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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!)

woman cleaning in the living room of her home.Susumu Yoshioka/Getty Images

 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.

Man holding mop and plastic bucket with brushes, gloves and detergents in the kitchenseksan Mongkhonkhamsao/Getty Images

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. Regardless, see what you should definitely clean in the next 30 days.

Mop with green microfiber rag, green plastic handle and bucket.Vadym Terelyuk/Getty Images

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. Check out more stories about bosses you would never want to work for.

Closed Suburban Residential Mailbox Lush Green LawnUSGirl/Getty Images

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.

Hand washing up.igzz/Getty Images

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.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you clutterAG-ChapelHill/iStock

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. Tidy up before they come by organizing these 30 things in under 30 minutes.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you dirty shoesrmarnold/iStock

It makes me crazy when

…I’ve just cleaned a floor and my employer walks all over it in dirty shoes.

House for sale sign in front yard.fstop123/Getty Images

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. Learn what professional housecleaners aren’t allowed to clean.

light-filled modernist style living roomStephen Simpson/Getty Images

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.

Directly Above Of Christmas Gift On TableAekkarak Thongjiew/EyeEm/Getty Images

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.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you bringing kidsRyanJLane/iStock

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. Don’t miss these bad cleaning habits you didn’t realize you had.

Hispanic woman working in home officePacific Images LLC/Getty Images

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.

A senior woman with vacuum cleaner indoors at home, cleaning kitchen.Halfpoint Images/Getty Images

Be nice to me

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

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you toilet paperkenneth-cheung/iStock

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.

things your house cleaner wont tell you outward appearancesSusan Chiang/iStock

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. See which products will clean your entire house is less than an hour.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you cleaning ladydiego_cervo/iStock

Do you want to keep working after you get home

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

Woman cleaning the kitchen.RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

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.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you thank youiStock/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. Check out these meaningful ways people have said thank you to essential workers.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you phone estimateshapecharge/iStock

Be wary if I give you my price over the phone

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

African woman taking money out of walletJGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images

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.

Man making bedMaskot/Getty Images


What training? In this economy, a lot of people are turning to housecleaning to pay the bills.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you cleaning woodKatarzynaBialasiewicz/iStock

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. Learn which cleaning products you have been using all wrong.

Young woman watching Tv at homeWestend61/Getty Images

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, or eat on your bed.

Debt Envelope Stack Under Doorallanswart/Getty Images

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.

13 things your house cleaner wont tell you vaccuuminglimpido/iStock

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.

13 things your housecleaner wont tell you blue collar clientsJuanmonino/iStock

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.

13 things your housecleaner wont tell you harsh cleanersYekoPhotoStudio/iStock

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.

Modern white plain clean toilet bathroom, bathtub with shower tiles and hardwood floors with staging in model staging house, home or apartmentkrblokhin/Getty Images

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

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

13 things your housecleaner wont tell you background checksturti/iStock

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.

Elderly Care in the HomeSolStock/Getty Images

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. See which cleaning products professional housekeepers love.

Mother and baby daughter using cell phoneJGI/Tom Grill/Getty Images

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.

13 things your housecleaner wont tell you interviewJackF/iStock

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. Don’t miss what your house may say about your personality.

Men's items on a plate on dresserTetra Images/Getty Images

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.

13 things your housecleaner wont tell you cleaning windowsdjedzura/iStock

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.

13 things your housecleaner wont tell you clutterNaphat_Jorjee/iStock

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.

Senior woman concentrates while making her bedSDI Productions/Getty Images

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.

Colleagues Sitting On Couch Talking At Office.Tom Werner/Getty Images

Recommend us to your friends

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

13 things your housecleaner wont tell you cleaning kitchendjedzura/iStock

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


Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest