To ensure a safe summer for the residents, owners, guests, and members, the Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket communities, the Cape Cod & Islands Association of REALTORS has developed guidelines and procedures with a model cleaning plan for its members to adopt into their business in consultation with their professional cleaning service provider.

A Model Cleaning Plan for Use with a Short-Term Rental

This is not medical or legal advice, but rather a collection of the best available guidance from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the state of Massachusetts Safety Standards and Checklist: Operators of Lodging, and other available public health agencies.

All short-term rentals in Massachusetts are at a minimum to adopt the Massaschusetts Safety Standards and Checklist: Operators of Lodgings.

Required to Perform Cleaning

Anyone cleaning a short-term rental is required to use the latest CDC guidance for best practices for cleaning facilities.


All those associated with the cleaning process are required to wear personal protective equipment (PPEs) and gloves while cleaning and shall maintain social distancing guidelines.


Hands must be washed when disposing of gloves for at least 20 seconds and the gloves must be removed and disposed of prior to leaving the property. At a minimum, a new set of disposable gloves is used for each property; however, we recommend changing gloves between tasks within the same property with a hand washing when changing the gloves.


If you wear a mask that can be cleaned, it should be cleaned between uses of each property.

Cleaning Procedure

Practice enhanced room sanitation by cleaning and sanitizing all hard surfaces at a minimum each time a guest checks out and before the next guest is admitted, and laundering all linens, bedspreads and covers.

For Hard Surfaces, clean all surfaces with soap and water first. Cleaning with soap reduces the number of germs, dirt, and impurities

All surfaces should then be disinfected with an EPA-approved disinfectant that is on the CDC’s List N. Do not mix products or create your own as they could cause harm. Lysol and Rubbing Alcohol are among the top disinfecting cleaners.


Provide extra care with disinfectant to high touch, high use areas: light switches, remote controls, thermostats, door and cabinet knobs, toilet handles, etc.

For Soft Surfaces, all must be done in accordance with below between stays:

  • Disinfect with an EPA-registered household disinfectant using an EPA-approved disinfectant

  • Launder items (if possible) according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.

For Electronics, all must be done in accordance between stays:

  • Place a wipeable cover on any “touch electronics” as possible, including remote controls, thermostats, keyboards, and touch screens.


For clothing, towels, linens and other launderable items, all items must be laundered between stays in accordance with the following directives or a seperate set must be set out.

  • Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use the warmest appropriate water setting and dry items completely.

  • Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry.

  • Do not shake dirty laundry.

  • Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces.

  • Remove gloves, and wash hands right away.

Dirty linens should be removed and transported from rooms in single-use, sealed bags, and pillow protectors on the guest room beds should be changed in between guests at a minimum.

All bed linen and laundry should be washed at a high temperature and cleaned in accordance with CDC guidelines

Trash Removal

At least once during each stay, trash should be removed from the property and disposed of. All trash should be removed from inside of the unit prior to each stay.

There should be a trash container stored outside and all guests should be told to dispose

of their trash into that trash container at the end of their stay. When disposing of the

trash from the property, gloves and masks shall be used.