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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic?

The best way to set up a consultation with a house cleaner during the COVID-19 pandemic is by using virtual, online tools. Start by performing an online search for local house cleaners. Message them to set up either a phone call or video call to perform a consultation. During this call, they can give you recommendations and may be able to estimate the cost of their services. Be sure to discuss whether they accept virtual payments and any precautions they can take to perform the job safely.

How can I find out if a house cleaner is considered an essential COVID-19 service provider?

A house cleaner is generally not considered an essential service sector during the coronavirus pandemic. To find out which services are considered essential, visit your city and state government, and read their guidelines. A national list of essential service providers can be found on CISA’s Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19 site. This webpage lists 16 different infrastructure sectors considered to be essential. However, not all jurisdictions follow CISA’s definitions of critical infrastructure.

Can I use digital payments to pay for house cleaning?

Not only do many house cleaners accept digital payments through platforms like Zelle, PayPal, Square Cash, Google Pay, Venmo and more, but this may become more common as the COVID-19 pandemic pushes more service workers to digitize. This means you can pay your house cleaner without making physical contact or handling money. 

If cleaning is absolutely essential during the current crisis, consult with the house cleaner beforehand to ensure a safe monetary transaction that complies with current government guidelines and recommendations for social distancing.

Does a house cleaner need to enter my home?

Yes, in almost all cases a house cleaner needs to enter your home. However, a cleaner may not need to enter your home if they are solely cleaning outside areas. 

There may be some cases in which a cleaner is necessary. If so, take precautions — avoid being in the same room, make no physical contact, sanitize any surfaces and pay through a digital service instead of using cash.

Do house cleaners offer remote or virtual services?

House cleaning is generally done in person, but some may be willing to offer remote services. If you find a house cleaner’s profile that states they’re offering remote services, contact the pro to talk about your options. 

If you’d rather hire a house cleaner to clean your home when the pandemic is over, you may be able to book an appointment at a later date. Start by comparing local house cleaners in your area side-by-side.

What is the difference between a housekeeper and a house cleaner?

Although some house cleaning and housekeeping duties might overlap, a house cleaner is charged with the top-to-bottom cleaning of a home. House cleaner duties typically include basic and deep house cleaning, such as washing and sanitizing countertops, floors, tubs, toilets, kitchens and more.

Housekeepers or maids are hired to lightly clean and maintain certain aspects of the home. This might include dusting, washing dishes, changing sheets, doing some meal preparation and restocking the client’s groceries and personal care products.

It’s also worth noting that a housekeeper or maid is usually one individual employed to a home (sometimes hired as a live-in), while a house cleaner is oftentimes accompanied by a team of cleaners. 

What should I ask a house cleaner or maid before hiring them?

There are many questions to ask a cleaning service before you hire them to make sure they’re the right fit. These questions might include:

  • How much do you charge?
  • How do you set your prices -- per hour or per square foot? Or, do you charge a flat rate?
  • What is your past work experience? Can I see a list of references?
  • Are you accustomed to working with different home or apartment types and sizes?
  • Can you work with children or pets in the house?
  • What types of cleaning products do you use?
  • Do you bring your own cleaning supplies and products?
  • How often can you clean my home?
  • Is there anything you recommend I do (or don't do) to my home before you arrive?

For more tips on how to hire the best maid or house cleaning service, read our smart hiring guide.

How often should you have your house cleaned?

The frequency you should have your house cleaned depends on several factors, and the best professional house cleaner can give you a rough estimate of costs so you can budget how often you need someone to clean your home. 

Daily house cleaning may be necessary if you have a home with a large number of bedrooms with young children and kids, although other homeowners may benefit from weekly house cleaning. A weekly cleaner can clean the bathroom, kitchen, do laundry, vacuum and mop. An occasional deep house cleaning is most beneficial for people who have recently renovated a home or are looking to do a spring clean. 

Reviews for bathroom cleaners
Daniel L.
I hired Milan Cleaning Company to clean one bedroom + bathroom when I was moving out. The cleaner arrived on time and did a great job. I'd definitely choose them again.
Milan Cleaning Company, LLCMilan Cleaning Company, LLC
Patrick E.
Cesar and Tania provided exceptional house cleaning service. They tackled our kitchen, bathroom, and living areas and had them looking cleaner than when we first moved in. Both of them are tidy, professional, and detail-oriented. I highly recommend their service and will be continue to be one of their customers.
Thamyka CleaningThamyka Cleaning
David E.
I highly recommend Lilian! We had a really badly taken care of kitchen and bathroom that hadn’t been cleaned in maybe 12 years and she did an amazing job cleaning it all up! We thought she’d run away screaming, but she put on a mask and went to work and it truly was amazing the difference!
Lilian’s cleaning serviceLilian’s cleaning service
Jin F.
I’m super satisfied with Mary’s cleaning service. I booked a standard cleaning and Mary has made everything crystal clean and shining, especially removed some hard stains in bathrooms and kitchen. Not to mention she also kept COVID protection and distance during the whole time. Very professionally and efficiently handled everything. Super glad to choose Mary’s service and will definitely book again in the future.
Mary’s  cleaning servicesMary’s cleaning services
Rio M.
It was such a delight to have worked with Espi. She saved my busy work week by coming to help me clean on a Saturday. Espi did a fabulous job cleaning our bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. The stove and refrigerator were shiny clean! Espi came much earlier than our scheduled appointment and worked tirelessly for several hours to make the place look and feel new and move-in ready. I am very thankful to meet Espi and will look forward to working with her regularly every month.
Espi's House CleaningEspi's House Cleaning
Thumbtack Customer
Juanita was late for the appointment, I would understand that as the local traffic can be bad. She cleaned only the bare essentials of the appartment(kitchen, bathroom, vacuuming and dedusting shelves). When found couple of dirty dishes in sink she said that she:"does not clean dishes", and did not want to touch them, so I had to personally put them in the dishwasher, I found her behavior very strange. She did not clean the windows nor small patio. Overall it's ok cleaning but the value is not worth the money and plus you have to deal with this attitude problem...
Juanita's House CleaningJuanita's House Cleaning
John T.
I am very very disappointed and sad to say that I have to change my rating of Daniela's crew on Thumbtack. They came to my house twice, and generally were fine, but on the third time they damaged an expensive shower head while cleaning the bathroom and also the wall base while vacuuming. Attached photos. I gave Daniela multiple options to address this, sent her a number of texts and emailed her the pictures showing the damage, but she didn't do anything about it (I gave her a couple days to view the pictures and respond) Too bad. I thought I could use this crew for the long term.
Daniela's house cleaningDaniela's house cleaning
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