Guests Question The Ethics Of 'Tips For Housekeeping' Envelope Found At AirBnB After Paying $120 Cleaning Fee

Has the expectation to tip gone too far?

two people cleaning a bedroom Monstera / Pexels

A person who went on a trip and stayed in an AirBnB wrote to a Reddit forum specifically designated for people to share their experience with ;the vacation rental company. The guest aired their grievances on the subreddit r/AirBnB, ;raising an ethical concern over something they found during their stay.

The guest questioned the ethics of a ‘tips for housekeeping’ envelope at their AirBnB after paying a $120 cleaning fee.

The title to the Reddit post stated, “A ‘tips for housekeeping’ envelope is on the kitchen counter.” As the guest explained, “We paid a $120 cleaning fee and are expected to run towels through the washer, strip the beds and wash the dishes.”


Despite paying a cleaning fee, the guests were expected to complete certain chores, then leave a tip for housekeeping.

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guests question airbnb for charging cleaning fee and tipping housekeepersPhoto : Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels


“I’ve never seen a tip envelope before,” they said. “If I don’t tip, will it affect the review the host gives me? I’ve got perfect reviews from hosts so far, and I don’t want this to mess that up.”

The guest was concerned that if they didn’t tip the housekeepers, it would negatively affect their reviews from the host ;on AirBnB.

People who were following the guest’s ethical AirBnB dilemma on Reddit had varying opinions, yet most agreed that tipping was unnecessary. Some people railed against tip culture in general; others complained about being expected to clean up after themselves while staying in an AirBnB rental.

Yet the general consensus was that tipping for housekeeping was optional ;and not leaving a tip ;shouldn’t lead to a negative review from the host.

One person came to the comments with the interesting perspective of working as a housecleaner. They stated that “$120 is [approximately] the cost of cleaning up after a stay.” They posed the question, “So, you're doing some of the work, paying for a cleaner and you're expected to tip them too? That's crazy.”


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guests question airbnb for charging cleaning fee and tipping housekeepersPhoto : Kampus Production / Pexels

The housecleaner offered their personal experience, saying, “I have a client who also uses me for her long term rentals. I clean up after a person leaves to get it ready for the next tenant. I've never expected anything from the incoming or outgoing tenant... this stuff shouldn't be the guests’ responsibility.” 


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Another valuable perspective came from people who are AirBnB hosts, themselves.

“Host here, there have been cases where the cleaners have left tip envelopes without the host's knowledge,” one person explained. “I would personally let the host know that there was a tip envelope left behind, even though you pay the cleaning fee with a long list of duties.”

A different AirBnB host shared a similar take on the ;envelope for tips, sharing that “we did not know our cleaner was leaving a tip envelope. We don't always notify cleaners in advance when we are staying at [the] cabin and found the envelope. We had to ask our cleaners not to do that. The hosts might not know.”


The apparently common occurrence of housekeepers leaving an envelope for tips might seem ;presumptuous to some people, yet it's important to interrogate the reasons why that might happen, including the possibility that whoever is cleaning the AirBnB units isn't being paid a living wage.

While tipping remains an optional decision, the prevalence of workers asking to be tipped raises the question of whether or not people's income is enough to sustain them. 

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Alexandra Blogier is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team. She covers celebrity gossip, pop culture analysis and all things to do with the entertainment industry.