Cleaning when guests are absent

I had scheduled a cleaning for my guests room at Saturday at noon. I’d also scheduled a service of the room’s A/C at about the same time. It wasn’t quite due, but the A/C seemed to be running a bit noisily to me. They had told me they would be there at the time.

However, one of the guests texted me:

Also we are not coming back tonight. You can get the room cleaned whenever you want.

So, the question is - should I do the cleaning and the A/C service if the guests are not there? They probably have their stuff in there, but of course I don’t know without looking. I’d rather do it when they are there. And neither of these things are urgent, though as people have discussed on this forum, a weekly cleaning is a good thing, and they have been staying here for about a week continuously. Also, I told them about the cleaning some days ago, and the A/C service I think a couple of days ago.

In general I very much prefer to stay out of the guest room while it is occupied.


Keep that Text. It’s your “passport” – permission to enter their room while they aren’t there. Do not enter alone. Have someone else with you, just in case something magically comes up missing later, you’ll have a witness.

Hi @KenH,

Thank you for your comments. I eventually decided not to go in there. On balance it didn’t seem worth the risk of creating problems.

I’m not sure I understand this … we ran a small B&B for 6 years before moving to Air (hurrah, no breakfasts!) which I or a cleaning lady went into EVERY DAY with no problems. It is, after all, expected in a B&B. With our Air apartment and room (both on the premises) I do a “room refresh” twice a week. Guests really like it and, to tell the truth, I actually like keeping an eye on the state of the room and its cleanliness, and I would rather do it while they are out.

Am I naive in being shocked at the thought that I shouldn’t enter the room without a witness in case I’m accused of stealing? If so, then what a sad world we live in …!


Hi @Malagachica,

So you did this cleaning whether or not the guests were present? And you never had any problems? And do you still go in and clean your Airbnb listing every day? Thanks for the feedback. I admit that I may be paranoid, but I figure better safe than sorry. And if people think I am being paranoid, please tell me. :slight_smile: I have only been reading and posting in this group for a short time, but I already rely on your guys for a sanity check.

They could accuse you of stealing their things regardless so I wouldn’t worry about it. I avoid going into the guest room after guests have checked in but if they leave a light on or the A/C running then I’m going to go in and turn them off.


Hi @KKC,

That’s certainly true, but I figure I can preemptively reduce the possibility (and the plausibility) of such accusations by making a point of never going into the room when the guests are not there.

I can’t very easily tell whether the A/C is running or the lights are on. And if I could, I’d be reluctant to go in there, anyway.

For guests staying longer than eight days, I do a mid-week clean and linen change. I ask they guests whether they’d prefer me to do it when they’re in or out (I prefer them to be out) and every time, they have told me what would be a good time when they were sightseeing or at the beach. No-one has ever wanted me to be in there when they are and they haven’t been concerned about me going in.


Hi @jaquo,

Thanks for the feedback. And you have had no problems arising from being in the room/apartment with the guests being absent?

Absolutely no problems at all @faheem. I think if anything, the onus is on the guest to make sure that they haven’t left anything around that they don’t want me to see :slight_smile:

In fact, I like to go in because I can see how the guests are treating the place and adjust anything as needed. For example, I once saw that guests had left opened packages of food on the counter so put it in the fridge. Otherwise, in this climate, it could have attracted those tiny ants.


Hi @jaquo,

I don’t mean to beat a dead horse, but…

I think it is more about potential accusations of theft. Or perhaps just a “I know I left this here, what could have happened to it?” :anguished:

Sure, I can see major plus points in keeping an eye up close on the wacky things guests might be doing. But the question is how they might feel about it.

Also, I figure as a novice host, I need to be careful, because at this point a bad review could be quite harmful. A veteran host with many reviews under his/her belt can afford to be more relaxed about the occasional bad review.

It truly never occurred to me that guests might accuse me of theft. I’m afraid I have a sort of innocent-until-proven-guilty policy - I prefer to believe that all my guests are lovely until they do something to show me otherwise :slight_smile:

I do ask the guests though if they’d prefer me to clean when they are in or out. I suppose an evil guest could say ‘when I’m out’ and set me up to accuse me of theft or damage but I think the likelihood of that is too remote to worry about.

I’m the eternal optimist :wink:

I wish I could trade places with you. Alas, I have been marked by life. I didn’t start out that way. :pensive:

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Thanks for this thread. I am a new host and just experienced an unfortunate twist on the theme here of cleaning a room while the guest is absent.

My guest stayed one week and I emptied the garbage pail each day. I unfortunately didn’t think to mention it; it seemed like a B&B thing to do. At the end of her stay she gave me just 2 stars for overall experience. She included two comments, one recommending I put a lock on the door to the guest room, and another recommending that I tell guests if I have entered their room.

I am curious what other hosts think of this. If you are the only other person in the house, would you install a lock on your guest door? Am I getting overly slammed for taking her garbage out each day without notification?

This was just my second guest. She gave me 5 stars for cleanliness, 5 for location, 4 for arrival, 3 for communication, and 2 for overall. My first guests gave me 5 stars for everything. AirBNB is sending me warning emails now that my overall average is just 3.5 stars

Also, if you haven’t already guessed, I am a single male and this unhappy guest was a single female.

Thanks for your comments

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Hi @beh333,

First, sorry about Airbnb. If it makes you feel better, it’s definitely an automated system.

My recommendations are

  1. Put a lock on your guest room door (if possible), and tell your guests to lock their room when they leave.

  2. Don’t enter the guest room without getting guest permission in advance. It’s probably better if you only go in while they are there. And there’s a strong argument to be made for not going in at all unless your guests want you to.

I have a lock on my guest door (a padlock) and a deadbolt on the interior. And I try to avoid going into the guest room while it’s occupied if at all possible. Though I do go and knock on the door occasionally. I think we did once do a cleaning while the guests were still occupying the room.

It wasn’t very nice (or reasonable) of your guest to give you such a bad rating and not tell you that she had a problem. But people are like that, unfortunately.

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Thanks, @faheem! That sounds like good advice. My only concern is the part about a guest locking the door when they are away. If that lock is really keeping me out, then I’m putting my access to my own room completely at the mercy of a guest. Doesn’t a host need access to all of their property?

Hi @beh333,

The way I think of it is, while you’re renting your room, it’s the guest’s room for the duration. And obviously you should have a key to that room too, but you don’t need to tell the guest that. So you can enter in an emergency. And, if there is anything you’ll need access to in that room, I’d take it out of there while you are renting it.

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Ours is a separate apartment but if our rental was a room in our home, I’d have a simple bolt that the guest could lock when they are in their room. This means that they would feel safe when they were sleeping or getting changed. (That’s when I’d use it).

I used to operate a traditional B & B many years ago and didn’t even offer that but it was a family home which (in the view of some people) could be different to being a single male host. Do your guests know that you’re a single male from your listing?


Exactly. Making your guests feel comfortable should always be ones number one priority. In real life bad things aren’t common, but you never know, your guests might be Hitchcock fans.

Actually, in the case of my room. there are two different doors guests could lock from the inside. But to date, only one couple has done so.


@beh333 getting a 2 overall just because you emptied the trash is way too harsh. But lesson learned. Just tell guest to let you know if they need anything and don’t go in there. There has been other discussion pro and con on locks on guest room doors. I have one the can latch while they are in the room but there is no way to keep me out of the room if I want in because there is also an exit door to the outside.

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