Should Guest be Expected to Clean when Host Charges a Cleaning Fee?

Level 2

Should Guest be Expected to Clean when Host Charges a Cleaning Fee?

Hi there, 


Curious on this one as a guest and a host.   My wife/friendsand I have been on opposite sides of the argument both as hosts and guests.


If a host charges a guest a cleaning fee (not small at $200 here in SF), what is the cleaning expectation of guests?


Some in our circles have argued guests should do the dishes and leave the place tidy.  Others have argued their paying a sizeable cleaning fee so why should they have to clean.


Curious what the community thinks and if there is a clear answer or it depends.


Thanks in Advance!


1 Best Answer
Level 3
Westminster, CO

As a guest, if the host is going to charge a cleaning fee, the listing - not a folder at the house - should state what the fee covers and what the host expects of the guest so that the guest can decide if it is worth it or not. If they want you to pay a large cleaning fee and aren't up front about their expectations, i feel like they are just being dishonest and trying to use scam tactics to make their place look more desirable. 

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226 Replies 226

What is the minimal charge that you charge? And why do I have to leave place in even better conditions that I found? I've seen Hosts charge as much as 200$ cleaning fees for ONE night stand, you should not expect gussets to do anything for this price, even cleaning there own dishes 

Tell me about it , I just had to deal with a neurotic host , we paid 185$ , put the dishes and towels to wash , took garbage out and she still complained … everything was left in the same conditions. I have done soo many rbnbs with really amazing hosts and this was kind of shocking .. to the point that I’m looking forward to my next hotel stay … no more crazy hosts , no more stiff cleaning fees …

I'm so angry this happened to Me today! The guy with a completely unrealistic expectation for us to clean. I have a few more airbnb booked and I'm scared of having more issues like this. I wish I had booked hotels only. 😞

Level 10
Gros Islet, Saint Lucia

There are many people who see the purpose of a cleaning fee differently than I do.  To me, a cleaning fee is for the preparation of the space for the guests arrival.  My point is supported by the fact that a cleaning fee can be refunded if the rental isn't satisfactorily clean and stocked at the time of check-in, but a departing guest cannot request a refund if the host doesn't clean up after them.  Generally, even in hotels it's housekeeping that clean up after guests.


Additionally, we pay our cleaner $20US per hour to clean our Atlanta spaces, in St. Lucia, we pay $15EC per hour.  I know from our own experience that it takes between 4-5 hours for the guest suites and 6-8+ hours to clean and prepare the apartments   We require that our spaces are thoroughly cleaned and turned over regardless of the length of stay, because it's the right thing to do and what guests expect.  Also, a short stay isn't an automatic indication of what the guests did or used.  I am sure that most guests don't think that it would be appropriate if a host said that a place wasn't thoroughly cleaned after the prior guest because they stayed for only 1-2 days. 


In addition to the wages, there are costs for the cleaning supplies to clean all linens, towels, dishes, pot and pans, utensils, bakeware, cutlery, refrigerator, small kitchen appliances, stove, sinks, toilets, knobs and switches, windows and glass doors, remotes, mopping and vacuuming floors, bathtub/shower, mirrors, dusting all furniture and ceiling fans. clean decks/balconies and outdoor furniture.  We also provide our guests all necessary cleaning supplies to use during their stay: dishwashing detergent, multipurpose cleaner, laundry detergent, stain remover, bleach, stovetop degreaser. 


When searching for a place, guests should review the hosts checkout list to determine if it will be a good fit, and ask about it before booking if there isn't one listed.

I think a lot of hosts are reasonable. I would reach out ahead of time if you are nervous. 


I know our cleaners tell us how they want guests to leave it and what their fee is. We just fired a cleaner because we felt her fees were high and she was trying to request us to tell guests to do more then they should. So we told her it wasnt going to work (and she stole my dang sheets). 


But as far as my guests go.. theh never knew because i refuse to ask them to do a lot. I would say of the 15 cleaners I interviewed, most just asked for the first load of laundry to be started since dryer times can take awhile if cleaning lots or towels and sheets.

for $200 cleaning fee on top of the rental I'd expect to get my shoes cleaned as well.... and my car valeted 😉  But I'd still never leave a place in a mess,  out of courtesy to whoever has to do the cleaning and for my own self respect.


Before we joined Airbnb my wife had looked for accommodation for a familiy visit in a UK city. 

The rental itself was at the higher end of our budget for an overnighter,  cleaning fee came as a shock (as new users to the platform) although in hindsight £20 on top of a £120/night en suite room in a private house probably only coovers an hour of a cleaners time with national insurance, pension contributions and travel to the next or from the last job.

Our cleaning fee is really just a token for the towels and bedding wash, as it's a private room and shared spaces are cleaned anyway whether there are guests or not as we live in them.

Having said that, we are quite new to hosting.


That's seems to be reasonable. 

Level 2
Boston, MA

Depends on how ridiculous the fee is. If host posting 120$ fees for 1 night stand while place cost even less, Im not cleaning anything because I paid for it. I'm also not going to trash the place either. I will use trash cans for trash, but I ain't mapping a dirty floor after myself and neither I'm taking a trash out or wiping tables around from the dust. Dishes? Depends how crazy fees are. I always cleaned my dishes myself, because I was lucky with previous hosts that charges for what they should, cleaning towels and so on. I've never booked a place where host was asking 100-200$ cleaning fess for 1 night.  But if you charge that much you should expect that money goes for cleaning work. 

Level 3
Westminster, CO

As a guest, if the host is going to charge a cleaning fee, the listing - not a folder at the house - should state what the fee covers and what the host expects of the guest so that the guest can decide if it is worth it or not. If they want you to pay a large cleaning fee and aren't up front about their expectations, i feel like they are just being dishonest and trying to use scam tactics to make their place look more desirable. 

Bad guests pay us so they can be pigs.   I am getting close to leaving this business. The cleaning fee is for changing the bedding, cleaning all surfaces, cleaning the restroom, putting fresh towels out. Making the place feel wonderful. Not for leaving the place a disgusting mess. Hosts, want to make their Airbnb perfect for the next guest. Then the next guest, shows no respect and might as well flip the host off as they drive away. I will give them a bad review and not rent to them again and give a heads up to the next host. People need to understand, Airbnbs are not a motel. Our places provide much more and our hearts are in it. We take it seriously and want our guests to appreciate the effort we put forth. They paid us to be the best we can. But, some guests don't give a crap.


To be a member of Airbnb you need to agree to their Terms and Conditions. Airbnb Term and Conditions state that you, as a guest should "leave the accommodation as you found it".  Theres no ambiguity there. So do that. The 'cleaning fee' is always clearly stated as an addition to this.


Stating expectations up front in the listing I would agree with, but I wouldn't make it an obligation as only 'members' are allowed to book and they have previously agreed to, and should be aware of 'the rules' and their obligations.

If you  "leave the accommodation as you found it," then it is inappropriate to pay a cleaning fee, as either it doesn't need to be cleaned or it wasn't clean when you arrived...

I  only use air bnb a couple time per year, but I've been a member for a long time. The rules haven't changed since the beginning and that rule was written before people were using air bnb as a side job. People were just renting out rooms in their houses and they weren't charging cleaning fees. If you want your logic to stick, the rules need to be updated to go along with the newer charges. People who use air bnb to treat their rental property like a hotel should expect that people are also going to treat it like a hotel.

Level 3
Halifax, United Kingdom

Hi. Airbnb are not hotels, they are usually much more economical. I think it's give and take, especially if the Airbnb is not a room in someone's house. Mind you, even then you wouldn't leave a tip to tidy. As someone who has been badly let down by a guest, (it was bad) I know that professional cleaning or emergency replacement of bedding, mattresses, equipment can be necessary. All this has to be taken into account. I think the high cleaning costs you see are in very popular places, they can get away with it.

@Skylar14  As a guest, you are free to book a place which charges a cleaning fee or not. If you don't mind paying a moderate cleaning fee but feel the fee is unreasonably high, you just move on to look for another listing. Certainly it's not acceptable for host not to mention in the listing info and house rules what is expected in terms of a guest cleaning up, only springing it on the guest after arrival. Not okay at all, and if I booked a place like that, I'd be quite inclined to ignore them asking me to strip the bed and start a wash, informing them that they need to make that clear to guests before they book.

I also don't like "leave it as you found it", because that's not really what it means. Guests aren't normally expected to vacuum the place, mop the floors, sterilize the bathroom, etc, even if they are expected to do some other things. What that should read instead is "Please be respectful- leave the place tidy and clean up your own personal mess". Which means don't leave a pile of dirty dishes, garbage strewn around, stove top swimming in grease, that sort of thing.

I charge no cleaning fee for my private room/bath listing and don't ask guests to do any cleaning chores. Yet almost all my guests have been very respectful, and I only once had a guest who left her space a disaster area. Most give it a quick sweep with the broom I leave for them ( which I leave for their convenience, so they don't have to walk around on a sandy or dirty floor, not because I expect them to sweep up), wipe down the bathroom counter and make sure all the garbage is in the bin. Some have left it so immaculate it hardly looked like anyone had stayed in there, aside from a damp towel neatly spread out on the rack to dry.

 So as a host with experiences like that, I don't feel any need to charge a cleaning fee or leave the guest a list of expected chores. But hosts who have had quite a few totally disrespectful slobs leave a huge mess behind tend to decide to charge a cleaning fee which will balance out the cleaning time required for respectful guests and the completely clueless pigs. Which can be high if it's a large place that requires hours of cleaning, even without disrespectful guests.