The Airbnb cleaning fee should be a simple way for you to account for your cleaning services and the cost of cleaning supplies. But guests don’t always like them, and working out how to set them across multiple short-term rental properties can be complicated. Get it wrong, and you might be left paying out of pocket.
Nevertheless, the cleanliness and appearance of your Airbnbs is one of the first things guests judge you on. And there’s more—Airbnb has changed its approach to cleaning fees in recent times, which could affect your decision on whether or not to include one.
In this article, we explain exactly what the Airbnb cleaning fee is, how it works, and what it includes. We also look at what’s changed about how guests experience your pricing, plus how you can calculate the cleaning fee for your properties while remaining competitive within your local market.
Additionally, you’ll learn how to make scheduling turnovers easy and to consistently deliver fantastic-looking Airbnbs. With this simple solution in place, you’ll be able to run a tight cleaning operation that you can easily scale as you grow your business.
Manage your cleaning, tasks & maintenance all in one place
What is the Airbnb cleaning fee and how does it work?
Airbnb cleaning fees are a one-time charge to your guests to cover cleaning services during and after a stay. They’re optional for you to implement, and the amount is entirely at your discretion. The fee isn’t affected by the number of guests or length of stay, and it’s not refundable after the guest has checked in.
Since early 2023, Airbnb has included a toggle to display the cost total of a stay before taxes. This is to minimize any confusion the guest might experience about the final price of their stay (and to avoid upsetting them over what might seem like a hidden cost).
I’ve heard you loud and clear—you feel like prices aren’t transparent and checkout tasks are a pain. That’s why we’re making 4 changes:— Brian Chesky (@bchesky) November 7, 2022
1. Starting next month, you’ll be able to see the total price you're paying up front. pic.twitter.com/58zodrzU3g
Airbnb added the total price toggle to avoid guests seeing a sudden spike in the total cost of a stay at checkout.
We look at the benefits and issues of the cleaning fee later in this article, but first, let’s see what your cleaning fee pays for.
What does the Airbnb cleaning fee cover?
As explained above, the Airbnb cleaning fee is for cleaning services provided during and after a stay. For this reason, guests are automatically refunded the cleaning fee if they cancel a stay before check-in, irrespective of any housekeeping duties carried out in preparation for the stay.
With this being the case, here are some of the in-stay and post-check-out tasks the Airbnb cleaning fee is designed to cover:
- Hiring/managing a cleaning service
- Bedroom cleaning including bedmaking, dusting, and sweeping
- Changing linens
- Kitchen cleaning including floors, surfaces, appliances, and restocking
- Living room and other shared spaces cleaning, including sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting
- Bathroom cleaning, including scrubbing surfaces, sanitizing, polishing, and restocking
- Waste management
Learn more about how to organize your turnovers with our downloadable
What’s the average cleaning fee on Airbnb?
Airbnb cleaning fees vary depending on property location, size, and type—the cleaning fee for a five-bedroom house on Miami Beach will be more expensive than a small condo on the outskirts of Orlando.
Considering the enormous range of markets and property types, an average cleaning fee average isn’t too helpful. So, instead of looking at broad averages, you should follow a clearly defined process when determining your cleaning fee—which leads us into our next section.
Determining your Airbnb cleaning fee and whether to include one
Airbnb cleaning fees are a practical way to ensure you and your housekeepers are fairly compensated for your cleaning services. They can also help make cleaning costs more transparent, and they establish a high standard of cleanliness that’s reassuring to the guest.
However, when cleaning fees are added as a separate cost, guests may feel that Airbnb hosts are using them to increase profits. This is especially true with short stays, since the cleaning fee is comparatively larger than the fee for a longer stay when compared to the booking fee.
This is why Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chersky, decided to add the total-price-display toggle to the Airbnb app—to stop guests from experiencing a sudden price jump at checkout on account of additional fees not being included in the nightly rate.
So, while the addition of a cleaning fee may have previously concerned some travelers, that’s now largely resolved—guests can choose to see the total price by using the toggle or view a cost breakdown by turning the toggle off.
Nevertheless, you should see what similar hosts and property managers in your local area are doing—if they’re charging a cleaning fee, you’ll know you can do so too without compromising your competitiveness.
Airbnb updated how it displays the cost of a stay to avoid complaints about the customer experience.
How to determine your Airbnb cleaning fee
Arriving at the right Airbnb cleaning fee can be a challenge—here’s what you need to do to set the right rates:
- Establish your total cleaning costs per unit and turnover. Calculate what you pay (hourly or piece rate), the cost of cleaning supplies, and your management costs.
- Factor in various stay durations. Bear in mind that guests’ lengths of stay will vary but your Airbnb cleaning fee won’t—even though cleaning after a longer stay could be more costly. So choose a fee that reflects your most common stay duration.
- Market analysis. Research local properties of the same size and accommodation type (including amenities), average their cleaning fees, and use that as a guide for your own rate.
- Consider hotels. Local hotels could be your competition, too, so also see how your total cost of stay will compare against theirs.
- Be flexible on the nightly rate. Your cleaning fee won’t be flexible, but your nightly rate is. So if you’re struggling to keep your total cost competitive across various stay durations, your nightly rate gives you more control—so adjust it accordingly.
How to add a cleaning fee on Airbnb step-by-step
To add or change your cleaning fee, simply go to your Airbnb account in the app or desktop browser and follow these steps:
- Go to your Airbnb Calendar
- Click the Pricing tab in the desktop or Settings in the app
- Click Pricing
- Under Additional charges, tap Fees
- Click Cleaning fee
- Click Edit, make your changes, and save
Automate your Airbnb cleaning with Breezeway
As we’ve seen, Airbnb cleaning normally includes a large range of essential tasks, including room cleaning, sanitization, changing linens, waste management, and replenishing supplies. But guests don’t just expect hotel standards in an Airbnb—they also want competitive pricing and more flexibility with their booking.
This places enormous pressure on your operations—if you’re to match guest expectations, keep your prices down in line with the other best-performing Airbnbs in your local market, and continue growing your short-term rental management business, you need to be extremely efficient.
Breezeway’s Airbnb cleaning software allows you to consistently achieve all the above by integrating with your Airbnb booking calendar or your property management system (PMS). Then, the platform automates task schedules for your housekeepers based on your latest booking information.
So, even if you have a last-minute reservation or change, it’ll be reflected in your housekeepers’ calendars: No more missed cleans, and no more confusion about which property is due for a turnover and when.
Breezeway’s auto-scheduling and digital checklists ensure consistent quality of service across your portfolio.
As well as automating task management with Breezeway, you can use the tool’s customizable digital checklists to make sure your housekeepers know exactly what tasks to complete for each different unit. Plus, these can include reference photos, so cleaners can see precisely how you want them to leave each bedroom, kitchen, living room, and yard.
With these user-friendly tools in place, you can automate your Airbnb cleaning and manage your properties remotely. So that’s more time to market your services and grow your portfolio.
Airbnb cleaning fees and smart operations
Consistently delivering a fantastic-looking Airbnb is essential to the long-term success of any STR management business, so of course you need to carefully consider how best to incorporate the cleaning cost into your Airbnb pricing.
With Airbnb’s total price toggle, you can add a cleaning fee without guests getting confused over the total amount of their stay—however, you’ll need to be aware of the local competition, including not only STRs of similar size and type but also hotels.
Whichever path you choose, though, you’ll need highly efficient cleaning operations if you want to keep costs down without compromising the quality of your service. To make this possible, use specialized software with the following features:
- Auto-scheduling to avoid missed cleans and remain responsive to late changes
- Digital checklists with reference photos so housekeepers know your expectations for each task and unit
- A user-friendly dashboard and app so you have visibility over the status of each property in real-time
With Breezeway, you’ll have all this functionality, plus a branded digital guest book, automated guest messaging, and owner reporting—so you can reduce your workload, remotely manage your properties, and grow your business.
Manage your cleaning, tasks & maintenance all in one place
Frequently asked questions about Airbnb cleaning fees
Is the Airbnb cleaning fee refundable?
Since cleaning fees are for cleaning services provided during or after a stay, they’re always refunded if the guest cancels without checking in. However, guests can’t ask for a refund on their cleaning fee after their stay has begun.
Is the cleaning fee subject to Airbnb service charges?
Airbnb bases its service charges on the total costs of a stay, therefore the charge does apply to your cleaning fee.