Understanding Hotel Excessive Cleaning Fees: What You Need to Know

Have you ever been hit with an unexpected excessive cleaning fee at a hotel? It can be frustrating and confusing.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: Excessive cleaning fees are charges hotels may impose when guests leave their rooms in an excessively dirty or messy condition.

In this article, we’ll dive deeper into the world of excessive cleaning fees to help you understand why they exist, how they are determined, and what you can do to avoid them.

We’ll also discuss some real-life examples of excessive cleaning fees and provide some tips for how you can be a responsible hotel guest.

So, let’s get started!

Why Do Hotels Charge Excessive Cleaning Fees?

When you book a hotel room, you expect a clean and tidy space upon arrival. However, some hotels may charge excessive cleaning fees after your stay. While it may seem unfair, there are legitimate reasons why hotels do this.

The Cost of Cleaning

Cleaning a hotel room is a time-consuming and labor-intensive task. Housekeeping staff have to thoroughly clean everything from the bathroom to the bed linens. They also need to restock supplies such as towels, toiletries, and coffee. All of this takes time and money.

Hotels have to factor in the cost of cleaning when setting their prices. If a guest leaves the room in an excessively dirty or messy condition, the hotel may need to spend extra time and money to clean it. In this case, the hotel may charge an additional cleaning fee to cover these costs.

Protecting the Next Guest

Hotels have a responsibility to ensure that each guest has a clean and safe stay. If a guest leaves the room in an unsanitary condition, the hotel needs to take extra precautions to protect the next guest. This may include deep cleaning, sanitizing, and even removing furniture or linens.

Charging an excessive cleaning fee helps to ensure that the hotel can maintain a high standard of cleanliness for all guests. By doing so, the hotel can prevent the spread of germs and illnesses, which is especially important in today’s world.


Finally, hotels may charge excessive cleaning fees as a way to deter guests from damaging or excessively dirtying the room. If guests know that they will be charged an additional fee for leaving the room in a poor condition, they may be more likely to take care of the space during their stay.

While it may seem like an inconvenience, excessive cleaning fees are a necessary part of the hotel industry. By understanding why hotels charge these fees, you can better prepare for your next stay and avoid any unexpected charges.

How Are Excessive Cleaning Fees Determined?

When you book a hotel room, you expect to pay for the accommodation and any additional services you may use during your stay. However, if you leave the room in a condition that requires excessive cleaning, you may be surprised to find an additional fee added to your bill upon checkout.

Cleaning Standards

Hotels have specific cleaning standards that they must adhere to in order to maintain a safe and healthy environment for their guests. If a guest leaves a room in a condition that goes beyond these standards, the hotel may charge an excessive cleaning fee. This could include things like excessive trash, dirty linens, or damage to the room.

Additionally, some hotels may charge a fee if a guest smokes in a non-smoking room or brings a pet into a room where pets are not allowed. These types of situations can require more intensive cleaning and disinfecting, which can be costly for the hotel.

Time and Labor

The amount of time and labor required to clean a room can also impact the excessive cleaning fee. If a guest has left a large amount of trash or caused significant damage to the room, it may take housekeeping staff longer to clean and sanitize the space.

In some cases, hotels may need to bring in specialized cleaning services to address particularly difficult messes. These services can be expensive, and the cost may be passed on to the guest responsible for the mess.

Damage Assessment

Finally, hotels may assess a cleaning fee based on any damage that has been caused to the room. This could include broken furniture, stained carpets, or other types of damage that require repairs or replacement.

Hotels may use a variety of methods to assess the cost of damages, including estimating the cost of repairs or replacement, or using a third-party service to assess the extent of the damage.

It’s important to note that excessive cleaning fees are not meant to be punitive, but rather to cover the cost of additional cleaning or repairs that are necessary due to the actions of a guest. To avoid these fees, guests should be sure to adhere to the hotel’s cleaning standards, avoid smoking or bringing pets into non-designated areas, and report any damage that occurs during their stay.

Pro tip: If you are concerned about excessive cleaning fees, be sure to review the hotel’s policies before booking your room. Some hotels may offer additional information or guidelines to help guests avoid these types of fees.

Real-Life Examples of Excessive Cleaning Fees

Case Study 1: The $350 Fee

One couple stayed at a hotel in Las Vegas for a friend’s wedding. They were charged a $350 cleaning fee for allegedly smoking in the room. However, they claimed that they did not smoke in the room and even offered to take a polygraph test to prove their innocence. The hotel refused and insisted that they pay the fee.

Case Study 2: The $250 Fee

A family of four stayed at a hotel in Orlando for a week-long vacation. Upon checkout, they were charged a $250 cleaning fee for “excessive mess” in the room. The family was surprised because they had not caused any damage to the room and had even tidied up before leaving. When they asked for an explanation, the hotel staff simply said that the room required extra cleaning.

Case Study 3: The $200 Fee

A business traveler stayed at a hotel in New York City for a conference. The next day, he was charged a $200 cleaning fee for “stained sheets.” However, the traveler insisted that he had not caused any stains and had not even eaten or drank anything in the room. The hotel did not provide any proof of the alleged stains and refused to refund the fee.

These real-life examples demonstrate that excessive cleaning fees can be unfairly charged to guests without proper evidence or justification. It is important for guests to carefully review their bills and dispute any charges that are inaccurate or unreasonable.

How to Avoid Excessive Cleaning Fees

When you book a hotel room, you expect to pay for the room rate, taxes, and any additional services or amenities you use during your stay. However, many travelers are surprised to find a hefty cleaning fee added to their bill at check-out. To avoid these excessive fees, follow these tips:

Keep it Clean

The best way to avoid cleaning fees is to keep your hotel room tidy during your stay. Make sure to throw away trash, hang up wet towels, and avoid leaving food or drinks out. If you do make a mess, clean it up as soon as possible. This will not only prevent you from being charged a cleaning fee, but it will also make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable.

Be Respectful

Hotel staff are there to provide you with a comfortable and clean environment during your stay. Being respectful of their work can go a long way in avoiding cleaning fees. Avoid smoking in non-smoking rooms, don’t use the towels to wipe up spills, and keep any pets you bring with you under control. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to ask the staff for assistance.

Report Damage

If you accidentally damage something in your hotel room, report it to the staff right away. It’s better to be honest and upfront about any damage than to try and hide it. The staff may be able to fix the damage quickly and avoid charging you a cleaning or repair fee. Additionally, if you notice any damage or issues with your room when you check-in, report them immediately so you are not blamed for them later.

By following these tips, you can avoid excessive cleaning fees and ensure a pleasant and stress-free hotel stay. Remember, treating your hotel room with respect and keeping it clean is not only courteous to the staff, but it can also save you money in the long run.

What to Do if You’re Charged an Excessive Cleaning Fee

Excessive cleaning fees are becoming more common in hotels as a way to recoup costs for extensive cleaning needed after guests leave a room in an unsatisfactory condition. However, there are situations where these fees can be unfair or unwarranted, leaving guests frustrated and confused about what to do next. Here are some steps you can take if you find yourself facing an excessive cleaning fee:

Review the Bill

The first step is to carefully review the bill and make sure you understand why the fee has been charged. Some hotels may provide a breakdown of the costs incurred, while others may simply list a flat fee. If you’re unsure about any of the charges, don’t hesitate to ask the hotel staff for clarification.

It’s also a good idea to review the hotel’s policies on cleaning fees before booking a room. This will give you an idea of what to expect and help you avoid any surprises when it comes time to check out.

Speak with Management

If you believe the fee is unwarranted or excessive, the next step is to speak with the hotel management. Be polite but assertive in expressing your concerns and provide any evidence you have to support your case. This could include photos of the room when you checked out or witness statements from other guests who can attest to the condition of the room.

Keep in mind that hotel staff are often authorized to waive or reduce fees, so it’s worth asking if they’re willing to work with you to find a solution.

Dispute the Charge

If you’re unable to resolve the issue with hotel management, you may need to dispute the charge with your credit card company or file a complaint with a consumer protection agency. Keep in mind that this process can be time-consuming and may not always result in a favorable outcome.

As a preventative measure, it’s always a good idea to take care of the room during your stay and notify hotel staff immediately if any issues arise. This can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure you’re not hit with unexpected fees when it comes time to check out.


While excessive cleaning fees can be a pain point for hotel guests, they serve an important purpose in protecting the next guest and covering the cost of cleaning.

By understanding the reasons behind these fees, being a responsible guest, and following our tips for avoiding them, you can enjoy your hotel stay without any unexpected charges.

And if you do find yourself facing an excessive cleaning fee, don’t be afraid to speak up and dispute the charge if necessary.

We hope this article has been helpful in shedding some light on the topic of excessive cleaning fees. Happy travels!

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