mineral-based hypoallergenic detergent is recommended by allergists and dermatologists and is free from perfumes, dyes, and enzymes. It’s powerful enough for the most demanding use yet gentle enough for the most sensitive skin. When cleaning in between guests, use the Anti-Allergen Laundry Detergent to wash the bedding, linens, throw rugs, pillowcases, and other washables to neutralize allergens and leave your laundry clean and fresh. Another major plus? Our detergent is 100% biodegradable, making it a superb environmentally-friendly choice.
Bonus: Don’t forget to add in your rental property listing that your cleaning routine is free from harsh chemicals, allergens, and irritants!
Banish Allergens From Animals
90% of U.S. households have detectable levels of cat or dog allergens, and short-term rentals are no exception. As Airbnb has recently implemented its service animal policy to accommodate all guests requiring the presence of assistance animals, hosts can no longer claim that their property is 100% animal-free. VRBO also has a similar service animal policy. As a host, you can, however, implement a strict “no pet” policy. Just make sure you clearly list in your House Rules that pets are not allowed.
Thankfully, if you decide to have a pet-friendly rental, or if you host guests with service animals, there are ways you can neutralize allergens from animal dander:
- Clear away clutter. Less stuff around your rental property will make it easier to clean and get rid of shed animal hair and dander.
- After guests have checked out and during your regular cleaning routine, use the Anti-Allergen Laundry Detergent to wash bedding, linens, throw rugs, pillow covers, and other washables to eliminate animal dander and other common allergens.
- Consider investing in a vacuum with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which prevents animal hair (and dander), dust, and other substances from spewing back into the air when vacuuming. Vacuum all surfaces, including floors, underneath furniture, rugs, and upholstery, after guests with animals have checked out.
- After vacuuming, use an Anti-Allergen Solution to eliminate any lingering allergens from furniture, bedding, rugs, carpeting, upholstery, and more. Our Anti-Allergen Solution is 100% biodegradable, made with a plant and mineral-based solution. It’s free of fragrances and other ingredients that can trigger asthma flare-ups and irritate those with respiratory conditions.
- After vacuuming hardwood and tile flooring, mop with a solution of one part Vital Oxide to nine parts water to sanitize and eliminate any lingering allergens from animal dander.
Have a Strict No-Smoking Policy
Tobacco smoke is a powerful respiratory irritant that can cause adverse symptoms, especially in young children and individuals with respiratory conditions like asthma or COPD. This is because tobacco smoke is loaded with many toxic ingredients and irritating chemicals. And worse, the permeating funk of tobacco smoke is resilient, lasting long after the last cigarette has been put out. Not only does stale smoke residue smell terrible, but it can also be dangerous.
To eliminate lingering smoke odors, as well as the carcinogenic residue, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your rental property with a product that has serious odor-busting powers. That’s where we come in. Vital Oxide is an extremely powerful odor eliminator, capable of neutralizing even the toughest odors – including cigarette smoke – for good. Rather than masking odors with synthetic fragrance (another major irritant), Vital Oxide works by oxidation. Vital Oxide eliminates odors caused by tobacco smoke, fire smoke, musty odors, stale cooking odors, and more. Simply spray, fog, or wipe on full-strength and let air dry to provide long-lasting residual deodorizing action.
Before listing your property for rent, be sure that you clearly express in your House Rules that there is “no smoking allowed” on your property and that breaking this rule could result in a hefty fine. You could also go a step further and have a clear “no smokers” policy, to eliminate the risk of thirdhand smoke residue from guests who smoke outdoors.
Control Dust Mite Allergens
Dust mites are the most common indoor allergen. These pesky microscopic arachnids can survive in even the cleanest of homes. Dust mite allergens can aggravate allergies and asthma, leaving the sufferer with breathing difficulties, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, cough, headaches, sinus problems, eczema, and other adverse symptoms. Though it’s impossible to completely remove dust mites and their allergens from your rental property, there are several methods you can use to drastically reduce their numbers and neutralize their threat:
- Control the temperature and humidity inside of your rental property. Dust mites love humid places, which means you may be battling the overall humidity in your home depending on your local climate. The ideal temperature for dust mites is between 68°F and 77°F, with relative humidity around 70% to 80%. To make your home less desirable to dust mites, set your thermostat to 70°F or less and monitor the humidity to keep it below 50%. You can request that guests abide by your thermostat settings or invest in a smart thermostat to remotely control your property’s temperature and humidity.
- During your cleaning process between guests, avoid “dry dusting” methods, which can cause dust mite allergens to go airborne. Instead, use a damp microfiber cloth to dust. Spray your cloth with Vital Oxide for extra dust-busting power and to neutralize the allergen.
- Wash all washables (especially bedding) with the Anti-Allergen Laundry Detergent to neutralize dust mite allergens. Regular laundry methods can help to reduce dust mite allergens – but do not completely eliminate them. Using an effective detergent is critical in the fight against dust mites!
- Use DustMiteX to eliminate lingering mite allergens in bedding, pillows, rugs, and other fabrics potentially carrying allergy-causing contaminants.
- At least twice yearly (or more often if you have a fully-booked rental!), aim to use a rinse-and-vac cleaner on upholstery, carpet, rugs, and mattresses to deep clean and remove dust mites and their allergens. Also, adding a miticide will help to keep dust mites from coming back. Remember, dust mites also thrive in places with high humidity, so make sure you allow plenty of time for thorough drying. Using a fan will help speed up your drying time.
Say “No” To Air Fresheners & Scented Candles
While you’re getting your home ready for guests, it can be incredibly tempting to spray a sweet-smelling air freshener or light a scented candle to create a warm, appealing environment – especially if you’re trying to cover up an unpleasant odor. However, simply covering up the stench is only a short-term solution, and it won’t be effective for very long. It may also affect your health and the health of your guests. While fragranced products may smell as fresh as spring flowers, they are also powerful irritants that can leave those with allergies, respiratory conditions, and chemical sensitivity feeling ill – or worse.
To avoid these noxious chemicals and powerful irritants, commit to only using fragrance-free products in your short-term rental. Take heart; Vital Oxide is the only product you need to combat and remove odors. Use Vital Oxide to remove the leftover fish stench from your microwave, neutralize the dog urine smell embedded in your living room rug, and deodorize your rental’s overworked garbage can.