Share on Facebook

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!)

iStock/James Brey

Don’t have unrealistic expectations

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. Remembering these 8 things professional house cleaners do in their homes every day could also help, too.

iStock/djedzura

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.

iStock/Jovanmandic

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.

iStock/esolla

Be reasonable

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.

iStock/belchonock

It’s helpful if you soak dirty pans

This way I can clean them more easily when I get there. Once the dishes are clean, scrubbing the skin is the next step. Rarely cleaning your kitchen sink is one of the 11 ways you’re cleaning your kitchen wrong.

iStock/AG-ChapelHill

Don’t make your house un-cleanable

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. There’s a difference between organizing and cleaning.

iStock/rmarnold

It makes me crazy when

…I’ve just cleaned a floor and my employer walks all over it in dirty shoes. Although this might seem like a no-brainer, it could be one of 10 cleaning mistakes you’re probably making that are making your home dirtier.

iStock/vtwinpixel

Give me some warning

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.

iStock/peshkov

I do poke around sometimes

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. There are plenty of secrets home inspectors won’t tell you, too.

iStock/druvo

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.

iStock/RyanJLane

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.

iStock/megaflopp

Give me some guidelines

Please write a list of the things you would like me to do. Along with verbal instructions, this will ensure I don’t forget anything. For some inspiration, check out these secrets of people who always have a clean house.

iStock/SolStock

Be nice to me

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

iStock/kenneth-cheung

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. By the way, there is a correct way to hang your toilet paper.

iStock/Susan Chiang

Appearances aren’t everything

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.

iStock/diego_cervo

Do you want to keep working after you get home

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

iStock/petek arici

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. For proof, check out these house cleaning tips straight from professional cleaners.

iStock/imageegami

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.

iStock/shapecharge

Be wary if I give you my price over the phone

Reputable cleaners come to your home and give you a free estimate.

iStock/Milak

How to get your money’s worth

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. Maybe have us come by in April so we can tackle the 15 items you need to deep clean every spring.

iStock/Casarsa

Training

What training? In this economy, a lot of people are turning to housecleaning to pay the bills. I clean my own house so not only do I know how to clean, but I also know these 13 simple housecleaning tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

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.

iStock/Dean Mitchell

Don’t be afraid to keep an eye on us

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, eat on your bed or react to any cheesy pick up lines.

iStock/JaniceRichard

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. These are some other secrets your house can reveal about you.

iStock/limpido

Don’t be that guy

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. Plus, you might be guilty of over-cleaning your house if you do these 10 things.

iStock/Juanmonino

Wealthy people are not my best clients

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.

iStock/YekoPhotoStudio

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. Another green and clean idea is to clean with microfiber cloths—here’s why.

iStock/Manuel Faba Ortega

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

If they’re clean, you know I’m thorough. For even harder-to-clean spots, check out these tips for cleaning these 17 household objects.

iStock/sturti

How we get hired

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.

iStock/KatarzynaBialasiewicz

I don’t need to hear your life story

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.

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.

iStock/JackF

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.

iStock/NRedmond

If you’re worried we might take something from you, test it out

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. If you opt for an occasional cleaner instead of a weekly one, remember to clean the 16 dirtiest items in your home yourself—here’s how.

iStock/djedzura

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.

iStock/Naphat_Jorjee

Don’t leave messes for us to clean up

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. Plus, your messy house could even be making you sick.

iStock

Don’t become a topic of conversation

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.

iStock/PeopleImages

Recommend us to your friends

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

iStock/djedzura

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. A lot of cleaning that can get done in very little time—like these 20 spring cleaning tasks that you can do in 1 minute or less.

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.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest