Has anyone ever questioned "Cleanliness feedback"?

Yet again I get the 5 star review with the comments about how “charmants” we are as hosts and how “ravis” they were to stay in our delightful home. So I’m all smiles until I get to that horrible bit “Your guest suggested you could be cleaner in the following areas: kitchen”

I could understand if this was about my own kitchen which is sadly neglected at the moment (but still, most people wouldn’t call it dirty …) but I recently bought a steam cleaner and the apartment kitchen, which is open plan with the living room, gets cleaned to operating theatre standards - or so my nephew the surgeon says!

So I’m really baffled and am considering replying politely through the messaging system something like “Thank you so much for your lovely review, we really enjoyed having you to stay. I am slightly puzzled by your reference to lack of cleanliness in the kitchen as we thoroughly clean it before each guest. It would really help me if you could tell me specifically what areas of the kitchen were not clean so I can pay more attention to this in future”.

Has anyone done this and did it help or just make you feel worse? Should I get Gordon Ramsey to come round and inspect the kitchen? Or just stick another pin in the generic voodoo Guest Doll?


I think it happens if they leave less than five stars about something. Then they get to choose from a drop down menu and that is why it’s only one word. I have received comments on DUST before on my dust free apartment.

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Interested in knowing others’ opinions about this. Cleanliness reviews are my weak point - i feel no matter how clean my rentals are, i frequently get similar ‘suggestions’ about cleanliness on Airbnb, while on other sites i rarely get more than 7.5 out of 10 on cleanliness (in a few cases 5 out of 10 - which drives me nuts). Ok i have my housekeepers doing the job, good or bad, not myself, but i do check upon them and am always guiding them. I am really curious to know how other renters handle this.

I did try to question a guest’s review once - i was so angry as I had cleaned the kitchen myself that particular day, and was really meticulous about it (honestly I border on OCD with my rentals’ level of cleanliness), only to get a comment “kitchen was dirty” in the review. Needless to say, the guest never answered.

At least they didn’t smack you on the overall rate - you should count your lucky stars! All 5 of 'em!!

Beyond a certain point, cleanliness becomes a subjective thing, it’s all in one’s head:

I’ve scrubbed and scrubbed the bathtub clean and still the rating has been mean! (That’s not a Bob Dylan song btw!)

At other times, I’ve done just enough, and I’ve got all 5’s!

It might be worth writing to ask, but I don’t see a forthright reply coming back. Especially, on the topic of cleanliness, very little is said in direct communication.

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I have 1% 4 star and though I can’t recall when I got those I’m 99% sure it was before I did the remodeling. I attribute this to the newness of the rental. Everything in the entry area and bathroom is less than 2 years old. If paint gets dinged I touch it up. I’ve regrouted missing floor grout. Every water spot is polished off. So it still looks new. In the old part of the room almost everything is new or looks new. If it doesn’t look clean, even if you’d let your baby eat off it, you’ll get marked down. This is a decided disadvantage older charming homes have.


I get “dust” or “bathroom”

It’s an old house. In an urban environment. There will be dust and until we can replace the weird “fixes” the previous owners installed… the bathroom will be odd.

Oh well.

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I always ask the guest to tell me specifically what they saw and how I could clean better. Unfortunately, I haven’t received any useful feedback. One guest said that our house just didn’t seem as clean as other Airbnb listings she’d stayed in, but she wasn’t at all uncomfortable. Another guest checked the box for dust. His response to my question about where he saw dust was that he and his friend moved the beds and saw dust under them. I move all the furniture in the guest room to the middle of the floor and completely vacuum before each guest. Also, he stayed eight days and refused my offers to supply new linens and dust during his stay. Two other guests found our house to be dirty because they don’t like old houses. In their view modern houses are cleaner. The most recent guest who downgraded us for cleanliness checked the box for towels. He stayed a week and a half. I offered him fresh towels every day. He declined until a day or two before he left when he said that there were gray stains on the towels. We didn’t see any stains.

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I made up a list of cleaning duties I do before a guest arrives, print off a copy, add their name on the top. dear jane the following cleaning has been done in preparation of your arrival , and then I sign and date and leave it in their room. I have cleaning list in the bathrooms as well. My house is old but we put a lot of work over the years and sometimes I sit in their rooms just to see if I notice something I missed. Some people are just moaning, let it go, take a deep breathe and don’t waste your grey matter


Mmm … but ours isn’t an old house. The kitchen was remodelled about 5 years ago and is only used in the Summer. I did find out one thing today though. After I’d obsessively RE-cleaned the kitchen for the new guest I got the husband to come in and told him to look at every bit of it and tell me if he saw anything, I had to promise several times I wouldn’t physically attack him if he found something ,

Anyway, the kitchen cabinet doors are those gloss black Ikea ones (BAD decision, cleaning-wise!) All was well until he reached the 5-drawer unit that holds knives and forks, utensills etc. “Aha”, he said “there are fingerprints on the top 2 drawers”! Bingo! He had also switched the lights on which I never think to do as I clean during the day. So those suckers are now shining so bright you could use them as a mirror.

I will send the polite note to the guest, though … let’s see if I get an answer - and thanks as always for the replies, it’s good to have this forum so one doen’t feel alone!