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    Answering top questions about the new cleaning protocol

    Answering top questions about the new cleaning protocol

    Here’s what you need to know about the expert-backed cleaning guidelines.
    By Airbnb on Apr 24, 2020
    7 min read
    Updated Jul 9, 2020


    • An expert-backed cleaning protocol with step-by-step guidelines is now available

    • Hosts who commit to following the new guidelines will get a special highlight on their listings

    • For hosts who can’t commit to the protocol, we’re offering an optional 72-hour booking buffer between stays

    Now more than ever, guests care about cleanliness—from the supplies you’re using to the extra steps you’re taking, they want to know what you’re doing to help keep them safe. And they’re not the only ones. Government officials and policymakers are focusing on cleaning practices like never before in an effort to protect their communities once businesses open up again and travel resumes.

    It’s no wonder so many of you have been asking for more guidance around how to clean and sanitize your spaces. It was one of the top requests in our recent listening sessions with hosts from around the world, and cleaning tips continue to be a popular topic in Community Center discussions and here in our Resource Center.

    So we’re excited to share that we’re rolling out a new enhanced cleaning protocol, which will help hosts clean more effectively during COVID-19 and beyond. We developed the cleaning protocol with guidance from Dr. Vivek Murthy, the former U.S. Surgeon General, and from organizations that helped set standards for cleanliness in the hospitality and medical hygiene industry. The protocol is also informed by recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    We know you might have some questions about the new program, and we’ve done our best to answer them here.

    What does the cleaning protocol mean for hosts?
    Hosts will have access to new step-by-step cleaning guidelines, which will cover recommended supplies, sanitization techniques, room-by-room instructions, and more. Hosts can commit to the protocol and let guests know that they’ve agreed to follow the new guidelines. We’re hoping to take some of the guesswork out of cleaning so you can help protect yourself and your guests.

    When will the protocol be available in my region?
    We introduced the enhanced cleaning protocol to hosts in the U.S. in early June, and we started rolling it out to other countries and regions shortly after. We want these resources to be as useful as possible to hosts around the world, so we’ll be working on adapting some of the guidelines and recommendations to meet the unique needs of each region. That’s going to take a bit of time, but we hope to have it available in most of the regions where you host soon.

    Where can I access the new information?
    Once the protocol is available in your region, you can download the Airbnb cleaning handbook. Information about the protocol—including an overview of the five-step cleaning process, a list of supplies to stock up on, and a quick-start guide—will also be available to hosts in the Resource Center at

    How will Airbnb help me learn about these new cleaning guidelines?
    We know the handbook has a lot of information, so as part of the host onboarding, we’ve summarized each step of the protocol in an overview. We’re asking all hosts to read through that overview and take a short quiz to show that they understand the guidelines. It’s okay if you’re still learning the process—you can check the cleaning handbook as you go.

    I took the quiz. Now what?
    Hosts who’ve taken the quiz and have eligible listings can then choose to commit to the protocol. This will unlock a special highlight on your listing so guests know that you’ve agreed to follow a higher standard for cleaning.

    How will guests know that I’ve committed to the cleaning protocol?
    Hosts who commit to the protocol will get a special highlight on their listing page, so guests will know they’ve agreed to follow more rigorous cleaning and sanitization practices. There are a few things you need to know about the listing highlight:

    • Hosts who want to receive the highlight will need to complete the quiz and the cleaning commitment
    • Private and shared room listings aren’t currently eligible to get the highlight—we’re working on ways to elevate private and shared room hosts who are committed to enhanced cleaning standards, so stay tuned for updates
    • Hosts with an average cleanliness rating of less than 4 stars can commit to the protocol, but they won't get the special highlight on their listing until they demonstrate an improvement (that means getting at least three new reviews with 5-star cleanliness ratings)
    • Once you commit to the protocol, it can take several days for the highlight to appear on your listing page

    How will Airbnb verify that hosts are following the cleaning protocol?
    Hosts who want to participate will be asked to attest to following specific guidance outlined in the cleaning protocol. Our review system offers additional checks and balances—if a host isn’t following the guidelines, guests can bring it up in their reviews of the space.

    What if a guest reports a host who has committed to the cleaning protocol but isn’t upholding the standards?
    We believe that most issues can be resolved with extra host education and support. However, hosts who repeatedly or severely violate cleaning standards could lose their listing highlight and may face additional consequences.

    If I commit to the cleaning protocol, it’s going to cost more to clean. How will I pay for that?
    As a host, you have the option to add a cleaning fee to your listing, and what you charge is completely up to you. Adding a cleaning fee—or adjusting yours if you have one already—can help offset any additional costs of following the protocol.

    I’ve hired a professional cleaner. Can I still participate?
    Yes, as long as you’ve shared the resources with your professional cleaner, and they’ve agreed to follow the standards. You’ll need to agree to each step on behalf of your cleaner, and take responsibility that they’re abiding by the protocol.

    I’m not sure I can commit to the cleaning protocol. What else can I do to help guests feel more comfortable in my space?
    Although we encourage all hosts to follow the new standards, we understand that some of you may not be able to complete all of the steps outlined in the protocol—for example, if you can’t get access to necessary cleaning products, which may be difficult to come by in some communities.

    So we’re offering hosts another option to help reassure guests. We've created a new tool that makes it easier to leave a vacancy period between stays. Simply opt in to the tool, and we'll automatically create a 72-hour booking buffer after each stay. Developed with guidance from experts, the 72-hour booking buffer aims to reduce the risk of potential exposure to the coronavirus, which may remain in the air or on surfaces. Similar to the cleaning protocol, guests will be able to easily identify hosts who are offering a booking buffer. Please keep in mind that even hosts who opt in to the 72-hour booking buffer should take care to clean thoroughly between guests.

    I want to opt in to the 72-hour booking buffer, but I already have reservations with shorter turnover times. What will happen to those?
    We don’t want the program to impact your existing reservations—so if you have upcoming stays with fewer than 72 hours between them, you’ll need to wait until those are completed before you can opt in. In the meantime, you can still follow the new cleaning guidelines and let guests know about the extra steps you’re taking.

    Are any booking buffers required if I commit to the protocol?
    Please note that by committing to the protocol, you agree to comply with local laws. This includes following any additional safety or cleaning guidelines from your relevant governmental agency, like how long to wait before entering a space. Depending on your location, the cleaning handbook will include guidance on how long to wait to enter a space after each stay.

    What if a host lists their space on another platform? How are you making sure they adhere to the booking buffers?
    Airbnb is built on trust, and we expect hosts who opt in to the program to comply with their attestation and commitment. We are working on updating our policy and enforcement standards, and we may eventually implement a system to monitor cross-listed homes in this program.

    Why can’t private and shared room hosts participate in the program?
    The new cleaning program encourages some measure of physical distancing. Since this is hard to do in a shared setting, private and shared room listings aren’t currently eligible to get the listing highlight or to be opted in to the booking buffer program. Private room hosts will still have access to the cleaning protocol and can choose to incorporate the recommendations into their cleaning routine. And we're working on ways to elevate private and shared room hosts who are committed to enhanced cleaning standards.

    I host an Airbnb Experience. Do you have cleaning guidelines for me, too?
    Yes. For those who host in a country or region where in-person experiences have resumed, we’ve created a set of cleaning guidelines and health and safety recommendations and requirements specifically for you.

    How can I stay up to date on local laws and guidelines?
    The situation continues to evolve, and certain recommendations (like how long to wait before entering a space) may differ depending on where you host. Please bookmark this Help Center article for up-to-date information about cleaning guidelines in your region.

    We hope you find these resources helpful as you revisit your cleaning routine. As always, thank you for being part of the Airbnb community.

    Information contained in this article may have changed since publication.


    • An expert-backed cleaning protocol with step-by-step guidelines is now available

    • Hosts who commit to following the new guidelines will get a special highlight on their listings

    • For hosts who can’t commit to the protocol, we’re offering an optional 72-hour booking buffer between stays

    Apr 24, 2020
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