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AirBnB - how much do you clean as a guest?

I've used AirBnB 7 or 8 times in the past few years, and each time I think "I'll never do it again" - mostly because of the crazy list of cleaning things some hosts require.
One house "Rules" stated that we had to wash/clean all bedsheets, towels and fold them, in addition to literally cleaning toilets and bathtubs. Since I did not want to get a bad rating, I made my extended family clean for 2 hours before leaving that place. So here we were- 4 of us professionals on vacation, cleaning this house for 2 hours. Insanity, right?
On more than one occasion, we have nearly missed a flight or train because we've been cleaning dishes, taking out trash, etc - just to comply with "rules".
So, I'm back in the game once again this summer, this time in Paris for 5 nights, excited for this beautiful apartment but dreading the clean up.

My question is: how much do you guys clean when you're at an AirBnB?

Mind you, all places charge a cleaning fee, so I just get really crazy thinking about the wasted hours on vacation cleaning.

Posted by
2060 posts

That's exactly why I stay in hotels, especially for as short a visit as 5 days. I have stayed at airbrb when other people have been in charge of the stay, and even with many of us, too much cleaning IMO and paranoia. This being said, I also find they are not clean enough for my standards and yet, I'm cleaning before I leave? No thanks.

Posted by
6664 posts

Every time I've used AirBnb there has been a cleaning fee included in the price...Are you paying a cleaning fee in addition to physically cleaning yourself??

Posted by
6544 posts

I hear you Rashmi. I haven’t stayed in an AirBnB but i have rented several apts and this is the one negative for me. I can’t leave without making sure everything is sparkling clean, it’s just in my dna. I much prefer staying in a hotel but renting an apt is much less expensive and i have a washer, and sometimes a dryer.

Posted by
4293 posts

I’ve only stayed in 2 airbnbs, but neither had any unusual cleaning requirements.

Were these cleaning requirements listed on the aIrbnb website or did you discover these after arrival?

Whenever I stay in a flat, I take out the trash before I leave and I will sweep up if needed. I do the dishes after meals and wipe off counters in the kitchen just as I’d do at home. When I leave, the place is neat and tidy but not scrubbed and sanitized.

I would never choose to stay in a place that required me to launder sheets and towels before I left or scrub bathrooms.

Posted by
47 posts

It IS crazy, right?!

Yes, I am paying a cleaning fee on top of cleaning it all myself.

The "rules" are given to you when you check in, and not posted on their "house rules" that is accessible prior to booking. Most of them ask that you do the dishes, which is fine - except we were leaving our Venice apartment at 3AM and it was really awful to handwash my espresso cups and kids plates before braving the dark morning.

I'm thinking I'm just going to risk a "bad review" by doing what I can before I leave.

Has anyone actually left dirty dishes, etc and if so, did you end up with a bad review?

Posted by
210 posts

I own a vacation rental that we rent through VRBO, and our only rules concern quiet hours and no smoking. Also I ask people to let me know if anything is not right in the unit so we can fix it. I also request that they turn off the air conditioning when they go out. (Some don't do this. It's obvious from the electricity bill!)

We charge a cleaning fee, and in my mind that covers the cleaning. We don't expect anyone to clean up, though if they do take their bottles out to the recycle bin and toss their trash, that is appreciated.

Asking people to seriously clean up before they leave PLUS charging them a cleaning fee is totally outrageous, and I would blast anyone who had this expectation.

Posted by
5275 posts

Whether crazy or not, it sounds like you have time to prepare for it so you're not always rushing and almost missing a flight last minute. It's almost like a timeshare, where you have to also "clean up" before you leave, although the sheets sound like a bit much. I guess you have to put a price tag on how much money your time (2 hours or whatever) is worth and just make that total cost a trade-off between an AirBnb and a more conventional lodging place. It sounds like your collective time may be worth more than whatever savings you're getting out of the AirBnb, but then again there are other factors I'm sure that make that accommodation better than a hotel. My casual observation of AirBnb pricing is that the inclusion of cleaning fees work add a lot to the price - they seem to make the total cost uncompetitive (and if you have to spend hours cleaning on top off that to boot....well, that's just a bit much). I thought the high cleaning fees are set to compensate for virtually no one cleaning up after themselves.

As a caveat, I have no idea how much of a mess small(ish) kids make, so my own experience is I'd never have to spend that much time cleaning.

Posted by
1131 posts

I agree with Wray, this is one of many reasons we always stay in hotels. I hate cleaning my own house, why would I want to clean someone else’s while on vacation. No one ever mentions the cleaning list in their reviews of the place. Maybe you should start therefore others will know what is expected.

Posted by
3149 posts

I never clean. I usually run the dishwasher and generally straighten up but cleaning...no way. It's something I ask about when speaking with the host to make sure it's not something they are expecting. Often it's outlined in the listing. If it isn't, I ask. I see Airbnbs the same as a hotel. I'm paying for a place to stay and I'm paying a substantial cleaning fee...I won't clean if I'm paying for someone else to do it.

Posted by
9032 posts

Those staying in hotels because they dont want to clean, dont understand that making the guest clean like the OP has done is very, very rare. And if you want to know you can ask the host prior to renting to be sure.

To steal from Marcia (thank you). I own two vacation rentals that we rent through several platforms, and our only rules concern quiet hours and no smoking. Also I ask people to let me know if anything is not right in the unit so we can fix it. I also request that they turn off the air conditioning when they go out. (Some don't do this. It's obvious from the electricity bill!)

We charge a cleaning fee, and in my mind that covers the cleaning. We don't expect anyone to clean up, though if they do take their bottles out to the recycle bin and toss their trash, that is appreciated.

Asking people to seriously clean up before they leave PLUS charging them a cleaning fee is totally outrageous, and I would blast anyone who had this expectation.

Posted by
2940 posts

I've rented only one Airbnb and that was enough. It was not clean when we arrived. There was lots of deferred maintenance. There were multiple bottles of cleaners under the bathroom and kitchen sinks with about 1/4 inch of cleaning fluid at the bottom of each. I tossed them all in a dumpster across the street. There was a dirty mop in the interior hall. The toilet tank top did not fit and kept slipping to the side. Half of the lights in the bathroom did not work. The owners were off on vacation and there really was no one to contact to deal with issues. The TV was set to channels in Polish with no instructions on how to fix that. The apartment was in Athens, not anywhere in Poland. There was no microwave. The hair dryer was cool only. There was a large balcony but no balcony furniture. I could rant on and on. I left a very long note complaining to the owner and gave them a not so great review. I'm sure they gave me an equally bad one. Fortunately, we were not expected to do any cleaning before we left.

I've rented lots of apartments over time. That was the worst. But I rented a VRBO once that required cleaning. There was nothing in any of the listings or in our email correspondence that mentioned that. I was furious when we arrived and discovered the list of rules for that place and the requirement to clean before we left. Neither the apartment nor some of the linens were clean. I started to heat the oven to cook something and black smoke came out because the previous renters had not cleaned the grease-filled pans inside it. The listing said there was a freezer, but the large fridge did not have one. On our last day there, I cleaned while my husband did laundry down the street. We left the place much better than we found it, but I deliberately threw the towels and rugs and bedspread and sheets on the floor so that the owner would hopefully provide new, clean ones for the next guests. I did not clean the greasy oven pans, but I did tell him about them. This place had lots of deferred maintenance, too. My husband fixed some of it.

I don't like being restricted to eating breakfast at a set time or being forced to be out of my room for housekeeping. I often reject the cleaning and just get fresh towels. I prefer staying in apartments for 5 nights or more. I feel lucky when I'm in a place where the owner also lives. I don't mind paying for cleaning. Most apartments are a little quirky. But ever since those Airbnb and VRBO incidents, I check and recheck about the cleaning arrangements. I can't imagine being required to pay for cleaning and having to clean. Having recently learned that Airbnb often charges more for the same place than other listing services, that reviews are skewed to the positive, and now this, I definitely won't be tempted to try them again.

You can easily tell the difference between a place that the owner takes pride in and takes care of and one that the owner is just using as a cash cow. So far, the best apartments I've rented have been identified or actually rented through Booking.com. The verified customer reviews are a big help. I don't trust most other reviewing sources at all.

Posted by
6544 posts

I think washing dishes before leaving is reasonable. Don’t want to attract roaches or rodents.

Posted by
4293 posts

The "rules" are given to you when you check in, and not posted on their "house rules" that is accessible prior to booking.

If I were handed rules that asked me to scrub toilets or launder sheets and towels, I’d note that when I left feedback. I’d just state it factually (e.g. ”The host asked us to wash the sheets before we left”) so that other renters would know what to expect.

I do expect to wash my own dishes when I stay in a rental, but I expect the cleaning fee to cover the scrubbing and vacuuming and cleaning the linen.

Posted by
3119 posts

I prefer Trip Advisor Rentals and VRBO to Airbnb as they are usually better value for the very same apartment and their information eg precise location is much better. I have been renting places for longer than Airbnb have existed!

I always wash the dishes and take out the rubbish. I wouldn’t expect someone to have to wash up after me and I wash up as I go along, so there wouldn’t be a weeks worth of dishes to sort out. It’s a 2 minute job and not something to warrant risking transport links. I have never stayed anywhere where there have been the rules that you have experienced. I leave places tidy, but there is a cleaning fee to cover mopping the floors, polishing the bath etc so I don’t clean.

Check the small print before you book.

Posted by
4471 posts

If I were handed an unexpected set of "rules" at check-in that required deep-cleaning and laundering sheets, I would just ignore them and risk a bad rating. Take out the trash, leave dishes and pans clean, sure ... that's common courtesy. But if the additional "duties" were not specifically outlined in the contract I signed with the owner, forget it!

Posted by
4951 posts

How dare "professionals" be expected to clean up after themselves!?

I am not tidy and I hate cleaning but if I am staying in someone else's property I leave it in a reasonable state. If I have made a mess I tidy it. How hard is it to wash a few dishes and take my rubbish out? If you are just using it as a place to stay when travelling how much mess are you actually making?
That said I certainly don't go to town with it and I would certainly not be washing and ironing the bedding, especially as most places have early checkouts.
If they are charging you a cleaning fee and expecting you to do more than basic "polite" tidying that is wrong and you should mention it in your review so other people are aware.

If cleaning up after yourself when you are on holiday is going to impact on the enjoyment of your trip you probably should limit yourself to hotel or service accomodation.

Posted by
2028 posts

I would not clean to the level suggested in the OP. I've never been in an apartment that suggested that much cleaning, though.

I leave the house tidy. Things are put away, the counters are wiped down, dishes are washed, dirty towels are collected neatly in one place. I'll start a load of laundry if there is a washer and I'm requested to do so, but I won't wait around for it to finish. I leave sheets on the bed. I will neatly collect any extra bedding and pillows I didn't use (you know, places that give you 24 throw pillows and 3 decorative blankets on the bed!) and put it on the bed in a loosely folded pile. I take out trash, definitely. This all takes under 30 minutes. I've never been asked to do more than that, and my feedback generally mentions that I left the house neat and clean or something to that extent.

I consider this level of cleaning worth it for the other benefits of an Airbnb. The level you describe would not be worth it to me. Honestly, I'd clean to my normal level and risk the bad feedback.

Posted by
1990 posts

Never been asked to deal with linens, but as others - courtesy tidy and wash dishes....I don't always dry them, however. I travel on my own and seem to be more tidy in my vacation apartments than at home....and I do spend time in those short lets. I guess, due to being on my own, I get high marks for being tidy, but I don't do anything like what OP was asked. In fact, it surprises me that you have been asked to do this more than once - or that is the impression you give.
If I received instructions this complex after check in, I would plan to discuss with the landlord. I will state I read the House Rules and am willing to comply with them, that I would do (whatever it is you will agree to), but that with an early departure, 'I don't want to disturb your neighbors by making a lot of apartment noise by doing laundry, bed changing etc. My and AirBnB's assumption is that is what the Cleaning fee is for'. Be professional about it - but get it out of the way early rather than stress about it and be nervous about a bad review.
The other thing I wonder about is 'kids' and 'extended family'. If cleaning fee is set for perhaps 2-4 persons, then perhaps the added request is due to you having a lot of people in the place? If that could be it; then I would ask before committing whether House Rules change with more people renting - particularly in regards to cleaning. With a question like that, or your reply to state what you are willing to do or not do, then any professional landlord would most likely add that to the House Rules.
(and as stated, if you do decide to tick all on the list, then you need to add more time so you don't miss 'whatever').

Posted by
3444 posts

The most we've done in over 30 stays is one asked that we remove the bedsheets (and that was it) and others that asked that we clean up dishes if there was a kitchen (which we would do without asking, and do as we dirty them instead of leaving a pile) & take out garbage, and one that all they asked was that you used the squeegee to wipe the water off the shower. I've seen some that state in their listings about some of the cleaning stuff they expect, so I just keep looking.

Posted by
11118 posts

I clean up my mess. The bathroom and kitchen look like I never used them (but not sanitized). I pull up the blankets on the bed but I don't remove the sheets or wash any of the linens. I hand wash my dishes and put them away as I go. I clean any bathroom mess behind myself, including wiping up water splashes around the sink or shower. If the toilet needs to be brushed, I do it every use (just like everyone else in Europe). I've received only top ratings for my stays, including comments about how clean I left everything.

As was stated before, there is always a cleaning fee so I expect that to cover things like vacuuming, dusting, cleaning/sanitizing windows and surfaces.

I clean as I make messes. If you find yourself scrambling at the end to do a lot of cleaning, the fix may be not to leave all the cleanup until right before you leave. Like at home, I have my place clean before I head out the door (so I come home to a clean house) but I don't do it all the morning of my flight.

Posted by
340 posts

Since I did not want to get a bad rating.........

I'm unfamiliar with AirBNB because I have only used VRBO. Are you saying the owner rates the paying guests and you are worried about YOUR rating??? This sounds odd.

As others have said, cleaning dishes and taking out the trash is a legit request, but hell would freeze over before I did laundry for a landlord, especially if there was a cleaning fee.

Posted by
830 posts

I've rented maybe 17 or 18 apartments in Europe over 20 years, from all different agencies; and NEVER been asked to deep clean a place before we leave!
I always tidy up.
I think as a human being, your inner good person should at least have you wash all the dishes you've used and empty the fridge of old food, especially perishables.
Take out the garbage and the recycling, and pick up anything on the floor, old newspapers, etc; and get rid of them.
I also strip the beds, and make a neat pile of used linen and towels in a prominent place.
Rinse the shower and sink out.
I do what I would like have done if a guest was leaving my home.
If someone asked me to wash (and dry.....in Italy?!)) sheets, I'd certainly tell them where to go.
I get good reviews from hosts for leaving the apartments in a clean state.

My friend and I once stayed in a less than stellar apartment in Rome many years ago.
When I went to strip my bed, I found about 8 layers of sheets there.
Were they taking them off to reveal clean ones each time, or putting dirty ones on top of dirty ones?!!
Ack!

Posted by
2396 posts

I've stayed at Air BnBs several times, in France, Canada, and the US. There's always a cleaning fee, and I've never been asked to do any significant cleaning. We don't leave any food out, and we wash dishes and pans as we use them. That's it. On the other hand, in France we mostly rent houses through Gites de France, and there we normally have a choice: pay a cleaning fee to the owner, or clean it ourselves. We almost always clean it ourselves. The places are modest size anyway, and we do most of the major cleaning as we go (like in the kitchen).

Posted by
59 posts

When I leave, the place is neat and tidy but not scrubbed and sanitized.

This. My husband and I use AirBnB very often and only once we were asked to left the dirty sheets and towels in a specific basket, etc... but not scrub toilets, showers or tubs, etc. I do have a "routine" that I came up with, I do one half and my husband the other half. We usually get great reviews and they often say we left the place clean or tidy. We pay the cleaning fee almost all the time and have never been asked by the host to clean in a specific way. However, we prefer to pick up after ourselves:
- We wash the dishes we used by hand or in the dishwasher if there's one.
- If there is more than one bed I don't make it, instead I fold the sheets and leave them at the feet of the bed we used so the owner knows that's the bed we used and the other beds weren't touched.
- If there's a washer I like to wash the towels we used, but I don't wait for it to end, my husband always sends a message to the owner to thank him/her, let them know we left and that I left the washer running. If there is no washer I leave them inside the tub or shower, so the owner knows those were the towels we used and the other ones are clean/weren't touched.
- I usually clean the floor were I blow dry my hair just to pick up any hair that I might lost in the process (I can't stand hair in the floor, I just can't)
- Clean the kitchen counters and table of any crumbs.
- Take out the trash, turn off any lights or a/c unit.

One thing that helps in my opinion is we try to stay with Superhosts and haven't had any issues.

Posted by
1266 posts

We have been using VRBO/Homeaway for years and have only once encountered a cleaning situation. After we checked in, when reading the instructions that had been left for us, we found that we were asked to either clean the apartment or leave 50 euros as a cleaning fee. The price we had paid for the apartment had been very reasonable and I was glad to leave a cleaning fee rather than clean, but I made it clear that I felt this should be disclosed up front. Guess I should look up that listing and see if they're now disclosing it!

Posted by
47 posts

All good points and perspectives guys...thank you!

I'm going to start using Booking.com as suggested and when I do use AirBnB will plan to do what I would do in my own house - when prepping for cleaning crew.

Posted by
2419 posts

I've used AirBnB 7 or 8 times in the past few years, and each time I
think "I'll never do it again" - mostly because of the crazy list of
cleaning things some hosts require.

One house "Rules" stated that we had to wash/clean all bedsheets,
towels and fold them, in addition to literally cleaning toilets and
bathtubs. Since I did not want to get a bad rating, I made my extended
family clean for 2 hours before leaving that place. So here we were- 4
of us professionals on vacation, cleaning this house for 2 hours.
Insanity, right?

It is words like those written above that will keep my husband and me in hotels/inns/guesthouses/B&Bs. Who needs the crud the OP described above?

Posted by
24 posts

My husband and I spent five months in Europe, staying mostly in Airbnb’s. There wasn't a complete English translation available on their website for a nice-looking home in Avignon, France, but we booked anyway and had a lovely stay. We are always conscientious when we depart, and leave things neat and straightened, but not scrubbed clean.

To our surprise, we received an email from Airbnb a few days later stating that the owner was furious because we did not clean the house, as it stated in the terms on the listing on the website. But the terms were only available in French! We have no desire to deep clean while on holiday, and had we known we would not have booked. She demanded 200 Euros to compensate her, and despite my arguments, we settled on 100.

We became much more careful consumers after that, and made sure a cleaning fee was included on any apartment we considered. Airbnb has had a major site upgrade since that time, and maybe there are safeguards against this sort of thing now. But do read the fine print and be wary if no translation is available!

Posted by
1010 posts

I do not clean someone else's toilets when I'm on vacation.

When my parents owned a short term rental down here, the check out instructions were to set the thermostat to 75F in summer (the AC also serves to dehumidify, which is really necessary in this climate) or 66F in winter, take out all the trash, and start the dishwasher on the way out the door. The contract cleaners empty the dishwasher and take care of everything else.

Posted by
9032 posts

I prefer Trip Advisor Rentals and VRBO to Airbnb as they are usually better value for the very same apartment and their information eg precise location is much better. I have been renting places for longer than Airbnb have existed!

You do realize that most of list on multiple platforms?

From the opposite perspective in 7 years of doing this damage has been limited to one broken wine glass. That's with about 500 rental nights a year in out two places. We dint ask anyone to clean, just take out the trash, and still the places look like new. Says something about the quality of the people that rent them.

Posted by
740 posts

I've rented two apartments in Europe through VRBO and both had cleaning fees. Most of the rules consisted of taking out trash and washing dishes. I like to leave a clean place so usually I wiped down countertops and vacuumed the carpets. Never however have I had to strip and wash bedding or clean toilets/tubs. Isn't that what a cleaning fee is for?

That's one reason I like hotels for shorter term vacations-I hate cleaning up my own home why should I do it on vacation?

Posted by
128 posts

I've rented multiple AirBnBs across the U.S. and Europe. I've never once washed the bathroom, washed my sheets, swept my floor or anything like that. I've received only 5-star reviews.

I am a solo traveler who doesn't spend much time in my AirBnBs when I travel other than to shower and sleep, so I am probably cleaner than the average guest.

I've payed cleaning fees -- sometimes substantial -- at every one of those places. Isn't that exactly what the cleaning fee is for -- to reimburse the host for the basic cleaning that comes from hosting a paying guest?

I don't think completely trashing the place is acceptable. Some basic cleaning may be required if you prepare food, spill something, etc.

But I feel like charging a cleaning fee and forcing guests to clean under threat of negative reviews is extortion.

I would say to contact AirBnB if you come across a similar problem at another rental,. However, they were so useless and passive aggressive when I had a recent problem with a host in Spain that I'm not sure if they would help the situation at all.

Might be best to, as others have suggested, to lay out specific terms with the prospective host before renting, especially if you're a large group of people who plans to prepare meals at whatever place you're staying at.

Posted by
1923 posts

I am tempted by the lower price of renting an apartment vs a hotel, but then I remember that it's my vacation, and aside from keeping my hotel room tidy that's all the cleaning I am interested in doing. Those 2 weeks away from my usual routine at home--no cat box cleaning alone is thrilling!--are what being on vacation is all about.

Posted by
1247 posts

I always (whether asked or not) do a basic cleaning: wash my dishes, put everything back in its place (e.g if I read books they had or moved anything around). On occasion I've been asked to bring trash out to bins, and I'll certainly do that as well. But I have never been asked to do any kind of laundry or deep cleaning, and I would not, and I would leave them a bad review if they expected me to. But I always leave the place tidy, and I have gotten many positive review for that.

What I am amused by in many of the responses and many other people's comments about Airbnb is when people say, "I stayed at an Airbnb once, and never again." I tell you what: I stayed at a hotel once that was awful. So never again! And I once had a bad meal at a restaurant, so I will never eat out again!

Judging all Airbnbs (or all hotels or all restaurants) by one bad experience is just silly.

Sure, if you want to stay at a hotel because you want daily maid service and no responsibilities for anything other than not destroying your room, by all means stay at a hotel. Apartment rentals are definitely not for everyone, and that's fine.

Posted by
9032 posts

Christa, I agree. But I've managed to find the best of both worlds and have a little additional comfort away from the throngs of tourists.

Among the advantage of a hotel room is you don't have to clean the dishes and forks and spoons or wipe your mess off the dining room table.

Posted by
11118 posts

Personally, I've stopped using booking.com. After using them, and other options, for a number of years I decided the worst rooms/booking problems I've had were with booking.com (and hotels.com to a lesser extent). One hotel room in Burgundy was a nightmare (no hot, or even warm, water). Another place said they didn't have the reservation; I was able to get it cleaned up after about an hour on the phone with Booking.com, but who wants to do that? The Airbnb apartments I stayed in before and after were heaven by comparison. I'm always a little worried about finding the host and getting the key, but it's always worked out so far.

Europeans I know seem happy to use trip adviser for hotel reservations. I'd try that before Booking.com.

Posted by
1177 posts

We‘ve rented summer beach apartments for about 50 years, almost all to friends and family. For years we asked that they leave the place clean, but we would always wash sheets and towels. About 10 years ago we decided to increase the rent and have cleaners come in to do it. We are glad we made the change.

When we stay in apartments in Germany, the end cleaning is always either included in the price ( usually if the stay is 3 daysor more )or it is a separate charge. However my wife always leaves the place spotless.

Posted by
2688 posts

I have never used AirB&B, but I have stayed at at several vrbos and homeaways. After paying substantial cleaning fees, I’d be damned if I’d do the kind of cleaning you describe. We’ve been asked to strip beds and put sheets and used towels in a pile in front of the washing machine, and to put dirty dishes in the dishwasher. No problem. As to worrying about getting a bad review from the owner . . . Tough! There are plenty of other ways to access apartment rentals. I’d give a bad review about the ridiculous demands of the owner.

Posted by
72 posts

I've stayed in AirBnBs, VBROs and apartments and the most we've ever been asked to do is run the dishwasher and take out the garbage which seems neither onerous or out of line. If you're paying a clean fee I would question the person your renting from as to why.

Posted by
2520 posts

I don't clean while on vacation.

Never been given a list of cleaning chores anywhere I have stayed.

I also don't trash the place I am staying and try and leave it in the same condition I found it. I will take out the trash. I will put dishes in a dishwasher and run it. If I do happen to make a mess, spilling food and drink or other similar situation, I will attempt to clean that up and also report it to the owner so they are aware. But I am not scrubbing toilets, changing bed sheets, mopping floors, or vacuuming. They charged me a cleaning fee, they need to do the cleaning. Give me a bad rating if you must.

Posted by
892 posts

I have the the unique position of being the person who came in after the guests left. I was in grad school, doing this as a favor for family members who owned a beach property, I did this in exchange for being able to do my own laundry while I "worked ". This was just long enough ago that I don't think they were using any on line platform. They DID have an exhaustive list for departing renters that included them putting clean sheets from the linen closet on all beds they used and vacuuming floors. They were "allowed " to leave the last load of household laundry in the dryer as they left. I folded those towels and put in linen closet, we left nothing "out" but a clean hand towel.
I made sure dishwasher was empty, I checked dresser drawers, put out fresh soap and TP. I carted off any abandoned partial shampoos and ketchup (did I mention that I was a poor grad student?) And I don't think they were charging a cleaning fee (cuz I wasn't getting paid) :)

Something I do myself when I'm leaving a place is leave the damp used towels on the rack, not in a pile. What if their cleaning person doesn't come in for 24 hrs? I don't want to leave a pile getting a mildew smell.

Posted by
324 posts

We have stayed in many Airbnb apartments in Italy because we like them not because they are cheaper and we like the fact that they are not hotel-like. We do a LOT of research and communication with the hosts before we book, and have never had any kind of bad experience. Never been asked to do any cleaning beyond dishes, trash, and recycling, yet hosts often remark in their reviews of us that we left the place very clean and tidy --- they seem surprised, so I guess that guests often leave the place a wreck.

Rather than leave a complaint in a review of an apartment, just say that there was an expectation to clean the toilet or whatever, the same way you would say that there are 80 steps to climb to reach the apartment --- these are things that a guest would want to know and some would mind and some would not.

Posted by
9032 posts

I think it's in good taste to leave a few bottles of wine and a nice tip for the host ... after cleaning.

Posted by
13143 posts

Now, James. You are contributing to over-tipping in Europe by Americans.

Posted by
698 posts

James, if I ever rent one of your places I will leave you a full case of this fellow's wine. As close as I can to describe it, he's an associate of one of my friends:

http://www.johnszabo.com/about

Regarding cleaning, never had a real problem with any rentals. The worst - crumbs in the rubber liner of the stove (check it out next time) and clumps of dog hairs in between the seams of a leather couch in a rental which has over one hunded five star reviews on VRBO. I cleaned both in a few seconds without telling my wife, otherwise I'd be in trouble.

An admission of guilt. One rental, otherwise perfect, had a strange odour in the bathroom. I had to wash the toilet cleaning brush in the dishwasher. This is fine by me, I never use a dishwasher.

Posted by
881 posts

Me to my Paris host after arriving from a stay in a Brussels flat where we were asked to run and empty the dishwasher and take out the trash: “What would you like us to do for clean up when we check out?”

The host gives me an incredulous look and says: “ Why clean? You are on vacation?”

Loved her! And the space was spotless as well. Typically, in other stays, the host only asks to run the dishwasher and take the trash out. Any other expectations would be unreasonable as we are charged a cleaning fee.

Posted by
9032 posts

Gundersen, you associate has a good Hungarian name, so no tip required.

I noted this above, but worth repeating. My places are not high end by any means. sort of median priced, one maybe a tad more. But the people they attract have been wonderful at taking care of the places. No damage in about 7 years. Washing dishes and taking out the trash is appreciated but no one has ever been penalized for not doing it. Dishes? most use nothing, some a wine glass or a coffee cup or two. Occasionally a plate. The trash is a 50 foot walk, and gives you an opportunity to see the building courtyard which you would have otherwise missed....

Tips? In the early days there were the occasional thank you gifts.

VRBO vs AirBnb vs XXXX vs YYYY; you do realize that the last apartment you rented was listed on all of them. So one or the other doesn't necessarily get you a better apartment. Maybe better terms because each listing site has its own rules and protections for hosts and guests.

Me? I stay in my own short term rental or I stay in a hotel. Just me I guess.

Posted by
210 posts

VRBO vs AirBnb vs XXXX vs YYYY; you do realize that the last apartment you rented was listed on all of them.

Not true. Most VRBO owners whom I know personally do not list their property on AirBnB, for various reasons, including: 1)The clientele differ. VRBO tends to be more families with money who want to vacation in one place. AirBnb caters more to shorter stays and travelers who are more price-sensitive. 2)Different policies. I strongly dislike AirBnb's cancellation policies and feel VRBO has much better customer service, for both owners and guests. 3)Pricing is artificially and woefully depressed on AirBnB because they don't break out and make explicit the taxes that law-abiding homeowners need to pay.

Posted by
6544 posts

We rented an apt in Paris that was horrible and disgusting (major mold, plumbing held together w duct tape, tiles missing and crumbling in shower, bedroom window could not close in bedroom in winter, etc) and they are listed on VRBO now. Because of that, i could not rent through them.

Posted by
9032 posts

Marcia, I will pass that along to the dozen or so I know in Europe, myself included, that are on multiple platforms.

3)Pricing is artificially and woefully depressed on AirBnB because
they don't break out and make explicit the taxes that law-abiding
homeowners need to pay.

Huh? Am I missing a tax law that I dont know about? Should I raise my rates? Or start charging different rates on different platforms? Help me.

Okay, my point is that blanket statements like that just dont hold water. What very well could be the case in Hoboken is a worthless statement in Tirana.

Statements 1 and 2 are also not universally correct. Probably not even correct the majority of the time in a world view. Part of the beauty of travel is it provides the opportunity to recognize what is true or what works in Sofia is pointless in Paris or Detroit. It's something RS does emphasises, but sometimes I think he needs to hammer that point home a bit more.

Posted by
237 posts

Must be a cultural difference (or irrational personal squeemishness), but Gundersen's comment on washing the toilet brush in the dishwasher made me reconsider ever using dishwashers in rental properties.
From now on, it's handwashing. Dutch style.

Posted by
9032 posts

That's why I don't have a dish washer. And maybe a little why I rarely stay in a short term rental.

Posted by
210 posts

Huh? Am I missing a tax law in Hungary that I dont know about? Should I raise my rates? Or start charging different rates on different platforms? Help me.

This doesn't apply in every jurisdiction because not all jurisdictions charge a state, provincial or local rooms tax. But where there is one, in the jurisdictions I know best, VRBO's interface asks the owner to enter the nightly room rate, the cleaning fee and the taxes. AirBnB asks the owner to enter only the nightly room rate and the cleaning fee. The owner is expected to pay the rooms tax out of the nightly fee. Yet consumers look mainly at the nightly room rate in thinking of the cost of lodging.

So if the relevant tax is, say, 14%, the nightly rate is $100 and the cleaning fee is $100, on VRBO the listing will break out the fee as $100/night plus the one-time cleaning fee PLUS $14/night tax, while AirBnB will break out the fee as $100/night plus the one-time cleaning fee.

Realistically, the owner can't raise the room rate on AirBnb to $114/night because the other hosts aren't doing so and that will make them uncompetitive. Also, because the $114 will appear much more expensive to potential guests than $100 plus taxes. In addition, AirBnB's interface constantly suggests to owners that they should lower their price!

AirBnb started off as a way for homeowners to make extra money and not pay the taxes that are legally due, and their interface has continued to reflect that, while VRBO sets up its interface on the assumption that its hosts are all collecting and paying required taxes.

Sorry for the digression from cleaning fees but I need to answer the question that was raised.

Posted by
1990 posts

Marcia, please look at some AirBnBs for Venice Italy. State taxes are not collected via AirBnB, but collected in cash by the landlord. I noted this for Florence as well. However, for Barcelina, another city that collects tax, the price was built in so they provided their city rental license numbers to indicate they would be paying the tax.
However, rather than get into discussions about rental platforms, let's agree that not all are the same, and not all appeal to everyone. Learn the framework from each and decide which works for the individual.....oh, and remember frameworks change. VRBO didn't used to charge a service fee.....

Posted by
1947 posts

I have rented many apartments through VRBO/Homeaway. I like to have a neat apartment during my stay, and will tidy it up as I go, but no major cleaning. Most places have asked that you throw out all trash when leaving, clean out the refrigerator, and wash all dishes, which is totally reasonable. I also strip the beds and pile sheets on floor, as well as towels in the bathroom. So the apartments have always been in decent shape when I leave. Never have been requested to wash sheets or towels.

Posted by
889 posts

Maria,

I believe the law in Italy requires the hotels/apartments/B&Bs to collect the local tax as cash. We stayed at quite a few hotels and B&Bs in our 30 day Italy trip and all of them collected the tax in cash.

Posted by
340 posts

I'm still stunned anyone uses Air BNB. The fact owners rate paying clients is absurd. What if you have a low rating? Does the owner have a right to refuse rental to you? If so, what a load of litigation that would be here in the US.

Posted by
378 posts

Well, this has been an education. I mix my hotel stays, Airbnb stays, and bed and breakfast stays depending upon circumstances and locations. I have used Airbnb 5 times in 3 different countries and had great experiences. I try to leave things neat and all of the places have had a cleaning fee. Have to admit I have never received a cleaning list and had no idea I might see one, so this teaches me to be on the lookout.

Posted by
340 posts

I'm stunned because I think it is absurd owners rate clients. If people like and find nice properties to rent on AirBNB, then use them or any other sites. However, the original OP was worried about getting a bad rating........Since I did not want to get a bad rating, I made my extended family clean for 2 hours before leaving that place.

Since I am unfamiliar with this rating system, I curiously asked earlier why the rating system? What is the downside of a bad rating as a PAYING client and why would anyone care if they get a low rating? Will AirBNB ban you from using their site?

Posted by
964 posts

This is what I do. While my stays are in hotels, as a courtesy (and maybe automatic behavior), I tidy up my hotel room for housekeeping.

  • I loosely fold any used towels (to be replaced) and put them on the floor near the shower.

  • I put away all my personal items (off the sink/desk/table/chair) to make their cleaning easier; nothing in the way.

  • If I happened to order take away food, I make sure the container or box is in the garbage can; bottles included.

  • Out of habit, I pull up the sheets and blanket, etc. even though they get changed

  • I keep my luggage out of the way (on the luggage rack and in the wardrobe/closet)

Posted by
1247 posts

If you get a bad rating as a guest on Airbnb, future hosts might refuse to rent to you.

And, for that matter, hosts can see the reviews you've given to other hosts. If they see you have a history of giving negative reviews, they also might refuse to rent to you.

Sometimes this might be justified. If you have trashed places you've rented, if you were noisy and disruptive, you probably should get a bad review as a guest so future hosts can beware.

But I think it's easy to see the downside of this and how it causes you to feel constrained in giving bad reviews or in going way beyond what would be considered appropriate cleaning in order to avoid getting a bad review.

Posted by
869 posts

I clean according to what I agreed to in the contract that I entered into, meaning I read ALL the fine print to make sure I know what I am getting us into. I have NEVER seen any requirements to deep clean (I would not rent from them) in any of the apartments I have rented through VRBO or AirBNB, just take out the trash and make sure the dishes are clean and fridge is empty, easy peasy that takes like 5 min. Even in a hotel I tidy up and make sure the bed is made, our suitcases are closed and nothing personal laying about. I actually take more time in a hotel daily to tidy up due to my fear of theft by opportunity. On a daily basis in an apartment I make the bed and leave my suitcase open, shoes on the floor my personal items laying around we are out the door a lot quicker when we stay at an apartment.
And YES I want a positive review from my host, makes it that much easier for the next host to accept my request. No one wants someone who breaks the rules, ruins their home or is a bad communicator. In a P2P platform I want trust and a good reputation.

Posted by
2823 posts

This has been a very interesting posting!

We have just rented VRBO vacation homes or condos in the US. We typically stay in hotels or B&B’s in Europe, although an occasional apartment through Booking.com.

I am from a family of neat-niks, so we always leave the VRBO’s cleaner than we found at arrival. We have found dishes and silverware half-clean in the cupboards, so now our standard practice is just to run a load of dishes when we arrive. And unfortunately, we also noticed at our last VRBO that the bedding wasn’t clean. So, next time those will be going into the washer when we arrive while we go to the market. All of these were US rentals; our European ones through Booking have all been great.

Posted by
30149 posts

This is one significant reason why I always stay in hotels. House cleaning while on holiday is not going to happen in my case. I get enough of that at home! The same goes for cooking and doing dishes.... not going to happen. I take holidays to get away from that cr@p!

Posted by
2396 posts

The same goes for cooking

That's a huge reason why we almost never stay in hotels. The reason why we started staying in houses and apartments 30+ years ago was because we had been staying in hotels in France and saw all the wonderful food at outdoor markets and couldn't take advantage of it. We occasionally go out to restaurants while in France, but usually prefer staying at our rental and cooking all the wonderful things we can get and eating cheese and charcuterie. But I can understand your point if you consider cooking a chore.
Cleaning, on the other hand, is something different. But since we usually rent places by the week, it's only a once a week thing, and doesn't take too long. At AirBnBs, there is almost always a cleaning fee added, so we don't have to do much besides not make a total mess.

Posted by
7689 posts

That's a huge reason why we almost never stay in hotels. The reason why we started staying in houses and apartments 30+ years ago was because we had been staying in hotels in France and saw all the wonderful food at outdoor markets and couldn't take advantage of it.

There are numerous hotel chains that have kitchens in rooms......Fraser Suites, Citadines, Staybridge Suites and Residence Inns. All the services of a hotel but with a kitchen. They usually also have a guest laundry.

Posted by
1118 posts

Great thread. We have rented the same VRBO in Hawaii for years. There is no cleaning fee. The owner tends to rent to repeat customers who treat the condo like their home away from home. He also provides a mid stay mini clean. As mentioned upthread we are "neat-niks" as well. We use the dishwasher, wipe down counters, take the garbage out... It works well for our 3-4 week stay.

In Europe & US we tend to mix our stays with Hotels, B&B's or Apartments. For us it makes for a nice variety.

Posted by
151 posts

I don't leave any obvious messes or dirty dishes. I empty the refrigerator and wipe crumbs or spills from counters, tables or sinks if necessary. Takes about 15-30 minutes. If requested, I take out the garbage. Once in the US we were asked to strip the sheets and leave them in the laundry room.

I've never had a problem with rentals or hosts' reviews, although I know it does happen. For stays of 5+ nights, to me the minor inconvenience of spending half an hour straightening up is worth having an entire apartment if I want to relax in the am or evening with a cup of tea, read our guidebooks at a nice table (sometimes on a balcony or nice patio) as we plan the next day, make a simple meal when we tire of restaurants, have access to a washer and dryer, and experience a residential neighborhood.

Posted by
2396 posts

I should have said that the ability to make our own meals was one of the reasons, but not the only reason, that we started renting houses and apartments. Barbara sums up some of the other reasons very well. A hotel room with a kitchen is still a hotel room.

Posted by
13 posts

when I travel I have used Airbnb 50% , hostels 25% and hotels 25% of the time
I have never been given a to do cleaning list before I leave
I do tidy up after myself before I leave (make bed , tidy up bathroom , put all my garbage in 1 bag , clean up kitchen and wash utensils I have used )

Posted by
672 posts

We've been fortunate to have reasonable and common sense owners of our VRBO apartments. We pay a cleaning fee of about $125, which seems fair enough.

Towels on the floor, beds unmade so the sheets can be changed. Obviously we will clean dishes and leave the kitchen tidy, and otherwise be good guests, leaving things in good order. This shouldn't be complicated. It's common courtesy, imo.

But you have to do your research. No way I'm getting a place where I'm cleaning it for two hours, and thus far it's been easy to find a place with reasonable rules. Still, I'll take the savings and extra space of a VRBO rental over a closet of a European hotel room.