Your host will thank you.
Things You Should Clean Before Leaving a Vacation Home
Credit: Getty Images

Remember the golden rule: treat other people the way you'd like to be treated? It turns out the same sentiment applies to your vacation rental. With most rental beach homes or Airbnbs, there's not much turnaround time between guest stays, so being courteous makes a huge difference. Plus, with rentals these days, guests get reviewed the same way hosts do, so it's important to make a positive impression. We spoke with Melissa Witulski, the home cleaning expert for Merry Maids, about how to avoid getting billed for damages or an extra cleaning fee, or worse, getting blacklisted from a rental platform. Here are the six things you should definitely clean before leaving a vacation home.

Take out the trash and recycling.

Summer temperatures plus a bag full of garbage can get stinky really fast. "Often, we find previous guests have forgotten to take out their trash or replace the trash with fresh lining. It's so important to handle, because it can put a damper on any vacation. Take a minute to check all the trashes, remove what was left, and replace with fresh liners," says Witulski.

Leave the dishes clean.

Leaving the dishes from your stay in the sinkisn't really an acceptable move. Either wash and dry them or load the dishwasher and run it before you leave. It's common courtesy for the next person who's staying there and tasks like that typically fall outside of the responsibilities of a professional cleaning service.

Toss or take leftover food.

Even if you think it's a generous move to leave food in the fridge for the next guests, they don't know how long it's been in there and it will typically get tossed. Be sure to get rid of any expired leftovers before you leave or take whatever you don't want to go to waste, explains Witulski.

Wipe down all the countertops.

Clean up stuck-on gunk and messes in the kitchen or bathroom as they arise. Although these surfaces will be subject to a thorough wipe down, it makes it easier if you clean as you go.

Straighten the living spaces.

Put things back where you found them for the next guests, so folding blankets,putting games away, and putting pillows back where they belong is a huge help.That falls outside of the responsibilities of the cleaners but having everything in its place really adds to the ambiance for a new set of guests.

Place the linens in the laundry room.

Strip the sheets and pillowcases from the beds and toss used towels into the hamper or laundry area before you leave. It saves the pro cleaners time and means that they don't have to guess what's been used and what hasn't.

And of course, if your host has left you specific instructions in regards to garbage, laundry, or the dishes, try to stick to their directions. When in doubt, ask yourself what feels right and what you'd want to walk into. A little kindness and thought will really boost your guest-stay karma.