Vacation Rental Owners

How Much to Tip Airbnb Housekeeper (To Keep Them Coming Back)

Vacation rental hosts and guests alike often google search for things like “how much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper” and “tipping Airbnb cleaner”. After all, tipping is an integral part of many industries, and failing to leave a tip for a waiter or other professionals can be a huge faux pas in many cases. But what is the rule when it comes to Airbnb etiquette? This article will cover how much is an appropriate tip for Airbnb cleaners and whether tipping is necessary in the first place. It will also discuss the differences between hotel housekeeping and maid service and Airbnb housekeeping.

Hotel Housekeeping Vs. Airbnb Housekeeping

What are the differences between hotel housekeeping and Airbnb housekeeping? Learn more about the functions and responsibilities of each below.

Hotel Housekeeping

A hotel housekeeper mainly cleans and dusts individual hotel rooms and common areas within the hotel. Common areas can include hallways, business centers, lobbies, fitness centers, and restaurants. Hotel housekeepers typically move their cleaning supply cart from room to room as they systematically complete the required cleaning for the day. They also deliver items to guests’ rooms and restock supplies as needed. A hotel housekeeper usually either cleans a specific section of the hotel during each of their shifts, or they clean certain rooms during the shift. Depending on the day and whether guests are checking out or continuing their stay, hotel housekeepers will clean varying numbers of rooms each day.

Let’s discuss the question of how much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper in relation to hotel housekeepers. Hotel housekeepers can earn tips, but this is much more likely in more upscale and luxurious hotels. The average motel or economy hotel guest doesn’t tip hotel housekeeping staff as frequently. In general, hotel housekeepers work shifts that last between eight to ten hours. It’s very important for them to have good time management skills so that they can complete all of their assigned cleaning jobs within their scheduled shift. Stamina is also an important quality for hotel housekeepers since they’ll be on their feet and actively cleaning for the duration of their shift.

Airbnb Housekeeping

Airbnb Housekeeping

Airbnb housekeeping, or Airbnb cleaning, is very different from hotel housekeeping. The Airbnb host themselves may fulfill the responsibilities of a housekeeper, or the host may hire an individual cleaner, a small company, or a large enterprise to complete the cleaning for them.  Usually, the cleaning process for a vacation rental begins with starting a load of laundry. All of the bedding and towels must be washed in between guests. Next, the cleaner uses a top-down approach to clean each room of the rental property. They’re also responsible for restocking and refilling various amenities, such as bathroom toiletries and kitchen necessities.

Hosts may still be curious about how much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper, considering the differences between them and hotel housekeepers. In most cases, an Airbnb housekeeper will not work a full-time shift in the way that a hotel housekeeper does. For the most part, they arrive at the rental property, clean it and prepare it for the next guest, and they’re done. If they work for a cleaning company, they may have another rental property or a different cleaning job to complete afterward. Still, the cleaning of an individual vacation rental generally only takes a couple of hours or so. However, it should be noted that most Airbnb housekeepers clean vacation rentals with the same high standards as a hotel, meaning that there shouldn’t be a single stray hair or crumb left behind.

How Much to Tip Airbnb Housekeeper for Hosts

How much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper is usually up to the host’s discretion. In most cases, hosts are already paying their housekeepers a living wage, so it’s not necessary to add on a tip. However, many hosts will still offer a holiday bonus and other incentives for their crew. They are an integral part of the team, and the vacation rental couldn’t run efficiently without them, so it’s always a welcome gesture to provide extra income for cleaners if possible.

Airbnb’s Living Wage Pledge

Airbnb’s Living Wage Pledge

One thing to note regarding Airbnb is that it has implemented a Living Wage Pledge, which is a commitment from United States hosts to pay their cleaners fairly. Airbnb explains that they expect their hosts to pay their cleaners a living wage so that they can support themselves and their families, perform high-quality work on a consistent basis, and take time off for themselves and their families as needed. Self-employed cleaners should be paid a minimum of $25 per hour, while cleaners employed by a company should be paid at least $15 per hour. The National Domestic Workers Alliance has also suggested that Airbnb hosts provide clear expectations for their cleaners, ensure their health and safety, and provide them access to a professional association.

Offering Incentives

Incentives are one way to answer the question of how much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper. One idea for incentivizing Airbnb housekeepers is to pay them a bonus if a certain percentage of reviews give a cleaning score of five stars. For example, some hosts might pay their cleaners an additional $500 per quarter if at least 90% of reviews rated the cleanliness of the Airbnb five stars during that period. Paying employees well and incentivizing them for high-quality work can increase their job satisfaction and encourage them to keep up their good work.

Cleaning Fees

On a related note, many vacation rental hosts wonder how much they should charge for their cleaning fees. Too high, and they may scare away potential guests. Too low, and they may lose money. Hosts who clean their vacation rental themselves can usually get away with charging a smaller cleaning fee or even going without. In general, they will at least want to charge a cleaning fee that covers their supplies and the time spent cleaning. But hosts who hire a self-employed cleaner or a cleaning crew from an agency will need to charge a cleaning fee that covers the costs associated with their cleaners.

Cleaning Fees

While it’s hard to say what the “average cleaning fee” is because it can vary so much by location and type of property, one room within a shared home will typically run guests $25 for a cleaning fee. Meanwhile, a private vacation rental with one bedroom might have a cleaning fee of about $40, a two-bedroom $75, a three-bedroom $110, and a four-bedroom $140. Hosts who are averse to adding a cleaning fee on top of their nightly rate can also consider including the cleaning fee within their nightly rate. While the total amount will end up being around the same, it changes the way that the costs look for potential guests.

How Much to Tip Airbnb Housekeeper for Guests

As a guest, should you tip your Airbnb host or housekeeper? Guests staying at vacation rentals may wonder how much they should tip housekeeping, or if it’s even necessary to leave a tip at all. In general, most vacation rental guests have already paid a cleaning fee, so it’s not required to leave a tip because the maid service cost is already fully covered. Generally, tipping is considered commonplace for jobs that don’t pay a living wage, such as waitstaff. Considering the fact that Airbnb requires its United States hosts to pay its cleaners a living wage, there’s no need to tip housekeepers.

However, it’s somewhat frequent for an Airbnb guest to mention that they noticed an envelope at the vacation rental property that seemed to be left with the intention of collecting tips for the housekeepers. While guests are absolutely free to leave tips if they wish to, this is by no means required. Leaving an envelope for tips is even frowned upon by some Airbnb hosts. So to respond to the question of how much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper for guests, the answer is that a tip is usually unnecessary.

Expressing Gratitude for Cleanliness

Expressing Gratitude for Cleanliness

Guests who are impressed with the cleanliness of the vacation rental have a few different routes they can go to express their satisfaction and appreciation. First, they can leave a tip if that’s what they want to do. But most hosts will be happier with receiving a nice review that specifically mentions the cleanliness of the property. This truly helps hosts because potential guests often read through reviews to determine whether or not a particular Airbnb is the right choice for them. If they come across several reviews noting how amazingly clean the property is, they’re more likely to book a stay, thereby increasing the host’s earnings.

Another option when wondering how much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper is to leave a small gift for the host or housekeeper as a symbol of appreciation. A note along with the gift is a nice way to express gratitude and point out a job well done. In most cases, hosts prefer a positive review to other gestures of gratitude, simply due to the beneficial effect it can have on their business.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What do vacation rental cleaners do?

Not only do vacation rental cleaners clean the property from top to bottom, but they have several other responsibilities as well. They must clean all the used linens, sanitize surfaces, restock various amenities such as toilet paper and cleaning products, check the property for damage, and test various appliances to ensure they’re working properly.

Why are vacation rental cleaning fees so high?

Vacation rental cleaning fees tend to be high because they typically cover the fee for the cleaning crew. Regardless of the length of a guest’s stay (one night, one week, or one month), a cleaning crew must complete the same amount of work in order to prepare for the next guest. Even if a host cleans their vacation rental themselves, the cleaning fee covers their supplies and compensates them for their time. Because the cleaning fee covers all expenses related to cleaning, those who ask how much to tip an Airbnb housekeeper will usually find that a tip is not necessary.

Why are vacation rental cleaning fees so high?

How can vacation rental hosts find reliable cleaners?

One good way to find reliable cleaners is to talk to other vacation rental hosts and ask them for recommendations. Online forums created for vacation rental hosts are full of great recommendations as well. There are also various platforms such as TurnoverBnb, Yelp, and Angie’s List where it is possible to find reliable cleaners.


Still wondering how much to tip Airbnb housekeeper? Watch this video below!

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