14 Replies Latest reply: Jun 8, 2019 11:36 AM by koko RSS

    Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?

    seadrifter New Member

      First the first time in over a decade of vacation renting, our cleaner found a used syringe when cleaning up.  It appears to have been for a legal medicine.  No one was injured but the owner of the cleaning company is very concerned about what to do if this should ever happen again.  They don’t want their employee to be hurt, nor do they want the cost of going to the hospital and getting a blood test.  They want to assess a charge of $500 should one be found in the future.  Unfortunately, our entire damage deposit is only $300 and I don’t think it is likely I would be able to raise it.  I’m wondering if others have dealt with this situation and have found a good solution.  All advice welcome.

        • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
          scowol Active Contributor

          I think that the housekeeper is being alarmist/dramatic, and should put this into perspective and the likelihood of this being a recurring problem.  Since you mentioned it was the first time in over a decade of vacation renting that something like this happened, I think I'd just let it go as it's not a trend.  You had an isolated event for the first time in 10 years, so it doesn't mean this is suddenly a recurring problem and time to start planning to hold a damage deposit because a medical syringe was likely accidentally not disposed of properly.  Besides, assuming your cleaner cleans other homes, this is not a "risk" that is isolated to just your rental.  Any guest can leave out a syringe at any VR or hotel (or any other dangerous item for that matter). 

          • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
            greggt Senior Contributor

            Well keep in mind, some take regular B12 Shots like my wife. Insulin is given in a syringe. Personally I think your housekeeper is an alarmist as other things are given in a syringe than illegal drugs.

            • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
              u0999 Premier Contributor

              could be someone's insulin needle for Pete's sake. I think your housekeeper is being overly melodramatic.

              • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
                wildiris Active Contributor

                I have never dealt with this situation.  I agree with the others.  The owner of the cleaning company is overreacting.  The real problem is that the cleaning company owner wants to charge you $500 if a cleaner simply finds a syringe, but isn't pricked by it.  What is the point of that $500 fee?  (Gee, if the cleaning company isn't ethical, they could start bringing syringes with them to say that they "found" one at your rental.)


                I think that you have a few options:  1) Find a new cleaning company; 2) Don't make any changes.  It's unlikely that another guest will leave a syringe and that you'd be charged $500 by the cleaning company; or 3) Talk to the owner of the cleaning company.  I'd try to make this a calm, non-adversarial conversation.   Point out to the owner that this could happen at any of the vacation rentals they clean.  Ask the owner what is the purpose of the $500 fee if no one has been injured, no one goes to the hospital, etc.  Are you supposed to put this in your rental agreement?  Is the cleaning company going to charge this $500 fee to all of their clients and not just you?  Hopefully, after discussing this with you, the cleaning company owner will be more rational about this.


                Edited:  If a cleaning person finds a syringe, they should dispose of it safely.  It should not just be thrown loose in the trash.  They should get an empty plastic soda bottle and drop the syringe in it and screw the bottle cap back on.

                  • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
                    seadrifter New Member

                    Many thanks to you and the others who responded.  I found all helpful and marked them as such.  I am new to using this community so hope I did it correctly.  I tend to agree with all of you that this is a bit of an overreaction.  I have suggested to the cleaner that if he is concerned, he could buy a sharps disposal box for his crew and a good pair of thick leather gloves to keep in their car and train them on appropriate disposal techniques.  If he wants to have a deterrent to people leaving sharps behind, I am fine with a $50 charge that I can include in my rental agreement just as I do the $200 charge if people smoke.  In the unlikely event his crew member gets seriously injured or infected, I’m guessing we will all have bigger issues to deal with than whether the cleaning company owner gets $500, but I also think the primary issue will be the quality of the training he gave his employees and whether they exercised due care.

                  • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
                    susaninrehoboth Premier Contributor

                    Do you have any proof a needle was found such as a photo that you are sure was taken in your VR? If cleaner proposes to charge $500 if another is found, seems like the start of a scam by cleaner. BTW, the most, if not all, people that require frequent injections know how to properly dispose of syringe and needle. Another reason it seems like the start of a scam, IMO.

                    • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
                      twobitrentals CommunityAmbassador

                      I Know that everyone is saying that the cleaner over reacted, but I might feel the same way. Needles have to be disposed of as hazardous material and so where would one put it. In addition, you are all assuming that it was harmless, what if it wasn’t?


                      I think my first response would be to call the guest and ask about the needle to ascertain whether it was safe to handle. Then I would very gently ask why it was left in the home.


                      I Do agree that this is probably an isolated incident, but still something that should be handled as with any medical hazardous waste.


                      As for the increased deposit....I would just agree to your cleaners terms and if it happens again charge the guest and eat the rest. Cleaning to me is NOT dealing with hazardous waste. You can’t just drop it in the trash!!!

                      • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
                        ambidextrous Active Contributor

                        Any housekeeper who gets freaked out by seeing a syringe is not being realistic about the risks of all the other dangers and illnesses that one could contract while cleaning a home top to bottom. I think you have received great advice from other. And I would add that the cleaning company should understand the potential for finding things in your home that could be dangerous. They can deal with it and insure themselves. This should not be your cost.

                        • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
                          hmmmm Senior Contributor

                          Over the years we have found many many things
                          Properly and carefully, they need to be dealt with.


                          The housekeepers need to wear gloves at all times for their own safety.
                          And when finding items that are dangerous, the owner needs to be contacted to deal with the issue at hand.

                          • Re: Syringes:  What should your cleaner do when finding one?
                            koko Active Contributor

                            Just as an FYI - the big drug store chains (CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid) all recycle sharp boxes and syringes individually. Maybe cleaners do not know that and also the fact, that a lot more drugs are administered via syringe by the patient then ever before. Travelers have shots for motion sickness and such a syringe might easily be left behind.

                            Although illegal and legal drugs do not compare, a syringe is equally dangerous when left for someone else to encounter it unknowingly.

                            That said, the responsibility lies with the guest who left it and the cleaning company should keep things in perspective. While insurance for their employees might cover medical expenses in the aftermath of an accidental injury it would not cover the negligence part and that one is a slugging it out in the courts and complicated when more than one state is involved.


                            Maybe someone knows about the costs of furnishing a sharp box, just to avoid problems in the future.

                            On second thought, I do not want to be a hotel where I have to furnish everything from shampoo to diapers. Where is the line between VR and hotel and luxury spa?