4 stars for cleaning solved ... perhaps. But what to do about it?

I don’t usually look at individual star ratings - too depressing … but recently I’ve noticed one or two 4-stars for cleaning creeping in. This is just for the apartment, never the suite and I was really puzzled, because I deep clean after every guest, even to the point of defrosting and cleaning out the fridge/freezer every time. I steam clean shower and floors and the flat is modern, uncluttered and airy.

I should point out, though, that living on the side of a mountain and surrounded by trees and with a hot, dry climate, we are plagued by dust outside. And when we get a North-west wind and it blows down all the dead pine needles it’s super dusty. This is one reason we do a mini-clean in the middle of stays of a week or more, so that the dust doesn’t build up. Anyway, as I was cleaning the kitchen part of the open-plan living area a few days ago, and mindful of the fact that one guest had put “kitchen” as an “area I could improve” I decided to do a bit of grout-scrubbing (ugh!) with bleach, and lo! it did look cleaner. We have ceramic tiles with a matte, heavily-textured finish that looks like stone - and although it is in fact clean (double going over with steamer at every changeover) the colour, texture and grouting make it look a bit dirty …

So, what to do? The one thing I’m not going to do is get down on my ancient knees and put out my ancient back by scrubbing the grouting and textured bits before every guest. Do I suck up the odd four stars for cleaning? My other thought is to cover over the tiles with the same white oak laminate floors we installed in the rest of the apartment post-termite-invasion. It looks nice and is very low-maintenance - just a quick vacuum and mop.

What do other hosts with ceramic tiles do (BTW, the no shoes rule isn’t an option here) and do you love them or hate them (the tiles, that is, not the guests …)?

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Hi @Malagachica

I have a hand held steam cleaner that you can charge enough to use for any hour.

It’s been transformational for tiles, dirt around taps, kitchen tops, cookers etc.

Blimeycharlie! You defrost between guests?


Barns, all your English exclamations crack me up, keep em coming! :rofl::rofl::rofl:

As to to the defrost, I bet she’d get cracked good and hard By guests if there were any ice in the freezer. Silly but we know how guests are.

All of it goes to show how obsessive we’ve all become in the ever escalating search for stars. :-1::weary::triumph:

I clean every slat of every mini blind, I clean the tops of fans and tracks of sliding doors. And I still get marked down. There is just no winning here.


Try mixing bleach with bicarbonate of soda into a paste, then use a small brush onto the grubby grouting, leave for an hour os so and shower/steam off. Works a treat.

Another of my favourites: 50% bicarb and 50% icing sugar for destroying ant nests. Greedy buggers explode gratifyingly!


I’ve given up on stars, decided that there is no way to resolve the whole review issue. It’s human nature, I’ve been reading reviews of various doctors, and support group forums, as I’m seeing a new specialist, it’s astounding to me that people want doctors to take extra time to listen to every detail of their medical issues, even if they don’t relate to current situation, review 20 pages of reports from umpteen years, call them at home to discuss new results, but Don’t Ever Keep them Waiting for their appointment.
It’s a power trip to some, some people while pleasant and expressing delight in accommodations don’t consider what it means when they give 4 stars instead of 5 because of dust that accumulated in the week they were staying in a place that’s on dirt roads.
I would prefer they don’t review.i hate being asked to review when I shop online, sometimes the item hasn’t arrived, or it’s something that doesn’t warrant a review, ie pens.

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My upright steamer has a detachable hand steamer and a wire brush that is said to be good for grout, but I agree that a hand one, particularly rechargeable, might be more easily handled. But to be honest, I think it’s the tiles themselves, which are a sort of mud colour that are the problem. We installed them when we built the flat, when we just envisaged our families staying, so that dirt from little toddler feet wouldn’t show up so much. We weren’t expecting to host finicky French madames …


Blimey O’Reilly, Barnes, indeed I do … then I sit and polish my halo!

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I’ll give that a try, Joan - we’re coming up to the end of our season (YES!!) so I’ll have some time. However, it’s the applying the paste with a small brush bit that puts me off a bit - it’s a large floor area.

Don’t start me on the French, fed up with most of them this Summer. Now beginning to wish they would not book my old cottage!

Actually, both our best guests and our worst guests this year were French - and they only come in August, of course!

Ouch. You could try a larger but still thin brush, or a longer handled art brush, so less bending/kneecap trauma?

All my French guests have been absolutely amazing @anon20475376.

What issues have you encountered?

Worst guest this year was a grumpy rude arrogant french man, who refused to reply to my emails about arrival time and directions, and then had a pissy fit when he got lost and it was my fault of course. His wife was slightly nicer and said they had a horrible holiday, we were so lucky to have them on their last day.


What about those pens you can get, you just run them along the grout and they instantly brighten it up? I’ve never used them, but I’ve often seen them in diy stores and thought how easy they looked to use!

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Tried them … not bad on wall tiles, though they are quite difficult to control and it’s easy to get a “blobby” line, Not really suitable for floors, though, and anyway I really think it’s the tiles themselves rather than the grouting that’s the problem.

We had similar tiles in a small bathroom which although clean always looked dirty. Hubby renovated so we no where have white tiles with black grout. Looks sooo much better.

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Nothing beats new stuff when it comes to looking clean. If you can afford to put the laminate in there then I would do that and give up on “cleaning” what is already clean. In my experience I get 5 stars just because my space is new.

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Yes, an instant effect but the “strip” of whatever it is eventually peels off, after a few months if I remember correctly. You’re then left with hanging strips that collect even more dirt/scum and have to spend hours peeeling them off!

It’s a gimmick…

In the grand scheme of things it not a big deal but it irritates me. I have an old cottage in rural Ireland with an original inglenook fireplace (c1900) and I have had, for example a French guest complain of dust in the fireplace! She said the rest of the house was spotless but still gave me 3 stars for cleaning so mentally gave her a piece of my mind I can tell you!. I had a couple more like that with similar trivia. I have rented out this cottage over the years to all nationalities and I find if anyone is going to be extra picky it is the French. One gave me a 3 on cleaning for the shower which utterly baffled me as I scrub that shower to gleaming after every guest so mentally, he got a double piece of my mind. To be fair, one of my last guests was from Paris and a nicer family, you could not meet so they saved me from over indulging in a stereotype!! The odd thing is, I have a sister and a friend who also rent out houses (not through Air) and they say exactly the same about the French which is most odd. I have now mentioned, (proudly!, in my listing about my 1900 dusty original fireplace with lots of wear and tear!