How do hosts charge cleaning fees?

If you are a host charging cleaning fees, do guests have to pay you cash when they leave? How do you collect it without feeling awkward? What do you do if they’ve checked out before they’ve paid it? Do you collect it when they arrive or when they leave or take it from their security deposit on AirBnB? What kind of cleaning are you providing for a cleaning fee? I address this question specifically to people who live in the homes they are renting…because wouldn’t you be cleaning your house anyway if you live there? How often do guests feel “tricked” or angry about it?

I’m a little confused by the question but I rent an apt in the basement of my home. Most cleaning fees are included in the initial pricing – guests pay their nightly rate + a one time cleaning fee directly to AirBNB. The cleaning fee includes laundering sheets, duvet cover, towels, bathmat, etc. and the cleaning of the bathroom, kitchen, and mopping of the floor after each guest leaves. A cleaning person charges me $45 (I do the laundry myself). That’s pretty straightforward. Include the cleaning fee in your initial pricing as guests hate it when they have to pay anything additional, including city occupancy taxes.

If you’re renting a room in your home, the cleaning fee would include the labor of providing fresh linens, and keeping the common areas clean, particularly the bathroom. Be reasonable and just a charge a reasonable percentage of your nightly rate. You would be cleaning your own home if you weren’t renting a room but probably not to the same standards and according to the schedule of guests.


Thanks for explaining that. For some reason I thought it was a daily cleaning fee.

@cs2015 - great question. @chicagohost is spot on.

We always recommend setting your cleaning fee to your actual cost of cleaning. That gives you flexibility so that if someone wants to book a single night, your cleaning cost is covered. Then you’re free to price your nightly rate at whatever makes sense without having to worry about “losing” money because of short stays.


I am also a little confused by your question because if you were a regular guest or host you would know that the cleaning is collected up front. The damage deposit is something completely separate. It’s only paid out if there is a claim and you have to prove your claim and confront the guest and settle with them.

I’ve only had one guest complain that he didn’t understand why he had to take his trash and not leave a mess because he had paid a cleaning fee. I had to explain that the cleaning fee was to ready the apartment for his arrival. Not clean it up after he left.

My cleaning is $85. It covers cleaning the kitchen, linens, laundry, windows, making the apartment perfect. Even cleaning the tracks of the sliding glass door, tops of door frames, tops of fans. Clean the patio area and yard. Touch up paint. Refill propane gas.

I don’t mind short stays because they will pay the $85 if they stay one night or 29. More turnover means I can make more money.


I am confused because the first time I hosted, I cleaned everything (myself) and had put a $5.00 cleaning charge on my listing. The guest when he left left me $5.00 in cash which I thought was the cleaning fee. That’s why I thought it had to be paid in cash by the guest. I was not aware you could make a guest pay it before they even arrived.

Oh my gosh! You must have missed the feature that allows you to charge a cleaning fee. If you don’t mind me saying so it should be much much higher than $5.00! Guests expect to pay a minimum of $40 and up and you should definitely charge for your time in getting the place ready for a guest!

Haha, I would charge that much if I had a nicer house but my home’s main advantage is that it is close to downtown. I can’t charge more then $60 a room in peak season and if I tried to charge a $40 cleaning fee in addition, I’m pretty sure no one would book here.

Don’t sell yourself short!!! Cleaning fees are expected and if someone didn’t have to pay at least $35 they would think they re getting the deal of the day.

Right now I’m on low season rates of $79 but my cleaning fee stays at $85. Believe me when I say people won’t be discouraged by it and even expect to pay at least 40-50. What’s your listing number? Mind if I peek? :slight_smile:

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i better not for reasons of privacy

What area are you in? I’ve got mine set to $20 after looking at a couple “competitor” listings… but I really wouldn’t mind raising it.


I am in a lesser neighborhood of Seattle, WA between downtown and the airport. Arrggghh

You should charge market rates for cleaning no matter where you are. Minimum it is $25 per hour. Although I think some hosts try to be more competitive by eating the cleaning. I’m not one of those hosts. :slight_smile: I give up a day of work as a substitute teacher to clean and I need to be compensated. No one blinks an eye at my rate!

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Wow… cleaning charges in America (I’m presuming) are cheap! In Sydney, Australia you’re going to pay between $80 - $100 (AUS) for a 1 bed/bath apartment.

I may be the odd man out here, but I don’t charge a cleaning fee. I figure the cost of providing a room should be covered in the nightly rate I quote.I find it a little off-putting when I am browsing places to stay and there are extra fees for cleaning (I have never seen that with hotels. Isn’t receiving a clean room part of what I am already paying for? Again…probably just me, but my guest have consistently have rated us five stars on cleanliness, and we’re turning a profit, so it’s a win-win.


Same here Jackulas. We are offering rooms in a house, not full apartments like some here, so ours is all inbuilt, because of course, who would have s filthy house anyway? It makes sense for apartments I think, but I feel weird charging a fee for a room - although I wouldn’t mind!


Yeah…it may make sense for those renting out entire units, as the cleaning is far more involved. You are right though…we just rent out a modest sized guest room for a modest price, and it takes less than an hour to get it immaculately clean between guests stays. The rest of the townhouse we always keep immaculately clean for ourselves anyway (though I admit we are a little more conscious of keeping things tidy when there are guests in the house versus not!). We have a cleaning lady come to do a thorough cleaning of the entire place every two weeks, but that has just always been the case since we’re full time professionals and cannot keep up with all the floor mopping, dustin, etc. for a two-story place. That’s just something we’ve always done for ourselves, though, so it’s not like costs have gone up since we started hosting. We take care of the cleaning of the guest room ourselves, and it’s no problem, because it’s a ‘labor of love.’ I know! It will probably get old at some point!


Exactly. I mean I’d love to charge extra for cleaning but I think that would just be taking the piss - cleaning materials are 1€-5€ per bottle, and i only need a fresh one every 10-20 guests. Cleaning (once in a routine) takes 20-40 minutes, depending if the floor needs to be washed or not. The worst thing is the laundry, but I tend to throw my own stuff in with it and as I have multiple sets I have to do this once once all of them have been used. So yeah. I don’t like the hosts who ask for 30 a night but slap a 15 charge on top for cleaning a room.

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Oh you mean the room charge looks really cheap, but add in that charge for an extra person, and for cleaning, and suddenly the room is as expensive as anyone else’s? Yeah, I agree. I couldn’t do it. I think it’s obfuscating. You might get the people roped in to looking at your place because it’s cheap, but in the end they might feel a bit deceived when everything is added up. I don’t want people choosing my rooms because they’re cheap anyway. So I just charge what I charge in the room fee.

But holy crap, the piles of laundry are outrageous, and there really is a lot of cleaning, especially in our home which is particularly large. I just think of it like a hotel. The price is built in, it would be weird to make them think of me like a cleaner or worse yet to believe we can afford a cleaner out of the amount we charge. I have a feeling that if I charged for cleaning, guests would leave the rooms in worse condition, thinking ‘well, I’m paying for the cleaning!’. I don’t need that, as some do it already.


That is EXACTLY how I feel about it.