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How to Clean a Gite or Holiday Cottage Checklist

Updated on August 31, 2014
Our three star gite in Limousin, France
Our three star gite in Limousin, France | Source

Clean your holiday cottage or gite

I've had a holiday cottage (or gite in french) for about 6 years now and although I'm no expert, I do get good feedback from my guests. I must admit that I prepared this 'how to clean your gite' checklist for my husband as he will have to tackle that all-important gite changeover for the first time all by himself next Saturday - but I thought it might prove useful for other would-be gite or holiday rental owners.

So this is what is involved in owning, cleaning, preparing and presenting a gite.

Tools of the trade - Gite-cleaning kit

I need quite a bit of kit to clean the gite, some of it is in the gite already but others I have to take from our main house. If I forget to take all my tools, equipment and materials, I have to go traipsing back to get them.

Equipment to take from the house:

  • Vaccuum cleaner
  • Cif cleaner (cif does a good enough job without leaving a deposit)
  • Brush to clean basins and plugs
  • All-purpose or floor cleaner
  • Feather duster
  • New bin liner
  • Small plastic bag for odds and ends of rubbish
  • Fresh loo rolls
  • Washing powder
  • Flowers
  • Welcome gifts (honey, eggs, fruit etc)

In the gite I keep:

  • Broom
  • Cleaning sponges
  • Cream cleaner
  • Toilet cleaner
  • Mop and bucket

Babies, bedding and towels


  • Check to see how many baby beds and highchairs you need


  • Pillow cases, sheets, duvet covers and towels

Remove rubbish and mess

Check all bins and remove all rubbish. Our guests nearly always leave the place spic and span but check all the same. Dying flowers are one thing and sometimes guests forget to take out the coffee grounds from the coffee machine.


Check the gite for dirty sheets, towels, tea towels etc and put on a wash. They will be ready to hang out long before you finish the work. Hang outside to dry.

Dust and remove cobwebs

People REALLY don't like spiders and spiders are all around us in Limousin - but, I hasten to add, they are not of the very scary type. Our spiders are tiny-bodied, thin legged, whispish creatures and they are devestatingly industrious.

First task, de-cobweb and dust starting with between the beams. Work from top to bottom and if you have more than one floor start at the top of the house. (Dust will fall down!)

Using your feather duster dust and de-cobweb between beams, inside and outside windows and doors, curtain rails, shutters, behind bedheads and bedside tables, over and under tables and chairs. Check all corners from ceiling to floor. Dust all lamps (inside and out) and skirting boards. Dust every surface and legdge. Dust on top of wardropes and cabinets, behind and on top of the TV ans inside all cupboards.

Clean inside the gite

Clean, dust, cobweb, wipe and mop
Clean, dust, cobweb, wipe and mop | Source

Clean the kitchen

Clean with Cif kitchen and bathroom cleaner or a cream cleaner for more stubborn dirt.

  • Clean pedal bin and put a fresh bin liner in
  • Kitchen, including sink, draining board, work surface (including bread board and UNDER bread board), oven and hob, dishwasher, washing machine, microwave.
  • Wipe down all tiles
  • Check machines are clean, the dishwasher arms are not blocked, clean the dishwasher filter and check washing machine filter from time to time.
  • Empty toaster and clean toaster 'drawer'
  • Switch fridge freezer off and clean fridge outside with Cif and inside with warm water. You can add bicarbonate of soda if you like.
  • Wipe the dining table lamp
  • Clean extractor fan and make sure it is grease-free

Clean bathrooms

  • Put toilet cleaner into all toilets
  • Clean washbasins, all mugs and toothbrush holders, check bathroom bins and cupboards, clean showers including soap dishes, taps and shower heads. Don't forget to clean the plugs
  • Clean toilets, including toilet bases
  • Clean mirrors
  • Put a toilet roll into each toilet

Showers, basins and tiles

Clean basin, shower, tiles and mirrors
Clean basin, shower, tiles and mirrors | Source

Tidy beds

I say tidy beds because we don't make the beds in the gite, unlike our Bed and Breakfast.

We provide pillows and duvets and guests can rent sheets and towels. (We provide kitchen towels and tea towels free of charge).

Tidy the duvets and pillows and put bed covers over them. Lay out sheets if they have been ordered in a tidy pile.

Flowers and welcome gifts

Put the flowers and welcome gifts on the table together with information sheets and WiFi code.

Clean windows

Check the windows and if necessary clean with window cleaner.

Sweep, vaccuum and mop

Sweet or vaccuum the floors taking care to clean under beds and cupboards, in corners, behind toilets, under the table and sofa. If necessary mop with hot water and floor cleaner.

Open windows and doors to dry the floor.

Outside the gite or holiday cottage

  • Cut grass
  • Weed and tidy garden and patio
  • Cut back grape vine and climbers and/or tie up
  • Rake leaves from lawn and patio
  • Sweep parking area
  • Wipe garden furniture
  • Empty rubbish bin and eco-bin, clean and dry
  • Clean the BBQ

All this to be done by 4pm

Clean and tidy outside the gite

Clean garden furniture, weed patio, cut grass, cut back and tidy climbers
Clean garden furniture, weed patio, cut grass, cut back and tidy climbers | Source

Final check

Check all light bulbs inside and out. Check gas bottle and make sure everything is neat and tidy.

Don't forget to get the washing in.

When the guests arrive

Welcome guests and show them into the gite and explain how things work as you go:

  • Show them their parking space
  • Invite them to pick fruit (plumbs, cherries, grapes, peaches)
  • Tell them about the donkeys
  • Tell them about the eco-bin and rubbish bin (put out Thursday evening)
  • TV in English and French, video and CD
  • Point out tourist information and machine guides, urgent numbers etc
  • Suggest they open all drawers and cupboards to see what is provided and what they have to get
  • Warn about shower head - point into shower and not into bedroom
  • Play area - children must be supervised and only one child at a time on trampoline
  • Read the electricity meter and make a note in the book. Tell them electricity is about 10 euros a week per family but not to use the heaters as they are expensive. (Wood for wood burning stove is free).
  • Take the caution and note in the book
  • Ask if they have any questions
  • Tell them to come to us if they have problems or queries or would like to see our tourist information
  • Wish them a happy holiday

Gite, vacation rental or holiday cottages

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© 2014 Barbara Walton

If you have anything to say or add to this article, do leave a comment

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    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Thanks Janis. I'm pleased you found it useful.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      4 years ago

      You have some very helpful tips here.

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Thanks for the offer! Would love to see you here. The word gite means a sort of little hide-away or 'nest' for animals. Quite nice idea really.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 

      4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      I hadn't heard the term gite before. Yours looks wonderful! I'd love to come and help you out any time you need it! ;)

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Thanks Brian. Everyone I've talked to comes up with more or less the same answer. It is a bit tight if guests leave at 10am and the next arrive at 4pm. Often miss lunch if there are interruptions.

    • BrianRS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      4 years ago from France

      Great tips for cleaning a gite, we have an apartment which is also quite large and it takes two of us around 4 to 5 hours as well. That's what it takes to do it properly :-)

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Hi, Adventuretravels. This is the definitive answer to the question! It takes me five hours but you might be fitter. Also there are three ensuites to clean and it is a large gite - a small flat might take much less time. Let me know how you get on & good luck.

    • Adventuretravels profile image


      4 years ago from UK

      This is interesting - I've got a flat I'd like to rent out to holiday makers and wonder how much work this will entail.

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Thank you Tony. We are very proud of it, I must say. It is kind of you to stop by. I wait with baited breath to see what is going to happen next in the great changeover.

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Well Homeplace - as soon as I win that National Lottery ... I would love to come and see some of the places my online writer friends have been describing. Wishful thinking. Thank you so much for stopping by.

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Spiders outside! Goodness - we live in a National Park renwon for the beauty and variety of landscape and wildlife. I wouldn't like to be held responsible for the fauna OUTSIDE our cottage as well as inside! Thanks so much for your comment.

    • BLouw profile imageAUTHOR

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      Thank you for commenting on my very first hub under the name of BLouw. It will be interesting to see what happens next - Squidoo v HP ;)

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 

      4 years ago from Southampton, UK

      I have stayed in a few gites in Normandy and Brittany years ago and it was wonderful. We much prefer to stay in accommodation like that to a hotel. I have to say your gites look lovely.

    • Homeplace Series profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      4 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Great check list. We'd love to have you stop by a couple times a month, here at the cabin, in the Ozarks of southern Missouri, USA! Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • TreasuresBrenda profile image

      Treasures By Brenda 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Your gite looks lovely. I'd love to visit.

      We stayed in a bed and breakfast in Vancouver this summer. The host was quick to apologize for the spiders outside. He said they are just part of the west coast and that he cannot keep up with them. Fortunately, they are of the friendly variety, too and we didn't see a hint of a spider inside.

    • annieangel1 profile image


      4 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      it looks lovely - thanks for sharing it with us.


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