Yes, there's a difference between "cleaning" and "tidying up."
Everyone's busted a sweat vacuuming the house or scrubbing the toilet — but because housekeepers do it on the daily, they're allowed to rack up a pet peeve or two. The work cleaning pros put into your home or hotel room is serious business. These are the things you might be guilty of that make their lives even harder.
1. Confusing "cleaning" and "tidying up."
Don't expect your housekeeper to tackle the pile of dishes next to your sink. Meg Roberts, president of Molly Maid, says your home should be organized and surfaces should be clear before she arrives. "If we spend time decluttering, we'll have less time to do the stuff you really don't want to do yourself." (Like dusting that giant bookshelf.)
2. Forgetting to change the thermostat.
If there's one thing we know, it's that cleaning is hard work, which is why Roberts begs homeowners to adjust their thermostat for their cleaning crew. "It may need to be cooler or warmer for the hour or two they're there," she says. "They're doing some back-breaking work, so a comfortable temperature is essential."
3. Blanking on the privacy sign.
Before you check out, make sure you take that sign off the door. Housekeeping manager and Reddit user NicoNerd revealed that forgetting this simple task means the housekeeping team has to wait until check-out time to knock on your door and see if you've left — instead of being able to get a head start on their day.
4. Failing to mention a new pet.
"We love them, but we definitely want to know ahead of time if there's a new pet in the house," says Roberts. This way, if a housekeeper is allergic or scared of your new family member, they can plan accordingly. It's also helpful to know where the pet will be during the cleaning session.
5. Leaving "bad aim" behind.
As a cleaner with 30 years of experience, blogger manxcatmom has seen it all. But she says the one thing that makes cleaning the bathroom even worse is bad aim. "Do they imagine I get some sort of thrill out of cleaning that dried yellow crust off of the seat, rim and outside of the bowl?" *Shudder.*
6. Lying about appointment changes.
For Derek Christian, owner of Cincinnati-based My Maid Service, nothing revs him up as much as a client making a false claim. "I just wish they would admit it and say, 'I am so sorry I forgot to call,'" he says — especially since he says they don't charge a lock out fee, so there's usually no reason to fib in the first place.
7. Forgetting to mention guests.
If your mother-in-law is visiting, give your housekeeper a heads up. "The last thing we want to do is alarm someone who doesn't know we're coming," Roberts says. Plus, visitors sometimes result in extra work, so the housekeeper might need to extend the appointment.
8. Not communicating about entry changes.
Changes in your garage code, keys or alarm system are some of the most critical pieces of info to pass along, according to Roberts. "Worst case scenario, we open your door and set off your alarm," she says. "The best case scenario is we can't get into your home to clean it." Talk about a lose-lose situation.
9. Underestimating the effort that goes into a clean room.
Yes, your hotel sets their check-in time for a reason. But Reddit user 1459isnot1500 says guests are often frustrated by this: "Please do not get offended when I tell you that, unfortunately, our housekeepers are only human and can't clean every single room in the hotel in under ten minutes."
10. Insisting on granite countertops.
The reason blogger manxcatmom claims the kitchen is hardest to clean? Certain materials and surfaces take extra time. "Granite needs to be sealed and polished. Who has time for this?" Not the cleaning lady, who has a million other surfaces and rooms to tend to, she says.
11. Not making your expectations clear.
The reason Roberts' team offers a 24-hour guarantee is because many homeowners have different preferences. "We don't know where we miss until we do the cleaning," she says. So if you're particular about how you want your bed made, try to give them a heads up beforehand.
12. Canceling at the last minute.
Obviously, this happens from time to time. But Roberts urges homeowners to remember that cancellations have a ripple effect on your housekeeper's schedule. "If we don't get enough of a heads up, then it's hard to accommodate and reschedule you with the person who's most familiar with your home."
13. Craving a specific "clean" smell.
Maybe "clean" smells like lemon or bleach to you. Either way, Roberts says many clients expect this sensory experience when they return home. The only problem? "I think a lot of it stems from the smell they experienced as a child," she says. Meaning it probably varies by client, which makes it almost impossible to deliver on.
14. Failing to check your sheets first.
All blogger manxcatmom asks is that if you want your housekeeper to strip the bed, make sure it's clean. "Don't leave behind tissues that contain bodily fluids of any type, she says. "That's what the waste can is for." And, please, don't leave any TMI items behind either.
15. Asking for "green" cleaners.
Roberts says after telling clients that no "green" products act as disinfectants, they often change their minds. "We usually ask if they'd like us to use disinfectants in the bathrooms and kitchens," she says. "We aren't trying to trick anyone, but we want to honor what they want in terms of the outcome."