Cleaning expectations at airbnb

Interesting article in the WS Journal Sept 17-18 issue about airbnb owners expecting guests to clean extensively, even when there is a cleaning charge.
It is behind a paywall, unfortunately. I found a copy of the paper in a Dunkin’ store.

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I always fully clean before leaving - strip bedding, thoroughly clean kitchen + bathroom, sweep, vacuum, etc. Sometimes leaving it cleaner than when I got there. However, I do think it’s silly to charge a cleaning fee and have rules to clean the place spotless.

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It is very interesting! I have started paying a lot of attention to the cleaning fees when I am looking at airbnbs. I’d rather just stay in a hotel where I don’t have to do excess chores if I can’t find a reasonable airbnb-and I’ll get hotel points.

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What sort of stipulations are they making? I always leave the place tidy and wash all dishes and put them away but if I’m paying a cleaning fee I’m not going to clean bathrooms, mop floors, clean mirrors etc.
I don’t make much of an imprint on a place while I’m there, and the reviews that home owners have left have always mentioned how tidy the place has been.

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This is timely. This morning we are leaving a VRBO apartment we’ve been in for two weeks and the owner told me last night that there is an additional cleaning fee unless I want to do it myself. I don’t use VRBO much so I just assumed it was always included (like airbnb) unless mentioned specifically. Anyway, it’s no big deal to me because we always tidy up well anyway and I have time this morning to vacuum, mop, and clean the bathroom.

But to answer your question, I would not be cleaning toilets or floors if an airbnb is charging a cleaning fee.

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Its been a while since I’ve used an airbnb but I’ve generally cleaned up and left things tidy. Run the dishwasher if there is one, offered to put the linens in the washer if there is one. Taken out the trash and recycling.
Always gotten 5 star reviews, but again, I’ve not rented an airbnb for a few years.

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We leave it tidy, but we don’t clean. We would do dishes or run the dishwasher and just put everything back where it was, if we moved things around. We don’t strip beds, nor do we vacuum or mop (we don’t wear shoes in the house, so that already makes it look much better). We also don’t deep clean the toilet or kitchen, just tidy.
Some places don’t even leave cleaning supplies or vacuums, as they have professional crews coming through.

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Update: I’m at an airbnb now and there are no cleaning supplies and no instructions to clean. I’ll still tidy up as per usual, but no busting out the swifter on this one. The cleaning fee was a little high for this place so it must be because they hire someone.

I always assumed that even if I did certain things they would only be done again by whatever cleaning team comes in, especially in Covid times when cleaning became more stringent.
The only things that seem to be commonly requested are to take out the garbage and wash the dishes.

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It’s quite a new thing with Airbnb.
The guest can chose, in some properties, to forgo the cleaning fee if they clean the property before they leave. Problem is will it be to the hosts standards? I have not given my guests this option as who knows what would happen if they said they cleaned and I said they didn’t. It’s bad enough dealing with Airbnb when breakages occur or rules are broken!
I always say to guests to please tell me if they break something, glass or a piece of crockery, so I can replace it for the next guest. All my kitchen ware is IKEA specifically as it’s easy to replace. And it saves someone counting everything to make sure there is enough.
I appreciate the dishes being done, everything back in it’s place and the fridge emptied of food. I would never expect the beds to be stripped, floors mopped and vacuumed and everywhere dusted. That’s not the guests job.

Edit: Asking guests to empty the bins is not worth the hassle. Our refuge is complicated and everyone gets it wrong, even the householders so my team does it themselves then I don’t have angry letters from the council to deal with.

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Hi @toml,

Yes I have found in the past four years the charges on Airbnb, especially the cleaning charges have become outrageous. We used to use Airbnb frequently but have now found it more affordable to see if we can book directly with a rental property (after doing a little bit of online searching usually we can find the Airbnb listing we like has their own website and if you book directly with them is anywhere from 10-20% less than the total on Airbnb.)

We have also started to use Bookings.com a lot more too. Our Last Airbnb booking required us to wash all used linens, wash and put away all dishes/cookware, take out all trash (which was a ten min drive away) and turn off/unplug everything. This all had to be done before the 10a check out. They also threatened a $300 additional cleaning fee if any sand was found in the apartment :roll_eyes:

Some of these chores I am supportive of and understand but when the list gets this long of cleaning up it does make one wonder what the “cleaning fee” is even for? and if the owners do have a cleaners come after each occupant why wouldn’t the cleaners be able to take out the trash along with the trash that they must acquire from doing a clean?

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@ElsieDownie good to hear from an owner on this.

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@ElsieDownie That spells disaster! Imagine arriving at your new Airbnb and the previous occupants were not very interested in cleaning, or say there were a bucks party! Oh dear, I would be upset to arrive to an unprofessionally cleaned place. I already feel sometimes cups and dishes aren’t done to a very high standard when it’s handwash only and some people are just not good at it!
@Kelly-Moderator in April, we were in a beautiful little Airbnb in Como. They were clear that we needed to take the rubbish out at the end of our sit, no problem, we always do. And we did! There were just so many bins: in every room (2) and every bathroom (2) and 4 in the kitchen. Then I received a snarky message to say we didn’t take out the rubbish and we were threatened with a fine. Golly, we did take it out! We seem to have forgotten ONE bin! It left a really sour taste, as we are generally more careful than the average guest, I know that without a doubt. They were pretty new on Airbnb, so I guess they will still learn to manage their expectations.

It is absolutely ridiculous that AirBnB hosts expect guests to clean all the while they also charge a cleaning fee anyway.

Unfortunately, guests don’t learn of the cleaning requirement until after they’ve made their reservation. This has happened to us. Such a “requirement” should be publicized up front on their public listing so guests can decide, when they see a cleaning charge AND cleaning requirements for THEM, whether or not to use AirBnB.

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Do all Airbnb bookings have the free cancellation for 48 hours? I know I have often noticed this. At least it could be cancelled if something like cleaning issues comes up in the small print.

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The cancellation policy varies with the property. You normally have at least 48 hours to cancel, but some properties are much more lenient. The problem is you don’t usually know the check out tasks until right before you arrive or when you get there. I do a lot of road trips and stay in many airbnbs, but have not had any issues with them expecting deep cleaning, but still charging a cleaning fee. We always take out the trash, make sure the dishes are clean and sometimes are asked to strip the beds. We’ve always gotten great reviews from our Airbnb hosts.

What you do that at an Airbnb?! Are you sure you’re not confusing it with a home where you’ve been housesitting?
These days I find Airbnbs are rather expensive, when they add on a cleaning charge and a hefty admin fee. I wouldn’t dream of doing what you do, they have cleaners generally to go in after each guest and before the next. Having said that, I wouldn’t leave it in a mess - I’d wash dishes and clean kitchen surface etc

I had a detached 2-bedroom house I turned into Airbnb for abut 3 years when the site was in its early years. Cleaning fee was not common back then. I only started charging when others were. I spent minimum 2 hrs cleaning 1200 sqft house after each booking. The only thing I wished guests was to not leave dirty dishes.
I’m also a long time Airbnb user when traveling. I’ve made deals with owners to get a discount if I cleaned up. I rarely use it these days because I often find prices higher than staying at a hotel as a solo traveler.

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Yes, I’ve found Airbnb to be pricey, when you add on the cleaning fee and admin charge. A shame….

Still so much better than a hotel room though. I’ll pay more because I also save on food.

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