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Airbnbs Are Asking Guests To Clean Before Departure And Pay Cleaning Fee

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Travelers have taken to the internet to criticize a common Airbnb Host practice. Namely, charging cleaning fees while still asking guests to clean and complete chores before their departure. Staying in an Airbnb comes with different expectations than staying in a hotel. While hotel guests expect to be able to leave their room in whatever state they wish, Airbnb guests know that isn't the case.

Often, Airbnb hosts will have a list of chores or tasks to complete before leaving the properties. Tasks range from putting the used towels in the washer to taking out the trash. If the host isn't asking too much, most guests are happy to accept this as a price you pay for booking an Airbnb.

Woman cleaning an airbnb

However, imagine booking an Airbnb with a $375 cleaning fee only to find you have to complete a hefty chore list before leaving. That probably wouldn't feel like a fair exchange of money and service, and it is precisely what happened to Necole Kane during a vacation in Sedona, AZ. After spending so much time trying to complete her chore list, she was late for a tour she had planned for the day.

Man taking trash out at airbnb

How Much Is Too Much?

According to iGMS, the average Airbnb cleaning fee as of June 30th was $143. Most travelers would likely consider that to be too much, and for most travelers, it is. However, depending on the size of the group, the property, and the length of the stay, this may not be a crazy amount to have to pay for a cleaning fee. After all, professional cleaners often disinfect surfaces, vacuum, change linens, wash dishes, and perform various other cleaning services. In a 5-bedroom house with 10 guests for a week-long stay, $143 might make sense. But what about when the host asks you to wash the dishes, take out the trash, and wash the linens, all while charging a cleaning fee?

@aaroncrawfordmusic For real though @airbnb If all that’s left is to sweep, vacuum and wipe some counters… #airbnb #vrbo #money #fees #morefees #givememymoney ♬ Got Your Money (feat. Kelis) – Ol' Dirty Bastard

Guests who pay these fees are often bewildered when met with the number of chores they are expected to do before leaving the property. Asking guests to place their dirty linens in the laundry room isn't much to ask, and guests would likely be OK paying a fee while completing this task. Conversely, guests who pay this fee and have a giant checklist at the end of their stay often leave frustrated. To make matters worse, some guests report that hosts sometimes leave their cleaning requirements offline. This makes for an annoying surprise upon arrival.

What Does Airbnb Think?

In Airbnb's resource center for hosts, the company touches on what they consider good cleaning fee practices. “It's important to manage expectations about what your cleaning fees include and what (if anything) you ask guests to do,” the document states. Airbnb says that if hosts would like guests to clean dishes or take care of the linens before leaving, the hosts should consider charging a minimal fee or not charging one at all.

@jessweslie Airbnb cleaning fees are steep #LENOVOJUSTBEYOU #FindYourEdge #wellthatsyou #airbnb #airbnbcleaning #airbnbexperience #fyp ♬ original sound – Jessica Weslie Arena

They also point out that if guests are required to pay a higher fee (which the average fee seems to be trending towards), guests might expect to be able to leave without doing anything like they would in a hotel room. Indeed, in the above TikTok that became quite popular, Jessica Weslie shares this sentiment.

What Do Hosts Think?

Many hosts hire professional cleaners to come in after a booking and refresh the property so that it feels brand new for the next guests. The average cost in the U.S. for house cleaning is between $45 and $50 per hour. For larger properties, cleaning and sanitizing everything can take several hours. Now that $143 average cleaning fee starts to make more sense, as @deetakesovercleaning shows below. However, if guests must complete a long list of chores before the cleaner ever shows up, should they still have to pay a fee?

@deetakesovercleaning Let’s talk about Airbnb Cleaning fees 💰#airbnbhost #airbnbtips #airbnbexperience #airbnbcleaning #airbnbcleaninglady #airbnbcleaner #airbnbcleanertips #cleaningtiktok #cleaninglady ♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] – Elliot Van Coup

John-Michael Thomas, an Airbnb host, feels that guests should not have to clean at all while on vacation. In a TikTok, he explains his straightforward checkout instructions that he keeps posted on the back of the front door.

@jamikeymike Reply to @tricia.anna.banana #airbnb #airbnbhosts #realestateinvesting ♬ original sound – John-Michael Thomas

“Close the door” is about as simple as it gets!

Jokingly, Mr. Thomas states that he loves other hosts who charge fees and expect guests to complete chores. His reasoning? Because he expects they will go out of business, leaving less competition. Indeed, some travelers are switching back to hotels, so they don't have to deal with the hassle of an Airbnb. Perhaps properties like Mr. Thomas's will begin to thrive on the platform as guests start to shun properties that charge high fees that come with high expectations.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Friday 29th of December 2023

Dee (@deetakesovercleaning) Is on all social media bashing Airbnb’s clients. That is slander and defamation of character. She owns a cleaning business and is hired by Corporate Offices and individuals to clean. Not to film and bash their clients. She is hired to do a job so do it and stop complaining. These company and individuals can be sued because of her. You pay a cleaning fee and that cover cleaning.


Friday 5th of May 2023

Our cleaning fee was more than the location cost. I paid a $130 to stay one night in an old mill house to propose to my girl, the cleaning fee was $150. So I basically paid for 2 nights worth to be given a chore list including hand washing and drying and putting away all dishes, stripping all beds, not the 1 used bed, all beds. Washing all the towels early enough to switch to dryer before we left. Sweeping the kitchen, taking out all the trash and replacing bags. We only had 19 hours to stay there, I want going to do all their cleaning and pay double the price for a "cleaning fee". It would've been a 4 star stay otherwise.

Lori jacob

Wednesday 22nd of February 2023

I am a cleaner of air-band properties and the reason for doing this is so that the renters can check in the same day another one checks out in order to be able to do this it is necessary to ask you to start a load of laundry and start the dishwasher because if not there's not enough time to clean in between a 5-hour window for the next guest or the owner could actually just set the check in time later but I don't think that people would like that very well either so in order to have that 5-hour window to clean it is necessary for the dishes to be started and one load of laundry started I hope that clears it up


Friday 29th of December 2023

@Lori jacob, That's your job to insure the property is ready for the next clients. That’s what you’re paid for.

Ren. Jim

Wednesday 28th of September 2022

As a professional cleaning business that cleans airbnb rentals I've found that alot of the renters do leave the properties a huge mess they don't even pick up water bottles or beer cans they just trash the place.if they could just be more like clean people and at the least pick up during their stay maybe there wouldn't be a chore list but they did this to themselves why would anyone want to stay in their own filth is beyond me. Live in a clean space even when on vacation.

Denise Kuenzel

Tuesday 15th of November 2022

@Ren. Jim, I agree. But I'm the kind of person who makes her hotel bed! I'm an Airbnb host for ten years and I expect my guests to clean up after themselves, but I don't expect them to do any checkout cleaning.


Monday 26th of September 2022

I stayed at an air b&b with a cleaning fee, and I had my dog (host also had a dog that kept harassing my dog, among other things) I spent an hour cleaning before we left, and had a surprise after that he tried charging me $300 for cleaning because he claimed the bed sheets were ruined and he couldn't get the dog hair our, when his photos showed them exactly as I left them with no attempt to try. I know I can get dog hair out but I was told I wasn't allowed to use the laundry facilities that were listed as an amenity. When I refused to pay and countered with my list of issues, he told me no guest ever caused such issues and if I kept my mouth shut air b&b insurance would pay it. It was during a very stressful time of moving and still bothers me to this day and I haven't used air b&b since.