To clean or not to clean

Well, obviously we’re going to clean, but what I’d like to know from other forumites is: who does the cleaning? I’m mostly asking hosts who have one or two listings, smallish apartment or guest suite - do you do your own turnover cleaning or do you use a cleaning service?

We (mostly I!) used to do it all ourselves as we are retired, are only open May-October and tend to have stays of 5 days or more. We also allow a full day between guests for turnaround. Last year we hired a cleaning lady but it wasn’t a complete success as she wasn’t always available when we needed her - most cleaners obviously prefer a regular day each week.

So I was excited when an online cleaning service opened here, but after waiting an hour on Monday for our designated cleaning “professional” to arrive and then phoning the company they contacted her and phoned me to say a “family emergency” had stopped her coming. No real apology from the person I was dealing with in the company - I could almost hear her shrug over the phone …

So I’m thinking of giving up on employing cleaners. One advantage I do notice with doing the cleaning myself is that I do tend to feel fitter and lose a bit of weight over the season! On the other hand when it’s 30 degrees on a hot August afternoon I just want someone, ANYONE, to come and scrub this damn shower!

So just really interested to hear whether most of you employ a cleaning service or are you DIY-ers?

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I have a three room suite of rooms on the top floor of my house. There is no kitchen. We clean the rooms ourselves. And yes, when it is hot it is very tiring! Carrying all the stuff up three flights of stairs, and then back down to launder or throw in the dishwasher is enough exercise for a full week, and we do this every three or four days!

I do have a “team” trained to do a turnover just in case I need assistance. But, I think I make the space look just that much better. To date, I haven’t actually used them, but I see a few days coming in the next two months where I will. My goal will still be to have time to do a final room review before the guests arrive.

For the rest of the house, which must also be very clean, I use a locally run team of cleaners. They come every two weeks, and then I do “touch” ups in between.

Hi @Malagachica
We are semi retired, open March to October and have stay’s of 3n or more, not a chance of a cleaner in our rural location. I do the lounge/dinner, 2 bedrooms and hall, the wify does the kitchen and bathroom (I puke at dirty toilets).
We have same day turnovers and a laundry Co collects the bedding once a week, we used to wash and iron everything ourselves but these days washing and drying towels is enough.
A cleaner would charge about £35 for our place so we put £35 every changeover into a holiday fund and spend November in Malta.


What I do is hire a professional cleaner once a week. If there happens to be no guest to clean after that day, I get her to do some gardening. That way she always has a regular day a week and I get a regular day off which means I can plan in advance to do something enjoyable.


We have a 3 bedroom house that we airbnb out as private home. At the moment we clean and do all the linen ourselves, but have a lady that is trained to do it if we go on holidays.

I dont mind cleaning the house too much as it really does keep you fit. But we are soon to be adding 5 more properties and im a little bit afraid! Still not 100% sure how we will go about it yet, but for now, its just the two of us doing our own cleaning.

We do our own cleaning. We rent a private room in our house. Our base rate is $70.00 per night plus a $15.00 cleaning plus $15.00 per night for a second guest. I haven’t found any cleaners who charge less than $100.00 to clean our house, so hiring a cleaner would put us in the red for one night stays. I understand that in many countries domestic employees are much less expensive than in the U.S.

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I think I might do that as well - have someone regularly to clean out part of the house as that’s what tends to get neglected. And I agree that the place tends to look nicer when I do it … No-one except me knows which order the sofa cushions go!

Brilliant, I love that idea!

Hi @EllenN, yes that sounds very expensive to us - the usual rate around here is about 10 euros an hour, so it’s not the money that deters me. I just seem to have had not very good experiences with cleaners in Malaga.

Actually the best cleaner I had was a "Workaway"girl from Sheffield who was with us for 3 weeks and LOVED to clean! Do you have workaway volunteers in the US?

I’ve never heard of a workday volunteer, so I assume that we don’t have them here.

Please do tell, what is a workday volunteer? Being an airport location, we mostly get one-nighter guests. We have a 2 bedroom apartment with a private room rental so cleaning is quite manageable most of the days. I do hire local cleaners for a deep-clean on the entire place once a quarter.

Actually, I just so happen to have a guest right now and they moved here and are looking for a place to live. The husband is working long hours and she’s bored and asked, if she can help cleaning. I happily took her up on it on my last turnover 2 days ago. She’s going to do 2 units tomorrow and is excited to make some extra money. I’m checking everything out and we’re both learning together, since I’m a new host, with 3 units next to each other (will add a 4th one that I’m presently renovating).

What I’m charging for cleaning goes straight to her. I had hoped to find someone and this is such a win-win for both of us.


@Malagachica. I don’t charge a cleaning fee. I just calculate my cleaning time and the AirBNB percentage of the professional cleaners as part of my overhead.

We do all our own cleaning (1 listing, I’m retired, my partner isn’t). We charge a $20 cleaning fee – I figure I get $5 an hour to turn the place over…

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I charge $55 for cleaning fee it’s essential . My average day is only two or three days so the room doesn’t get that dirty. It also means I make an extra 500 a month off the cleaning fee.

I meant to say Stay not day

Actually, my apologies, I spelt it wrong the second time - it’s Workaway (website and they are like temporary Au Pairs, i.e. they work for you for a few hours a day in exchange for accommodation and food.
an international organisation and they do have hosts in the US.

We have had two volunteers, one of whom (the Sheffield girl) was brilliant and the other, a young woman from California was … a nightmare. But a friend of ours who runs a large guest house has had Workaway volunteers for several years and been completely satisfied.

Anyway, since writing my original post I have torn the Sartorius muscle in my thigh and am totally immobilised so I will need to be finding a cleaner pretty damn quick!

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Hi Malagachica,

Our set-up sounds similar to yours: two smallish suites, retired, do the turnovers ourselves. We live on site, so we treat ourselves to professional cleaners in OUR residence every three weeks. I’m getting a little too comfortable with it - LOL.

Occasionally, while they’re at the house, we ask them to do a deep clean of the bathroom and shower and to vacuum the stairs in the suites. Those are jobs we like the least, like you.

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I don’t charge a cleaning fee either …
We went to London a couple of weeks ago as my daughter was holding a family party and we looked for an Airbnb near her for 8 of us (6 adults, 2 kids). We found a lovely place, but there weren’t many of that size in North London and the only other one we saw looked reasonable until I saw the cleaning fee - £350!!

I’m considering this as well - it’s rather easy for our own home to get a bit neglected while we concentrate on making the Airbnb sparkle!