38 Things Your Housecleaner Secretly Wants You to Know

From their favorite types of clients to your most annoying habits, house cleaners confess what they're really thinking (but won't say to your face!)

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1. Don’t ask me to clean your five-bedroom house and then say you need it done in two hours.

1. Don’t ask me to clean your five-bedroom house and then say you need it done in two hours. iStock/James Brey
Make sure you give me enough time to clean everything properly.

2. Make sure you have all the cleaning products I will need.

2. Make sure you have all the cleaning products I will need. iStock/djedzura
Sometimes I show up and my clients have nothing for me to use. You know best what kind of cleaners you want used in your home; some people want only organic cleaners, some are picky about brands, and others have allergies.

3. Don’t forget that I need equipment!

3. Don’t forget that I need equipment! iStock/Jovanmandic
One of my bosses kept forgetting to get me a mop so I had to wash her floors on my hands and knees with a cloth. For weeks she did this. It’s really inconsiderate.

4. Please do not ask me to sew on buttons...

4. Please do not ask me to sew on buttons...iStock/esolla
clean the wheels of your bike, scrub out your mailbox, or pull out the refrigerator in order to clean behind it.

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5. It’s helpful if you soak dirty pans.

5. It’s helpful if you soak dirty pans.iStock/belchonock
This way I can clean them more easily when I get there.

6. If your house is a disorganized mess it makes it harder for me to clean.

6. If your house is a disorganized mess it makes it harder for me to clean. iStock/AG-ChapelHill
Please pick up toys, piles of papers, and clutter from surfaces so that I can actually get to them.

7. It makes me crazy when...

7. It makes me crazy when... iStock/rmarnold
I’ve just cleaned a floor and my employer walks all over it in dirty shoes.

8. I need reasonable notice if you are going to move or stop hiring me.

8. I need reasonable notice if you are going to move or stop hiring me. iStock/vtwinpixel
Too many clients don’t think to tell me until the week they’re moving. A month’s notice would be nice. You give your landlord a month’s notice. Please do me the same courtesy.

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9. I really love to look at the books people have and the food they keep in their refrigerators.

9. I really love to look at the books people have and the food they keep in their refrigerators. iStock/peshkov
Sometimes I can’t help reading something for 10 minutes. But I always make up the time by staying 10 minutes late or working faster.

10. Tiny kindnesses mean a lot.

10. Tiny kindnesses mean a lot. iStock/druvo
One time a client left me a gift from a trip abroad, which delighted me. Those small appreciations keep me honest.

11. It’s a huge relief when clients allow me to take my child with me to work.

11. It’s a huge relief when clients allow me to take my child with me to work. iStock/RyanJLane
Sometimes I just can’t find a sitter but I still need the money.

12.Please write a list of the things you would like me to do.

12.Please write a list of the things you would like me to do.iStock/megaflopp
Along with verbal instructions, this will ensure I don’t forget anything.

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13. Be nice to me.

13. Be nice to me. iStock/SolStock
I do a better job when I am happy and feel appreciated.

14. It’s the little things that make people happy.

14. It’s the little things that make people happy.iStock/kenneth-cheung
That’s why we make the little triangle at the end of the toilet paper roll. You guys love that.

15. Just because someone looks polished on the outside doesn’t mean their home is spotless.

15. Just because someone looks polished on the outside doesn’t mean their home is spotless. iStock/Susan Chiang
One lady I cleaned for, a divorce attorney, always looked great, and she had a beautiful house in a gated community, but inside it was the filthiest, nastiest place in the world. It was like a hoarder hut, filled with junk.

16. Do you want to keep working after you get home?

16. Do you want to keep working after you get home? iStock/diego_cervo
Neither do we. Some of us actually hire someone else to clean our homes.

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17. Please, trust me.

17. Please, trust me. iStock/petek arici
You hire an AC guy and take his advice, you hire a plumber and do what he says, but I come in and you think you know more about how to clean than I do.

18. Please say thank you, even if it’s just on a Post-it.

18. Please say thank you, even if it’s just on a Post-it. iStock/imageegami
Or if you really like me, leave something small every once in a while, like a $5 gift card to McDonald’s. If I feel like someone appreciates me, I really go the extra mile.

19. Be wary if I give you my price over the phone.

19. Be wary if I give you my price over the phone. iStock/shapecharge
Reputable cleaners come to your home and give you a free estimate.

20. Letting us work “by the job” sometimes means you get less for your money.

20. Letting us work “by the job” sometimes means you get less for your money. iStock/Milak
It can be more cost effective to pay me an hourly rate, especially once your home is in a maintenance mode.

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21. Training?

21. Training? iStock/Casarsa
What training? In this economy, a lot of people are turning to housecleaning to pay the bills. I clean my own house so I think I know how to clean.

22. Think our insurance will cover you?

22. Think our insurance will cover you? iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz
Hmm, maybe not. Insurance companies expect us to be trained professionals, so if we use the wrong product on your expensive furnishings, the insurance company might deny the claim.

23. Come home unexpectedly every once in a while and see what we’re doing.

23. Come home unexpectedly every once in a while and see what we’re doing. iStock/Dean Mitchell
Good housecleaners won’t watch your TV, talk on the phone, or eat on your bed.

25. I know more than you think.

25. I know more than you think. iStock/JaniceRichard
I see the piles of bills marked “past due” and know you’re having money problems. I find drugs and condom wrappers in kids’ bedrooms. And I can tell who’s unfaithful because the cheaters always start hiding laundry.

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26. I had one client who would clean his house before I would even show up!

26. I had one client who would clean his house before I would even show up!iStock/limpido
It just made my job harder, because I had to try to figure out what was clean and what was dirty.

26. My best clients are people who work for their money, like teachers, bartenders, and cops.

26. My best clients are people who work for their money, like teachers, bartenders, and cops.iStock/Juanmonino
Rich people think they're doing you a favor by allowing you to scrub their toilets. Working people understand you are doing them a service by making their lives easier.

27. I wish you wouldn't insist on bleach and other harsh cleaners.

27. I wish you wouldn't insist on bleach and other harsh cleaners.iStock/YekoPhotoStudio
For almost every situation, there's an eco-friendly option that's just as effective.

28. After I leave, check the base of the toilet and the top of the fridge.

28. After I leave, check the base of the toilet and the top of the fridge.iStock/Manuel Faba Ortega
If they're clean, you know I'm thorough.

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29. Many cleaning companies do not run any sort of background check or even check references.

29. Many cleaning companies do not run any sort of background check or even check references.iStock/sturti
I answered an ad, I was on time and presentable, and I was willing to take the job. That is all most companies care about.

30. Even though I smile and act interested, don't use me as your therapist, gossip buddy, or friend.

30. Even though I smile and act interested, don't use me as your therapist, gossip buddy, or friend.iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz
Frankly, most of us have a lot less than you, and we can't fathom why you're complaining. Plus, you slow me down.

31. Want to save money on high-priced maid services?

31. Want to save money on high-priced maid services?
Instead of booking a regular appointment, ask to be on our on-call list to fill last-minute slots at a discount. Or see if you can be a "training home" for new cleaners.

32. If you use a service instead of an individual, ask for the same people every time.

32. If you use a service instead of an individual, ask for the same people every time.iStock/JackF
Your cleanings will be more consistent, with fewer strangers in your home.

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33. When using a new maid service, leave a few dollars hanging out of a pants pocket or lying on the counter.

33. When using a new maid service, leave a few dollars hanging out of a pants pocket or lying on the counter.iStock/NRedmond
If we take a dollar or two, you'll know we're probably going to take other things.

34. Make sure we're bonded and have liability insurance.

34. Make sure we're bonded and have liability insurance.iStock/djedzura
Otherwise, you're on the hook if we break something or get hurt on the job.

35. Pick your clothes up off the floor, get your dishes out of the sink, and clean up your kids' toys.

35. Pick your clothes up off the floor, get your dishes out of the sink, and clean up your kids' toys.iStock/Naphat_Jorjee
Your house will end up a lot cleaner.

36. If you leave your personal life out for us to see, we most definitely will talk about you.

36. If you leave your personal life out for us to see, we most definitely will talk about you.iStock
We may even send pictures to our friends and relatives.

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37. Recommend us to your friends.

37. Recommend us to your friends.iStock/PeopleImages
We may give you $25 to $50 off a cleaning for each referral—if you ask.

38. If you don't have a lot of cash, ask me to come for just one hour.

38. If you don't have a lot of cash, ask me to come for just one hour.iStock/djedzura
I can do just the bathrooms and the kitchen or only the areas guests will see. Sources: Torrey Shannon, former maid service owner in Westcliffe, Colorado; Lynette Haugen, owner of True Blue Maids of Pasadena; Tangela Ekhoff, a housecleaner in Tulsa, Oklahoma; Theresa Peterson, owner of Quality Cleaning "Maid to Order" in Fremont, California; Dee Strickland, owner of A Zing Zap Cleaning Service in Minneola, Florida, house cleaners in Louisiana, New York, Vermont, Washington, and London.

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