Should I contact guest about a wet bed before leaving review?

Hello fellow hosts —

A guest (3 adults, 2 nights) just left today and when I arrived to clean, I discovered one bed was wet. It didn’t smell or stain so I’m thinking it was just water… But it was on the comforter, bed linens and mattress pad. Thankfully the first layer on the mattress, which is one of those fully encased bedbug/waterproof covers, saved the mattress. (Many thanks to this forum for recommending that!)

This guest has 20+ positive reviews with only one mentioning that he was not much of a communicator, which I also experienced. I plan to write an honest review but I’m wondering if I should reach out to him first and tell him what I found and see how he responds? Maybe another guest was the culprit and he didn’t know? Does that matter?

Thanks in advance.

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Hmm, is there anything that this guest could say that would make you change your mind about including this information in the review? If he told you “It wasn’t me!” would you then not mention it in the review?

I don’t know, it’s tricky with adults traveling together – I remember once I rented a place with colleagues and the morning of check out I was running around cleaning up messes they’d left in the kitchen (e.g. coffee grounds scattered everywhere) and I realised I needed to go check their bedrooms, as silly and infantilising as that was, because my own ABB reputation was on the line. (All was well and I retained my 5* rating, but I didn’t know that before checking because I’d never traveled with those people before and didn’t know if their cleanliness standards matched mine or our host’s.)

But even if he tells you that it wasn’t him who made things wet, wouldn’t it still be the case that an honest review would disclose what happened when this person made the booking and was traveling with other adults?

I supposed if you asked and he reacted defensively then that itself would be a new data point.


Take a look at this post here directly on point.

Here’s an excellent response by @dpfromva [edit appropriately]:

Also @jacquo:

I understand the potential benefit of an additional data point by contacting them, but the point is that they didn’t contact you when the accident occurred or on a timely basis. Contacting them would make it awkward for you if the guest claims he didn’t know, or just very recently found out, and profusely apologizes. Then what? The point for future Hosts to know is that you were not alerted to the accident so that you could have taken timely action. So, no, I wouldn’t contact guest.

In your case, since you have the waterproof covers and an extra comforter/duvet cover, there’s no damage issue. But your review will be a welcome heads up for the next Host to prepare.


If it didn’t smell like anything, or stain, and appeared to be water, I don’t understand the issue, what there is to talk to the guest about, or why you’d mention it in a review. Someone probably knocked over a glass of water that was on the bedside table while rushing around getting packed. Big deal. If it were just one person or a couple, I might think it would have been nice of them to mention it, but with 3 adults, the booking guest might know nothing about it.

I’d venture a guess that the majority of guests aren’t as vigilant and concerned about their review as Gillian was with her group, to make sure to check everything before leaving.


Sounds like enough water that it would have soaked through the mattress – that can mean different things in different contexts. In a dry climate it wouldn’t matter so much because it would just evaporate, but in Sydney or Auckland where people are frequently battling damp and mould, it’s a big deal.


I don’t understand why you don’t understand.

Water/wet/whatever of a volume enough to wet through a mattress pad, that is on comforter (did it soak down or wick up?) and would have wet an unprotected mattress is a matter of concern and future hosts should be informed.

@heh1975 reviews should be honest and unemotional. No shame or accusations necessary. Unless the bed is wet due to a leak coming from above the bed, it should be mentioned by you. I guarantee it would be mentioned by the guest if it was from a leak.


I knew y’all would be a good group to ask!

Great point. I don’t know but maybe…

There are so many unknowns and since he was so uncommunicative, is it my job to try and track down what exactly happened?

In fact, the only time he responded to any of my messages was when I sent the check-out message and offered a later check-out, if that would be helpful for him. He didn’t say yay or nay, just « thank you ». I don’t need folks to reply to every message and I go out of my way to compose my correspondance so they don’t have to take time out of their stay to communicate with me.

@HostAirbnbVRBO Those are really helpful quotes. Thanks for sharing them.

@Muddy The issue is that it was more work on my end then would be expected. I don’t typically change/wash the king mattress pad and encased mattress pad between each guest. Thankfully I didn’t have a same day turnover or that would’ve been an additional stress.

I’ll add to the story: this morning I had one last piece to wash since I couldn’t get it all done before I went to bed last night. The last piece was the regular mattress pad since I figured that would be the easiest to replace, if needed. When I went in to the laundry room this morning and picked up the mattress pad to put it in the washer, I thought it smelled like urine.

The other two guests could also have been his teenage kids. There was no additional info on them. But I agree @lisanddavid when I’m traveling under my info, I make sure to be the last person out after I’ve checked everything.

Now that I’m writing this, I think I’m making this too complicated. I’m wanting to give this guest the benefit of the doubt because of all the other positive reviews but maybe that’s not the way to access it. Looking back, probably about 1/3 of his reviews are from the same couple. I guess this guest travels a lot on business……


As @muddy pointed out long ago you’re not reviewing the guest, but the guest’s conduct (and that of his group) on this occasion. If you look at the standards of review per Airbnb this guest will still likely still get 3 or 4 stars on cleanliness.

It’s important that the words of the review reinforce what the guest did well, so we’re not just pointing to the ‘spot in the rug’ for an otherwise good guest (though I don’t think you caught this guest at his best, what with something broken, no heads up about that or the bed, and super-short messages (“Thank you”) that left you guessing on what was intended to being communicated.

Neither do we, but others here might want to chime in here on whether they wash the mattress pad [not the mattress encasement] with each turnover. I believe that I’ve read that many do, but I’m not sure of that, and am wondering if doing so is a best practice.

I do. My way of thinking is this - even if a mattress pad looks clean there are several bodily fluids that can have seeped through from the sheet that wouldn’t stain.

In a warm climate, these can be dry by the time the next turnover comes along especially if the guests have stripped the bed.

Because I personally wouldn’t like to think that I was sleeping on someone else’s drool (and worse) I prefer to launder everything on the bed every time.


If it really was just water, I just saw it as a minor accident, not something that would be likely to happen again if accepting a booking from this guest that future hosts would need to be warned about.
I suppose that the fact that the guest failed to mention the wet bed and what it was is a fair warning to put in a review.

As the OP now says she detected a urine smell when doing the laundry, if someone peed the bed, I would definitely agree with mentioning it in a review, because if the guest or one of his travelmates is incontinent, it is likely to happen again in the future.

I don’t understand why you would contact the guest over this. I would wash everything and move on. I would not mention it in the review either, it is a non issue for me.



You’d think the guest would have told you and apologised .

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@Lozette Yes, that’s why I’m wondering if maybe he wasn’t aware.

@RiverRock It seems to me a wet bed is not a usual way to leave a rental property so that’s why I considered reaching out to the guest and/or mentioning it my review. While it’s not the oddest thing I’ve encountered in my 6 months of hosting, it definitely added time and energy to my typical clean.

Regarding reviews, in general: if I leave an honest, unemotional review of this guest, what would most hosts do with that info? I understand home sharing folks have a different way they engage with guests so that makes sense to me. But for most of us, and especially those of us that utilize Instant Book, I struggle to know how much detailed info in a review is really necessary.

And regarding mattress pads: Currently, I do not launder the mattress pad between every guest. It’s one of those fluffy ones so it take a while to dry and I do it when I have a day or two between guests. I felt like the sheet is the barrier between the mattress pad and the sleeper so I thought it was acceptable.

I’m already re-thinking my setup and have purchased a mattress ‘under pad‘ (which is a waterproof sheet that I can lay between the pad and fitted sheet). I’ll wash that between each guest. Does that seem like a sanitary solution?

Lastly, thinking about how many layers and barriers are on the mattresses we sleep on in rentals, I’m curious: how do hosts handle pillows? Do you have a waterproof cover over every pillow that you wash between each guest?

This is probably about 3 different threads in one post and I am sorry about that. One thing leads to another and another and another……

I have zippered, washable pillow protectors I made myself out of a quilted fabric. It isn’t waterproof, but I’ve never found it wet, or stained like someone drooled through it.

I’ve got removable washable covers for my pillows. I have a washable waterproof mattress protector that’s covered in a towelling type fabric so the item doesn’t feel hot to lie on. A sheet over that of course. One time a guest washed all the bedding - I thought she was being helpful until a family member told me she’d spilled oil everywhere!!
Luckily I had those covers!


Why not ask the guest?

@Lozette That was one of my original questions… I was considering just asking the guest but he wasn’t very communicative from the start so I wasn’t sure if I should bother.

I feel like my mattress investment is very protected with encased mattress protector and waterproof mattress pad. Now I’m just working on a solution for a mattress pad that can be washed between each guest.

I know many hosts feel the mattress pad should be washed between each guest, but I don’t do that. I only host one guest at a time in a private room in my home, I live in a beach town and hear the guest’s shower running when they usually get home in the late afternoon and I’ve never found any stains on the sheets or anything that soaked through to the mattress pad. So if a guest stays for a week or 2, yes, I wash the pad, but if they only have a 3 night booking, I often don’t. But after 2 or 3 three night bookings in a row I would.
Of course, if I saw any stains, bodily fluids on the sheets, that might have soaked through, I would wash it, as well as if the guest seemed dirty or smelled bad, but that’s never happened.

The mattress itself, which is foam, is encased on a marine-grade Sunbrella cover, which is waterproof and bedbug-proof.

Thanks @muddy I’m glad to know your circumstance. A majority of our stays are one or two nights and only a handful have stayed 4 nights.

Since I’m the one that does everything, I feel like my quality control is high but I also don’t want to be unsanitary.

Have a couple of mattress pads at the ready. One on, the other being washed. I do that with my shower curtains as the hem can quickly get grubby.