Summary of Airbnb's Explanations of Stars for Reviews of Guests

Someone recently here posted the review screens that guests see for hosts (that was super helpful). Here it is for rating guests. I’m posting this because sometimes members here will say, for example, ‘Give them one star on cleanliness (or whatever) for that’. So, while I was about to do that for another category I read the explanations and stuck with the stars corresponding to that.

Here goes:

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My previous guest left my place ‘Not at all’ clean. Trash and food crumbs are everywhere. They moved furniture and stuff around but didn’t put them back in their original places. Used all my towels(including towels in storage, they must have gone through everything in my apartment), about 15 towels in 3 days, and threw the used ones everywhere. So ‘Followed some rules’ :sweat_smile: I was surcharged by my cleaning lady for the extra work and her parking ticket. I don’t want to go through all the troubles by contacting Airbnb but I will make sure I write an honest review about this guest group.


So what does a guest need to do to the place before they leave to earn the difference between “very Clean” 4 stars and “Extremely Clean” 5 stars? Wash the windows? Vacuum under the beds? Extremely clean sounds like cleaner than they found it.

In reality, if the guest stays for a week and leaves the place basically as clean as they found it, with dirty towels and sheets left for the host, they leave a bit of leaves or dirt from walking in and out which the host takes care of with their normal turnover process of vacuuming or sweeping, there are some crumbs on the counter, a bit toothpaste in the sink, etc… the normal things a guest will leave, this should be normal and I wouldn’t describe it as anything more than “Fairly Clean” 3 stars.

So in reality we should all be dinging the guest with 3 stars unless they do a cleaning on the place before they leave.

Does this work in reverse too on how the guest should rate the stay and the host?


Speaking for myself, 5 stars is when dishes are washed and left in the rack or dishwasher, all the trash is in the bin, and towels are hanging up or in the tub,

Four stars is dirty dishes, wet towels not hung up, cups and wrappers left in the living room.

I don’t think I’ve ever given three stars.


That sounds ‘extremely clean’ to me, a ‘5’.

Admittedly, the terms Airbnb uses are a little vague but the context is clear to me that they’re asking how clean is it in the context of an overnight often a multi-day stay where it is not expected that they will professionally clean it, where the guest is paying to have it cleaned (whether a separate cleaning fee is stated or not).

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I agree with Glenn, if the guest stays for a week and leaves the place basically as clean as they found it . . . It’s a 5-star clean to me.

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If the guest stayed for a week and left it as clean as they found it, that would mean they moved the furniture, vacuumed and washed the floor on their hands and knees, wiped down the baseboards, scrubbed the shower walls, cleaned out the shower drain, dusted and damp wiped all the furniture, got up on a ladder to clean the ceiling fan, and about 20 other things I do to clean my private room/private bath listing.

I wouldn’t expect that of any guest in order for them to earn a 5* cleanliness rating and it seems absurd to consider cleaning like the host does to be necessary for a a guest. They are paying us.

I don’t know where hosts ever came up the with the “leave it as you found it” phrase or concept.


I don’t know what the right words are.

I think of the word ‘tidy’ as something where things are in their place but not cleaned. Not sure if most people would view it that way.

So if the place is tidy, I’m happy, it’s a 5.

If it’s somewhat less than tidy, I’m still happy, probably still a 5.

If the oven has spills that require a real scrubbing, it’s probably a 4.

If in addition to the oven, they left a sticky but small and just one mess on the floor, it’s a 3.

Then it goes down.

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I don’t know what the norm is for guests universally. My measure is the universe of guests in my rental. My rental is small without a full kitchen. Most of my guests eat carryout of some kind. I expect trash to be neatly collected and in a bag. If it doesn’t all fit in a bin, then on the floor. Some of them apparently take their trash with them and some put it in my large bin at the side of the house. Only one out of over 1000 stays just got up and left all their food mess sitting on the table. It was if they just left in the middle of dinner. They also checked out after check out time, smoked weed in the room and left other things in a state that is outside the norm for my guests. They got 1 - 3 stars and would not host again.

Most guests don’t leave toothpaste in the sink and I don’t either, so that’s not normal in my mind. A few crumbs left several days can begin to attract ants and other critters. I have a regular guest who stays 1-3 nights and has his young elementary school age son stay with him. I had ants in the room thanks to this guest and every time he stays I think about if it should be the last time. He is plenty tidy but the inevitable food on the floor, sticky drink residue on surfaces, lollipop in the trash, half empty box of Milk Duds under the pillow, is not only more cleaning than MY average guest, but also the ant lure.

Other guests wipe down surfaces, keep food bits in the trash somehow, hang wet towels on towel bars or hooks, leave the microwave and fridge looking unused. Those are 5 star guests and anything less is fewer stars.

In my 1000+ stays I’ve given 90% 5 star reviews and I’ve received 99.8% 5 star.


What if they left more than one mess on the floor, like about 10 messes? How many stars is it going to be? I have been waiting for 14 days to rate the messy guests. I am thinking of 2 stars.

Well, at that point I could easily see ‘1’ star; ‘2’ seems generous.

The challenge is writing it so that ‘mess’ sounds descriptive, so future Hosts understand what you’re talking about and not just a very picky Host.

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You are absolutely right! I am struggling with how to write the review so it can honestly reflect the situation but not sound too hush/picky…


Feel free to post here and folks here will help

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Guests get 5 stars from me if they didn’t stain the sheets with food, or washed their barbecue in the shower, yep, one guest washed his bbq in the bloody shower. I don’t expect the guests to do anything other than not wreck the place. I don’t want them to do dishes as the only sink is in the bathroom and I don’t want the vanity chipped, nor do I want to check if they actually washed them or just rinsed them. I offer to do the dishes for them each day if they just put them in the bucket provided.

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I think expecting it to be as clean as the found it is nuts, because we clean it thoroughly before the come and it takes a 2 people 2 hours.

For us “clean” means

  1. we aren’t picking up trash and dirty dishes all over the house. But we are emptying paper baskets.
  2. That the leftovers or anything that can smell or attract bugs was put in the trash and the trash put in the container outside. Including stuff in the fridge. Especially important with long term guests where things can go off.
    3 the furniture and items in the house are basically where they were when they got there.
    4 there aren’t foot prints or mud tracked inside or on the furniture.
    5 the white towels and sheets aren’t stained and spills and messes are cleaned up and not let to set.

That said 99% of our guests are 5* on cleaning. Don’t get me started on communication! A whole other story!