Airbnb Hosts Have Issues with Cleanliness


Where to start with the Airbnb debacle? Long story short, we drove from the east coast for over twelve hours for my mother-in-law’s funeral in Cincinnati, Ohio. We arrived at our Airbnb on May 26.

The first word of the advertisement was the word “Lysol.” That certainly caught my wife’s eye due this time of COVID-19; however, that was certainly a misnomer.

At 10:00 PM, we arrived very tired and knowing we had a funeral the next day. We proceeded to check the bed. The sheets were quite wrinkled as if someone had just slept in the bed. We pulled off the bottom sheet to find the mattress pad covered in yellow stains, with hair on the mattress pad, and one side of the mattress pad taped together with duct tape.

Needless to say, we turned around and walked out. I called the owner right away while still in the apartment. He didn’t care as he said we’d have to take it up with Airbnb. As the next day was a full day with the funeral, I called Airbnb the following day. They didn’t seem to care either.

Here we were at 10:00 PM, far from home, very tired, during a pandemic without a place to stay. Numerous emails and phone calls to the Airbnb “resolution specialists” ensued which included several photos of the bed. The title is also a misnomer as there was not a resolution. The matter was not solved.

During my first contact with Airbnb, one woman indicated that this lack of cleanliness was not their policy. One “resolution specialist” even responded in one message that the host was not informed about the issue and that we stayed there and checked out, a lie.

We called the host just a few minutes after entering the apartment. We refused to stay there. The host indicated in a message that he is considered a “Superhost” and that he didn’t think he had ever had this issue. He also replied, “I don’t typically share my home with first timers because of these issues.” What the heck does that mean?

After various contacts that I initiated with the company and very little information from Airbnb, they replied on July 3: “We decided that no refunds will be made because your claim has been reviewed by my team and your refund request is already outside of our guest refund policy. We consider this decision final.”

Two months later, I am still trying to resolve this issue. We have not received a refund. I contacted Airbnb again on July 15. Again, another “resolution specialist” said she would re-escalate the case and that I should hear back in 24-48 hours or possibly longer.

How many times will we hear this? I researched Airbnb’s host standards: “We want to give you clear guidance so you know what’s expected and can provide a five-star stay every time you share your home.”

Five-star? Yellow stains on the mattress pad, hair, and duct taped together? That is in no way anywhere near five-star. “Get positive reviews – guests like to know they can expect a consistent level of quality, no matter where they book. At the end of each stay, guests will review their experience with you, which is one of the ways we evaluate you as a host.”

What we expect of Airbnb:

• Clean every room guests can access, especially bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen.

• Check that there’s no hair, dust, or mold on surfaces and floors.

• Provide fresh linens, sheets, and towels for guests.

• Clear trash, food, and leftover items from previous guests

Obviously, Airbnb does not expect their hosts, or “Superhost” in this case, to follow their own standards. Airbnb is not a company with which anyone should do business. They are a huge disappointment in so many ways: difficulty contacting them, very long hold times on the phone, and “resolution specialists” who don’t resolve problems, not following their own published standards.


Posted in Airbnb Guest Stories and tagged , , , , , .


  1. After numerous contacts with Airbnb the last two months, I am happy to report that Airbnb refunded our full amount!!!

  2. Regarding my original post above, we have had numerous contacts with “resolution specialists.” Their reply today:

    Disha S, Jul 25, 2020, 5:38 AM PDT:
    After reviewing the case, it seems like the host did cover the stain with many layers and the taped side was not the torn part of the mattress but to hold it to the bed nicely.
    According to the policy, you have to inform Airbnb at the time when you are in the listing. Therefore, for the inconvenience we can only offer you $25 coupon that you can use again with Airbnb.


    Our reply:

    1. The urine stains (yes, urine), were covered by a fitted sheet and nothing but a fitted sheet. Human hair (yes, hair) on the urine-stained mattress pad was covered by just this same fitted sheet. Other stains on the mattress pad also were covered by this same fitted sheet. What are you referring to when you say the owner covered “the stain” with many layers? A fitted sheet does not constitute “many layers.” In all of our years of travel, we have never seen a bed in this kind of condition. Is your company aware of bloodborne pathogens in body fluids? This was evident on the mattress pad. We do not sleep on urine stained beds. Period. It is quite obvious to us that your “superhost” is not telling you the truth about the bed.

    2. The taped mattress pad was not holding the mattress pad to the mattress but was holding together the mattress pad itself. “…to hold it to the bed nicely?” Seriously?!!!

    3. The owner of the Airbnb was contacted within five minutes of our arrival to the apartment at 10:00 p.m. We drove from the east coast for over twelve hours that day and were exhausted. Then, we had to find other accommodations for the night. The next day we had my mother’s funeral and drove back to the east coast arriving home at 2:00 a.m. My husband contacted your company after a very, very long two days. Have some compassion, for goodness sake!

    4. Your company has published standards regarding cleanliness that are not being adhered to by hosts/superhosts. Why?

    5. It has become quite obvious to us that your company does not value their customers. Sad.

    6. We paid your company in good faith, but your company does not deal with issues in good faith. Unbelievable. What kind of a business plan do you have?

    7. We will never ever have anything to do with your company and will share our experience with others.

    We have sent our concerns/emails/messages to both and Neither have responded. No, we do not want their $25 coupon as this is not a company that cares about their customers!

  3. Tales of Woe. Yes, but The Clue’s In The Name ! AIRBED ! In my case as guest I took it on the chin: It was my fault for being such a miser ! As a host: Plenty of guests are ok but it’s where all the scrapings of Europe + America go when they want a holiday. Naturally they don’t see it like that. For them it’s a fortune and they want professional standards. Add the forgivable ‘sales puff’ and it’s a recipe for shattered illusions that starts with the Homepage itself (beautiful woman + flat + makes friends ?!! ) . “Hosts” and “Guests” are stupid labels anyway. “Ordinary bloke” and “Cheapskate Occupant” doesn’t have the same ring though. Annoyingly, the truth about the most common occupant is unprintable. Hosts just have to find out for themselves. I gave the whole sorry lot 5 stars ! It’s not my job to change humanity !! and I was a pretty talentless Host myself. It soon drove me nuts !! PS ‘Proper BnB’ was a delight. Airbedders though ? Not one breakfast consumed, just toast on the run. That fact alone sums up the difference. Mom + Pop civilised it ain’t ! but the prices reflect that. And if buyers are honest with themselves, they’d admit it : Most of us just can’t quite stand the idea of a Hostel ! but in truth that’s where most of us belong.

  4. They only care about money… Nothing else… Read the other entries on this site and prepare to be shocked (and help spread the word). It’s really not worth the risk when things go pear-shaped 🙁

    • Pat, it seems you are correct that Airbnb only cares about money. They will no longer get any of mine!

  5. Had the same experience in June, left right away from a “home” in Atlantic City, $560 a night. Much worse conditions, actual drug paraphenalia on the nightstand, in a back alley with an old woman peering in the back door, bars on the windows, people screaming at us to get out of here walking to home from parking spot. No TV’s, broken air conditioning, and a wall fell on me by the kitchen, also laundry in the washer. No money back, no one will contact us. What a nightmare, I took my grandchildren. Never ever AIRBNB again for us. What a joke. And really gross and creepy.

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