11 Things Your Cleaning Person Wants to Tell You—But Won’t
Are you and your housekeeper on the same page?
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:41 AM
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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 well—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, cofounder 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.
Show Them the Ropes
Set up an initial consultation so that 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
If you’re particular about cleaning chemicals, consider providing your own supplies—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 were, we’d all be doing it 24-7,” says Brookshire. Your cleaner will be working hard and likely work up a sweat. Make their life easier by keeping the house cooler on the days they will be there.
It’s difficult to 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 presoaking dishes and separating laundry,” says Shea.
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 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.
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.