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There are many aspects of hosting an Airbnb that bring me joy, and changing bedding is definitely not one of them. You always expect to have to turn over your rental in between stays, but what about during a stay?
Sometimes, for a variety of reasons, sheets will become dirty during a stay. If it’s an extended stay, this is typically to be expected. However, if you weren’t anticipating having to change out the bedding mid-booking, it can take a lot of time and resources to do so.
How should you deal with dirty sheets in your Airbnb?
- Offer self-serve laundry if possible
- Replace linens during longer stays
- Have a clear laundering policy
- Consider using the security deposit in extreme cases
Self-Serve Laundry: The Simplest Solution
Whether you rent out your entire home or just one spare bedroom, offering your guests the option to do their own laundry is a great idea. Guests will appreciate the ability to launder dirty clothes, especially if they’re traveling as a family with children.
While most guests wouldn’t mind washing their own clothes, some might balk at having to launder their bedding themselves. It’s important to have clear expectations on the matter communicated with your guests in advance (more on this below).
If guests are fine with washing their own bedding, it saves you as a host a ton of time and hassle. Again, this shouldn’t necessarily be an expectation placed on guests during shorter stays, but in the event of a spill or other mess it is certainly a quick and easy solution.
A lot of guests would rather keep their security deposit and try to get a stain out themselves instead of paying extra to have you come and change the sheets. Whatever your policy ends up being, make sure to remember that your time is valuable and that your guests might expect more of a hotel-level housekeeping experience than you’re willing to provide. As always, communication and clear house rules are key.
Should Hosts Change Sheets for Long Stays?
This is definitely a hot topic in the hosting community. As we touched on in the previous section, some guests expect a more luxurious rental experience where absolutely everything is taken care of for them. Others don’t mind a hands-off host and would rather save some money by being self-sufficient.
In general, however, it is good practice to change out the sheets periodically during longer stays. Most hosts have a set length of time for sheet changes, typically around once per week. They might also change or replace towels and bath mats at this time, or even more frequently.
If guests need new sheets before the designated “sheet change” day, most hosts are fine with providing them. If there is a washer and dryer available, a lot of people opt to just have guests take care of it themselves! As long as this is outlined for the guest in advance (usually at check in), there shouldn’t be an issue.
Make sure that you warn your guests before entering the rental to restock or change things out for them. Nobody likes that kind of surprise! You can also ask them if they would like the bed made for them or if they would rather just have clean sheets dropped off. Everyone has different preferences and comfort levels, and catering to your guests’ needs is what will help set you apart from the crowd and get some stellar ratings.
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Should Hosts Charge Guests for Soiled Sheets?
Hosts have significantly differing opinions on charging guests for soiled sheets. There are countless scenarios to consider, so there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to take, unfortunately. I’ll go over a few common examples and help you decide whether charging your guests is the right option for you.
Some Airbnb hosts consider replacing sheets part of the cost of doing business. Everything will need to be replaced eventually, and sheets in a rental unit will certainly not last as long as sheets in your private home. They get laundered more often and probably experience a lot more wear and tear.
If you decide that you’d rather not mess around with trying to charge guests extra fees for replacing sheets, consider increasing your nightly rates accordingly. It likely won’t be a large increase, but these things do add up over time (and sheets are expensive!).
Another option is to have the guest try to launder the sheets themselves. This won’t always be successful, depending on the type of stain and how long it has been sitting around. If the guest can’t (or won’t) get the sheets clean and they’ve been stained as a direct result of something the guest did, you could charge them a fee having to deep-clean the sheets yourself. To do this you would need to use the Request Money feature, and it may not always be successful.
If a guest has ruined your sheets beyond cleaning or repair, you might want to charge them a replacement fee. While all sorts of accidents can and will happen, sometimes guests are inconsiderate, and damage happens as a result of that. Makeup stains are notoriously hard to remove, for example, and are obviously a preventable type of damage on a bedspread or pillowcase.
To be able to collect this type of fee, you would need concrete proof of the damage and proof that the guest was made aware your rules regarding replacing the sheets. Again, some hosts feel that this is too much of a hassle and would rather just replace the sheets themselves to avoid the potential of a drawn-out dispute with Airbnb.
The Security Deposit and Dirty Sheets
Your best bet at collecting a fee for ruined sheets is by using part of the guest’s security deposit through Airbnb. If you decide to go this route, know that there is the potential for it to be disputed by the guest. You’ll need solid proof of damage as well as proof that your guest knew about your house rules and why the security deposit might be used.
Be sure to take pictures of the damage and screenshots of the messages between you and the guest, if applicable. You may also be asked to provide proof of the cost of the replacement sheets and bedding.
What are the best types of bedding to use in an Airbnb?
No matter your Airbnb’s style, bedding is usually something that is pretty standard across the board. I always recommend plain white sheets, mattress covers, and pillowcases. They look nicest, can be bleached easily, and you can find almost any brand and material available in white.
In an Airbnb, you’ll need a few extra things that you may not have on your personal bed. A protective mattress cover and pillowcases are very important as they’ll keep out bedbugs, spills, and other unwanted things. You should also be sure that all your linens are hypoallergenic and machine washable.
How do I know how many “bedrooms” my Airbnb has?
There is actually no rule as to how Airbnb defines a bedroom. Most people are interested in how many people the Airbnb sleeps, but this does not always correlate with how many private bedrooms are available. For example, a pullout couch can sleep at least two, but a living room is not a bedroom!
Using common sense is your best bet here. If you wouldn’t call it a bedroom in a “For Sale” ad for your home, don’t call it a bedroom on Airbnb. Most guests define bedrooms as an enclosed room with a door, which can sometimes include rooms like dens or offices depending on the circumstances.