Cleaning Fee covers what exactly?

Level 2
Kingston, Jamaica

Cleaning Fee covers what exactly?

Looking for some quick help with this issue . . . I am new to hosting here and currently have my first booking in my listing. My understanding of the Cleaning Fee, is that it covers cleaning for the guests arrival (and in some ways cleaning after), but not for cleaning during.


The Guest in this booking asked me at check-in when she can expect the apartmetnt to be refreshed. She said she uses Airbnb all the time and that is what she has come to know, 2/3 days into the booking. Her booking with me is for 6 nights. She also said that she did not see the purpose of paying for cleaning service if she was not going to "benefit from using it".


Also, I hate asaumptions but what could the expectation of "refreshed" be? New bed linens?? New towels??


I have searched through the Airbnb site and cannot find anywhere answers or guidance to this issue . . . 


As a first time host, first booking etc. I am fearful of the "dreaded" bad review especially on something that I may have to speak to the Guest about. 


Help is greatly appreciated!!!

41 Replies 41

So glad you posted this response @Ange2 as I had begun to think about adding the fee into the nightly fee instead and adding a standard cleaning day (time slot) for particular length of stays. Appreciate the response! Thank you!

Level 10
La Quinta, CA

I agree with the other hosts, @Chadrick-and-Alison0, that perhaps you are being taken advantage of by these guests.  Be sure to provide an honest review which would include that the guest expectations are better met in a hotel environment.


Another reason for a cleaning fee is a strategy of keeping the nightly rate lower for longer bookings.  I seldom have one night bookings because the cleaning fee is high if only one night, but when the booking is 3-4 nights, my preferred booking, it does not seem to be that much.


If your target market is a single night, then it would make sense to include cleaning costs in your nightly rate.

@Linda108 . . . Thank so much for your input . . . 


To be perfectly honest, these guests are certainly turning out to be problematic (breaking our no smoking rule, broken items that have not been reported to us depite constant communications from them on when the apartment would be refreshed).


I am not about to reach out to Airbnb to lodge a complaint and also to see what avenues of recoourse are available to me. 


What an amazing first time, to learn so many lessons and to have to deal with so much more! Certainly a learning experience . . . 

I don't charge a cleaning fee because I do not want the guests to have any expectation that I will clean up after them or for them.  I expect that they will do their dishes and clean up any spill or mess they create.  The guests almost all leave the space perfect or close to perfect.


Of course I do go in and thoroughly clean after each guest, change bedding, clean the bathroom/kitchen, mop floor, etc.  That prepares the space for the next guest so that when they arrive the space is perfect.


Usually people who do charge a cleaning fee do so in order that they may be compensated for the extra work of turning over the space between guests with shorter stays.  Look at the amount of cleaning needed for seven one night stays vs one seven night stay. Without a separate cleaning fee the host would receive the same compensation for both stays but in one case clean seven times.


If I did charge a cleaning fee I would spell out in my listing that the cleaning was one time before the guest checks in to ensure the space was prepared for them.  I would point out that this policy provides a built in cost per night discount as the stays get longer and that the guest is benefitting from this.  I would point out that additional cleaning during the stay is available at a certain cost and must be booked in advance. 


I would go in and change linens weekly, remove trash and replenish toilet paper without a fee but only so that I could inspect my space and see how they were keeping it.  This would be detailed in my listing.  Since all our stays are a week or less we do not have this concern. 



Make sure that you have everything documented in the Airbnb messaging system, especially if they are breaking house rules.  That way if you do contact Airbnb they can review your communication with the guest and make an informed decision.  If you have been talking or texting outside of the system then send a recap message through Airbnb.


Also, your places looks lovely.  Makes me want to book at trip to Jamaica soon!

Thanks @Kati18 . . . I had already made a decison to contact airbnb detailing everything. I will be sending them screenshots of conversations with them through their mobile phones. Really appreciate all the great advice and support!

To be franc, I had some guests who did not follow all my rules, and that's the reason why I'm charging a cleaning fee: 80% of them do not follow instructions. So I charge them of not doinf this:)

I cant resist chiming in. Cleaning fee means they get a cleaned room. Even with long length stays i dont offer cleaning. Some might want to set it up so guests who want it can buy it.


On the 'broken rules' , you should photograph everything, list damage, send the images and estimate of cost to AirBnB.  From there you may or may not get any refund - i once did - but you need to flag bad guests. It is important to the community. And if your refund rule is strict - even if it isnt - you can get rid of them and keep the booking funds if they are smoking. They are compromising your space for the next guests. AirBnB only works if the respect is mutual. Do not tolerate bad guests!!!


Most are great. You deserve better.


Level 8
North Vancouver, Canada

@Chadrick-and-Alison0, how much you charge for cleaning, and what you do with/for it is entirely up to you.  There is no "Aibnb policy".

I charge a cleaning fee to cover the cost of doing the laundry and to pay for the minor incidental items that guests damage.  There are often ruined towels that I have to replace.  Someone lately walked off with the bath mat.  They often break a glass or chip a mug.  After one stay, instead of cleaning it, we just removed the entire toilet seat and replaced it!  And, I don't feel annoyed or bitter, because I feel like it evens out in the long run.

I say clearly in my listing that it is not a hotel, and I will not come in to clean during their stay.  If they stay for longer than 7 days, I'll contact them midway through and tell them I'm leaving out fresh towels etc for them, and that they can exchange them with their used ones.  Since they weren't expecting it, they feel like I am doing a little bit extra just for them.

In my house rules I ask them to tidy and do their dishes before they leave.  Most people clean up after themselves pretty well.

@Chad-and-Char0   "Someone lately walked off with the bath mat" !  It's crazy the things guest will take. Was it a beautiful art-piece? 😍

Level 3
Calgary, Canada

It covers the host's expenses.

Devin & Sarah, Superhost and Bloggers
Level 1
Aurora, IL

i cannot afford a 40 dollar cleaning fee tacked onto what I thought was a 35 dollar rental fee for 1 nite plus tax + a service fee makes the 35 dollar room  into a 95 dollar room. I refuse to use AIRBNB if this keeps up !!!

I will go stay at Motel 6 or sleep in my car or tent. Cleaning fee should be included in basic room cost as it is at hotels in my opinion. I need a room for weekend travels, not for week or monthly stays.

Level 10
Ohrid, Macedonia (FYROM)

@Tom904 you can look for properties that don't charge cleaning fees (but will have the cleaning fee integrated in the price which in the end is pretty much the same) or as you said motels or tents. You can also set up a price limit and search properties that fit your budget. As you are free to book or nit book whatever you want hosts have the right to add a cleaning fee and charge as much as they see fit. No one is forcing anyone to use anything, we all have a choice 🙂 

@Tom904  Very valid point.  I think a cleaning fee favors those who stay longer than a single night, which is often the reason for having it.  If you want to stay at Motel 6, your room will be closer to $70-$90 depending on where you are staying.  Let's say you are staying in a $70/night room for 3 nights, so your cost is $210 plus taxes.  Now if you stayed at the $35 dollar room, you cost would be $145 plus taxes.

Level 1
Aurora, IL

the $35 a night AIRBNB room is actually $94 a nite with all the **bleep** fees added on, so 3 days would cost me almost $300 vs $60 a day at Motel 6 with my old persons 10% discount, cleaning,tax,  and fees included or $180. The AIRBNB might be more homey but $ 120 dollars worth of homey burns a huge hole in my wallet and I could stay at Motel 6 for 5 days then for the same $300.