The Homeowner’s Guide to Hiring a Cleaning Service

Paige Bennett
Written by Paige Bennett
Updated September 21, 2021
Clean living room
Photo: bmak / Adobe Stock

Find out everything you need to know about hiring a professional house cleaner, including how much it costs and if you should tip

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Between commuting to work, taking the kids to and from practice, and running errands, it can be hard to find time to keep the house clean. With a house cleaning service, you can get regular cleanings or occasional deep-cleans to keep your space sparkling. Here’s what to expect from a house cleaner.

What Does a House Cleaner Do?

Professional house cleaning services can vary based on your needs and what the company offers. You can request a cleaning service to spend more time cleaning up the kitchen instead of the living room. 

You can ask if they’ll clean windows, wash dishes, and take out garbage and recycling, but they may not offer those services. Some cleaning companies may focus mostly on cleaning floors and hard surfaces.

Here’s a look at the services cleaning companies typically provide: 

Living Room

Living areas often get a light cleaning unless you request extra attention for this room.

  • Picking up toys and clutter

  • Dusting the TV, fireplace mantel, wall art, and other decor

  • Vacuuming the rugs or carpet and sofa

  • Sweeping floors

  • Mopping floors

  • Cleaning blinds


Washing kitchen sink
Photo: Valerii Honcharuk / Adobe Stock

Even if you aren’t much of a home cook, kitchens can get dirty quickly. House cleaning professionals usually spend a lot of time in this space performing various tasks.

  • Washing and putting away dishes

  • Wiping down the microwave and stovetop

  • Scrubbing counters

  • Dusting or wiping down appliances

  • Clearing countertop clutter

  • Scrubbing oven interior and range hood

  • Wiping counter doors

  • Sweeping and mopping floors


Bathrooms are another heavy-use room that will receive a lot of attention from house cleaners.

  • Cleaning toilets

  • Wiping down sink area and counters

  • Scrubbing bathtub and/or shower

  • Cleaning showerheads and faucets

  • Cleaning mirrors

  • Wiping bathroom tiles


Bedrooms will receive some general cleaning, like vacuuming. Some house cleaning services may swap out fresh bed linens, although housekeepers usually handle this task.

  • Vacuuming, sweeping and/or mopping floors

  • Dusting

  • Cleaning windows

  • Changing bed linens

  • Picking up clutter

General Cleaning

In general, a house cleaner will perform a set of standard tasks for each room.

  • Sweeping and vacuuming the floors

  • Wiping down tables and cabinets

  • Mopping floors

  • Dusting surfaces and decor

  • Scrubbing toilets, sinks, and bathtubs

  • Wiping window sills and mirrors

House Cleaner vs. Housekeeper

A house cleaning service is not the same as a housekeeper. A housekeeper will visit your home multiple times a week, sometimes daily, and will handle daily cleaning tasks, including folding laundry.

A house cleaner is hired less frequently and typically for larger jobs. A professional house cleaning service will typically do a deep clean, and may require this for first-time customers.

The line between housekeepers and house cleaners is blurry, though, because different people and companies can offer a variety of services and schedules.

Professional House Cleaning Frequency

One of the most common cleaning frequencies for house cleaning services is bi-weekly. But you have plenty of options. You can hire a housekeeper for daily cleanings or to stop by two to three times a week.

You could have someone do a weekly, monthly, or even quarterly cleaning. You also have the option to hire for one-time services, including the cost of cleaning services when moving out. Different companies may offer different packages or allow you to create your own cleaning schedule based on your needs.

Should I Provide Cleaning Supplies?

There are many questions to ask a professional cleaning company before hiring, such as if the workers will be bringing their own cleaning supplies. 

For a house cleaning service, the company typically provides the supplies, but this can vary by company. Housekeepers, on the other hand, will typically use the cleaners and towels that you provide.

How to Prepare for a Cleaning Service

You can help make the most out of the cleaners’ time by following a few tips before hiring a cleaning service, like getting a consultation and doing a light clean-up.

Here are a few things to do before your house cleaner arrives or upon arrival:

  • Walk-through: If this is the first time you’re working with a certain cleaning service, it’s wise to walk through the room or home with them to review what needs the most attention.

  • Clear clutter: Typically, you hire a cleaning service for a set number of hours per visit. That time could be used to deep-clean crevices and mop floors, or it could be wasted picking up toys from the floor. Do a quick clutter pick-up before the cleaner arrives.

  • Provide fresh linens: If the cleaning service will be changing bed linens or replacing bathroom towels, be sure to let the professionals know where fresh sheets and towels are located.

Cost to Hire a House Cleaning Service

House cleaning services usually charge either by the number of people doing the job or the hours spent cleaning—or a combination of both. The cost can also depend on square footage.

  • Per person: The per person rate also typically includes an hourly amount worked into the cost. The cost averages around $20 to $100 per person, per hour.

  • Per hour: Expect to spend anywhere from $25 to $100 per hour. Many companies charge about $200 for two hours.

  • Per square foot: The rate might instead be based on the size of the cleaning. Companies charging per square foot average around $0.05 to $0.10 per square foot.

Should You Tip Your House Cleaner?

Tipping is not mandatory, but if you’d like to give extra thanks, you can tip your house cleaning professionals. For this service, the common tip is an additional 15% to 20% of the service cost.

Now that you know what to expect from a cleaning service, look into hiring local house cleaners for an effortlessly sparking home.

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