Guests leaving bad cleanliness reviews when the place is clean

I have two Airbnb’s, one in the city and one in the bush.

A few months back a group left me a bad cleanliness review (which came with an Airbnb warning) for my cottage in the bush. Previous to their stay, I had the place renovated so had the furniture removed and cleaned thoroughly and polished the floors. All blankets, underlays and duvets were also drycleaned. He left a review saying the floors were filthy and there were bugs (he left the doors open, and lights on in the bush). I sucked it up and sent in a team of four cleaners to scrub from floor to roof… but it still irked me because it was the cleanest it had ever been when he came to stay. Not a speck would be found if you wiped your finger across the floor, even under the bed. I had receipts of all the cleaning done prior to his arrival. Yet, I was marked down and I got a warning.

Yesterday a guest in my city apartment left me a review and marked me down because of ‘tiny roaches’. I now don’t have a perfect 5/5 score and I’m waiting for another warning of closure from Airbnb. So I sent a pest control person in this morning to do his thing. He said there was no evidence of roaches in the apartment at all. He did his thing (might as well since he was there) and left. I’m annoyed that these people left me a bad review and now it sounds like my place is crawling with roaches.

What do I do in these situations?

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Can’t win them all. Not sure where you are located, but I spray my units with ortho home defense every few months. Some guests react poorly to any type of critter no matter how common or innocuous.

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Hi, yeh, I thought that may be the case. It’s just frustrating when you go above and beyond, and they leave a bad review.

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Hmmm now I’m rethinking my decision not to spray for Box Elders. Had the pest people out today to spray for ants but declined the Box Elders because they are harmless so why kill them and spread more pesticide?

I do mention them to guests when they check in to my place and I have some information on them in my guide book along with other wildlife that inhabit the area. They don’t bite, they don’t sting and while sometimes they get inside they aren’t interested in you or your food. They are just kinda there. Silly little bugs really that bumble around clumsily.

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That’s a good idea Bunny. I will put it into my guidebook I leave it there. I won’t kill any native bugs, but then they don’t come into the house unless you leave the door open at night with the lights on!

Don’t forget the guests that leave food uncovered and crumbs etc all over the floor! This is a tropical area and you will attract pests.

Hmmm, maybe that’s what happened. The people that stay are usually super clean.

You can only imagine the bugs we get in the tropics. Similar but maybe not as bad as the Bush.

I had a really bad millipede infestation a couple years ago, and some got in the room, as I have told about here before. The guests positively freaked out and the girl was screaming and yelling so loud the neighbors thought someone was being murdered. Ridiculous. The guests probably were leaving doors open. Although the infestation was everywhere in Hawaii. These things were all over the place, and I mean outside, for about two months. Then they disappeared. Even though I refunded one night, the cleaning and recleaned plus bought new linens, they still whacked me bad in the review. I think they thought they should get a whole free stay in Hawaii over New Years because a few harmless roly poly millipedes got in the room.

In my response to their bad review, I referred to the guest in the third person to maintain neutrality and stated “the guest was accommodated and refunded for her inconvenience. We make every effort to keep bugs outside but this is the tropics and a few may sometimes make their way inside as they do everywhere in Hawaii. Some are seasonal. Please keep doors tightly shut and this will be less likely to happen. If it does, we will come down and remove the unwanted visitors for you immediately.”

I mean, sheesh. It’s flippin Hawaii. If you want a sanitized resort experience go to the Marriott where they spray the living hell out of the place.

I have since hired a quarterly spray service, but this does not affect millipedes. They might have a hardened outer shell.

Our dear @emily said it best.

“I don’t refund for nature’s gifts.”


Bahahaha… nature’s gift’s :slight_smile:


Have had all of the above. We have a farm property and one in our small country town. At the farm I warn of snakes and spiders.

Firstly don’t panic! I’ve been sitting on 4.6 for Cleanliness for several years and as I have 5s on everything else I am still a SH and no shortage of bookings. Even over the last couple of years I’d be a 4.8. Some people will just give you a 4 for cleanliness because cleanliness is their thang. I’ve even had guests who love the place, rebook, and on leaving tell me they’ve given it a “really good clean”. I thank them profusely. I also ask a friend of mine who used to work as hotel housekeeper to come in and give me the full “hotel Inspector” review. Amazing stuff some people notice.

This irked me recently too. Our place is new and immaculate - all of our reviews mention this. A recent guest marked us down on cleanliness because of ‘floor and rug’. Both had been thoroughly cleaned before his visit but as it was snowy and wet during his stay, he’d been traipsing in mud. It’s a holiday cottage so I wasn’t there to follow him around with a mop.

Did you get any written report from your pest control guy to say there were no roaches? This may be useful to reassure Airbnb.

Chrissie, I don’t so much care what Airbnb thinks, but I do care about being marked down for something that wasn’t right. I do have the pest report just in case I get a warning about this place. I’d expect she may have seen one tiny roach and gave me a 3/5 for it. The apartment complex was fumigated just over a month ago. I get my unit done internally once a year and keep it spotless. What else are we to do? I should invite her to stay where I live in Newtown and the roaches are monstrous and many! Luckily none get past my cats!


Hosts get this often. I’ve found that guests have a habit of leaving the door open (air conditioning still on) letting in mosquitos, lizards, roaches and worst of all (believe it or not) dust. The apartments are spotless when the guests arrive but after several days of leaving the door open, there’s going to be dust. It’s been mentioned by several guests.

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My house rules ask people to keep the windows closed if they are not around to close them when the wind picks up which it does often here. I also make a verbal statement to this effect when I check them in and inform them that if I’m around and I see windows open when the wind picks up I will enter the house and close them.

Being in an agricultural area with thousands of acres of alfalfa, wheat and onions it is beyond dusty at times esp. when we have “open” fields (fields that are not planted or are left fallow). It’s not dust that is being carried on the wind it’s dirt and all the soil additives farmers put on the fields.

Yeh, Bunny. For the bush cottage, I had a huge floor rug that I had professionally cleaned two days before ‘the guest’ turned up. Nobody had walked on it. When I came back to clean (with the four cleaners after the bad review), it was full of dirt because it was raining outside and he’d obviously wiped his feet on it. He said the rug was filthy and full of dirt! I removed the rug altogether.

The sofa is the IKEA one that you can remove the covers and clean, which I had done in the huge clean before he arrived, and he had spilt something on it and complained about that too! Maybe he was expecting daily cleaning rather than a clean at the end?

We recently had a guest that marked us down on cleanliness because she found a spider in the bathtub. I’ve personally never seen any spiders in the unit but we live in the building next door and I see spiders now and then. Unless there are lots of them I’ve never thought spiders were a reflection of cleanliness. They often come in during heavy rains.

Well I think in the cleanliness category, they offer a drop down menu that includes the words BUGS, bless em.