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

@Gregory497  yes i agree with you, when you rent a space with a kitchen the cleaning fee is bound to be high, even though you may not use the facilities. airbnb doesn't let us hosts differentiate much, although they do now have 2 levels of cleaning fee. I keep my fees low, like $10-30, frankly I agree that it should be part of the cost.  


sadly, as both hosts and guests, you nowadays have to take photos of the space. i did this on a place we rented for a month, just so she wouldn't try to stiff me with an extra fee on top of the very large cleaning fee we paid. I was cleaning constantly, vacuuming twice a week (we had a cat and dog), so I would have fought any accusations of "total mess" with facts. thankfully it was fine (as it should be!)

And I guess in the end it all comes down to communication - when a guest sees $200 cleaning fee, they assume that means “cleaning is included” and that is relative to each guest out there. When you hire a housekeeper for your home you don’t feel you need to clean before they get there, so I think it’s confusing to some that this extra fee doesn’t include pretty much everything, and I think the hosts who want more than basic respect just need to clarify this in their posting and everyone will be happy.

Level 6
West Palm Beach, FL

It really takes 10 minutes to wash and put away dishes, sweep and put the trash out...come on!

Mike from West Palm

If it only takes 10 mins, then why ask the guest to do it? 

Level 2
Piedmont, CA

If I’m being changed an outrageous cleaning fee, I’m going straight to a hotel instead of air B and B! 

Level 1
México D.F., Mexico

I don't charge a cleaning fee. I've increased my prices and have a minimum 2 night stay. I removed the cleaning fee because some people feel like they can trash the place because they payed a cleaning fee. They still payed it, they just don't know they did.

Level 2
Moreno Valley, CA

This is my first time renting an AirBnb myself, but I have stayed in AirBnb's with loved ones in the past. I noticed that in the rule books there is usually a $200 cleaning fee, yet there are requirements to wash dishes, wash laundry, and to take out the trash, which makes me confused. I even saw "water the plant outside." I thought that was asking a lot of the guest. But specifically, my issue is, it's California, which means that prices are going to be a lot to rent regardless. However, if you're charging cleaning fees, especially in the 3 digits, your requirements shouldn't be asking guests to do all the cleaning.


I cannot speak for everyone, but I wouldn't leave a place trashed just because I'm paying a cleaning fee. Heck, even at a hotel, I make up my bed when I leave for the day and  straighten up. I even strip the linen to make it easier on the cleaning service. That's a courteous thing to do. I just think it doesn't sit well to state a cleaning requirement if I cleaning fee is included. Stating "keep the space tidy" is different from saying "$200 cleaning fee" with a chore list. 


But, I also believe that guests are responsible for reviewing those details upfront. If you agree to pay the fee and agree to the requirements up front, then a complaint or poor review regarding cleaning expectations and fees shouldn't occur afterward.

Level 10
Bellevue, WA

I’ve heard gripes from both sides about this too. As a guest we usually keep the place tidy and put trash and recycling in their respective containers and follow any check out rules. I also clean the counter/sink/kitchen after using it and wash dishes as I go along normally.


If we are charged a large cleaning fee, it seems unreasonable to have a laundry list of things to to: strip the beds,  put towels/bedding and a wash on, take out trash, etc, when we already paid the decent cleaning fee. I can see leave the beds undone or towels on the floor in the tub so the cleaner knows what needs to be cleaned (some guests like to fold things nicely and you may not know the bed was used or wash all bedding when they only used some beds but not all; I once had someone wash and fold towels but I didn’t know so I washed all the towels that were messy because I thought they were used).

In the end it’s sometimes hard to do all these chores while trying to pack up and leave with kids or get on the road early for your journey back home.

I think the worst is a large cleaning fee for one night and having to do these chores. My partner would rather book a hotel as it’s cheaper (no cleaning fees) and we don’t have a list of check out duties for short stays. I like to experience different stays and support local hosts but he has increasingly said that the cost is less for hotels than Airbnbs if we are going as a family vs as a large group renting a vacation home for a gathering.


As a host all I ask is: put trash and recycling in the bins in the unit, dishes in the dishwasher or sink, leave the blinds open (so we know they left - if I leave an Airbnb early I text the host to let them know so they can start cleaning early but not everyone does this), turn off the heat/ac, and lock the door. I thought about saying no rules but remember walking past hotel rooms and there are chips/trash everywhere in the room so I ask guests to please put trash in the trashcan in the suite.


My partner feels there should be no cleaning fees and it should be factored into the price and I can see giving an option as a helpful for hosts to be competitive and cover some costs of maintainence. 

Maybe Airbnb should have a filter allowing people to put in the max cost per night they can pay which includes cleaning fees to help people plan better when booking?


Level 3
Halifax, United Kingdom

Hi. There are different levels of cleaning. If you are staying 2 nights, it's not likely you will make much mess, if your there a week then personally I want to live in a clean place, so will do what's needed. If that means a quick Vacuum, then so be it. also I wash up after myself and keep the bathroom presentable. Even when I'm in a guest house for three nights, I keep the place tidy. I know what your saying about the cleaning fee's, some seem extortionate, I personally don't list a cleaning fee, I also don't sneak it into the overall price. At the end of the day your living there and you could be risking your feedback if you leave a mess, Airbnb is very competitively priced compared to other lodgings, most people like to be tidy.

Yes there are two levels of cleaning fees 1-2 days and 3 or more. I’ve asked Airbnb to consider a third level of 28 days or more as those should be the ones to have the higher fees (as we don’t have the possibility to hold a deposit if something was damaged or not cleaned well as leases allow). Some listings have a flat high fee regardless of the number of nights booked. And yes I’ve had some people create oily stove tops, oily ovens, hot sauce on the floors, blueberry stains on my wool rug with only a short stay.  It always surprises me the level of tidiness varies from person to person. I’ve luckily had pretty considerate guests. 

Level 1
Port Townsend, WA

I have never found a place without a cleaning fee. It often is increased based the number of nights or the number of guests.


So I am happy to leave the place tidy, and have all the dishes clean in a dry rack or with the dishwasher run


Drying and putting them all away? No.


Stripping the beds?  OK if asked.   Doing laundry & making beds? No.


This is a vacation. . I am good for an hour of tidy up on my last day, but I don't want to schedule my trip to include 2-3 hours of housework before I can leave.

My airbnb room is in the house that I live in. I do not charge a cleaning fee as I don't as a guest like to pay it if I am just renting a room. Most guests live with nothing behind although sometimes they do live things in the refrigerator, etc. It doesn't take me long to clean up and change the sheets, etc. for the next guest.

Level 1
Portland, OR

As a guest I expect if I pay a cleaning fee for the house:

1: is clean when we arrive. 
2: the expectation of us to clean up after ourselves is expected, but the linens and towels should be cleaned by the host.  Sorry, but if paying a “cleaning fee,” that means that the house is cleaned: dusted, sheets cleaned, beds made, towels cleaned, garbage taken out and floors swept/vacuumed.


We pay a huge cleaning fee, then that is what it is supposed to cover.  It is common sense.  If the house is not clean when we arrive, then that should be refunded, because the cleaning fee is then being used as profit and not what a fee would be for.  If it is not being used to cover the cost of a cleaning service or the time of the host to clean, then it should not be charged.  It is misleading and poor business practice. 


Hi, if you are appealing to a broad section of guests (ie not niche), then you will have a broad spectrum of experiences from guests. From the very clean to the not so clean. 

I don't have a cleaning fee only because i'm charging over $650 per night so the number already looks large. And for a large property expectations of what a cleaning fee should include gets messy. So all I ask for in my house rules is that a general tidyup, wipe down of kitchen and clean BBQ (that's sort of a given I hope in Australia) and empty dishwasher/put dishes away. Not all guests adhere to that, so when it comes to guest ratings, they don't get 5 stars if they don't adhere to my house rules. It ain't a hotel.

I also have smaller listings with a very small token cleaning charge, with the same house rules. The reason why I have a cleaning charge is that it keeps my base rate low to compete in the popular smaller listings market, and I cannot absorb a cleaning charge in it, plus its only token so it's not a booking blocker . It doesnt influence short or long stay bookings in my observation.

Hope this helps




Here's my take on it. Guests should always leave the house tidy regardless of the fee.


When I paid a cleaning crew for my house the cost I was charged was based on the average time it took to clean an average mess (3 hours) which also coincided with the time it took to complete three loads of wash for the linens and towels. However, messier guests cost me additional due to the extra time it took the crew. My cleaning fee was already about $10 less than my actual cost, so additional charges were difficult to cough up.


Now that I do my own cleaning, I don't want to spend my entire day cleaning, so I really appreciate it when guests do their own dishes or at least put them in the dishwasher and start it and tidy up the place. We never ask for the guest to do laundry or anything beyond simply tidying up.