Tips on Keeping Your Beach House Clean

Sand, salt, and sun. This is what beach days are made of. But these elements can also be menaces to your home. They’re the main culprits behind moldy carpets, cloudy windows, and rusted window sills. Whether your home sits oceanfront or blocks away, it requires regular, preventative maintenance to keep it in pristine condition.

Todd Leonard, Vacasa’s senior director of operations for vacation rentals in Florida and Alabama, would be the first to tell you how crucial consistent home care is—not just for preventing future costly repairs, but for earning your highest returns possible. “Oftentimes, booking a beach home is a guest’s dream vacation,” Todd says. “Your aim should be to wow and delight them with a home in top condition, resulting in excellent reviews and repeat bookings.”

Here’s his maintenance guide for retaining your beach home’s luster and even possibly increasing its value over time.

1. Prevent mildew or mold

Common occurrences in moist environments, mildew and mold can happen on potentially any surface—inside or outside your beach home. Homes that are closed up for too long or bathrooms without proper ventilation (hello, steamy showers) are likely breeding grounds for both. So, let your vacation home breathe and air it out often, Todd suggests. Most importantly, regularly clean your home and wipe down all surfaces with cleaning or anti-fungal solution.

Another area susceptible to mildew and mold: decks and roofs. The mixture of humidity and sunlight can create algae or mold. So, get them professionally—and regularly—cleaned as well.

2. Pressure wash twice a year

Over time, a sticky layer of sand, salt, mold, and moss can easily build up on your home’s exterior surfaces. If left alone, this grime can cause your beach house’s materials—like wood or stucco—to rot or deteriorate rapidly. The cost to replace these building materials can be steep. “So, get in the routine of power washing your home to keep it in tip-top shape and prevent the build-up from getting worse,” Todd says.

3. Hire pest control

Yes, people love staying on the coast. But so do roaches, termites, and rodents. Drawn to dark, warm, and damp areas, these pests often nest in places that are hard to reach. “The best way to ensure they’re not making your home their home is to call in professionals for routine inspections,” Todd advises.

4. Choose metals wisely (or not at all)

If possible, avoid having metal parts on your home’s exterior (such as stair railings, outdoor lights, and window frames). The salt and sea air band together to make metal rust. Look for alternative materials, such as fiberglass frames for your windows and doors. Or, opt for stainless steel, aluminum, or powder coated metal. While they’re not impervious to rust, they’ll hold up a lot longer. If you already have non-resistant metal parts, paint over them to offer another shield against the elements.

plant stands dot the living area of this beachside rental in Folly Beach
“Your aim should be to wow and delight guests with a home in top condition, resulting in excellent reviews and repeat bookings.”

5. Varnish wood

Unprotected wood, like pieces used to build your siding or your outdoor decks, is especially vulnerable to moist ocean climates. It can easily, and quickly, develop rot and mold. And over time, you could see signs of swelling and warping. “Applying varnish every season provides a protective layer to block the effects of high humidity and moisture,” Todd advises. Plus, varnish can enhance wood’s natural beauty.

6. Preserve the exterior paint

Any paint, even the highest quality, will eventually experience the same fate under intense sun (especially south-facing walls) and with constant exposure to salty sea air and sand. Left untouched, coastal home paint will fade, blister, or chalk. But, you can delay the inevitable. To keep your paint looking fresh, expect to prime and paint your home every few years. To avoid any costly repairs, consider inspecting your paint annually for cracks or other problems.

folly beach, sc beach house with two stories and wraparound deck

7. Inspect the roof

Beach areas are susceptible to extreme weather changes. Florida, for instance, has a humid subtropical climate with a long rainy season, bouts of heavy thunderstorms, intense heat, and even tornadoes. All those conditions can do a number on your roof, so Todd suggests checking it regularly for any damaged or missing shingles.

8. Wash the salt off the windows

Besides being steps from the ocean, a beach home’s biggest selling point is the view. Don’t let foggy or muggy windows—thanks to salt accumulating on the glass—ruin that for your guests, says Todd. Regular window washing will keep them clean and clear of any corroding salt particles.

9. Give floors a deep clean

Even the most careful guests will end up tracking sand into your vacation home. Sand sticks to shoes, as well as bare feet, and will get lodged in carpet fibers or scrape the finish on your wood floors. High humidity can also make your carpets vulnerable to mold and mildew. “Get your floors professionally cleaned twice a year to increase the lifespan of your materials,” Todd recommends.

10. Replace HVAC filters

HVAC systems in coastal properties have to deal with more sand and fine particles, Todd says. Replacing the filters can help keep those particles out of the rest of the HVAC unit. You can also rinse the fan blades and coils to prevent salt build-up. If parts of your HVAC systems are outside, keep the unit clear of leaves and debris and don’t plant anything within 2 or 3 feet of the unit.

“Don’t let foggy or muggy windows—thanks to salt accumulating on the glass—ruin the view for your guests.”

11. Protect your outdoor amenities

Patio furniture, umbrellas, and other yard accessories will deteriorate and rust if not protected from the sun, sand, and moisture. One suggestion is to put these items away when you don’t have guests and during the off-season. Don’t simply cover and leave them out, as moisture can get trapped underneath and become an ideal hotbed for mold and mildew. An even better solution when decorating your beach house: invest in furniture made of durable, weather-resistant materials, like teak, POLYWOOD®, and Sunbrella®, a performance fabric.

12. Entrust a local vacation rental property manager

If you live miles away, or even just down the road, it may be unrealistic to keep up with the consistent maintenance that beach homes require. The ideal solution: have a property manager maintain your beach house for you. “Homeowners who hire Vacasa are treated to an extra dose of expert care, including regular inspections of their deck and balcony, fire extinguisher and smoke detectors, and plumbing,” Todd says.

Plus, our housekeepers go the extra mile for beach homes on top of their already fastidious cleaning routines. They’ll blow sand and debris from the driveway and walkways, inspect your deck for any popped nails or safety hazards, clean hot tubs, and check barbecue propane tanks.

Take a Locals Tour of the Best Beaches in the Sarasota and Surrounding Areas

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