I received an interesting review by a guest I would welcome back anytime. He gave a 4 under the heading cleanliness. After searching for what I might have missed and finding the space extremely clean and smelling like polish, swiffer, and downy, I asked him about it. He replied "There wasn't anything specifically wrong or anything you could have done differently, I typically reserve 5 stars for cleanliness for places that are both clean in the sense that they have been thoroughly cleaned by the host and in the sense that space itself feels exceptionally fresh and clean — which often isn't possible for older spaces. I apologize if this feels unfair, but I think the best way to be helpful and informative for future guests is to rate cleanliness relative to other comparable Airbnbs." I always thought ethical performance appraisals involves an objective evaluation of performance. A 100 year old house rarely feels fresh (new) although it can in fact be much more clean than airbnb guidelines. Isn't this a matter of ambiance not cleanliness? Is "feeling fresh" subjective and so not about being fair? What do you think?
The subject of cleanliness is highly subjective thus why it oftentimes ranges, inexplicably. Future guests would hardly be aware that is the reason for less than a perfect 5 star score, which few listings have after enough reviews. I wouldn't worry too much about it.
@Alaric5 I think guests (and hosts ) will always have differing standards. As such I wouldn't stress about the off 4 star review. It does hurt though as we received our 1st 4 star review in about 18 months last week!