Covid 19 and Gîte cleaning

I think the Press have been badgering to be able to ask questions… even though they must realize that the answers are not yet available.

Okee Dokee, To answer many points raised here as a qualified French Pest Controller.

Point 1 France is France and has nothing to do with British government vagueness.

Point 2 Steam cleaning. Yes, but not a wallpaper steam stripper because the heat point is too small, not the full plate as assumed. I use a Cimex Eradicator which is a professional bit of kit and has pressurised steam at 180°C. It will kill bacteria, insects and their eggs. Designed for bed bugs but used as an eco pest control treatment.

Point 3 It is recommended to clean linen and clothing as hot as it will take. Temperature for killing insects and eggs is over 43°C and over 60°C for bacteria (I am not quoting Covid-19 in this as I do not know the answer).

Point 4 it is always a good idea to supply clean plates and cutlery!

Point 5 Cleaning surfaces with disinfectant. Most disinfectant will kill 99.8% of bacteria on contact, but it depends on how clean your mop and sponge is.

Point 6 it is not recommended to disinfect mattresses with chemicals. Vacuuming and “correct steam” is better.

Point 7 Luckily in France, the Pest Control is highly regulated. It is illegal to use chemicals for profit without a diploma, all products must be in labelled in French, an attestation de la visite de site, Fiche de sécurité etc. must be provided to the client. One can’t just wake up in the morning and decide you want to offer a disinfection service.

Point 8 If anybody does knock on your door, demand to see their qualifications, there is no French edict that all public premises must be disinfected, (yet).

Point 9 there are lots of videos doing the circuit showing a fogging disinfectant service. Most disinfections are not designed for fogging, a pressurised spray is the more common approach, if in doubt read the manual.

Point 10 clean regularly, don’t “super dose”.

Point 11 If in doubt contact a Pest Controller. You can search Pagesjaunes “Dératisation Désinsectisation Désinfection” (an Applicateur3D).

Point 12 Don’t panic, stay sane, stay safe.





I think it would be rare to find a gite who could afford that sort of professional deep clean on a weekly basis, so its working out what we should do given time constraints on gite turn-round. Sounds like a steam cleaner is going to go on shopping list.

And yes, point 4, we always check that all utensils, plates and cutlery are clean (often not!) but would they be virus free? So with this virus everything would have to be run through a hot dishwasher again between clients to be sure they hadn’t shed virus all over them.

There shouldn’t be a need for a deep clean every week if the gite/ch d’h is kept clean and the work surfaces are disinfected on a weekly basis. Deep cleans are for opening at the start of the season and for the OCD.

All products and chemicals will degrade, “half life” which is why one has to reapply and disinfect regularly.

On that point reading the instructions is important, a recommended dose is the optimum dose. Double dosing does not make it twice as strong, it just means your wasting more than you need. Only footballers can give 110%!

You cannot guarantee virus free. Which is why adverts say “kills 99.8%”. You can guarantee that you’ve done the best due diligence.

Cimex Eradicator was designed specifically for the pest industry (Cimex is the bed bug family) but many hoteliers have purchased one for steaming furniture, furniture, well anything that can be steamed. It is a good bit of kit but not cheap 500€ ish. Available on Amazon Fr (commission for SF if you buy through them) or via your nearest “Applicateur3d” (advert!).

Dishwashing everything everytime? Due diligence. If it’s clean you should be ok. IMO, but don’t quote me.


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Your advice is excellent…

We shall have to wait and see what the govt says must be done… during these dodgy times.

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Folks, one piece of advice, if you disinfect everything and constantly , just remember after a certain period of time change the cleaning agents. Any bacteria and some viruses present will become immune to the ingredients of the disinfectant and then you have cleaned and disinfected for nothing.

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Good advice. Chop and change, but never mix!

Back in the Warfarin days (1st gen), resistance to some rodenticides and chemicals was a little as 4 generations, which is why large swathes of Europe have super resistant rodents and chemical resistant bed bugs.

Within the next 5 years, all rodenticides could be banned in Europe, if the EU directive get their way. I haven’t used chemicals with bed bug for over 5 years.

Normally I leave a week between guests anyway so have plenty of time to deep clean but perversely this year I allowed myself to be persuaded by returners to accept them arriving on the same day as a couple who are leaving. So, given the exceptional circumstances this year and that both sets of guests know us well, I am going to ask for their help (once we know just what we are facing).
Ordinary bar/dish soap on a disposable cloth I understand is an efficient way of removing the virus - the soap breaks down the outer layer of the virus. So I plan to have plenty of stocks of bar soap and disposable cloths I will be asking my guests to give all door handles, light switches, fridge doors, drawer handles, worktops, TV remotes etc a good wipe over before they leave. (More important in fact than sweeping or cleaning the bathroom because I can go over the floors etc with our steam cleaner.
I’ll be insisting they remove EVERYTHING that they brought into the gite with them and anything they are not taking home to go into the rubbish. EG this is not the moment to be leaving that jar of mayonnaise in the fridge “for the next guests”.
I’ll also be insisting they leave promptly - to have all the time possible to get the place ready.
I’ll also insist the next guests cannot come in early.
I’m fortunate in that our gite is only meant for 4/5 people and the changeover will be between just a couple (leaving) and a threesome (arriving) all of whom know us well and so I know will want to help.
Normally I’m very generous with crockery / cutlery / pots / pans etc and so I don’t know what they do and don’t use - ditto pool towels / spare pillows etc.
When we know just what we are facing, I’ll email the first couple and discuss with them removing everything out of the cottage that they won’t be using. I think that will reassure them too because they can manage their own cleaning while they are here more easily. This then should give me a complete set of clean stuff ready to move in for the threesome on changeover day. Whip out what needs to be given a high temp wash and put in the clean stuff that I’ve already prepared. Then I’m not killing myself trying to get everything done on the day itself. Again, because they are only a twosome and a threesome I will be able to provide not just fresh linen but fresh clean duvets / pillows / mattress covers etc. The more I can prepare in advance the better and the more I can clean at my leisure once the threesome are in the better.
Anyone with any common sense at all will appreciate that this is also to protect them and will cooperate.


Yes I think the kind of clients we get will cooperate too. In five years we have only had one awkward customer, who turned up with 3 cats and two dogs without prior agreement (we don’t allow cats at all, and only one dog).

But leaving a week between clients would make the gite uneconomic. We tend to have 24 weeks rented each year, and cutting that to 12 would mean we make no profit at all!

But a good idea about the clothes and soap. We have a big supply of savon de marseille flakes that I use on the floors.

Not that I have a gite and not that I am good at cleaning, but…having been at home for a few weeks now and started to do some deep cleaning, I am happy to report that I think the Covid virus probably emanated from my dish drainer :frowning: :frowning:
This is now clean so all should be well…

But joking aside, I should imagine that common sense and ‘proper’ cleaning will suffice?

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For some reason (possibly the downstairs walk in bathroom shower) we get a lot of 3 generation clients - gran/grandad, parents and offspring. If you were taking your age 70+ parents away at the moment mightn ‘t you want to be reassured about cleaning? After all people are washing cereal boxes before putting them in the cupboard at the moment.

Mind you, the over 70’s might not be let out until christmas!

Hello Robert,

Where abouts are you located? The reason I ask is we wre buying a property in Normandy and require some pests to be eradicated.


Let’s hope your purchase can go through… but, if there are pests -isn’t this something for the Seller ?? or perhaps the costs will be reflected in the purchase price… :slight_smile:

best of luck anyway…

Just a recommendation- @Rob_le_Pest is extremely knowledgeable and really knows his stuff!
Good luck with your pesty problems! X

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Thanks Cat!

It’s certainly a good bargaining tool. I will contact Marina via pm!

I’m in the Cher slap bang in the middle of France.

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The owner of a gîte in Spain where we stayed last year contacted me to let me know he is open for bookings, saying: “We are leaving the house treated with ozone after each rental and using disinfecting materials on floors, windows, doors and household items so that you do not have any sanitary problems on our part.” I have no idea what ozone treatment might be.

I am not tempted at the moment. We’ll see later this year what the situation is. But from now on I would certainly take my own pillows.

Ozone is the unstable version of oxygen - O3 it has a recognised role as a disinfecting agent as it is powerful oxidiser.

Given enough applications though and it will probably oxidise his soft furnishings as well.

Does anyone know how many fines have been issued in France for flouting lockdown rules. I know it was 350,000 in early April.