As we prepare to host guests again after COVID-19 and as travel restrictions ease up, cleaning practices and habits may need to change. To keep everyone safe and healthy, it's important to evaluate how you clean your home before a home exchange.

When planning a house swap, we encourage home exchangers to have conversations with potential exchange partners to make sure they are both comfortable with the terms of the exchange and the cleanliness practices.

We've also compiled household cleaning tips from official sources to help you prepare your home for an exchange safely and have partnered with Go Clean Co to give further recommendations on cleaning your home effectively to make sure your exchange is safe. Sarah McAllister, the director of Go Clean Co, deep cleans professionally, and generously shared some of her best cleaning secrets.

Download the cleaning checklists

Sarah, what is your background, and how did you get into cleaning and sharing tips?

I am an entrepreneur at heart and have always been passionate about business. I owned a dog walking company for 15 years and we noticed a few years ago that the house cleaners our clients hired had a very high turnover. Clients were always asking us for referrals of "good" cleaners so one day I just decided to do it myself!

What are your favorite cleaning products that you can't live without?

Water, bleach and powdered Tide! This is our go-to for cleaning most surfaces as we believe strongly in disinfecting. The powdered Tide is an enzyme cleaner and works to pull the dirt off surfaces very easily. We also love good old fashioned Windex and anything that helps preserve the life of your appliances. Weiman stainless steel cleaner is one of our favourite products, as it can bring life back to your stainless steel in minutes. Most people think that the steel is stained or ruined, but it usually just needs a good condition.

How do you encourage your kids to have an active role in helping clean the house?

It starts with the parents! You are not doing your children any favours by doing everything for them. These are life skills we all need to learn. The younger your kids are, the more willing they are to help out, so start them young! My daughter is 8 years old and knows how to fold all her own laundry and all the towels. She loves emptying the lint trap, try to make it fun. They will think its fun at least until they are teenagers. Every person in a home needs to help out to keep it functioning, it should not rest on one person.

What are your top tips to clean thoroughly before having guests?

I think the mark of a clean home are baseboards and light switches. These are things that people look at as they walk around or before they reach out to touch. Bathroom baseboards especially! People look down when they.... ahem, sit on the throne. It takes seconds to wipe down these areas and the impression it leaves is long lasting.

What are the most common cleaning misconceptions you've come across?

I am not a huge fan of cleaning everyday. Many people have a schedule that they adhere to, such as bathrooms on Monday, floors on Tuesday, bedding on Sunday. I think this is a lot of work everyday and it can be very overwhelming and daunting, you have to live your life!

I am a fan of the deep clean (which is the system we use at Go Clean Co) one room at a time. It might take a couple of days (or lets be honest, for some of us, a week) to get your home in order but once you have done this, your home is so much easier to stay on top of at you can do quick surface cleans weekly until you need to start over again. 90% of our clients book us monthly or every 6 weeks and can stay on top of the home themselves and bring us in for the heavy lifting.

How do your cleaning habits/practices change with the concern of a global pandemic?

We have always been strong advocates of disinfecting properly. The pandemic did not change this, it only spread our message and got it in front of many more people, which we are so grateful for.

We did push people to start wiping their homes down daily with our disinfecting solutions and asking them to be more aware of wiping door handles, light switches, surfaces that they would normally only clean every month.

Sarah McAllister, the director of Go Clean Co

Sarah McAllister, the director of Go Clean Co, has assumed the role of general in her own cleaning army. McAllister calls cleaning “a lost art” and she shares her simple deep-cleaning tips that her followers can do from home. Amassing a huge and highly engaged audience, Sarah’s tells-it-like-it-is cleaning tips feel refreshing and attainable in your own day to day life.

Download the cleaning checklists