Manners On the Move: How To Clean Up After Yourself When On Holiday


Travel unites people of all backgrounds but, with times still tight, many of us are finding alternative ways to fulfil our wanderlust.

Whatever your destination, booking a room via sites such as Airbnb or couchsurfing is often more economical than paying for a hotel room (and a more attractive prospect than risking it all in a hostel) but these bookings do come with one unique, and often overlooked, feature: the need to clean up after yourself! No maids are replacing towels or making beds here.

If you’ve ever frantically Googled “how to get rid of bleach stains” after a misguided midnight cleaning attempt, or desperately prayed that no-one wonders why their rug is a few inches north of where they left it, then you’d better read on.

Living Room: Salt Heals Wounds (and Stains)

Accidents happen but sometimes the actions we take to correct them can do more harm than good. Applying harsh cleaning products to a stain on someone else’s sofa could leave you asking how to get rid of bleach stains as well as how to banish the original mark.

Instead, try a gentler cleaner first – like salt. For wet red wine stains, cover it with paper towels to soak up excess liquid (DO NOT dab or rub) and sprinkle a generous layer of table salt over the area. Leave overnight, vacuum the next morning, and stare in wonder at the vanished stain.

For dried stains, you can try mixing baking soda with lemon juice. Apply the paste to the stain and let it sit for a few minutes before wiping with a damp cloth. Remember to always test cleaning methods on a small area first to make sure you won’t cause any damage. After all, this isn’t your home.

Bathroom: Don’t Just Wash Yourself

The only thing worse than clearing your own hair from the bathroom drains is clearing someone else’s! Spare a thought for your hosts by giving the bathroom a quick spritz before you leave – remove any hair from plugholes, wipe down surfaces, and scrub the loo with a little bleach.

Remember to only use cleaning products according to the instructions on the label and avoid mixing products, especially bleach, as harmful chemicals can be created. Ventilate the bathroom while cleaning so you don’t inhale the fumes and if you have any little accidents then make sure you look up how to get rid of bleach stains immediately as you’ll need to act fast to prevent lasting damage.

If you’re cautious about using chemicals like bleach in someone else’s home then another option you can try is white vinegar and baking soda. Pour some of each down the sink  and watch it fizz. Once the bubbles have gone, run the hot tap for a few minutes to rinse it down.

Kitchen: Wipe the worktops

There’s no need to get overzealous here; a little water and a kitchen spray is all you need. As well as the worktops, you should also wipe down the hob and oven (don’t forget the microwave if you’ve used that) and wash all the dishes you’ve used, putting them back where you found them.

Some kitchen sprays contain bleach so remember to be careful when using these and don’t spray them near carpets or soft furnishings – well, not unless you want to learn how to remove bleach stains from fabrics!

Everywhere: The Power of Vacuum

Finally, make sure you give every room in the home a quick vacuum before you leave. Despite your best efforts a few crumbs and hairs will have been deposited on the floors during your stay so you should at least try to clean these up.

Adjust the setting on the vacuum cleaner for different types of floor (hard floors, carpets, etc.) and give any rugs or mats a quick shake outside. If you’re worried about damaging the floors or can’t find the vacuum then a simple broom or dustpan and brush can get rid of the worst of it.

Manners Cost Nothing

So, there you have it. If you want to secure that glowing Airbnb review that’ll keep you adventuring for many years to come then all you need to do follow these simple steps and clean up after yourself. After all, manners cost nothing but it pays to be polite.