Published on July 27, 2018

Finding an amazing cleaning person is hard work. Are they trustworthy? Is the price right? Do they do a good job? And when you do find the right match, the bond between you is as sacred as it is with your waxer or hairstylist—your entire home is in their hands, after all.

If you’re really against that DIY life, make sure that you treat your cleaning person right—aka, don’t leave piles of dirty dishes everywhere, thinking that they have to clean up after you all the time. Need some more advice? We talked to Katie Shea, co-founder of New York-based personal cleaning service Slate, and Layne Brookshire, of Ms. Placed Professional Organizing, to get the details on what you should and shouldn’t do. Here are 11 things your cleaning person is dying for you to know but has never told you.

It’s All About Access

There’s no way someone can come into your house if they don’t have a key. “One of our biggest pain points is when a customer doesn’t let us know how to get inside the house,” says Shea. Be proactive and provide any information they need to get in, like if a doorman has an extra key, so when they get there, they don’t have to bother you. 

Walk Them Through the Ropes

Set up an initial consultation where your housekeeper can see the space. If you prefer a certain method of countertop products, for instance, or if you expect laundry to be included, that’s something you definitely need to have a conversation about. 

Stock Up on Supplies

built in white desk with shelvesPin It
Photography by Amy Bartlam for Katie Hodges Design

If you’re particular about cleaning chemicals, consider providing your own—just make sure to leave a note about where you keep them. “A lot of people have preferences about safe cleaning alternatives, especially around children,” says Shea. If you have pets, leave the necessary items for dealing with your animal, like stain removers and strong-odor eliminators. 

Try Not to Hover

Sticking around during a cleaning may be tempting—especially during the first session—but don’t. Shea says it can make the job extremely difficult. If you’re nervous, check in every hour or so.

Crank Up the AC During the Hotter Months

“Cleaning is no easy task—if it was, we’d all be doing it 24/7,” says Brookshire. Your cleaning team will be working hard, and they’re likely to work up a sweat. Make their lives easier by keeping the house cooler on the days they will be working.

Declutter Beforehand 

You can’t clean a table or bed if it’s piled with stuff. While yes, your cleaning person will most probably put things away, realize that this is just wasted time.“Consider pre-soaking dishes and separating laundry,” says Shea. 

Ditch Dust 

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Courtesy of D’Apostrophe Design Inc.

Here’s a tip for you to utilize so that your cleaner can spend less time dusting that bookshelf and more time focusing on important tasks: Invest in an air purifier. “I notice a huge difference in the amount of dust that accumulates,” shares Shea. 

Make Your Preferences Known 

Many people have different opinions about how much access they want to give their housekeeper. If you want yours to put your clothes away, speak up. If you’d rather they leave the clothes at the end of the bed, that’s fine too.

Don’t Expect Them to Tidy 

An organizer will make sure things are kept in a way that’s easy for you to find, while a cleaner will, quite literally, just make sure your home isn’t in a mess.

Tip as You Like

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to tipping, but small acts of kindness go a long way. “We don’t necessarily expect it,” says Shea. “But with that said, we have people who will leave a 10 percent tip every week.” Or, some people don’t tip on a regular basis but gift $100 around the holidays. 

Be Realistic

Don’t expect a miracle. “If you live in a multi-bedroom apartment with a bunch of 22-year-olds and nothing has been cleaned in a year, a standard two-hour session is not going to cut it,” says Shea. Your home will sparkle in due time. 

This post was originally published on May 13, 2017. It has been updated with new information.

See more cleaning tips:
Your Ultimate Home Spring Cleaning Guide
How to Care for Your Vintage Rugs
The Best Spring Cleaning Tips For You, Based on Your Zodiac Sign

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