"What Cleanliness Issue...." When reviewing a host

Hello Everyone!

We just had a lovely stay near the Blue Ridge Parkway at an airbnb listing.

The place was amazing, with beautiful views. It was very comfortable for our family and the price was great.

However, it was very dirty - huge cob webs everywhere, dirty floors, dirty woodwork and walls. The shower had a very stained curtain - stained with bacteria (orange) and mold (black). There was hair in the drain, and hair on the walls. Gross, right?

When I give her three stars for cleanliness, airbnb asks me to tell the host what needed to be improved.

Have any of you received such feedback? Was it helpful? She has to know, right? She can’t miss those honking big chunks of dust, right? It feels like - why should I do her job - it’s not a mystery!!!

It was still a good value and we had a great time. She was an amazingly flexible and friendly host. It just wasn’t clean.

I have received feedback and I really appreciate it. For cleanliness; it was pretty strange. The comment was that the top of my stove was clean, but the back appeared dirty. This is because I have a commercial stove and the coating had faded from heat. I was glad to know what the guest thought was dirty so I didn’t have to wrack my brain and come up empty. I agree with many of the posters here that say guests should provide feedback for any star rating less than five.

I stayed in a place that I gave 3 stars for everything but location – bad communication (not a peep from the host after we booked, even though I tried to get ahold of him), value, cleanliness, total experience. This is the part of my very long review that I wrote about the cleanliness (or lack there-of): “The house was clean in the middle, but not around the edges. The bathroom baseboard heater had lots of hair on it; several corners had spider webs and dead spiders; the refrigerator door handle was gross, and it was generally dusty. Again, I am a super cleaner so take this with a grain of salt. One of my teens had newly died hair which stained a pillow case and towel, so I bought detergent and bleach to clean them. When I stripped their bed, I found a huge stain on the bottom sheet. The hair dye bleached out but the stain did not. The kids were grossed out.”

Oh urp! I should never read ‘cleanliness’ topics when I’m still digesting din-din.

Having a vivid imagination doesn’t help either. (ulp!)

Oh gosh…I may not make it to the bathroom.

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I got feedback once that “the appliances were dirty” - I just happened to be showing a friend through the place the following day and mentioned it to him (I hadn’t yet serviced the apartment) and he looked at the stovetop etc with disbelief and just asked, “Where?”

Says it all, really, I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t figure out what was wrong.

I did also get one guest complain about surface dust on a decorative item hung on the wall (which was totally my fault - I hadn’t thought to look since hanging it up). While you’d need to be very tall to actually see it, he had a point, and it was also fairly difficult to clean. So I just removed the item itself. I won’t say I appreciated the complaint, but at least he told me what it was so that now the next guest can’t make a mystery complaint :slight_smile:

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Which reminds me, I should probably dust the top of the refrigerator before I get a 6’6" guest!


Your fault? Please. Okay, I suppose there is no one else to “blame”, but my point is this level of pickiness is ridiculous. Did this guest subtract stars because he found some dust on the top edge of a frame in your otherwise spotless and immaculate house? If so, I’d want to kick said guest in the shin. I would have mentioned another body part, but I’m short so I probably wouldn’t be able to reach.

I’ve had one guest give me a 3 for cleanliness. There were some moths in her room that had come in through the AC unit. She thought the moths were an indication of a lack of housekeeping. In her feedback she suggested I get a headboard for the bed to keep the bugs out of it.

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I would definitely tell the host. In SF i stayed in one place with an absolutely filthy bathroom. I was disgusted to even step in a shower so i gave my myself a sponge bath. I did not gie host 3 * on cleanliness and told him in private feedback ; “clean the bathroom! its gross!!”. But then he already had reviews about it. It was my fault for not reading all of them and still renting the place.

I had a discussion here in a separate post about standards of cleanliness, and few people said that if the price is low than dirtiness should be expected, which i dont agree with. My house is very clean, but my guests rooms are spotless. 99.9% i get 5* on cleanliness. My prices in the lowest 1% because i only offer a place to sleep, nothing special. I had 2 of my rooms rented till November yesterday to 2 coworkers that are here on a job project, one from Jamaica, one from Cayman island, and it was sad for me to hear how dissapointed they were with level of cleanliness here, and how Airbnbs they stayed at were at times so dirty and how glad they were that they booked one day just to see how it was and they could move on to another place.
They gave Airbnb the last chance and when they saw my house i could see they were so happy to finally find a decently clean house. They stayed in hotels for the past week though it was above their budget.

I think we as guests definitely should tell and downgrade hosts when it as dirty as you described. Otherwise they will continue to not care. Which they are doing now.

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I love that area. Glad you had a great stay with your family. What you describe is really bad. Looks like your host did not care at all. She definitely should be told…in details. Thats great that she was flexible and very nice, she still needs to rent out clean place.

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That’s awful about what your guests are saying about the dirty Airbnbs they found, Yana, and I’m glad you were able to show them that not all hosts are like that! I completely agree with you that low prices shouldn’t mean lack of cleanliness - it’s the absolute basic that guests ought to expect. Maybe we can’t all afford to offer power showers and 800 thread count sheets, but we can all afford a broom, a mop and bucket and some cleaning cloths!

I’m beginning to develop a theory that more affluence can mean less cleanliness … after all, those places your guests had stayed at are in the richest country in the world! I worked for a time in a very poor area in Nigeria and I have to tell you that those very basic houses, some of them literally mud huts, were kept swept and mopped and shining clean (as indeed were the people - I’ve never seen such bright white shirts anywhere else!)

@dcmooney, Nancy, so glad you enjoyed your break - did you find your house intact after the Spanish family? It’s a real shame that your host let herself down with lack of cleanliness and I think you would be doing her (and her future guests!) a favour by letting her know this. We know that you can do this tactfully, and you can build on the fact that it was good in so many ways, but … “I think that if you gave it a good Spring clean (maybe you could get someone in to help you) it would be absolutely perfect!” And then some factual detail about what you found.

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Exactly! I stayed all over the world in Airbnb and unfortunately must say that US hosts are much more sloppier than for example Europians. I stayed in shabby places with broken this and that, tiny little rooms with shared bathrooms but it was not dirty. The cleanliness was not always top notch, but never as dirty.
You are right broom and soap are in every household, why there should a paralel between room price and cleanliness. Because poor people dont care?? Which is not true. We were so poor when i grew up. But my mom kept our tiny apartment spotless, with no shoes rule and doors were washed every week from fingerprints.

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I lived in Nigeria for a year. (Kano)

I have never met a group of people as obsessed with ironing as Nigerians. No self respecting Nigerian would ever leave the house without having some kind of bath or shower, even if they didn’t have running water and it had to be from a bucket.

Tell the host. S(he) probably does not actually do the cleaning or visit the listing often.

I agree. I was appalled. But it also made me more proud of what my family offers. My kids know better than that. And truly, it just needs about 2 hours deep cleaning - but the cobwebs and dust? We’re talking 20 minutes with a little hand vac. The doors, walls, etc just need a bucket of warm water and a microfiber cloth. I wouldn’t rent out such a dirty place to a dog.

Should I tell you about the aggressive horse that bared his teeth, huffed, and laid back his ears? This is because he had his nose IN MY DINNER (sitting outside) and my husband was gently pushing him away. Maybe my husband wasn’t doing it right - we aren’t accustomed to having 1,000 # animals try to eat our food - but how are we to know what to do when this huge beasts puts his nose in our plates?

Several times that same horse came galloping - not trotting - right up to me as I walked the property, stopping right in my face. Animals make me nervous especially big ones, but I stood my ground. When I then walked past (not behind) he started kicking and leaping about. Meanwhile all the reviews talk about ‘the friendly horses’. Who’s crazy here, me or them?! My husband and son couldn’t toss a football because the horse kept galloping at them and my son was scared. I couldn’t sleep that night because of bad dreams (there’s a popular novel that my daughter shared with me that features horses that are predators). So I ask you - is it the insane running the joint? Or am I the only crazy one that doesn’t want my host’s horses charging me, or threatening me if I don’t share my pasta and glass of red wine?! And it was a gorgeous night - perfectly beautiful with a light breeze as the sunset on the mountains. It was incredibly beautiful - until then. We ended up eating inside. I asked the host what we should have done in that instance and she put the horses in a fenced pasture, but didn’t apologize or give us instructions. So we had peace for the rest of the visit but I felt vaguely uncomfortable that I’d done something wrong and had inconvenienced her. That’s not logical, of course, but there it is. This rating crap always leaves us - hosts and guests - worried.

I really don’t get it - really do not!!!

Thanks, @Malagachica - it was quite restful! Thanks for the vote of confidence, also. I guess it’s one thing to just click a star rating, but another to be forthright and honest. And she was so pleasant, and helpful.

Although another thing I’ve found in two of the houses I’ve stayed that advertise all kinds of things to do off the beaten path (swimming holes, nearby rivers, etc) leave NO INFORMATION in the house at all. Have you all found that? Then I have to bother the host which isn’t convenient for anyone. This host brags about the fresh eggs that can be found on the farm - but I never got around to asking how to find them - I assumed she’d explain it all, and I had to ask for towels (there were 3 for 5-6 people) sheets (could not find any for the sleeper-sofa), firewood (reviews said there was firewood stacked for them, so we didn’t bring any) etc. I never got around to the fun bits.

Yes, airbnb as a brand - I’m concerned. We stayed in one last December that was a duck farm in Detroit. Super fun place to stay - and the bathroom was clean - but all the walls from 6’ up were covered with dust and cobwebs, light switches, walls, trash cans, were absolutely filthy. I don’t get it.

Oh, and the Spanish family? Totally surprised me. Fairly clean, trash taken out, towels piled up, etc. So lesson learned - just because they keep their space a chaotic mess and let there kids scream there heads off all day, doesn’t mean they are totally clueless.

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It’s true her daughter may do the cleaning - however, she lives on the property and was in the house twice during our stay. I always check behind my ‘crew’ (my kids, ha ha!).

I’ve stayed with a few hosts who claim to have a cleaning service. Anything that’s not up to snuff, they blame on the cleaners. I’ve also seen it in some review responses. “Oh, sorry, the cleaners must have missed that,” as if they have nothing to do with it.

These were hosts who were in town, BTW.

If your cleaning service is not doing their job, that’s your problem. Don’t make it the guest’s problem. Inspect the work of the cleaners to make sure they are doing what you pay them to do. If they are not, then fire them. It’s really not complicated.

Did I read your post correctly? There were completely unfenced horses on the property who were free to come near the house with guests?

Fenced horses sound just fine - you can choose to interact with them if you want. But free-range horses sound like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Mishaps with horses used to be a major cause of death up until about 100 years ago. They can be trained to behave but they are much bigger and stronger than humans. And they know perfectly well when someone is afraid of them or unused to dealing with them and they will act out.

Don’t get me wrong - I love horses. But I used to ride when I was young and learned that they have to be handled correctly.


Haha…I was standing at the top of the stairs last week and looking down I could see the dust in the globe lights (from the chandelier over the dining room table). Reminder to do that…

Yes, you got it exactly right. They had free reign of the property, even coming up and staring into the house through the storm door. And, these are rescue horses, so not quite in their right mind. When we pulled into the property the horse came running up the van, and stuck his head in the window, which we found charming. The girls fed the horses a few carrots (they know how to do this correctly). The horse then stood right at the door of the van where my son was sitting so he could not get out. Then the horse stuck his head in the van and licked the dash, the arm rest, etc. Again, we read about how friendly the horses are, so didn’t think much of it. Hey, I’m from the suburbs!!!

I’ll tell you, I did not like having a horse in my face going in and out of the house. But I also know I am nervous around many animals - well, dogs and horse. Then I thought - what if we had little kids?! What if we didn’t have sense, once the horse started wildly waving his head, huffing, and the like, to get the hec outta there?

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