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OBR Cleaning Standards

How we handle cleaning at our Vacation Rentals

We're in charge of professionally cleaning your home and your safety is our top priority. Outer Beaches Realty’s Property Services Department's stringent training and cleanliness standards have been re-established with new requirements for cleaning as well as requiring use of proper CDC-recommended chemicals on all high touch areas, such as light switches, doorknobs, and remote controls. We are constantly refining our cleaning processes based on new industry knowledge and will continue to adapt accordingly.

Additionally, all linens and towels are handled in-house at our large industrial-size laundry facility here on Hatteras Island. Our high-temperature equipment allows us better control who is touching our products and when. All linens are rested for three days prior to being placed on beds during turnover. Items such as OBR Signature Products being prepared will also have a resting period prior to being delivered on turnover day at the home.

Lastly, Bedding, Pillow shams, comforters, and blankets will not be in our homes for the remainder of the 2020 rental season.  Please note this does not include linens and towels. Any linens and towels that are arranged WILL be at the home. Many homes already have linens and towels provided. Check the amenities on your property page for details.

Additional Safety Measures

The past few months have been exceptionally busy as we work diligently with our new schedules in mind. Early season initiatives included implementing a 10-day isolation period after each departing reservation. We never stopped working this season so we got a good chance to get in and deep clean our homes that were available. Current In season turnover periods limit our ability to implement an isolation period so we’ll ask what we’ve always asked -- if you do leave early, to contact us so that we can begin preparing the home for the next arrival.

Outer Beaches is using our Point Central keyless lock system to restrict access to our homes by pausing all access codes restricting all access unless authorized by one of our Property Services Supervisors. We are working very closely with our vendors to schedule their work so that they are not in any home while any Outer Beaches Employees are in the home. When we're cleaning to prepare for your arrival, our Housekeepers will disinfect these keyless pads as the last step in their cleaning process. 

Upon arrival, you'll notice our OBR signature products.  Our Guests love this extra amenity and knowing a starter kit is at the home. 

Lastly, we're working with our Employees, Guests, and Owners on steps they can take to be proactive about combating the spread of viruses. We're also providing PPE for all staff in the field. We've been educating through our website, welcome emails, welcome signs, and social media efforts.

In this time of uncertainty, we at Outer Beaches Realty are working hard to abide by the social distancing guidelines and to provide a safe and healthy work environment.

CDC & OSHA-Guided
Safety Procedures

Cleaning to our high standards requires tough chemicals and some elbow grease, but we maintain a strong focus on safety to keep our teammates safe and healthy and reduce liability risks in your home.

CDC COMPLIANT CLEANING CHEMICALS
To disinfect every surface of our homes

PPE FOR STAFF
Protecting our employees & vendors

KEYLESS LOCKS
Restricting unauthorized access


A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A HATTERAS ISLAND HOUSEKEEPER

Housekeepers are a backbone of the Hatteras Island vacation rental market. Every weekend, hundreds of housekeepers scrub, shine, dust, sweep, and reset thousands of properties for the next line of guests driving down Highway 12. We couldn’t serve our guests without them.

CLEANING CHEMICALS MATTER.

An in-depth Q&A with Andrew Printz, Property Services Manager, on the correct way to clean your vacation rental home.

In general, how many different cleaning products would you say a housekeeper should have in his or her arsenal each week to properly and effectively clean a rental home?

Housekeeping should be prepared with a variety of cleaning chemicals to tackle every surface of the vacation rental home. We have professionals from our chemical manufacturer come in and design our product lineup to ensure that each chemical works with and complements the others without any hazardous reactions. In general, a complete chemical lineup will consist of a heavy duty (HD) degreaser, Tilex (CDC Recommended) a neutral base floor cleaner, an ammonia-free glass cleaner, a HD bathroom cleaner (CDC Recommended) Pioneer Eclipse - a quantum disinfectant (CDC Recommended), a carpet/upholstery spot cleaner, a non-reactive air freshener, a wood cleaner/polish, a stainless steel cleaner/polish, and a HD oven and grill cleaner. We provide all of these chemicals and tools to our cleaners while most other companies do not.

What supplies are Outer Beaches cleaners armed with other than chemicals when they go out each weekend?

Along with our professionally designed chemical lineup, our housekeepers are supplied with a wide range of cleaning supplies for their daily assignments. The supplies are chosen through a well thought out process that, 1. complements the chemical lineup, and 2. offers the best cleaning performance without damage to the home’s surfaces. Our cleaning supplies include Magic Erasers, SOS pads, white and yellow non-abrasive scrub sponges (Teflon safe), re-usable yellow and green micro-fiber rags (yellow for bathrooms and green for the rest of the home), buckets, brooms, mops and squeegees.

What are your top 3 must have cleaning products for vacation rental homes?

All-purpose disinfectant cleaner is an absolute MUST, Magic Erasers are gentle enough for delicate surfaces yet are an absolute cleaning powerhouse, and finally, HD oven and grill cleaner. You should see some of the oven messes I’ve seen.

How much of your time each year as the department manager is devoted to selection and care of the products used to clean our owners’ homes?

We conduct an annual review of usage and pricing. This takes on average two weeks to conduct to ensure we are on par with current products and pricing to ensure we are using company resources to their utmost efficiency. We also have our chemical company come in twice a year and conduct routine maintenance on all dispensing systems to ensure they are functioning properly and mixing the chemicals in their correct ratios as prescribed by the manufacturer.

What are your thoughts on the importance of using ecologically friendly cleaning products? Are these products effective for use in the vacation rental industry?

I have serious reservations on “green” chemicals. First, a chemical is a chemical and can be hazardous given the right circumstances, even those designated as “green.” Second, cleaning a vacation home is not like cleaning your personal home. We need to guard against serious germs and bloodborne pathogens, including but not limited to staph infections, MRSA, Hepatitis, Salmonella, E.coli, Covid-19, as well as the common cold and flu viruses, just to name a few. While green chemicals may kill some of the less resistant germs and viruses, some are quite robust and require a powerful agent such as an all-purpose disinfectant in conjunction with a HD bathroom chemical to ensure a truly sanitized surface.

What is the best solution for cleaning stainless steel appliances correctly? What has worked well for your team?

All high-touch surfaces, such as refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers along with their handles must first be sanitized using an all-purpose disinfectant chemical to kill germs and to disinfect. Then all stainless steel surfaces must be finished off with a quality stainless steel cleaner/polish protectant.

What cleaning products have people used over the years would you not recommend to clean a vacation rental home?

I have seen industrial strength acid based chemicals used. I highly recommend against this not only due to the risk of serious bodily injury, but using harsh chemicals designed for industrial applications will damage many surfaces in a home. I also disapprove of heavily scented chemicals as they can be misused to mask odors instead of actually cleaning the surfaces, and their smell can be unappealing to our guests.

How should cleaning products be stored and dispensed?

Cleaning chemicals are hazardous by their very nature and should be stored out of the reach of children and away from pets. We use a concentrate that is automatically mixed with the correct amount of water and dispensed through a system that is supplied and calibrated from our chemical company provider.

What is your biggest challenge in managing the housekeeping department in regard to the cleaning products?

Although we have rigorous training that explains the dangers of mixing and using unknown chemicals, some housekeepers will break company policy, particularly when they come from other companies that do not set these standards. We take these breaches very seriously and will council them when this happens. Continued breach of our chemical policy will result in disciplinary actions - that’s how serious of an offense it is.

What one product are you not using now that you would like to have?

I can honestly say the professional design of our chemical lineup from our Outer Beaches supplier has all areas and aspects of cleaning a vacation rental covered, and we have no need for any other products or chemicals.