7 Tips on the etiquette of having a housekeeper

How you treat your housekeeper says a lot more about you than you know

Have you been stuck at home for a few months being forced to clean up after yourself?

Are you longing for the days that your house cleaner would take care of all of those dishes or make your bed?

Yeah, us too.

Let’s face it.

Cleaning up after ourselves is no joke.

As the world begins to re-open, chances are that many of us are calling up our house cleaners to get our homes looking normal again.

Now, that we’ve had time to reflect on how we treat others, we wanted to make sure you know how to treat house cleaners.

This leaves us wondering what is the proper etiquette when it comes to interacting with a house cleaner?

A housekeeper’s take on dealing with clients

Let’s get real about cleaning a space, man

To help us gain some authentic insight, we’ve interviewed a couple of house cleaner’s to ask questions.

Obviously, they’ve asked to remain anonymous as to not piss off their clients, which we have to honor.

First, we have to state that every single housekeeper (both male and female) all seem genuine in their wanting to keep their clients happy and their home clean.

They all find cleaning cathartic.

The stories they have ranged from dealing with the everyday bachelor client who has never hired a cleaner in his life, to the ultra-wealthy goop-loving woman who thinks she’s so cool even though she doesn’t have a backbone in her body.

In short – we got all the details that we can share with you to help us truly appreciate the people that make our lives so much easier.

1. How to clearly communicate with your home cleaner

To start, each of our sources has stressed the importance of needing instructions.

Not in the sense that you need to tell them how to clean.

Instead, you need to communicate about what is off-limits.

For example, do you have a special shrine or meditation area that you don’t want people touching? Even if it is extremely dusty? You have to express this.

Do you have a drawer that you don’t want someone to go into? Say it.

All of these things should be addressed in a singular and concise list so that your cleaner can save these details for you.

Remember, you are not the only person in the world and your cleaner has other clients. Other clients who are probably way nice and tip way more than you.

A good cleaner should be able to remember your details and extract this information, but if you can remember to clearly communicate this it will make the transaction that much smoother.

2. You live in your bubble and – they don’t

This next subject might seem like common sense, but apparently it’s not.

One of our sources chuckles at one of her client’s behavior every time she goes to their home.

Imagine you, a complete stranger, walking into someone’s private home every two weeks and a highly strung out client asks you what they should wear to a meeting.

Um, what?

“I’m a cleaner, not a stylist. At least, this is the capacity that you’ve paid for.” our source tells us.

They also go on to say that money cannot buy class or style.

Another cleaner expressed how his bachelor client was so chill that he got tipped with weed.

This brings us to our next topic.

3. Yes, you should tip your cleaner

We can’t believe we have to say this, but apparently there are people in the world who do not tip their cleaner.

After speaking with our sources, if there’s one thing we have learned it’s that a housekeeper knows everything. Literally, everything.

From the skid marks on your underwear (yes, a high paying CEO has this issue) to knowing of a wife’s secret affair, your housekeeper can crush your life in one swoop.

Tip the fuck out of them.

Why on earth wouldn’t we tip our cleaner?

The next question is how much do we tip?

On average, the base tip is about $20. This should be the minimum and even then this is just customary.

If you really want to make your housekeeper go above and beyond for you, tip $50 out the gate.

One of our sources said that he was working for a family who needed help organizing their office.

As he was helping organize files, he stumbled upon the client’s tax papers which showed the client’s social security number along with yearly take-home pay.

“I’ve never actually seen so many commas on a piece of paper in my life.”

Again, your cleaner knows a lot, so it’s probably best to get them on your good side.

This same cleaner also told us how his client’s wife would always magically pull $40-$60 from a closet to tip him every time he left and at Christmas tipped an additional $300-$400 on top of his base tip.

He said that later he had helped organize and clean the “magical closet” where he stumbled upon $1,000 in cash labeled as “tip” jar.

4. What to expect with a cleaner

A good house cleaner has a method.

You’re best bet is to just let them do what they need to do. From speaking with each of our sources, here’s an outline of how most cleaners tend to work:

  1. The kitchen (typically takes 45-60 minutes)
  2. The bathroom (typically takes 45 minutes)
  3. The living area (typically takes 30-45 minutes)
  4. The bedroom (takes 30 minutes)
  5. Floors (30 minutes)

On average, it seems as though a typical 1 bedroom 1 bathroom New York City apartment can take anywhere from 3-4 hours.

5. For heaven’s sake – don’t be stingy

Please, don’t expect your pad to be cleaned in two hours.

Stop being cheap.

If you can’t let your cleaner get into their groove then don’t waste their time. No one wants to clean for only two hours. It’s not worth the cost on the cleaner’s side.

6. Stop with all the chatter

Remember how we said that we all live in our own bubbles?

Yeah, here’s the thing.

Our bubbles are our business. Our cleaners really don’t give a fuck about whatever we’re dealing with. They just want to do their work, get paid, and get on.

Just like us.

So, please leave the talk about your stupid dog “bae” in your head or for a friend.

“I’m just here to clean. Not to be your best friend”, our source said laughing.

7. Time alone is the best thing ever

Across the board, our sources have said that when clients leave them alone in their homes they truly get into the groove of cleaning.

“I have one client who will never leave me alone in her apartment. I think she has trust issues, but that’s not my issue. The part that baffles me is that I know for a fact she doesn’t make a lot of money. It’s always so interesting that people with less money treat service workers worse than people with money. How is it that my client who has a dresser filled with jewels has no issue with me being in her home alone, but you’re over here thinking I’m after your cheap Zara earrings?”