Author Topic: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?  (Read 7971 times)

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Sophia

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2014, 11:35:52 AM »
I've been wondering about this. The move to the small town is imminent.  Once we get settled, I can foresee us hiring a cleaner.  My worry though is gossip about the state of my house.  We will already be seen as a bit odd in that DH is a SAHD.  Although he does some part-time handyman work for friends. But, I don't want us to clean so much for the cleaner that we lose the benefit of it. 

What I think would be ideal, is the cleaner to have one of our hampers and to throw misc. stuff into there, and leave it there.  Things like the TV remote would be put back.  But toys and DH's shoes could go in the hamper.   Misc. dishes could go in the sink. 

lowspark

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2014, 11:50:06 AM »
I'm very specific about the tasks my cleaner should do, so I make sure that there is nothing obstructing her ability to do those specific tasks. There are certain rooms I don't want her to go into so those rooms can be in disarray, but the rest of the house, I make sure the floor is picked up, no dishes in the sink (she is not to do any dishes, wash or put away), dirty towels go to the laundry room so the bathroom is cleared, etc.

My house is "lived in" which means that there is a minor amount of untidiness day to day. The night before the cleaner comes, it takes DH & me about 10 minutes, tops, to just make sure everything is orderly. I call it "picking up" as opposed to "cleaning up" because it's mostly just putting thing either away or out of the way.

I agree that this cleaner was totally out of line. Since you say she's inexperienced, I chalk it up to that, but that doesn't make it any less egregious. I will say that finding a good cleaner is about the hardest thing in the world! I'm still looking for the perfect one.  :(

shhh its me

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2014, 12:12:24 PM »
I've been wondering about this. The move to the small town is imminent.  Once we get settled, I can foresee us hiring a cleaner.  My worry though is gossip about the state of my house.  We will already be seen as a bit odd in that DH is a SAHD.  Although he does some part-time handyman work for friends. But, I don't want us to clean so much for the cleaner that we lose the benefit of it. 

What I think would be ideal, is the cleaner to have one of our hampers and to throw misc. stuff into there, and leave it there.  Things like the TV remote would be put back.  But toys and DH's shoes could go in the hamper.   Misc. dishes could go in the sink.

I just think you have to be clear what you're expectations are and show them your "real" house when they give the quote. Also the more decisions they have to make the more complicated the job is , the more time it will take to work out getting it "just right".

Just using a bathroom for example.  IF you ask them to wash the floors , scrub the tub , clean the counter, cabinets, mirror and sinks and show them a room with 2 toothbrushes and a comb on the counter the price should be different then if you show them a room with 4 peoples laundry on the floor , 4 hair appliances , 6 brushes , 1/2 a dozen face creams , makeup, brushes , bath toys, mouth wash toothpaste , shoes , and mud in the sink cause you garden.  It's not that one is right and the other wrong its that expectations don't match. In general remember little things add up and extra 5 or 10 minutes in each room can easily add up to an extra hour.

DavidH

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2014, 12:14:13 PM »
I think that any bio-related mess, particularly in the bathroom should be cleaned up.  Major food mess (e.g. rotting food, dairy left out for a long time, that kind of thing) should be cleaned up, but crumbs or that kind of thing is fine.  It should also not look like a horder lives there, but a few things left out is fine.  I tend to strip the bed first and wash the sheets, but leave them for the cleaner to make the bed with; but there is no real reason they couldn't wash them if they were there long enough.  Major clutter is a problem, but straightening magazines on a coffee table, putting the pillows back in place on the couch, is, to me, part of what they are there to do.  Leaving clean laundry out to be folded shouldn't be an issue, but if every surface is covered with stuff, then there could be a problem.

I would think that too messy for the person to clean would have to involve a serious level of squalor, rotting food, bathroom mess, that kind of thing. 

It's good to be Queen

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2014, 12:16:12 PM »
Before my cleaner comes I try to make sure that all of the dishes are out of the sink, shoes are picked up off the floor (I leave them everywhere), tabletops are generally clear, etc.  If she comes and none of this is done, she will wash my dishes, put my shoes on the shoe rack and try to tidy up around the stuff I have left.  I realize this comes at a cost -  I pay her for 2 hours so she may not get my kitchen cupboards wiped down if she had to spend time picking up after me, but that's the way it goes!  My lovely cleaning lady (I have had the same one for 20 years!) just goes with the flow.

Bobbie

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2014, 12:33:21 PM »
Own a cleaning company....

You need a new cleaner ;)

zyrs

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2014, 01:13:17 PM »
I think you dodged a bullet.  She sounds inflexible and judgmental.  Luckily she showed you her true colors so early on in your professional relationship.

Amara

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #37 on: June 19, 2014, 01:24:40 PM »
Oh, how I'd love to have a cleaner. When I can, I do not plan to clean at all. But I am a clean person. There is usually little to no mess--dishes are done and put away, laundry is done regularly and always put away, there is no mail or piles around--so I expect the cleaner to clean. (What am I paying for if not that?) I expect her (or him) to scrub the bathrooms and kitchen including counters and floors, to clean out and scrub the refrigerator if requested, to scrub all parts of the bathroom, to sweep and wash all floors and all window sills, to dust and to vacuum. I keep my house clean but if I am going to pay someone I want that person to do what I do, reluctantly.

LadyJaneinMD

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #38 on: June 19, 2014, 01:50:14 PM »
I pay my cleaning lady for 3 hours.  Whatever she does, she does it in 3 hours.  If I leave a huge mess behind and she has to waste time picking stuff up out of her way, then I get less real cleaning done.
I told her that all I *really* wanted was someone to scrub my bathroom and kitchen, and vacuum the carpet.  Everything after that is a plus.  She does *so much more* that it astounds me.  If the dishwasher was just run, she empties it and put stuff away (mostly in the right place).  If not, she washes the dishes and leaves them in the drainer.   She dusts.  And she plays with my cat.  Once in awhile, she even cleaned out my refrigerator!    Once or twice a year, I pay her extra and she shampoos the carpet.
I don't know what I'd do without her.    I'm a slob of the first order, and tend towards heavy clutter.  Just knowing that she's coming once a month forces me to pick up after myself and put stuff away.

A proper cleaning person works *with* you, not against you.   You dodged a bullet.

TootsNYC

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #39 on: June 19, 2014, 01:54:30 PM »
I've been thinking--I bet this woman has never differentiated between "tidying" and "cleaning."

So she saw all the laundry on the sofa and thought she had to deal with it.

Though, doesn't explain why she couldn't say, in response to your query, "Oh, yes, I can do the bathrooms at least." Unless she is the sort of person who gets overwhelmed easily and can't compartmentalize.
   And that's not someone I'd want to work with on anything. Or pay to do anything.

SamiHami

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #40 on: June 19, 2014, 01:59:04 PM »
I pay my cleaning lady for 3 hours.  Whatever she does, she does it in 3 hours.  If I leave a huge mess behind and she has to waste time picking stuff up out of her way, then I get less real cleaning done.
I told her that all I *really* wanted was someone to scrub my bathroom and kitchen, and vacuum the carpet.  Everything after that is a plus.  She does *so much more* that it astounds me.  If the dishwasher was just run, she empties it and put stuff away (mostly in the right place).  If not, she washes the dishes and leaves them in the drainer.   She dusts.  And she plays with my cat.  Once in awhile, she even cleaned out my refrigerator!    Once or twice a year, I pay her extra and she shampoos the carpet.
I don't know what I'd do without her.    I'm a slob of the first order, and tend towards heavy clutter.  Just knowing that she's coming once a month forces me to pick up after myself and put stuff away.

A proper cleaning person works *with* you, not against you.   You dodged a bullet.

You just described my dream...to have someone to do those particular hated chores. One of these days I am going to hire someone just for those tasks...

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!

lilfox

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #41 on: June 19, 2014, 02:20:07 PM »
Oh, how I'd love to have a cleaner. When I can, I do not plan to clean at all. But I am a clean person. There is usually little to no mess--dishes are done and put away, laundry is done regularly and always put away, there is no mail or piles around--so I expect the cleaner to clean. (What am I paying for if not that?) I expect her (or him) to scrub the bathrooms and kitchen including counters and floors, to clean out and scrub the refrigerator if requested, to scrub all parts of the bathroom, to sweep and wash all floors and all window sills, to dust and to vacuum. I keep my house clean but if I am going to pay someone I want that person to do what I do, reluctantly.

Me too!  I want someone to do all the deep cleaning stuff I avoid except for once or twice a year.  As it is, I spend longer tidying than I do wiping down counters and vacuuming, so right now there's no point in paying someone else if all they do is the latter.  I had a cleaning service in once to, I thought, do a deep clean.  They did a decent job, but really no better than I could do and nothing more than I usually did.  I decided that it wasn't worth my money at the time to continue hiring them.

But, I absolutely would not continue to employ someone whose response to my moderate and localized untidyness was to completely skip doing their job.  Even if there was a legitimate claim to postpone the cleaning, the way that is expressed to the client is key.  OP's cleaner probably thought she was being professional by claiming she couldn't do the job to her own standards (who wants a cleaner who does a bad job?), but the judgmental phrasing and unwillingness to compromise is what will turn off her clients, as it did with the OP.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #42 on: June 19, 2014, 03:20:25 PM »
Over the years I've had a variety of cleaners. Pre-kid days, I paid a cleaner to clean bathrooms, floors, and dust. So everything was put away before they came.

For years I had a weekly housekeeper who,was a true housekeeper. She did all.of the above, but also laundry, complete kitchen (oven, fridge, cabinets including taking out stuff and cleaning the inside of the pantry and spice cabinet and re-lining all cabinets) cleaning windows and window treatments, wiping down doors and walls, keeping lighting fixtures clean, cleaning out my DD's hair out of the drain, changing bedding, vacuuming furniture, and honestly I,don't know what else. I, just always had this really clean house. During the week we did dishes, put dirty laundry in the baskets, and generally put things away. I hated it when she moved.mshe even kept track of the cleaning supplies she needed, bought them and gave me the receipt for reimbursement.

Now I'm back to more of the cleaner style but with a few extra like changing bedding. So for her I make sure everything is picked up I wouldn't leave laundry out since she'd have to move it to vacuum under the cushions and I wouldn't leave anything out on the floors she'd need to pick up. But she does usually arrive early before breakfast items are washed so she'll wash them. If there was spilled items or a bowl on the breakfast table, I'd expect her to clean it up.

But I'll be honest. Seeing a load of laundry on the sofa would make me feel a home was "messy" because it's not anything I'd ever leave out even for an hour. So maybe she's odd like me and that with a few other piles of stuff just seemed overwhelming.

Tea Drinker

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #43 on: June 19, 2014, 03:21:50 PM »
I use a cleaning service (they don't send the same person or team each time). If a surface is seriously cluttered, they just skip it--I like to pile papers on my desk, and don't care about them dusting that, for example, but I am glad to have the books being dusted. Last time I told the cleaner "if the cat is still on my desk when yu get to that point, just skip that area.")

About all the "cleaning for the cleaner" that I do is to stack a few things so that more of the counter space can be cleaned. I figure that if clutter bothers them, they're in the wrong job. Ditto for bits of toothpaste in or near the bathroom sink.
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JadeAngel

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Re: Paid house cleaner etiquette - how much "cleaning for the cleaner"?
« Reply #44 on: June 20, 2014, 02:45:45 AM »
I think the majority of the posters have it right, cleaning up for the cleaner generally means clearing off the floor and surfaces so they can be vacuumed and dusted and putting dirty dishes in the machine so the benches can be wiped down and the sink rinsed out. I think the OP's cleaner overreacted just a little as the most she would have to do unless you were feeding your son by hurling food at him from the far end of the room, is pick up the plate and take it to the kitchen - where she can choose to wash it, put it in the machine or leave it in the sink, and wipe down the place at the table where he was sitting. Five minutes tops.

Personally I would consider it unacceptable to leave soiled tissues on the bathroom counter, underwear on the bedroom floor, soggy towels in the bathroom or crusty saucepans in the kitchen. But if the house was immaculately clean you wouldn't need the services of a cleaner and if your cleaner doesn't want to wipe up some spilled food and pick up one plate then she's definitely in the wrong profession. If the house looked like Motley Crue had spent the weekend mainlining tequila and smashing stuff I can understand a cleaner balking at fixing up the mess, but one plate is a little precious and getting rid of her now was probably a wise choice. After all what's next? Skipping the bathroom altogether because there was a toothpaste spatter on the mirror?