13+ Things Your Housecleaner Won’t Tell You

Are you your house cleaner's favorite client? Here, house cleaners from around the world come clean about what it's like to clean house.

By Jennifer Steil
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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.

    Make sure you give me enough time to clean everything properly.

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

    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!

    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...

    clean the wheels of your bike, scrub out your mailbox, or pull out the refrigerator in order to clean behind it.

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

    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 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.

    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.

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

    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.

    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.

    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, as well as giving me verbal instructions, to ensure I don’t forget anything.

    13. Be nice to me.

    I do a better job when I am happy and feel appreciated.

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

    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.

    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?

    Neither do we. Some of us actually hire someone else to clean our homes.

    17. Please, trust me.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    It can be more cost effective to pay me an hourly rate, especially once your home is in a maintenance mode.

    21. Training?

    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?

    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.

    Good housecleaners won’t watch your TV, talk on the phone, or eat on your bed.

    25. I know more than you think.

    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.

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

    It just made my job harder, because I had to try to figure out what was clean and what was dirty. Sources: House cleaners in Louisiana, New York, Vermont, Washington, and London.


    Your Comments

    • Dirty deeds

      Wow this is too much stress. I’ll clean my own house.

    • Leah

      Am I wrong in thinking the house cleaner should have her own supplies? I get it if you specifically want to use a certain brand or whatever, but the other stuff?

    • Belle Christian

      This is a job, I would not expect or want someone to bring their kids along when they are cleaning a house. Not anymore than I would expect a grocery clerk to have her kid hanging off her leg while she is trying to ring up my groceries. Get real, people.

    • Notlazy

      Oy. After reading this, I’ll just keep cleaning my own house, thank you very much.

    • Arlene Smith

      On #3
      Wow what would be inconsiderate is the fact that the housekeeper is thinking her client is incosiderate for not purchasing a mop. Seriously? But Ive understood that the cost for cleaning supplies/equipment falls under the amount of the entire services provided. Heres your invioce for my services and that can be taken care of by cash, check or charge, thank you!

    • Arlene Smith

      Ok commenting on #2 First a real professional cleaner would ask a prospect client or active client ect. If they have a preference of cleaning chemicals or I am able to provide cleaning slotions as well let client know what the pro cleaner uses and so on. And this conversation should take place before the initial cleaning of the clients home not once the professional arrives to clean. I myself would have let the housekeeper know that I appreciate them for making the trip to my home but im seeking something a bit different and I apologize but thank you anyway. For a professional to show up for cleaning unprepared is unprofessional. And professionalism is what clients expect.

    • Mindy Kinskore

      wow, cleaning ladies sure are demanding these days, isn’t it the client who should be pampered and not the service provider? no wonder there are so many unemployed people in society today, everybody seems to have an inflated opinion of themselves. I would never make demands of my employer and expect them to kiss my butt, quite the opposite, I believe I’m the one who should be bending over backwards for my employer, and if I were self employed like many cleaning people, I’d be going the extra mile all the time for my clients as a way of saying thanks for giving me your business. Unbelievable attitude from a cleaning person who clearly thinks someone should roll out the red carpet for them. Get over yourselves, none of us get appreciation in the workplace and if you think a home owner should organize the house or soak pots or pick up toys before you come to clean then you clearly have no idea what being a service provider is all about.