Class & Clorox: who cleans shared spaces?

I posted about this on my Facebook wall, first, but I was curious what hosts would say since my friends are, um, not objective. And also lean socialist/ communal/ neurotic. :smiley:

I know some hosts revel in fresh flowers in the bedroom, some don’t. But I think hosts who share space with their guests all are firm believers in keeping shared spaces sparkly clean. And, theoretically, I agree.

Certainly in a hotel, you expect cleaners to come in every day and wipe everything down with Clorox. But we’re not hotels. I’m very very clear in my listing that we offer a clean bedroom and access to shared bathroom and Wi-Fi. We’re phasing out access to the kitchen because of liability and horror stories from other hosts where the guests don’t clean up after themselves.

So that got me thinking (especially with the current round of “why don’t male partners do as much housework as female” think pieces sweeping my wall)… we literally had guests say, as they were leaving the house, “we’re going to get breakfast while you clean the bathroom” … and at the time I was mortified and angry. (Note: this was over 2 years ago. My current guests are fine. So far)

I was upset that my bathroom wasn’t clean enough for others. Some shame. But I think the anger was because they were treating us like servants - but aside from some “I’m not your servant” reflex, I’m not sure what made it so …insulting? I don’t have the scholarly words to explain why it felt Different from anything I’d experienced before. I know it poked my pride/honor and I’m not sure if I should have accepted it more humbly (they were paying to live in my house, hospitality, the customer is always right, yadda yadda) or if my righteous anger was justified (don’t tell me what to do and when to do it in my own house. Clean up your own damn mess).

Note: the bathroom - that particular time - did not have excessive child pee. The guests had very very long hair which shed like crazy. After they left I swept up a ball of hair, hair pins, and fake eyelashes the size of a guinea pig from their room. The bathroom mess was (almost) all them.

… other people’s body sheddings are kinda gross. I get that. But in a shared space, whose responsibility is it to clean up the mess of others? As a mom, I spend a lot of time cleaning up other people’s messes - and at the same time, teaching them how to clean up after themselves. (My 13 year old does the laundry, takes out the compost, and does landscaping for the neighbors. My 9 year old sweeps inside and out, helps prep the guest room, and hand washes the non breakable dishes) #mombrag

When people pay to sleep in my home, are they also paying for me to clean up the kitchen after they cook a big meal? After they clog up the drain? After they puke in the hall?

I am fascinated that I have an instinctive answer to each question, and I’m not sure why. Would it be a different answer if the guests had en suite everything? If they were staying for free? If guests stayed for longer than 2 weeks?

(Gotta say, folks who have stayed for free have never volunteered to clean the bathroom, though occasionally they’ll offer to cook a meal - but not to clean up after, which is why I always decline the offer)

Are hosts who don’t share their personal space less offended by guest requests/ complaints?

… or is that a whole nother topic? :wink:

Our current rental is a separate apartment but we used to have guests in our own home and I know immediately how I would deal with that one!

Bright smile: ‘Oh, I haven’t used the bathroom yet. In this home, everyone cleans the bathroom after they’ve used it and leave it crisp and clean for the next occupants. Isn’t that lovely? I’ll be going up there soon. Thanks for leaving it in great shape! I’ll be sure to do the same. Now, where are you going for breakfast? I can recommend…’

I just act a bit thick when necessary. :slight_smile:


I always feel that it’s hard when you live with others and share space, to know when one person’s mess ends and another person’s begins. It’s definitely not fun to clean up other peoples’ messes, but I do feel like there’s an element of that when you sign up to be an AirBNB host. I just got done with five hours of straight cleaning and laundry to turn over my apartment to some new guests. It obviously doesn’t feel great when they breeze in from their flight and I am freaking out over whether the bathmat is done drying. But, whatever! They’re not more important humans than me because at this particular moment I am letting them my apartment. Do you have a cleaning fee? Maybe a nominal cleaning fee would help you to defray some of the costs and feelings associated with this?

That said, it’s definitely your place and your rules. So if you expect guests to make sure that there is nary a hair on the sink, maybe you do provide clorox wipes (I do…) and just make it clear that you expect a post-use wipedown of the surfaces each and every time. You could even frame a little reminder and stick it in the bathroom?

I always clean up after my guests in the bathroom. Generally it’s a daily occurrence because I find small flecks on toothpastey spit on the mirror, hair and pubes in the bathroom and often a wet floor. I also have had guests who shed so much it’s like a woolly mammoth has shaken itself out onto the bathroom floor. (It’s tiled so you see everything dropped on the floor.)

I had one set of guests mark me down on cleanliness, ironically for a mess they were creating on a daily basis.

My expectation is also that the bathroom is cleaned daily when I stay in an Airbnb. It’s one place where I don’t really want to think of other people being in there before me. I have marked down hosts who did not share this attitude. I’m paying for a clean room and clean bathroom during my stay… not just on day one.

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@Alia_Gee. This is actually a tough one. The kitchen is the easiest I believe, but only if YOU clean your kitchen completely anytime you and a family member use the kitchen. Then the “rule” that you leave it as you find it is somewhat enforceable. However, will a guest really clean that big pot enough so you don’t just to re-clean the next time you use it? My experience is, no.

As to the bathroom, one line of your post gave me pause.

I think once you have to have a child pee disclaimer, you have lost the high ground. I am not sure that you can ask your guests to clean up THEIR hair while avoiding child pee. Sorry… the servant thing I get. But, if there is any chance that the space isn’t clean when a guest goes in, then you can’t ask them to attain a level of cleanliness you can’t maintain yourself.

So thinking of solutions… how about you set a time that the bathroom is cleaned each day. So, there would something in your listing like: We thank you for cleaning up after yourself following your bathroom visit. Between 11-11:30AM each day, the bathroom will be “touched up.” Access to the bathroom during this time will be limited.

Best I can do.



@smtucker I was also wondering what the child pee thing meant, but definitely agree on your point OP was suggesting that, more often than not, someone had an “aiming” issue.

@sweep. I know exactly what that meant, hence my comments. Sadly children do not arrive knowing how to use the toilet. It is a lifelong process, not perfected by all. :slight_smile:


Oh gosh, no moral high ground claimed! :slight_smile: I knew by sharing the story i was opening myself up to critique, but the point of the ruminations was where we draw the lines around responsibility of shared spaces. (I assume I’m responsible for a clean bathroom, but if a guest uses a dish they usually wash it. Why is one space my responsibility and another shared space not?)

With 3 males out of diapers, I can’t be sure that the bathroom is in good condition unless I’ve just walked out of it.

I keep a container of Clorox wipes next to the spare toilet roll (right under the current roll) and wipe things down when I leave, but that’s a habit I got into after guest comments when I was a new host. Like I said, this particular incident was years ago. Glad to say I no longer get 4 stars for cleanliness, just value/ location. :]

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hah, yes. i live with my aunt, uncle and three cousins (ages 10 and under) while my apartment is being occupied. there are definitely “safe” bathrooms to use and “unsafe” bathrooms to use, depending on which ones the kids frequent!

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And none assumed @Alia_Gee. I was just trying to envision your life, running into the bathroom after any of the children have used it, frantically cleaning. My thought was by having a set cleaning time, it would relieve you of some stress.

I suspect that your guests assume that you are keeping the bathroom clean.

I think sharing a bathroom with guests is difficult. In fact, I can’t imagine it… and probably would not have opened our AirBNB under those circumstances. I am just not sure that I could keep it clean enough.


I had twin boys so you can only imagine… now I won’t regale you with how MOM (me) just had to clean the pee room of the shared dorm suite after FOUR (4) college males lived there for a full year. And all the roommates had checked out already and because they wouldn’t let us leave and would dock my son’s student account and not send out his diploma if we left without cleaning to their satisfaction and my son was already doing the fridge and kitchen, so yeah, I know all about that subject! Gross!!!


I had a set of guests who were staying for almost 2 weeks and I offered to do a mid week change of sheets and give them clean towels, etc. I can still recall the feelings I had as I was changing a bed as he was reading the paper. Not pleasant at all.

I don’t mind cleaning, but I don’t want to feel like your maid. Nothing wrong being a cleaning person or a maid, etc. This was a private apartment.

But I also have a shared space with guests.

I do keep up with the bathrooms and kitchen. One time someone mentioned something about the kitchen being messy and it was her mess. But I live here and work from home so whatever.

I do keep wipes around and see the house as my own and do clean the shared spaces. If the guests are super messy, and younger, I do mention something.

Why do you mention messiness to younger guests, but not older guests?

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While I don’t deep clean the bathroom every day, we clean the toilet bowl at least once a day (and every time it needs it) and we clean the bathtub/shower and the sink daily. We usually find the guests’ hair all over. We don’t expect guests to clean the bathroom, but I wish they would when they throw up because cleaning vomit makes me vomit. I don’t mind cleaning the kitchen after guests. I’ve noticed that most of them don’t use cutting boards, so if I don’t clean the counters they will have crumbs on them (the same goes for my husband). I definitely don’t mind cleaning pots and pans after my guests. This is because when they do it, they do it wrong. I had a guest cook meat with a lot of sauce in my 14" cast iron skillet after I went to bed. In the morning I found that he had filled the pan with soapy water and let it soak. Thankfully the pan was my grandmother’s then my mother’s so it was well seasoned.

In my view the why don’t male partners do as much housework as female partners issue is complicated. In my personal and anecdotal experience, in most relationships the partners have different standards of cleanliness (and it’s not always the woman who has a higher standard in a male/female relationship). In our case, we each do what is important to us and what we don’t mind. Conrad doesn’t like to cook and hates to wash dishes or clean counters. I love to cook and don’t mind doing dishes or cleaning counters so I do all of the cooking, dish washing and counter cleaning. I don’t like mopping the kitchen floor, so all I have to do is ask and he’ll do it. I deep clean the bathroom, but he cleans the shower curtains and checks for hairs. He makes our bed and changes the sheet because I don’t care if my bed is made and I can go much longer with the same sheets than he can. I think that if more couples talked out household chores out instead of turning them into a battleground there would be more happy marriages.


I’m wondering that too. I find older guests to be just as likely (if not more so) to be messy. Maybe because they more accustomed to hotels and/or have forgotten how to share spaces nicely.


My general take on this is that when guests book a listing with a shared bathroom they need to understand the basic etiquette of leaving it relatively clean for the next person and that it’s not always going to be completely pristine. Of course it’s in the house rules but as we all know, guests often don’t read and common sense and decency is not guaranteed.
I give the bathroom a daily inspection and wipe-down, thorough good clean every 3 days. That’s enough, to my mind.

Re teaching boys to pee accurately - a cork in the bowl to aim at works well. It’s one of the few things I seemed to have succeeded in teaching my son.


@Zandra Interesting post. So you expect hosts to go in and clean your room on a daily basis?

Clean communal areas I understand, but I wouldn’t go into a guest’s room (apart for the weekly change over of towels and linens, when I also hoover the room and clean the surfaces).

I expect the bathroom to be cleaned (spruced up not a deep clean) daily and in the case of long stays I’d expect the bedroom to be freshened every 4-5 days. I stayed in one place for three weeks and it wasn’t cleaned once which I hated (both the bathroom and the bedroom). I watched my hair pile up on the floor (I tend to shed a bit) and would have happily cleaned it myself had I been able to find anything to clean with. In the end I had to ask the host to do something about it as I felt uncomfortable. The floor was pine and when I walked across it I could feel things sticking to my feet which was horrible.

It probably comes from being asthmatic but I find 5 days is about the maximum before the bedroom needs cleaning (there will be a light layer of dust on most surfaces). It also happens to be the length of my maximum stay … fancy that!

I do go into the room daily to open the window and clean as necessary … but I’m open about it and warn that this happens on the listing.

For any guests who are staying for more than eight days, I offer a change of bedding, towels and a swift clean in the middle of the stay. I like to clean the place a bit because it means less cleanup afterwards.

In no way do I feel that this is ‘beneath me’. In no way do I mind if a guest sits and watches me do it. They are paying good money to stay with us. This is hospitality. I can’t understand why the feeling would be not at all pleasant.

I give guests the option to let me change the bedding when they are out or when they are in the apartment. Mostly they prefer to not be there but when they are, I find that it’s a great way to further connect with guests and a good sales opportunity.

I haven’t had older guests be messy, that has been my experience.