Cleaning professionals dish on the ways homeowners make their lives harder — and how you can be less annoying. It’s really hard work.
If you plan to hire someone to clean your home, don’t be like this. Instead, heed the advice we gleaned from cleaning professionals about how you can help them do a better job tidying up your place. Here’s what house cleaners say they wish every client knew.
Communicate expectations in advance or leave note.
Before someone comes to your house to clean or windows, have a direct conversation about pricing and expectations. Some companies charge an hourly rate, others by the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Whatever the case, you want to get a ballpark estimate in advance.
You should also have a clear understanding of the tasks you can reasonably expect the service to handle. Some cleaners will wash dirty dishes or do laundry, whereas others consider those to be add-ons. If you have outdoor areas, such as a deck, that you want included, make sure you specify as much. (Yes, cleaners field complaints from clients that patios or garages have not been swept, despite those chores not being a part of your typical house cleaning package.) For specialized services, such as organizing closets or deep-cleaning rugs, tile restoration, you almost certainly have to call someone else.
Then there are tasks that take exorbitant amounts of time, such as scrubbing the walls. says this is a frequent ask: “We’ve had so many requests, ‘Can you clean all my walls?’ And that’s [its own visit] for us just to do that,” she says. “We’re not going to do it during a regular cleaning.” This preliminary conversation is also an opportunity to discuss cleaning supplies. Some services provide their own, whereas others use yours. If you prefer the house cleaner to use yours, make sure you have all the supplies you say you do.
FinishingTouchescleaning.com , recalls one homeowner who told her they had a vacuum for her to use. “The house had not been cleaned in a while, and they had a pet, and they gave us a hand vacuum,” she says through a translator. The small device was not strong enough for the job. “I had to be bent over and crouched the whole time,” she says, adding “If she had told us that she didn’t have a vacuum, we would’ve brought one.”
Declutter before your house is cleaned
It might seem counterintuitive to clean before a professional cleaning, but tidying up makes it easier for the cleaners to do a thorough job. No need to mop or dust. Simply clearing away the clutter will go a long way. If you leave laundry, paperwork or other belongings out, cleaners will have to move it to do their work, which could lead to misunderstandings or even false accusations. “We have had instances where it is cluttered then we have our cleaners accused of, ‘Oh this went missing,’” but the clients “end up finding it because it was just part of their own mess,” says cleaners for finishing touches cleaning in St. George.
Secure pets and kids
Do not make your housecleaner act as a babysitter or pet sitter. Tanny once had a client’s dog bite her worker on the job in St George. While the wound did not end up being too serious, it required medical attention. On another occasion, Liz was working in a home herself while a client’s kid constantly disrupted her team. The child, who she guesses was about 5 years old, “was around us in the bathroom all the time,” she says. “He was playing with our products, our supplies.” She has also dealt with kids who like to play with the vacuum cleaner.
For everyone’s safety, keep kids and animals out of the way of cleaning professionals. If you plan to secure pets somewhere while you leave, such as in the basement, be sure to give the cleaners clear instructions about rooms they shouldn’t enter and whether you expect them to let an animal out when they’re done working.
Stash away special or sentimental items
House cleaners should do their best to be careful around your belongings, but accidents happen. If a vase from your grandmother is an irreplaceable heirloom, put it away rather than risk a wayward vacuum hose knocking it over. If you must leave it out, flag that it’s precious and explain to the cleaners precisely how you want them to care for it.
On one job, Donelle was dusting what she thought was a one piece vase, when suddenly its “lid went flying,” she says. If she had known that the valuable had a lid, She would have approached it differently. Ultimately, her company paid for the damage. Ever since that mishap, The workers has made sure to ask about anything that looks antique or delicate when she visits a client for the first time. But the onus is really on the homeowner to point out these things.
Give a heads up about quirks and defects
All homes (and homeowners and businesses) have quirks. Just be sure to let your cleaners know about the ones that could affect them. If a glass shower door is unstable, for instance, “you should let us know about that, because we wouldn’t want our cleaning crews to get hurt” while putting too much pressure on it during a wipe-down, or anything unstable, cleaners also get frequent requests to watch out for certain faulty toilets or faucets.
Don’t be gross
Cleaning professionals are not pest control. “What people do is they get you out to clean their house, and once you’re there they say, ‘Oh there’s a little mouse poopy,’” “But I don’t have the equipment to clean that up.”
Nor are they biohazard or mold experts. “clients have left biological waste in their homes and we’re not equipped to clean that. You need to manage that before we get there. We’ve had to call them and say, ‘Hey, we can’t clean your property. We are refunding your money.’
Treat workers with respect
This should go without saying, but your home should be a pleasant and safe working environment. One simple place to start is with the thermostat. Though cleaners say it doesn’t happen too often, working in homes that are an uncomfortable temperature can be a problem “especially when [clients] go on vacation” and turn off their heating or cooling systems. Or vacation 2nd homes.
And being kind to your cleaning professionals will only help you, through a translator if needed. Google app makes this easy for any language. “That motivates us to continue and do better work. It’s not uncommon to
Give your cleaner a tip. Or used cloths or furniture. Many workers can barely make ends meet. Hand me down clothes or food items are not uncommon.