5 Star Cleanliness

What is your expectation of cleanliness in order to give a guest a 5 star review? I have so many guests who leave the place spotless, and I obviously think that deserves a 5 star, but what about pretty clean? Like, maybe they tracked some dirt in or left coffee grounds in the coffee pot. Do you dock a star for those kinds of things?

IF (that’s a big “if” since we’ve never had it happen) a guest stained towels, linens, walls, whatever, I would start docking stars.

Forgetting to empty the coffeepot filter or tracking in sand from a nearby beach doesn’t – I would check and empty the pot anyway, vacuum and Swiffer anyway.


No. I would only dock stars for intentional neglect (leaving dirty dishes), actions that cause a lot of work (stains, sticky messes not attempted to get cleaned up), malicious actions (deliberately ruining things).

Accidental breakage depends on if they owned up to it.

Tracking in dirt is part of normal daily activity unless it rises to the level of the above items, coffee grounds in the pot is an easily overlooked item - not a star removal offense.


Tracking in dirt is expected. I don’t expect them to sweep or wipe down the bath sink.

However things like emptying the coffee cup and rinsing instead of leaving half full on the beside table, something they have complete control of and made the choice to leave it dirty will get a star deduction. Men peeing all over the toilet and floor get a deduction. I had a guest with a dog and there was dog hair all over the bed despite me giving them a blanket for the dog, and it appeared there was no effort to keep the dog on that blanket. Cat litter all over the floor in the bathroom got a deduction. The cat owner who said I have a hand vac to clean the litter (and did) got five stars. Not putting trash in the bin but leave it sitting out may merit a deduction. Sometimes it’s got to be at least two “demerits,” so to speak.

Rest assured they will deduct a star from you for the same infraction.

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You ALLOW CATS? Who travels with a cat anyway? Ewe.


Hmmm I must be the strict one here, having spent so much time in Japan, Alaska, Hawaii etc. where tracking in dirt is considered barbarian, and my house rules make it clear to remove shoes if it is wet out.

Also I have hardwood floors and don’t need grit all over them.

Five stars to me is my guests from Aachen Germany who left their sheets folded with corners matching and everything immaculate. They set an unbelievable standard. Plus people who are reasonably neat and tidy. If the bathroom is a mess or sheets are stained, or if I have drag pizza boxes from under the bed, the stars start drifting down.

I consider the review system binary for me. I’m going to leave 5 stars unless it is a problem guest. Bad guests get a bad review and 1 star.

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Yes, I have a pet friendly listing. Typically people who are moving have their cats with them. Here’s my pet friendly listing if you’d like to take a look.



I don’t get guests who fold linen which is about to go in the washing machine. It’s a waste of time and energy which could be spent on something more productive. I love it when guests leave the window open a bit so the airing process can start, and leave the duvet off the bed so the mattress can air. I have no objection to normal vaccuming, very light rubbish removal and dusting, anything else gets a deduction. Yes, wee etc. on the loo, excess hair in the plug (clean it as you go!) gets a deduction.

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It makes sense to me that if the cleaning can be covered by the cleaning I’m going to do anyway, then maybe a star deduction isn’t warranted. I’m going to sweep whether there is dirt or not. I’m going to wipe the counters down whether someone splashed coffee on them or not.

I’ve found an entire, upside down piece of pizza on the floor before - that is way beyond standard expectations. I think I just feel bad giving an okay guest the same rating as our cleanest guest ever.

As far as beds go, it’s annoying when people remake them. I prefer they just leave them however they wake up. But I don’t dock cleanliness points on beds unless they leave stains, especially ones that can’t be washed out - that would really irk me.

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I surprisingly don’t get many stains but I don’t deduct because I don’t see that as really being in their control. As long as the bed it being used for it’s normal functions, stains will happen. I’ve had some guests who I suspect put a bath towel underneath them on the bed and then washed it out in the shower because I found a completely wet bath towel in the shower and no stains. But I don’t know for sure so they don’t get graded higher than people doing normal stuff.

@KKC When I say stains, I mostly mean makeup. Please, please, please just take your make up off before bed. I’ve found spilled blush on the bed before. Just a huge pink spot. Sometimes I find little blood stains, and I don’t dock for that under normal circumstances. It’s inconvenient, but I understand that people get scratches or whatever sometimes.

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A few dumb questions:

  • Is there a way to see your own rating as a guest? We just stayed in two places, behaved well and got good comments, but this topic has sparked my curiosity.
  • Where can we see ratings of guests? I just had a look at our former guests, but I can’t find any star rating.

Here they are at the airport


We’ve only docked one guest on cleanliness, to four stars. He left unwashed dishes and food packaging wasn’t in the bin or recycling. Granted, not great amount but not acceptable either.

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We do. He is diabetic and has to have insulin shots twice daily. Although I can rely on a neighbour to feed him, I won’t ask anyone else to play cat nurse, it just isn’t fair. But we’d take him anyway. :cat:

All the things mentioned so far (with the possible exception of pizza slices on the floor - what a waste) wouldn’t make me go for less than five stars. Bathroom grossness would though.

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Do you require them to leave the place in a totally clean state for the next guests? For example vacuum, wipe down kitchen surfaces, lightly dust and clean the bathroom properly? I wish I had the courage to require that but I just ask them to clean dishes etc and tidy up, empty fridge and take out rubbish. I dock Cleanliness points for:

  1. leaving dirty dishes, cups etc out for me to clean up,
  2. leaving a very full bag of mixed rubbish for me to take out and sort into recycling going through their wet scraps to retrieve bottles and cans.
  3. not cleaning leftovers out of the fridge as requested.
  4. put used sheets, towels etc in the bathtub

Most people sweep the floor but I still have to vacuum the rugs and steam clean the wooden floors anyway.

@JamJerrupSunset I do not require guests to leave the place clean. I clean the unit after every stay - at minimum I change the bedding and towels, wipe down all the surfaces, and sweep. Sometimes I mop too, but not always. Usually I Windex mirrors and what not, but not always.

I leave instructions on how to take out the trash, but prefer they don’t take out the last bag unless it is totally full. I use it to throw away any trash I find and for sweeping, and I don’t like to waste 3/4 of a perfectly good trash bag - sometimes I use it as a replacement for my own. I guess I’m cheap like that.

Guests often forget leftovers in the refrigerator, but I’ve honestly never considered it a major offense. I check every time anyway, so I just throw it away if needed. I see it as an easily overlooked item - sometimes people message 5 minutes after they leave apologizing because they just realized they left something. No big deal to me.

Anyway, just because I don’t require them to leave it clean doesn’t mean I don’t expect them to leave it clean. Maybe that’s unfair. It’s just that 9/10 guests seem to make a real effort to throw away trash, wash dishes (and usually put them away), and do something reasonable with used towels. I don’t know that I’ve ever had a guest take the initiative to sweep, though. I have tile floors and usually end up sweeping up quite a lot of hair…even the cleanest guests seem to leave hair all over.

As an update, my last guests were 3 coworkers travelling together. They obviously did some kind of manual labor. It had rained outside and they tracked a bit of mud in that they apparently made no attempt to clean up. They also made coffee and left the coffee grounds in the coffee maker. They did wash their used dishes, left the beds unmade, and left used towels on the hooks provided in the bathroom.

Cleanup required me to check coffee pot (which I always do), throw away the used grounds, rinse out the coffee pot (they had poured the coffee out, but it just seemed to need a rinse), and sweep the floor. A little extra work on the coffee pot than I’m used to, but seriously, 20 extra seconds. I think it’s easy to overlook coffee grounds and left overs, so I dont really dock for those things unless they are in combination with a lot of other issues.

The mud was inconvenient, but swep right up and required no extra work on my part. So I gave them 5 stars. They may have deserved 4 stars, but all in all, they were pretty good.

I clean everything after every guest. This means everything! So although I especially love guests who leave the place in wonderful shape, everything is going to be cleaned anyway. (Although admittedly it’s easy when guests have been thoughtful and attentive).

I don’t give guests a list of check out procedures. I like to think that they are decent human beings who are going to leave the place in good condition - and 99.9% of the time, this is justified.

Guests sometimes ask me what I would like them to do when they check out. I say something along the lines of ‘well, you know that the Airbnb site says that you should leave the place as you find it? Well, I don’t think that way. As long as it’s clean and tidy I don’t expect things like the garbage being taken out. That’s my job’.

Almost always, this results in a spectacularly clean and tidy apartment :slight_smile:

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I had a guy - whom I knew he was going to be trouble because he messaged me a lot for trivial matters, even addressing me with the wrong name because he was talking to other potential hosts - who left the pillow case stained with blood. Gross. I told him about it and he became agressive, like how do I dare to take a star away for such a trivial matter. Why couldn’t I use oxygenated water to take the stain away? I told him I threw the pillow case out and that he ruined my bed sheet set. Then he became angry, he looked me up online and retorted to me that I am a nasty woman and no wonder that I am single! I wanted to report to him something with political connotations but I refrained myself and simply told him that I run a business and that I reported him to Airbnb for persona attack. I also told him that besides the blood stain he left the light on and put the key in the dresser instead of the place where i told him to put it, making me go nuts looking for it. Then I banned him.

I had an old lady leaving me a blood stain on a towel.
I had people breaking glasses, leaving dirty dishes all over the house.
I had people leave the stove top greasy and dirty. The oven full of grease.
I had people moving mattresses around.
I had people who burned a towel, who wanted to show up at my house 17 hrs earlier and stay the night for free.
I had people smearing mascara on my white lamp shades.
I had people wiping me clean of all the toiletries, over the counter pills, band aid and first aid kit in the bathroom. And we are not talking individual size but big bottles and boxes from Costco.
I had people who checked out and left the windows open the fan on and the heat on on subfreezing temperature.
I had people who check out and turned the heat off in subfreezing temperature (mind you they were from CA)
I have people who check out leaving the lights on.
I had someone leaving a small quantity of weed in a leather pouch.
For all these I take out one or more stars, depending of the gravity of the situation. The burned towel got a 1 star review.