Need definition for a "4 star" from the guest

I’m sure this has come up before, but it’s fairly new to me.
If I get an overall 5 star rating, but look up the breakdown and see a “4” for cleanliness, How do I determine what the reason is? Cleanliness is super important to me, I go over everything after the cleaning person and have been accused of being too fastidious by cleaning people! How do we know where to look and/or improve if the guest hasn’t specified the issue?
I suppose this could apply to other “star” areas as well.

(Maybe I should be giving 4 stars for guest’s cleanliness more often than I do.)

The 4 stars for cleanliness can be dust under the bed or sofa. I started using a swiffer duster with a really long handle so that I can quickly dust under beds and sofa.

I had a guest comment privately that she saw dust under the bed. The bed had a bed skirt so she must have lifted it and saw some dust. I was lucky that she still gave me 5 stars for cleanliness.

On another Airbnb in my area, a guest gave the host 4 stars for cleanliness because there was one garbage bag in the outdoor trash bin.

Some guests are super picky and will ding you for very minor things.


If your guest gave 5 stars for overall and everything else, and were good, non-complaining guests, you could always message them and ask.
Something like “Hi XX, thank you for booking with us and leaving a review. I noticed that you gave a 4 star rating for cleanliness, so I was wondering if we accidentally missed cleaning some area, so we can be sure to be attentive to it next time?”

Or pay it no attention. A friend who used to host had a guest mention “dust” in her review of the in-home suite. My friend was bamboozled, as she is a nurse and cleans meticulously. As the suite was unoccupied when the review was posted, she went searching for where this guest could possibly have found dust. She finally located a centimeter size triangle in the very back corner of the bookcase/headboard where the cleaning cloth hadn’t gotten all the way in. :roll_eyes:


I tell guests it means “less than average” even though Airbnb calls a 4 good. I think of it as getting an 80 on school paper. Unfortunately guests have no choice in-between a 4 and a 5. I have had 4s with no explanation. I’ve also had dust fly off a ceiling fan and socks found stuffed in a chair and still gotten 5s. The rating that drives me and many hosts crazy is the 4 for location when our listings state very clearly how far we are from everything and what is available local. We can’t move to improve the rating.

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I am staring to picture Sherlock Holmes walking around my AirBnB with a magnifying glass.:crazy_face:

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One of my only 4’s for cleanliness really caught me off guard so I asked the guest why she gave me a 4.

Spiderwebs on the porch light and a dusty outside table.

Live and learn I guess



Yep. I’ve heard of guests who pulled the fridge out from the wall within 5 minutes of checking in to check whether it had been cleaned behind. Some people really need to get a life and learn how to enjoy their vacation.

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Can’t imagine how they would rate the average hotel or motel. I’ve yet to stay in one (except for a 5 star places) that didn’t have mold in the bathroom and dust under the bed.

If there are spider webs in the morning outside, I have no control. And if it’s not in the description of my actual AirBnB space, I shouldn’t be held accountable, right?

Hey, you have no control over spider webs even if you made sure to take them all down an hour ago. It takes 30-60 minutes for a spider to weave a web.

Perhaps hosts who get fusspot guests who freak out over such things should post little framed “Fun Facts” like this in their listings.


I just realized that guests might give a 4-star for something that is really ambiguous. Example: a lovely person stayed and everything seemed fine until she gave me a 4-star for location. Turns out that, despite my providing distances to or from certain locations, she never specified that she was going to walk everywhere. With a car or Uber/Lyft, my location is very good. I mention this because it was a good learning experience for both host and guest – she realized that she never said she was only walking, and I now feel I could be more specific in my description.
I know, I know… you can’t cover everything for everyone! But we had a very positive exchange post review.


Yes. Our comment, “Only 20 minutes to the nearest grocery store” quickly became “The nearest grocery store is a 20-minute drive into town, so maybe stock up on groceries on your way to the cabin.” We also state mileages and minutes for all the local spots, so there can be no question. But guess what. Still get 4s now and then because, even when the remoteness is what sells the place, for some we’re not close enough to the National Park. Here is, (literally just copy-pasted) the first 2 sentences in our description: Come out and unplug under a huge star-filled sky! Only 15 miles from the town of Joshua Tree and 10 miles from the heart of Yucca Valley, it’s a scenic 30-minute drive to the West Entrance of Joshua Tree National Park.



guests who pulled the fridge out from the wall

JUST happened to us today - went in to clean and noticed the fridge was away from the wall a few inches and in between the fridge and the cabinet was so.much.dust! I wonder what the cleanliness rating will be if they review us. It’s all clean now :smiley:

And I think they will review us because we are asking for AirCover on an item that they broke - I always get very nervous to ask for money for things.

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“If there are spider webs in the morning outside, I have no control. And if it’s not in the description of my actual AirBnB space, I shouldn’t be held accountable, right?”

At first I thought you meant spiders were included in your description :laughing:

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One more thought - as a guest I have sometimes found hidden dust, cobwebs, etc. trying to find a plug. Have plugs visible and unobstructed even if you need a small extension cord so that people don’t have to go poking. Of course, you should clean too, but these are the things that get missed.


Piles of dirt, dust and dead bugs in ceiling light fixtures and wall scones is another thing that can get missed because cleaning normally happens during daylight hours. But guests will notice when they turn the lights on at night.


THIS. I can’t tell you how many times I have in my listing and messages to guests “Area is booming, lots of construction, spring break/holiday traffic makes it worse” and had dings because of… traffic!!

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The only 4 star I ever got on location was from a guest who specifically asked me when she booked how far a walk it was to where she was taking a course, which I accurately told her (I say an approximate 20 minute walk to town, depending on how brisk a walker you are in my listing and the place was right in town, which of course I didn’t expect her to know).

If she wanted to be closer, I don’t know why she booked my place- there are plenty of rooms available within a block or two of where she needed to be.

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