How much would you charge for these damages?

Just had guests leave after a 2-week stay. At first glance, the house looked great until I started looking a little closer. They had a small child who:

  • dug a bunch of dirt out of a potted plant (not a big deal, just annoying that I have to buy more soil and refill it)
  • drew on 2 living room chairs with red and blue crayon (brand new chairs purchased in July). It was obvious that they had tried to clean it off but hadn’t fully succeeded.
  • left food smeared on just about every surface in the living room- the couch, the 2 aforementioned chairs, the entertainment center, the bookshelves, the TV screen, a window, a mirror, caked onto one of the dining room chairs (like seat, sides, up the back, etc), and smashed into the carpet in a few places. I also found sticky residue all over the coffee table and even dripped onto the base of the living room floor lamp.
  • Bits of food ALL over the floor around and under the couch. Lifted the couch cushions and the entire couch was filled with bits of food. (I take cushions off after every guest, so I know this was all from these guests.)

Not child related, I found a bunch of my towels in the dryer that had been dyed blue (I’m assuming they washed the white towels with colored laundry.) I did get that color out, but after washing all the towels twice with bleach, I had to discard 5 towels that still had huge, dark stains on them.

The iron had something burned all over the bottom of it.

They used all the extra paper towels in the house during their stay (at least 6 rolls.)

They filled up the entire outside garbage bin when they left, plus left a bag of garbage on the front steps and garbage in the kitchen bin.

House rules state that food spills must be cleaned up immediately so that we don’t get ants (we live on the edge of a forest, and ants are an issue) and that for longer stays, guests must keep the house tidy and take out the garbage when full. Obviously, they waited until the last day and took it all out at once, then didn’t have enough room in the can for it. Not a big deal on its own, but it meant that I had to make an extra trip the next day to dispose of garbage after the can was emptied.

It took me 6 hours to clean the house, 3 hours longer than normal. I sent them a fee request for $100 to cover the extra cleaning time (which is mentioned in my house rules), the damaged towels, and the damage to the furniture that was drawn on. The guest replied saying they would only pay $50 because there were problems with the house (that they never mentioned before that moment) like the coffee pot was dirty and the stove didn’t work very well. (Both were working fine for the previous guest, so I have asked for more details on both issues so that I can rectify them.)

So first- how much would you have charged for drawn on furniture and ruined towels? And do you think it’s reasonable for the guest to counter my offer stating problems with the house that were never mentioned to me previously? I thought I was being pretty fair asking for $100 because by the time I pay to buy towels, have the chairs professionally cleaned and the carpet shampooed to get the food out, I will be out a lot more than that.

I would counter back with $100 (if you don’t want to go higher) and state that no issues were brought to your attention and aren’t a part of this discussion. And maybe call ABB for good measure?

It’s BS that guests do this. They knew their kid was a damaging little crumb-monster. What else could they have used all your paper towels on?

Hopefully you are able to push back and get what I would consider a more than fair settlement. Seems to me you could have gone higher. Good luck!


I’ll take the $50 and run. If they outright refuse to pay, there’s practically nothing you can do about it. Airbnb will probably dismiss this as a cost of doing business (usual “wear and tear”), and for the extra $50, u don’t want to put yourself through all that mental stress. I have had such a BS guest before, and sucked it up totally. I’m not good with confrontations.

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Counter their $50 with $150. Don’t let these kind of people try to walk over you.


Try cleaning with super hot water, crayons are wax, wax melts…


Thanks- I will try that. I did a lot of scrubbing with hot tap water and soap and was thinking I might try using an iron over a paper towel to see if it will pull some of it out.

Have you tried alcohol? You also have to be careful about scrubbing out the finishing on the wood, which may result in long term damage.

And also try using an actual eraser or one of those magic eraser scrubs. It sometimes works, but not always.

Really? If I were the guest I would think you were getting a free rug shampoo. Scrape/rake spot clean and hoover it up.

I think you are padding the bill, making a bigger deal out of it than it is. Yes they left a mess but it goes with the territory and SLAM them in the review.


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I haven’t. It’s not on the wood of the chair though, just the fabric.

I spent about 20 minutes picking chunks of food out of the carpet with my fingernails. I did get the bigger chunks out, but even though the food isn’t really visually obvious still, I will end up with ants if I just leave it in the carpet.

I posted because I honestly want to know what others think is a reasonable charge. Ignoring the huge mess and just focusing on the actual damage - drawing on 2 chairs and 5 ruined towels - what would you charge? I don’t charge for the occasional stained towel here and there, but I can’t afford to be replacing 5 towels after every set of guests.

In honesty, $50. Unless your chairs need replacing, or the towels are really expensive.

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I have kids and crayons clean up. $50 for the towels.


Well, I’m assuming it was crayon because I found some on top of the bookshelf, but I really don’t know.

I think $100 is more than fair with the extra cleaning time and the towels (assuming the chairs clean up well) but I’m not sure if I’d fight or take the $50.

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Did they leave a deposit? I would contact AirBnb to get the $100 from their deposit.

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No, I don’t use the deposit because it seems like a waste of time since you have to go through the same process either way with AirBnB.

To clean wax melt with a hairdryer and clean with paper towel.
Charge the guests for everything they ruined plus add up all the extra cleaning time. Disgusting behaviour, especially in someone elses property. Ffs get the child to eat at the table, or eat snacks outside. So simple and avoids hours of cleaning. Does them no harm whatsover.

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I would stay firm with the $100 as I still count my time. But technically your listing allows kids so it’s part of the package, I am afraid. Even
ill behaved and neglected kids.

And I wouldn’t mention money in the second email, just that you are forced to go through mediation with Airbnb if they dont agree that their child was unnecessarily dirty or unsupervised (in a gentle roundabout way).

It mattered not one bit about what they didnt’ bring to your attentional until you brought up their bad behaviour. What a lazy and horrible excuse for role models. To make excuses rather than be accountable. Pathetic.


I dont agree. Kids are as varied as adults, the adults are responsible and need to pay, no excuse . Its a holiday let, not a nursery designed to be toddler proof. When my kids were young I knew loads of people with beautiful homes, and respectful attitudes. Most of us did a lot of stuff outdoors.

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Ehhh… I agree and disagree. I do allow kids, and I do understand that might come with messes. But whatever adult is making that reservation is ultimately responsible for the state of my house, regardless of how well-behaved the other members of the party are. And I will never understand parents who let their kids (especially like toddlers!) just wander the house with food, especially when in someone else’s house.

I feel like I’m constantly having to update my rules because of common-sense stuff that people take advantage of, if it’s not explicitly spelled out in the rules. My house rules did say to keep food out of the bedroom (which this family did not follow anyway), but now I’ve changed it to say that food must be kept in the kitchen/dining room only because I’m tired of scrubbing food stains off my brand new couch after kids are in the house.


I’ll have to agree. The fact that we are even discussing whether adults should be held responsible for their children’s mess is already proof that we know kids could be a handful. The situation would have been different if the listing had mentioned no kids and the guest brought them in anyway. This would be a clear violation and the entire liability will be on the guest, although Airbnb will still probably pin this on the host for not verifying the age and identity of all guests.