What Happens If You Don’t Pay Uber Cleaning Fee?

What Happens If You Don't Pay Uber Cleaning Fee?
Author: Nzoputa Erik
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Have you ever had a mishap during an Uber ride that ended in a mess? A coffee spill or a food drop, perhaps? If so, you’ve likely been charged an Uber cleaning fee.

But what happens if you don’t pay this fee? It’s a question that may have crossed your mind, and we intend to explore it in depth.

In this article, we’ll dissect:

  • Uber’s cleaning fee policy
  • The consequences of non-payment, 
  • And the alternatives are available if you’re unable or unwilling to pay the fee. 

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Key Takeaways

  • Uber’s cleaning fee is levied on riders who cause a mess in an Uber vehicle that necessitates professional cleaning, helping drivers cover this expense.
  • The cleaning fee can range from $20 for minor messes to $150 for significant damages.
  • Non-payment of the cleaning fee may result in Uber updating your trip receipt to include it or, in severe instances, account deactivation.
  • If you believe the cleaning fee is unjust, you can dispute it by contacting Uber.
  • To avoid a cleaning fee, passengers should maintain cleanliness in the Uber vehicle and respect the driver’s property.

Basics Uber Cleaning Fee

Millions of people use Uber as a convenient and comfortable way to get around. But sometimes, riders may make a mess in the car by accident or otherwise, making the driver uncomfortable and preventing them from accepting more rides.

Uber’s cleaning fee is a way to deal with these situations so that the driver doesn’t have to pay to return the car to its original state. This fee is directly charged to the rider who made the mess.

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Uber Cleaning Fee Amounts

The cleaning fee charged by Uber varies depending on the extent and nature of the mess made in the vehicle. Generally, the cleaning fee is $40 for small food and drink spills.

This covers minor messes that require simple cleaning or vacuuming, such as minor food or beverage spills or dirt​​.

The fee increases to $80 for larger spills and messes requiring more extensive cleaning. This could include situations where a spill has spread over a large area of the vehicle or a mess that’s harder to clean up​​.

Uber’s highest cleaning fee is $150, typically levied when a rider causes a mess involving bodily fluids such as vomit.

This fee accounts for the significant cleaning effort required in such instances, often involving professional cleaning services​​.

Requesting and Assessing the Cleaning Fee

If a rider creates a mess or causes damage that hinders a driver from taking further trips, the driver can request a cleaning fee through the Uber Driver app.

This request should be submitted within three business days of the incident and include:

  • Photos of the mess.
  • A description of the fluid or material that caused it.
  • A receipt from a cleaning service.
  • Details of the trip during which the mess was made​.

Once Uber receives and validates the cleaning fee claim, a fee is applied to the driver’s account. The fee amount is determined on a case-by-case basis based on the extent of the mess and the cost of the required cleaning.

It’s important to note that the fee is specifically for professional cleaning and is based on Uber’s review of the provided evidence.

For example, a mess of items that can be quickly thrown away or wiped up, such as spilled water, will likely not qualify for a cleaning fee​.

Rider Refuses to Pay the Cleaning Fee

If a rider refuses to pay the cleaning fee, Uber may charge the rider’s account or take other measures to ensure the fee is collected.

While the cleaning fee policy is in place to help drivers restore their vehicles to the clean Uber standard, riders need to understand that they are responsible for any mess they make during a ride​.

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Disputing a Cleaning Fee

There may be instances where a rider believes they have been incorrectly charged a cleaning fee. In such cases, they can contact Uber to request a refund.

However, since drivers are required to provide photographic proof of the damage before a cleaning fee can be collected, it’s unlikely that a refund will be granted if a mess was indeed made.

Furthermore, while rare, there have been cases where drivers fabricated or exaggerated damages to their vehicle to collect a larger cleaning fee, known as the “cleaning fee scam.”

If Uber finds that drivers are abusing the cleaning fee policy, they can be deactivated or restricted from receiving cleaning fees in the future​.

Long-term Effects on Your Uber Relationship

Refusing to pay the Uber cleaning fee can affect your relationship with Uber in the long term. Repeated refusals to pay fees or disputes can lead to account suspension or termination.

This could restrict your access to convenient and affordable transportation. Furthermore, it can affect your rating as a rider, impacting your experience with future rides.

Practical Advice and Tips

Here are practical ways to avoid this fee and steps to take if you feel you’ve been charged in error. Let’s delve into some practical advice and tips.

Avoiding the Uber Cleaning Fee

A few simple practices can help you avoid the cleaning fee. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

Respect the Vehicle

Consider the Uber vehicle as you would your own or a friend’s car. Avoid eating or drinking during the ride to prevent any spills. If you do decide to eat or drink, make sure to do so carefully.

Be Mindful of Your Behavior

If you’ve had too much to drink, waiting a while before booking your Uber ride might be better. Situations involving bodily fluids, such as vomit, attract a higher cleaning fee.

Clean Up After Yourself

If you do make a small mess, take a moment to clean it up. A small effort can save you from paying a cleaning fee.

How to Complain About a Cleaning Fee

There may be instances where you feel you’ve been unfairly charged a cleaning fee. Here’s what you can do in such a scenario:

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Gather Your Evidence

If you believe you didn’t make the mess or that its extent has been exaggerated, gather any evidence you might have. This could be photos of the clean vehicle when you left or statements from other passengers.

Contact Uber

Once you have your evidence, contact Uber to dispute the fee. Explain your case clearly, and provide any evidence you have.

Be Patient

Remember that resolving disputes can take some time. Be patient and follow up with Uber if needed.

While the cleaning fee is in place to protect drivers and their vehicles, it’s crucial to know your rights as a rider. You can avoid unnecessary fees by respecting the vehicle and being aware of the possible charges. 

And if you ever find yourself charged unfairly, knowing the steps to dispute the fee can save you money and stress. Remember, the key to a smooth Uber experience is respect and understanding of the rules in place.


In conclusion, the Uber cleaning fee is not something to ignore. It exists to help drivers cover the costs of cleaning their vehicles after messy rides. But if you find this fee on your receipt and believe it’s unfair, you can dispute it with Uber. 

However, Uber might deactivate your account after repeated refusals if you don’t pay. The key here is to respect the cars you ride in and to communicate with Uber if there are any problems. After all, clear and open communication can help resolve most issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Uber cleaning fee?

Uber’s cleaning fee is charged to passengers who have caused a mess in an Uber vehicle that requires professional cleaning.

How much can the Uber cleaning fee be?

The cleaning fee varies depending on the severity of the mess, from a minor mess for $20 to serious damage for up to $150.

What happens if I don’t pay the Uber cleaning fee?

If you don’t pay the cleaning fee, Uber may include it in your updated trip receipt or, in extreme cases, deactivate your account.

Can I dispute the Uber cleaning fee?

Yes, you can. You can contact Uber to dispute the charge if you believe the fee is unjust.

What can I do to avoid an Uber cleaning fee?

Keeping the vehicle clean during your trip and respecting the driver’s property can help you avoid the cleaning fee.

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