The Go-to Guide for House Cleaning Etiquette

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated September 23, 2021
Two professionals cleaning a house’s kitchen
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How to help your housekeeping go smoothly

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If you’ve just hired a house cleaning service, you might be wondering what to expect for your first visit. Should you stay home, or should you leave to get out of the way? Do you need to pre-clean? It can be tricky for a first-timer to navigate, but there are several house cleaning etiquette tips that’ll help you be mindful.

1. Pick Up the Clutter

House cleaners will certainly pick up clutter as part of their service, but this means less time spent on a deeper clean. To help the cleaners make the most of their time in your home, make it a point to clean up a few things before they arrive.

  • Put toys in toy bins

  • Clear mail, newspapers, and magazines from the coffee or dining table

  • Put dishes away and clear off counters

  • Move piles of dirty laundry into the hamper

2. Do a Walk-Through

When your house cleaner arrives, do a quick walk-through to point out what needs the most attention and where extra cleaning supplies are located.

  • When your house cleaner arrives, do a quick walk-through to point out what needs the most attention and where extra cleaning supplies are located.

  • Cleaning services typically bring their own cleaning supplies, but point out where you safely store your own cleaning supplies, like extra trash bags, sprays, mopping solution, paper towels, and sponges.

  • If your cleaning service includes replacing bedding and towels, point out where the fresh linens are located.

3. Share Cleaner Preferences, If Any

Close-up of a hand in glove spraying detergent on a surface
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House cleaning services typically bring their own cleaning supplies. Housekeepers, who provide more frequent cleanings, usually use your cleaning supplies. Still, you can specify if you want the house cleaners to use your own all-natural sprays over a more potent alternative, or vice versa.

House cleaners don’t typically bring a vacuum or paper towels unless requested, so be sure to provide those items.

4. Communicate

Be transparent every step of the way. Discuss expectations during the hiring process, and when the cleaner arrives, they often appreciate it if you leave a list of what you’d like them to focus on. If you want them to spend more time in the first-floor bathroom or you need them to disinfect the doorknobs, make a note of these spots.

5. Put Away Pets

Even if you have the sweetest pup or calmest cat, they can get in the way during a cleaning service.

  • Put Fido and Fluffy in a safe spot, or grab the leash and take them on an adventure

  • Let your house cleaner know during booking that you have pets. Some cleaning professionals may have allergies, so the company will need to know in advance.

  • Tell your house cleaner upon arrival where the pets are put away.

6. Discuss Leaving or Staying Home

Again, communication is key. Some companies will require you to be home for the service; others might request that you leave.

  • Ask your house cleaner their preferences on whether you stay or go

  • Leave your phone number in case the house cleaners have questions or an emergency

  • Give directions on how to get into the house and how to lock up

  • If you stay home, try to stay out of the way. In particular, stay out of the kitchen and bathroom. Head outdoors, cozy up in the den, or take a nap in your bedroom. Just communicate where you’ll be. 

7. Respect Time Constraints

You shouldn’t expect your house cleaning professional to clean a large home, top to bottom, in just two hours. Make sure you book an appropriate amount of time for the cleaning you need. Also, while it’s important to be kind and welcoming, try to avoid interrupting the cleaners with conversation throughout the service.

8. Give a Tip

If you’re happy with the service, let your house cleaners know verbally and with a tip.

  • A good tip for cleaning service is around 15% to 20% of the service fee

  • Cash tips are typically preferred

  • If you pay with a card, you can usually add a tip via card, too. Just check with the company.

  • Many companies don’t require tips, but they are appreciated

  • If you have a regular cleaning service, you can tip each time or larger amounts periodically

9. Leave a Review

A woman laying on her sofa writing on her laptop
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If you loved the service, you can help the business grow by leaving a positive review.

  • Send a review through email, the company website, a search engine, and/or the platform you used to book the service

  • Contact the company and offer a testimonial, which the cleaners can use on their website to attract new clients

  • You might also have complaints about the service. Politely address them face-to-face with the cleaner first. Outline expectations with the cleaner for the next service, and if those are not addressed, then get in touch with the company. 

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