Do you ask guests to wash their own dishes?

I recently had a guest question me on how I can justify charging a cleaning fee, yet want them to wash their own dishes before checking out.

In my area, there is a well known Airbnb host (hundreds of 5 star reviews). However, he recently received a negative review from a guest who was outraged as he was told to clean his own dishes.

These two incidents got me wondering, what the forum members takes are on whether guests should (or should not) wash dishes before checking out.

Do you ask them to do this or not? If so, why?

1 Like

Yes, I ask them to put the dirty dishes in the dishwasher and start it. I provide dishwasher detergent. Have not had any complaints.


We don’t ask them though every guest has done it.

If they didn’t do it our cleaners would just load the dishes in the dishwasher after a scrape and rinse, hand wash what needs to be hand washed. Yes, an extra task, but not much in the scheme of things. I’d rather have our folks do the dishes than have someone who doesn’t want to do them do a poor job that we might need to re-do anyway.

We’ve also eliminated the cleaning fee on our Airbnb listing, built it into the daily rate. My understanding is that many guests resent all the fees, don’t understand what goes to the Host and what goes to Airbnb, sometimes feel ‘Whys should I clean up? I’m paying a cleaning fee!’

Other Hosts here had the insight to tell me that some/many guests will take better care of the property when there is no listed cleaning fee.


I would explain what the cleaning fee entails; laundering of sheets, mattress protectors, bed skirts,
quilts, towels and bathroom mats. Vacumming, mopping , cleaning the bathrooms, stove top, microwave, oven, grill, toaster, dusting the furniture, etc. It does not cover cleaning after oneself, which is common courtesy.


This. Perfectly stated. I’m a home share host and don’t charge a cleaning fee, but my rates are a bit higher than other hosts in the area. My HR state that guests need to clean up after themselves and I provide detergent and dishwasher instructions if it gets full. They’d clean up after themselves if they were leaving home.

So far, no complaints and some fabulous guests who wanted to help deep clean and start the laundry.


I like the “clean up after themselves as if they were leaving home”. However some people do leave their home a wreck when they leave, lol.


Washing one’s own dishes is a very reasonable expectation. I once had a timeshare that wanted us to strip the beds, take the trash out to a dumpster, etc. in addition to cleaning our dishes. I was not surprised when this requirement changed to just do your dishes. Hosts vary as to how soon they clean and dirty dishes attract pests, mold, etc.

1 Like

I don’t ask directly and I don’t have any house rules about cleaning, but I mention in the house manual:

“Please do your dishes. If you have time to take your trash to the outdoor bins, it would be appreciated but don’t worry about it if you don’t. Please don’t strip the bed and just leave the towels hanging to dry, no need to gather them.”

98% of guests take out their trash and only once has anyone left more than a teacup dirty, which I don’t mind. But I do think that everyone should do their dishes, it’s common courtesy, cuts down on pests and odors and is one of the few things that separates us from beasts - anyone with a thumb should do their own dishes dammit, lol.


This is the key. Dishes should be washed because unwashed ones attract crawlies.

I don’t have a kitchen and don’t provide dishes but don’t expect to find a mess of food or dirty cups sitting all over. I had a guest recently who left their food all over the table. It looked as if they were in the middle of eating and then ran out of there like they were on fire. They also smoked weed non stop in the room and checked out an hour late so I gave them 1s across the board, clicked would not host again and wrote an explicit review.

I would ask guests to do their dishes and I wouldn’t worry about the review. Apparently it’s trendy to complain about cleaning fees combined with requests about washing dishes and taking out garbage.

It’s not cleaning, it’s vermin prevention and that’s how hosts must frame it.


"Tidy up the kitchen, towels heap on patio, beds as is. " Sometimes they do a poor job of the dishes, but very high majority will try. No dishwasher.

1 Like

For me one distinction here is whether the guest has kept the dishes cleaned or loaded in the dishwasher during their stay vs the dishes used on the last morning.

I would expect that dishes along the way were washed or loaded. As for the last morning, I don’t care much either way.

1 Like

I would hate to be a guest in a place that had no dishwasher with the knowledge that the guests were responsible for the final cleaning. That said, one idea is to only leave enough dishware for one meal or two at most, which will force guests to clean them at least for themselves.

One of the cardinal rules of Airbnb, and I think it’s part of their basic instructions to guests, is just to leave everything the way they found it. People who arrogantly think that hosts are there to be maids is what’s making Airbnb difficult for us hosts

1 Like

That’s not a safe assumption. I want our guests to do their dishes so that they don’t attract pests, stink up the place until we get in there and, primarily, I don’t want to have to scrub off old food stuck to dishes before we take them upstairs and run them through our dishwasher.

As long as you’re actually in charge of putting clean dishes into the cabinets, it’s a big difference from guests washing their own dishes and putting them away. Common themes include washing the top plate only in a pile, and or putting silverware away that looks clean but has already been used. I’m fortunate that my Airbnb only provides paper plates etc. so I know they’re always clean, but I would dread opening up my kitchen cabinets every stay pulling out all the dishes to clean them.

1 Like

Well, we have a system so I don’t even think about it now, it’s routine. You won’t find as much as a single streak on our dishes, we also wipe/polish like fine dining.

But the first thing I do when I check in to a place with a kitchen is I pickup the top plate and look at the bottom of it. And 98% of the time it’s covered in greasy fingerprints (which tells me all I need to know) so I then just load all of the dishes into the dishwasher before even unpacking.

We are home-sharing hosts. We have rarely given full kitchen privileges to guests. The guests we typically share the kitchen with are here for lengthy stays. The lease they sign stipulates that we and the guest will clean up after ourselves in the kitchen. We’ve never had a problem with long-term guests and kitchen use.

We have occasionally given kitchen privileges to short-term guests. They ask, because they want to prepare a special meal. They have also cleaned up after themselves perfectly.

As for regular guests who mainly have microwave privileges, we ask them to put dirty dishes on top of the dishwasher. We’re here almost all the time, and I tackle the dishes within minutes. Even at that, many, many of our regular guests have hand-washed their dishes before I can get to them.

Our guests have been jewels.


As far as I’m concerned, an adult balking at washing their own dishes, or just casually leaving them for “someone else” to wash, regardless of whether they paid a cleaning fee or not, is incredibly immature. They rented an accommodation, not a restaurant, where of course one’s dishes get washed.


I don’t ask guests to do this as the vast majority of normal people don’t need to be asked. You are not his maid. :slight_smile:

As you know the cleaning fee is to prepare the property and covers the cost of any food/flowers/extras you provide.

Washing your dishes isn’t covered by cleaning.


I don’t ask guest to do any particular check-out procedures as I just expect them to be civilised human beings.

(Separate apartments, by the way).

Occasionally, if guests leave early to get a flight, they forget to do their breakfast dishes and I’m fine with that as it only takes me a couple of minutes to do.

I refer to the ‘cleaning fee’ as the ‘preparation fee’. I wish Airbnb did on the site. However, I’ve never had a guest question the fee.


I don’t even leave dishes in the sink for the housekeeper to wash when she cleans my own house. It has never occurred to me to leave that kind of mess for a cleaner. Different strokes, I guess.

Having said that, I still have “Please put dishes you have used in the dishwasher” in my house rules. It can’t hurt to clarify expectations. What may be be painfully obvious to us may not register at all to others.