11 things I won’t do after working as a cleaner

If you’ve ever tried to deep clean your home, you know that housekeeping is a profession that requires specialized knowledge, attention to detail, and physical strength to tackle high or difficult spots.

It is also a profession that is not respected enough how difficult it can be. A significant number of domestic workers in the United States, including housekeepers, are paid “under the table” in informal arrangements, working without federal anti-discrimination and health and safety protections. And on TikTok, cleaners shared some of the misconceptions and limitations they have around their work with hashtags like #thingsiwontdo #housecleaner.

To separate general fact from fiction, we grabbed a few of these videos and also turned to the experts and asked other housekeepers what they wouldn’t or wouldn’t do after years of experience in the field:

1. Expect a cleaner to do a pile of dishes or clean up after a pet

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“Cleaning litter boxes or cleaning up after animals that have accidents. I’ve had people expecting that, and it’s just something I can’t do. I’ve been in homes where you’re constantly stepping in urine and I just have to get away from that kind of situation.

“When it comes to excrement or whatever, that’s when it becomes forbidden. It’s not super common, but I’ve encountered it where pPeople think it’s one thing, and I just say, ‘It’s your pet, it’s your baby, I’ll leave that to you, and then I’ll take care of everything else for you.’

“The dishes are also very big. I don’t mind at all making them for customers who need them from time to time. But there have been people trying to take advantage of it and they leave you a huge pile of dishes and expect you to do them which is time consuming and not something the cleaners normal ones usually do. It’s more housekeeping than housekeeping. –– Amber Eliseowner of Bubbles and Buckets in Otsego, Minnesota

2. Fly over the house while a housekeeper is working

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“I wouldn’t stay home while they clean up. A lot of my clients think they should stay home and help me clean up. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and it’s very frustrating. The housekeepers don’t need your help. I said that until my face was blue. You hire us for a service, and most of us are very good at what we do, so get out there and let us do our job.

“Most of us clean two or three houses a day and have a tight schedule. Customers who want to help usually slow us down. I can’t clean the kitchen while you try to rearrange your Tupperware.

“I understand the trust issue, and if you have a new cleaning crew, or you can’t leave physically, stay home. Just isolate yourself in one part of the house, like a bedroom, so they can clean the rest of the house. When it’s time to clean that room, move on to another part of the house they’ve already done. Once you have established trust with your cleaners, you can give them a key or hide it somewhere outside.

“The best jobs I go to are the ones where I know no one will be home. I can get through the job while I cast my Beastie Boys Pandora. I can’t do that with my little old ladies at home. — Sara SanAngelo, The cleaning lady in Charleston, South Carolina

3. Leave the thermostat on high no matter how comfortable a housekeeper is

Housemaid Sharel Moore posted a TikTok saying customers should turn down the thermostat for housekeepers. “We are warm!!!” says his caption.

One reviewer in the comments replied, “Their house, their choice of temperature. You don’t have to work there.

“You are right!” Moore fired back in a response. “Being my own boss, I choose to work for people who treat me like a human! And not just hired help.

4. Make friends with a customer

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“After being a housekeeper, the main thing I wouldn’t do is treat a customer like friends or even like family.

“I had very bad experiences before that. Because they treated me like family or friends, they felt they were entitled to certain benefits, almost as if my work no longer had the same value because I had to make a deal for them.

“Also, the respect wasn’t there anymore, which led to several occasions where, because those boundaries were crossed…there wasn’t a clear line of ‘Here’s the list of things I do and no more”, it was like “Can you also do…? Etc.’ The list can go on and on. I feel like it can be like that in many jobs, but I feel it more in a housekeeper situation because it’s very personal because you’re in their home. — Ileana Cabreraa housekeeper based in Los Angeles

5. Have carpeted blinds and stairs

Lisa Sosa of Clean Happy Company posted a ICT Tac explaining what she wouldn’t want in her home after working as a professional cleaner for nine years:

“I won’t have blinds in my future home. These things just gather dust and they’re a pain to wipe off, so I’m either going to have the roman shades or no shades at all, just really good curtains,” she said, later adding that the Carpeted stairs are his other big no-no because they’re a “pain in the ass.”

6. Use chemical or heavily scented cleaners

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“I won’t use heavily scented cleaning products, even if they’re marketed as natural, because they give me headaches for two or three days after work.” —Gail, a New York-based housekeeper and member of We dream in blackan initiative of the National Domestic Workers Alliance that brings together the voices of Black, Afro-Latin and Afro-descendant domestic workers

“After working as a housekeeper for so many years, the main thing I no longer do is use cleaners with chemicals in my own home. Many of my clients insist on using toxic cleaners in their homes. and as I get older I become very concerned about breathing in all those chemicals as well as absorbing them through my skin.

“I now wear gloves to these customers if I use anything with bleach or other harsh ingredients, and be sure to use them in a ventilated area.

“In my own house, I basically make my own cleaners using vinegar, baking soda, and maybe a little Dawn dishwashing detergent. You really don’t need cleaners that can remove chrome from a bumper to keep your home clean.–– holy angel

7. Stay in a private vacation rental like Airbnb

Tiffany Williams, a housekeeper based in Granger, Indiana, said on TikTok that one of the biggest things she won’t do after working as a housekeeper is stay in a private vacation rental. , like an Airbnb.

“I’ve been to a lot of Airbnbs in my sixteen years on the job. I’ve seen a lot of neglected Airbnbs, I’ve seen a lot of mold in the dishwashers, plastered ceiling fans, ceiling fans ventilation barely working, gross stuff on the walls, boogers on the bed skirts,” Williams said. “I’ve seen it all and personally, I would never stay in a vacation rental.”

8. Having grout with small tiles in my kitchen backsplash

Housemaid Alyssawho works in the Oakland, Calif., and Macomb County, Michigan area, shared that after working as a housekeeper, she wouldn’t have a lot of small tiles with a lot of grout in her backsplash ideal kitchen cabinets, because of the difficulty in installing them. to clean.

“Grout is boring, it requires maintenance, and it lives in your kitchen. It’s going to be a lot of buildup and grease,” Alyssa said, “I would go for a slab… There’s no grout and you can match it to your countertops. That’s why I would choose. »

9. Get paid unfairly

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“I will not accept employment without agreeing to a minimum of five hours per cleaning and without receiving a clear statement of the client’s cleaning needs in order to offer a fair hourly rate. I will not work for less than $25 an hour. –– Gaelle

10. Get paid later instead of up front

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“I’ve had people say, ‘I get paid on Friday, so I’ll pay you on Friday.’ And that’s just not how it works.When your cleaner arrives, prepare payment.

“It baffles me because I know I wouldn’t be able to say to a housekeeper, ‘Hey, I’ll pay you when I get paid in two weeks,’ and I’ve been through that, and it’s not that’s how it works when you’re cleaning someone’s house.Especially when you’re self-employed and you might need that money by the end of the week for a certain bill.–– Elise

11. Suppose housekeepers do their job because they have no other choice

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“If I ever had to hire a housekeeper, I would 100% make sure I treated her with the utmost respect and never assume they don’t speak English or don’t have an education.

“I have a BSc in Applied Mathematics and I speak perfect English and if I do housework it’s not because I have no other choice. It’s because it’s my choice. I earn more now than ever working in any office job I’ve ever had, but I’ve never had the flexibility I have now and need for my family. — Cabrera

Some answers have been edited for clarity and length.

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