Let me start by saying I have OCD and am generally kinda fussy about other people’s space, so I clean pretty much everything before I leave wherever I’m a guest, whether it’s a hotel room or a friend’s house or an Airbnb. I’m a total rule follower (I admit it) and my goal for wherever I stay is to essentially cause as little bother as possible. So all of my Airbnb reviews have been stellar, with one exception.
I stayed at a cabin in a fairly rural area with my wife for a long weekend. The day we checked out, I got up and made breakfast, then cleaned up, packed, and left. The trip was completely uneventful, and I left a positive review. The host left me a lengthy negative review because she went into the cabin right after we checked out and found a problem: she smelled cooked food in the kitchen area.
It was a tiny, one-room place where the windows didn’t open, and even if they had, it was January. Also, there was no vent system on the stove. Everything was put back where it belonged, we followed all the rules, the dishes were clean and put away, the pots and pans and utensils were all clean and put away, I took the trash and recycling out, and even cleaned the stove, countertops, etc. But none of that bested the part where it still faintly smelled like scrambled eggs and bacon (it wasn’t even smelly or unusual food, or something that permeated even the entire cabin — just the kitchen area, by her own admission).
The review went on and on about how offensive it was that I had left the air dirty, I guess? I actually contacted Airbnb, just because this was my first negative review and I was fairly baffled. The customer service rep was audibly suppressing laughter and finally said (this is not a direct quote): “You didn’t do anything wrong, but also we can’t take the review down because there’s nothing false in it.”
I don’t disagree with this — nobody broke any rules, it’s just petty, and hopefully that CSR at least came away from it with a funny story. I’m probably never going to use Airbnb again for other reasons — just because nothing bad has happened to me doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore what happens to other people — but if I did, I hope future hosts look at my reviews and get a good giggle out of the only negative being “the air smelled kinda like food in the kitchen, an hour or so after somebody cooked.”
Anyway, I just wanted to share a story where no one’s life got ruined and nobody got scammed out of a ton of money. Turns out you can do everything technically correct and your host can still get salty because you didn’t clean the air.
A side note: my parents gave me a fairly androgynous name that a lot of English-speaking people assume is male, especially online, so it’s possible she didn’t realize she was renting to a lesbian couple until we showed up. But I don’t want to assume it was ‘homophobe looks for things to be mean about’; that’s just the only thing we could think of that might’ve made her weird towards us specifically, as she had been completely normal and friendly until she saw us in person.