Help with wording a review


I’m in a bit of a pickle wording a review. Usually I make an initial sweep through the unit before my cleaner comes to get rid of trash and linens. My cleaner had a busy day and had to show up earlier than we’d scheduled, so she had to do the initial sweep as well. So I have to base my review off of what she reported to me. My experience of the guests (4 young women visiting Salem, MA for three nights - it’s the beginning of Halloween season) was prompt and courteous communication, and very nice interaction when we crossed paths a few times. Here’s what my cleaner (who is awesome, with very high standards) reported:

“Excessive trash. Full in kitchen and several bags next to trash barrel in kitchen. Full in bathroom and trash on floor in bathroom as well as some gross stuff ( honestly looked like an enema they left behind :nauseated_face:)
It was not terrible but it was not normal as usual.”

My cleaner had gathered three full bags of trash, which could be explained by lots of shopping and takeout. There were lots of makeup stains on my white linens, but that’s been par for the course this time of year. What really bothers me is the “gross stuff” she mentioned. I’m not sure if I’m overreacting on this or not, since I didn’t see what was there. Here’s the review I’ve drafted:

1 star for cleanliness
5 stars for following house rules
4 stars for communication (because they could have asked for clarity about where to put the trash??)

Itzayana and her party were pleasant guests in that communication via the platform was respectful and prompt, and our several interactions in person were very nice. Upon checkout, however, they left excessive trash - the bin in the kitchen was full, and several bags were on the floor next to the bin. The trash in the bathroom was full, and there was trash on the floor as well, some of which seemed potentially biological in nature. As a result, extra cleaning was required after checkout. The state of the apartment was particularly surprising because Itzayana requested and was granted extra time to check out.

Thank you for your thoughts!!

Unless you have a house rule defining and mentioning your rule about ‘excessive trash’ with (for example) a bag count, you should not mention this as something to downrate your guest’s stars. They did bag it, as per airbnb requirements. Did you have information for guests to (perhaps) put full trash bags somewhere? If no, then they were good guests, bagging trash…


I agree with Rolf that unless you have some rule about the amount of trash guests can leave, or they ignored instructions as to where to put it, a 1* for cleanliness seems unfairly harsh.
If they left a lot of unbagged trash, then I would give a 3 for cleanliness, considering the make-up all over the bedding.

However, in the written review, I don’t feel it’s unfair to mention the make-up stained sheets, the excessive number of garbage bags, or the unbagged trash.


I’d leave that out. At least there was trash in the bins - were extra trash bags available for additional rubbish?

Many of my guests do a lot of shopping so I always point out the additional trash bags during the house tour. I also wouldn’t mark them down on communication regarding where the trash was to go.

To be honest, if I was a potential guest reading that I’d think the host was a bit picky.

The ‘biological’ whateveritwas is of concern though. (If it was blood, that’s not a surprise with four young women). Have you no idea at all what it was? I’d want to know before accusing the guests in a public review.


If the place simply looks gross, but the only damage is you had to spend an extra five or ten minutes tidying before you could clean, they haven’t really done any harm. On the other hand, if they barfed on the wall, that’s a different story.

Now – if it’s my cousin staying for free as a family guest… leaving a gross looking pile of trash bags means he gets an earful and if he’s done it more than once, maybe he doesn’t get invited back. But I’m his cousin, not his innkeeper, and cuz ain’t paying me hundreds (or even thousands) for his stay. We can’t be a finger-wagging school-marm with paying customers the way we can with a visiting cousin our our teenage son/daughter, whom we have a (sometimes hopeless) duty to train to be neat and tidy.


It seems to me that if a host is going to rely on their cleaner to report as to the state of the place when guests check out, and base their review on that, the cleaner should be taking photos to back up what they report as not the norm, or extra cleaning.
Not implying that the cleaner is exaggerating, but so the host can see exactly what is reported and for back-up if the guest claims the review is unfair or a lie.


I always recommend having housekeepers photograph anything out of the ordinary - it helps with Airbnb claims and can really save your butt on some circumstances. 1 star does seem a little harsh to me - but definitely lower on the scale if there was several unbagged remnants of a biological nature. Hotels wouldn’t accept it, your home doesn’t deserve that.

Air does have the option to check “excessive garbage” when reviewing low on the cleanliness stars - that might just help you out with not having to mention it in the review, wording-wise.


Do you have small garbage cans in the kitchen and bathroom? Do you have listed in your house rules where guests should place their garbage. Is it an apartment building or single family home? Are the outdoor garbage bins easily spotted or are they hidden away on the side or back of the property? Were the outdoor trash bins already full?

I wouldn’t penalize the guest for leaving bagged garbage next to trash can in the kitchen. I would question myself. Is the trash bin too small? Are the garbage bins outside visible and easy to get to?

I personally feel that a 1 for cleanliness is a bit too harsh and I wouldn’t mention it in the review nor would I penalize them by deducting stars for communication because they didn’t ask where to put the trash. That information should be in the house rules or a note on the trash bin.

The only thing that would upset me would be the enema on the bathroom floor. I would deduct one star for that nastiness. Overall they seem like they were okay guests. The question is, would you host them again? If so, they might not wish to rebook with your place again after reading your review. You might be losing returning guests.


The ‘gross thing’ could have been hair dye or make up or something. And it was in the garbage, so seems unnecessary to include in a review. The report from your cleaner was very vague. I don’t think anything warrants a 1 star for cleanliness.


No, she didn’t say the “gross” thing was in the garbage. Sounds like it was left on the floor or the counter.

And while I’ve never had a guest who earned themselves a 1* cleanliness rating, and you might not have, either, you must not be familiar with the totally disgusting things other hosts have had to deal with, like vomit or feces all over everything. If you’d consider that to be deserving of higher than 1*, I wouldn’t want to rely on the ratings you give.


Okay - I guess it depends what it was. My daughter thinks everything is ‘gross’ so I’m used to asking for specifics:) I’ve had used needles, vomit, rotten food and fruit flies - things that indicate they weren’t even trying to respect the space, and definitely gave 1 star for those!

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I misunderstood- you said you didn’t think anything warranted a 1* for cleanliness- thought you were talking about in general, not just this host’s experience. Most of us did say 1* seemed too harsh in this case.

Yeah, I raised 3 daughters- I’m familiar with all the things they consider “gross”. When they balked at some “gross” chore I asked them to do, I’d ask them how the grossness compared to all their poopy diapers I changed and all their childhood vomit I cleaned up. :wink:


No definitely not in general! I would give some guests -10 if I could, unfortunately. The very first time I Airbnb’d my apartment they filled my bathtub with vomit. Considered calling it quits, but luckily that’s not the norm:)

What a lot of time and angst you’ve spent on this situation.
Just let it go!!
I would write…’More suited to a hotel’…and hit the button that says you don’t want them back…then move on….

What does that even mean? As a host reading that review,I would have no idea what that means - shouldn’t the reason WHY be the review?

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It’s Airbnb speak…means they’re rubbish clients…or it does in the UK…:grinning:

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Nope - not enough information for ME to decide. Your 'rubbish" guest might have done something egregious to you, but without knowing WHAT it was I can’t decide if they are a good fit for me. Did they make a big mess cooking in your kitchen? Then that does not affect me at all since I do not have a working stove. Guest came in real late? Then that does not affect me at all since I have 24/7 access vis smart lock.

THERE IS NO SECRET CODE. Hosts who do not leave honest and accurate reviews, hoping that other hosts ‘just know’ what they mean are doing a disservice.


Yes, we are all aware of what it is supposed to mean, but it’s lazy and unhelpful- it isn’t a review. As Rolf said, it doesn’t give other hosts any information other than that you didn’t find them good guests, and what bothers you might not bother me.

And in what way would the guests be better suited to a hotel? You think it’s okay for hotel guests to leave a mess behind them for the overworked, underpaid hotel cleaners to deal with?


You’ve had lots of good feedback already. When I had a cleaner report something about stains on my desk and I questioned the guest, despite being put off by how aggressively defensive she was, she did give me that recommendation that I should ask my cleaners to take pictures of anything out of the ordinary so I could be sure of my assessment. So I echo that recommendation. It’s always a tricky balance between our responsibility to warn future guests and potentially putting off future guests by being detailed about perceived offences. Unless you’ve witnessed a major transgression of trust yourself, I’d be less harsh in my review and rating. Perhaps something general…“not as clean as guests usually leave it but they made an effort” or something like that. And If all other communication was good, as another said, I wouldn’t lower their rating as it’s equally our responsibility to tell guests where to put trash bags. My 2 cents.

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You’ve already spent far more time on this post than it warrants.
And that’s my point….
Good luck on your endeavours…we all have different attitudes and priorities…one isn’t necessarily right or wrong!! :grinning:

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