House cleaner checklist: A room-by-room guide

April 9, 2020

If you’ve hired someone to come clean your home, you are probably relieved to pass off the dusting and mopping but also wondering what’s next? There are some things you can do to make sure you and your cleaner are on the same page, including providing a checklist of cleaning tasks. Here's how the process will likely go.

Do an initial walk-through together

It's typical to have a cleaner come to the home before your first cleaning, so you can show them around, and they can tell you exactly what services they offer.

"We do a thorough walk-through of the location so our cleaners who are cleaning a new customer’s home know exactly what to do," says Claire Zeysing, founder of Make It Shine in Las Vegas.

This is a perfect time to ask any questions you have and make sure you're aligned as far as what's expected.

Share any special requests

During the walk-through, be sure to tell the cleaner any special requests you have, so they know upfront. For example, you may want them to use gentle products on your marble tile, or you may have a rug that requires special care.

"If the client has preferences in materials [like cleaning products or tools], or if they want rooms excluded, these are important to note," says Val Oliveira, founder of Val’s Services, a Chicago-based cleaning and organizing company. "If these tools will be required on an ongoing basis, the cleaner is able to prepare for the job in advance."

Communicating preferences upfront will help prevent issues from arising later.

"We make sure we set expectations from the start of the service to the end, both with our staff and our customers," says Zeysing. 

Kickoff with a deep cleaning

Most cleaning services offer deep cleaning for the first visit, so expect things to be done super thoroughly. That also means you may pay a higher rate than you will be charged for a regular cleaning.

"When I go to a house for the first time, I usually charge them for a deep clean because I have to scrub the floors and dust hard-to-reach places like the ceiling fan," says Jeneva Aaron, designer, home decor blogger and professional cleaner. "As long as they maintain the house, future cleanings are simple maintenance. I go in, pick up, vacuum and do basic maintenance tasks."

Mary Cherry, owner of residential cleaning service Evie's Cleaning Company in Houston, Texas concurs, giving the example of baseboards. Her cleaners usually hand wash baseboards during the first visit.

"For the following visits, dusting is often all that is needed because they have been wiped and scrubbed already on the first visit," Cherry says.

Review and align on a regular cleaning checklist

All of the professional cleaners we talked to say they have their own checklists for cleaning a home. If you're unsure if yours does, definitely ask. It's likely they'll be happy to provide it for you to look over.

If they don't have their own checklist, consider providing one. It might look something like this:

Kitchen

  • Clean appliance surfaces

  • Clean microwave interior and exterior

  • Wipe cabinet fronts and handles

  • Wipe tables and chair seats

  • Wipe countertops

  • Wipe backsplash

  • Clean sinks and faucets

  • Vacuum and/or mop floors

  • Wipe window sills and blinds

  • Wipe baseboards

  • Dust wall art and knicknacks

  • Dust lights and/or ceiling fans

  • Empty trash

Bathrooms

  • Wipe and clean tub, shower and shower walls

  • Clean and sanitize toilets, interior and exterior

  • Clean glass surfaces and mirrors

  • Wipe countertops

  • Wipe cabinets

  • Clean sinks and faucets

  • Vacuum and/or mop floors

  • Wipe window sills and blinds

  • Wipe baseboards

  • Dust vanity lights

  • Clean switch plates

  • Empty trash

Bedrooms, living areas and other rooms

  • Dust furniture tops, sides and fronts

  • Vacuum and/or mop floors

  • Clean glass surfaces and mirrors

  • Wipe window sills and blinds

  • Wipe baseboards

  • Dust wall art and knicknacks

  • Dust lamps, lights and/or ceiling fans

  • Clean switch plates

  • Empty trash

Agreeing to the checklist in advance will help you understand exactly what your cleaners will and won't do. Of course, just because there's a checklist doesn't mean the cleaner will be going through the motions.

"The checklist we provide our customers outlines exactly what we clean for each room and additional services for a deep clean that we can provide," says Zeysing. "While we have a checklist, it doesn’t stop our staff from going beyond the expectations."

Aaron agrees, saying that she strives to wow her customers, especially at the first cleaning.

"[I] do things that are easy for them to see, so that they immediately understand the benefits of [my] services," says Aaron. "So aside from the basics like scrubbing the toilets, vacuuming the carpets and mopping the kitchen and bathroom floors... I like to wipe down the appliances like the fridge and stove because those are usually shiny and most homeowners forget to do this. It adds a little bit of sheen to the kitchen that makes it feel extra clean."

Request your next deep cleaning

After your initial cleaning, if you use the service regularly — weekly, bimonthly or monthly, for example — cleanings may take less time and be less extensive, as your cleaners will be maintaining their work from that first deep cleaning. But you'll likely want to request another deep cleaning here and there as needed.

"Some folks, especially those with young children, require deep cleans more frequently than others," says Aaron. "But most people only need them twice a year or so."

Tips and stories from parents and caregivers who’ve been there.

Please enter a valid email address

Thanks for signing up!

We’ll see you back in your inbox.

Leave a comment

Create a free account with Care.com and join our community today.

You may also like