13 Things Your Housecleaner Won’t Tell You

Former maid service owners and housekeeping agencies come clean about what it's like to tidy up your home.

By Michelle Crouch from Reader's Digest | February 2012

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

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.

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

For almost every situation, there's an eco-friendly option that's just as effective.

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

If they're clean, you know I'm thorough.

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

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.

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

Frankly, most of us have a lot less than you, and we can't fathom why you're complaining. Plus, you slow me down.

6. 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.

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

Your cleanings will be more consistent, with fewer strangers in your home.

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

If we take a dollar or two, you'll know we're probably going to take other things.

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

Otherwise, you're on the hook if we break something or get hurt on the job.

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

Your house will end up a lot cleaner.

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

We may even send pictures to our friends and relatives.

12. Recommend us to your friends.

We may give you $25 to $50 off a cleaning for each referral — if you ask.

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

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.

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