At times, running an Airbnb can feel like running a laundry service! Clean bedding is key, of course, but hosts and guests can sometimes be in a bit of a gray area when it comes to whose job it is to do laundry. This is doubly true for long stays or large numbers of guests. As a host, it’s up to you to maintain tip-top sheet etiquette in your Airbnb!
What are My TOP Airbnb Sheet Etiquette Tips for Hosts?
- Make your laundry plan clear
- Have plenty of extras on hand
- Don’t skimp on quality
- Understand that accidents happen
- Utilize the security deposit when necessary
Make Your Laundry Plan Clear
Outline who can (and will) do laundry in your Airbnb somewhere that guests will see. It can be the house rules manual, a sign on the washing machine, or in a welcome message that you send out.
99% of the time, you’ll probably be the one doing most (if not all) of the laundering at your rental. Most guests only stay a few nights, if even that long, so there really isn’t any reason to launder the sheets during a stay. The obvious exceptions would be in case of damage to the sheets or other unexpected circumstances (more on this below).
Guests come to an Airbnb to get away from it all, so it isn’t unreasonable of them to expect you to supply them with fresh clean sheets and to do some moderate cleanup after they leave. Just as a hotel would, sheets should be laundered in between stays.
If you host guests for longer periods of time (typically one week or more), then it becomes necessary to plan for changing sheets during the stay. Some guests don’t mind doing their own laundry at an Airbnb, and offering this as an option can help keep your cleaning costs and time down.
Some hosts, however, prefer that guests not mess with any laundry at all. This is understandable, given that the host will have little to no control over what supplies are used and how they are used by guests. If you don’t want guests to do their own laundry, make it clear when and how you’ll come to change the bedding out. You could drop it outside the door in a laundry bag, or enter and strip the bed yourself. Make sure that your guest knows what to expect in terms of their privacy!
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- Airbnb Sheet Etiquette for Hosts 
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Have Plenty of Extras on Hand
Most guests wouldn’t be too thrilled if you left them with a bare bed while you washed and dried their sheets, so make sure you have lots of extra sets! Not only will this take the pressure off your laundry routine, it’s absolutely necessary in case sheets become damaged during a stay and a guest needs an emergency replacement.
To simplify things, I usually buy lots of the same (or similar) sheets when I find a good price. I prefer regular old white sheets because they’re easy to bleach, they look clean and crisp, and they are easy to find. If you’re a very hands-off host, you can keep them accessible in a linen closet within your rental and have guests switch them out themselves, if they’re comfortable with that.
If you don’t want strangers having access to your treasure trove of linens, keeping at least one set readily available is nice in case a guest has a spill in the middle of the night. That way they don’t have to wait until the next day to get a replacement, and you don’t get a call in the middle of the night.
Rental Recon Tip: Empowering your guests to restock a few essentials on their own not only saves you a ton of time, but contributes to the “homey” atmosphere that draws people into Airbnb. The coldness of a hotel room being cleaned and stocked by anonymous strangers doesn’t appeal to a lot of travelers anymore, so take advantage of the close host-guest relationship and let your guests handle the day-to-day stuff!
Don’t Skimp on Quality!
While I don’t strictly recommend going out and buying the most expensive bed linens you can get your hands on, don’t be cheap either! Guests will pay a premium for a high quality stay, and sheets that feel great are guaranteed to get you some top reviews.
Like I mentioned above, you can usually find deals on high quality plain white sheets at big box stores as well as online. Higher thread counts are nice, of course, but there are some other factors that can make a big difference in the overall sleep ambience you create in your Airbnb.
Changing sheet material with the seasons is a very underrated yet crucial tip! In climates with hot summers, some nice, breezy cotton sheets will keep guests cool and comfortable. For warmer weather, flannel sheets make a world of difference as well. Make sure to keep the material hypoallergenic as always.
Confused by all the options out there? Check out my comprehensive guide to vacation rental bedding and sheets HERE!
Understand That Accidents Happen
Even the tidiest and most careful guests could experience a spill or accidentally rip a sheet. If they’re up front with you about it, be understanding and remind them that we’re all human! Most guests will be honest if they damage something and usually offer to replace it. If they don’t offer, make sure to gently remind them that your “house rules state guests are responsible for the cost of replacing damaged items” or something to that effect.
Some people choose not to chase guests down for replacement costs and instead build that into the overall nightly rate. Things do wear out over time, and even without a major catastrophe your sheets will eventually be out of commission. If you have time, work out a general idea of how often you expect to replace your bedding and spread the cost out over your booking prices.
Wondering how to broach the subject of money with a guest after they’ve left? Take a look at my tips on guest checkout etiquette!
Utilize the Security Deposit When Necessary
A guest leaving really dirty sheets in your Airbnb can be a frustrating experience, especially if you’ve used an expensive or hard to replace brand. In this case, I would recommend messaging the guest and possibly requesting they pay a portion of the replacement cost if the sheets are beyond saving.
You can also utilize the security deposit, which is a much more reliable way to ensure you get what you’re owed. Without the security deposit, you may find yourself hounding guests who are long gone for money they might owe you. Both hosts and guests can dispute damage charges, and these disputes typically don’t end with either party happy.
The advantage of collecting a security deposit is that you have access to the money as soon as the guest completes the booking and you can use it without having to make extra requests. They can still dispute the use, so make sure to document any damage that occurred and the cost of replacing the items.
It’s also a good idea to show that a guest has acknowledged your rules on replacing things. This can be accomplished by having them sign the house rules or respond to a message (within Airbnb!) saying that they’ve read them.