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. 

View Best Answer in original post

226 Replies 226
Level 10
Frederick, MD

This is a thread from last year but its still interesting to see the responses. Guests REALLY seem to resent paying a cleaning fee, so we just keep ours low and keep raising the nightly fee. Guests maybe don't realize that is what hosts who don't charge this fee, or charge a minimal fee, do.  


In this crazy time of COVID disinfecting where cleaning is now a very lengthy process, any guest who resents being charged a cleaning fee is better off at a hotel. Luckily my guests are careful about following house rules in general. I think many would be embarrassed to leave our space with a sink full of dishes or other messes. I am thankful that most people are very respectful of our space. I also think that if you are a remote host, renting out a whole house, guests need to realize that no, you aren't going there a few times a week to "clean anyway". Because we do that, despite having a service come in. Its our time and our money on top of what we pay our cleaner. Even if we had a guest room in our home I would not change the sheets and launder extra towels as often as you need to to host. 

@Laura2592 Hello.  I agree with you.  New to hosting and actually starting this summer renting out, no reservations as of yet 😞 but lots of lookers. I do not plan to charge a cleaning fee.  I am offering availability every other week so that way husband and I can go up north to clean on the odd weekend/week and stI'll be able to enjoy our cottage.  I am in hopes that our guests will respect our place and tidy up after themselves...put pillows back on the couch if on the floor, push chairs back under table, put lake items away etc. We don't have a dishwasher so I hope they will do their dishes as I would if I were the guest.  I did have in my Extra Notes on the listing to wash dishes, but sons GF said it was tacky and to take it out so I did.  In my guide book at the cottage I plan to say in it to be respectful of our place.  I will require them to put trash in the bin outside

Husband worries about guests trashing the place.  I am charging a 250 damage fee (can't remember what's it called) that will be reimbursed after the rental and we go through it.  So I hope that helps with people taking care of our place.  I am excited to try this new hosting adventure out to see how far it goes.  Although, it will suck if it doesn't work out and all the money I spent on decorating, new linens, towels, toaster, etc. Plus having to hear "I told you so" from the husband 😆

@Kellie104  Exciting.  I find it best to be clear and simple.  My check-out instructions simply read, "Tidy up, put trash outside in bin, and message me when you've left."  Everyone seems to know what is meant by "tidying up" and many go beyond that and strip the beds and run the dishwasher.  I do charge a substantial cleaning fee, and no one complains about it.


FYI, the security deposit for your listing is not actually held by Airbnb, and lots of guests refuse to pay for damages.  Better to keep your rates up to cover minor or unexpected issues.  And it would be good if you had someone in the town who could stop in to fix or check on things when you're not there.


Good luck and have fun.


Thank you!  If you don't mind I would like to steal your tidying up sentance.


Not to make this a huge conversation but for the security deposit that is what I hold and will refund to them if no damages and then if damages I have to go thru ABNB to report the damages and go from there right?  I don't want to charge tons of fees but also want to weed those people out that might be looking for a cheap place they don't casentence.  Thought by charging a decent deposit would help to get more honest guests 🤔

Thank you for your input.

Level 10
Lloret de Mar, Spain

I take a symbolic fee for cleaning, it's just a tool to regulate the best prices, because I rent an apartment from 1 night to 14 days.
The guest should not do a full cleaning, imo. Of course I will change the bed linen and towels, there is no need to fold it perfectly as on the day of arrival. Two things are important for me, so that there are no dirty dishes in the sink and to clean the garbage bag behind me, it is a matter of elementary politeness. And that there is no dirt outside of boorishness, for example, pillows thrown on the floor, it's disrespect to my home and spit in my soul. But no laundry - I do it on professional equipment, including drying and ironing. And in any case, I will clean everything completely in front of my new guest.

Level 7
Mendocino, CA

I do all the cleaning myself. That is the only way I know the silverware and pan lids are clean and the glassware isn't covered in fingerprints (and heaven knows what else), the laundry is done with care so that it lasts more than a season. My choice is to not charge a cleaning fee, because I don't trust they care enough to clean it for the "next" guest, my choice is to evaluate if I can clean it in the five hours between 11 am check out and 4 o'clock check-in for the next guest and not go bonkers trying to do it. If I can't, then the guest gets dinged on reviews and other hosts are warned. So, laundry in a nice pile, kitchen neatened up, bonus for trash contained and dishes that don't look like they were rinsed in cold water. Guests don't have to pay and I can get my job done for my next guest. Cheers.

@Kay143  Even when I had a wonderful cleaner who came every 2 weeks and blitzed my whole small house for 4 hours, I never had her do my private guest room/bath. She was quite thorough and efficient, but I just felt like she might miss some stray hairs or not get the cleaning rag all the way back in the corners. Not something I'd care about for myself, but I think guests are willing to be easygoing about lots of things as long as their space is perceived as super clean. It's their first impression when they arrive and sets the stage.


We are not going to charge a cleaning fee.  We have it set to rent every other week and on the odd week we plan to go up and stay and clean it.  Husband doesn't want to pay for a cleaner. I hope guests will be respectful of our cottage as well and tidy up after themselves.  First time hosting starting this spring. No reservations yet but lots of views so far.

Level 7
Mendocino, CA

In my experience, Airbnb guests expect a much higher level of cleaning than do hotel guests. I have stayed in some pretty fancy hotels and looked under the furniture. Ugh. I learned early on when first starting and one of my first reviews marked down for "dust bunny under the couch." 

@Kay143 My friends' five year old found a used condom under their hotel room bed and held it up saying "What's this, Daddy?" 

Oh my god….. I would lose it. Never would I leave a bad review for dust or a forgotten wrapper behind the couch….. 


but a condom! I might ask for my money back if that happened. I draw the line at bodily fluids coming into contact with my child! Lol

@Kyle621  My friends were asleep still- it was early morning and the 5 year old had woken up and was exploring under the bed, as 5 year olds are wont to do.  My friend said he'd never jumped out of bed so fast in his life 🙂 Straight to the bathroom for a thorough hand scrub.


Most Airbnbs, at least the ones  run by hands-on hosts, are way cleaner than hotel rooms.

We look on the cleaning fee as covering the laundry expense, and in non-covid times we'd clean the room daily anyway. 

I can see a great argument for using the cleaning fee as a short stay deterrent, though.


Maybe we are a bit laid back, but as long as a guest doesn't smear marmite all over the walls and defecate in the bed we are going to clean the place anyway for the next guest, it's a bit academic in covid times with the enhanced cleaning protocol. 


Most guests seem to leave the place very clean and tidy out of self-respect and their own dignity.  Even if this is only down to the awfully-british habit of making beds neatly when they are going to be stripped for the next guest anyway


In two years hosting I can honestly say we have never had a guest who left the place in a mess. Usually the opposite.  99 percent of the time you would hardly know the room has been occupied once you have emptied the waste paper bin and replenished the tea bags.

They even empty out the kettle and put the TV remote exactly where they found it on arrival.


Maybe this is just because we operate in the Hikers and Bikers niche?

I love our guests.  Does it show 🤣

@Kevin1322  I've had the same experience re my guests. First, I think it makes a big difference having a home-share as opposed to an entire place listing. But I've also read posts from hosts with home-shares who had bad experiences with guests. So I think it also has to do with the kind of crowd you market to and attract. Mine aren't exactly hikers and bikers, but since I'm in the countryside, and a 20 minute walk to town and the beach, and I advertise quiet and nature and that it's a good spot to work on art, read, do yoga, take walks, etc, I do get those types of guests.


And those types tend to be easy to deal with, they have a lot of travel experience, they are self-sufficient, often they have ended up staying in some pretty grotty places around the world, maybe with no hot water and one small threadbare towel, so my little private room and bathroom which isn't fancy, but is artistically designed and has everything they need, can almost seem luxurious to them. They aren't the type to freak out if they see an ant or spider, either. And they are also socially and environmentally aware people. I can't tell you how many times a guest, when I am orienting them as to where things are in the kitchen, have asked, before I even have a chance to mention it, "Do you have a compost pail? Where does the recycling go?"


I think it might also have to do with the personality of the host and how much interaction they generally have with their guests. Lots of my guests are out and about and busy all day, but I often chat with them over coffee in the morning, when we're preparing meals, or with a bottle of wine in the evening- it's almost like having a friend staying. Some I've gone out for dinner with, or spent the day at the beach with. That sort of host/guest relationship makes it harder for guests to treat the place like a cheap hotel room.


I suspect that the home-share hosts who have guests who are disrespectful or just stay holed up in their rooms all day, only scurrying out to use the bathroom or make a quick cup of tea, might be more formal and stand-offish with their guests and aren't really home-sharing because they are sociable and enjoy meeting folks from all over, but because they need the money. Nothing wrong with that, but it's gotta affect the vibe somewhat.


As you can tell, I also love my guests.