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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How can I get my grout clean?

Dirt, mildew and grime can make your grout lines look downright tragic. If you have the ability, DIY tile and grout cleaning is definitely doable. Your main obstacles are time, project size, availability of the right materials and effort. Your first step in tile and grout cleaning is making sure the surface area is cleaned of basic dirt and buildup and wiped down. Be sure not to use a bleach-based cleaning agent, which could react dangerously with the vinegar used in later steps.

Depending on the delicacy of your tile and grout, it may be wise to start with water and friction before proceeding to a cleaning solution. In the shower you can spray the area while brushing gently, or use a spray bottle filled with warm water on countertops or floors. If water won’t do the trick, try a solution of equal parts warm water and white vinegar, and repeat the gentle brushing motion. This combination should begin to lift dirt and grime from the grout. For additional tile and grout cleaning power, baking soda applied directly to grout lines and sprayed with your water vinegar solution can help suds off sticky grime. If your DIY cleaning solutions aren’t doing the trick, store-bought sprays and pastes may have more cleansing power. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and enjoy your sparkling clean grout.

Tile and grout cleaning supplies include:

  • Old standard or electric toothbrush
  • Stiff bristle brush
  • Spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Commercial grout cleaner

How much does it cost to clean tile and grout?

The national average cost for tile and grout cleaning ranges from $190 to $250. Pros may charge a flat fee or by the square foot. Rates can vary depending on the type of tile and grout you have (more delicate tiles may mean specialized products or careful handwashing), how dirty your tile and grout are, and what part of the country you are in (regional labor rates and costs to do business affect costs). For example, one floor cleaning company charges 75 cents per square foot for tile and grout cleaning for projects that permit cleaning by machine. Another company may charge $30-$50 per hour for hand-cleaning of tiles. Companies often charge a minimum fee for services to ensure their business expenses are met when they accept a job, no matter how small. In addition, a tile and flooring cleaning professional may charge added fees, such as $25 or more, to move heavy furniture or appliances.

How do professionals clean tile and grout?

If you need tile and grout cleaning and don’t have the time or mobility for scrubbing your entire house on your hands and knees, it’s time to turn to the pros. Tile and grout cleaning professionals have industrial-grade machines designed for the sole task of cleaning the porous materials of grout and tile.

Typically, a cleaning pro will come out to assess the job and provide you with a quote. Often they charge per square foot (for example, 75 cents per square foot), with higher prices or an hourly rate for areas that will need hand cleaning. The national average cost for tile and grout cleaning ranges from $190 to $250.

Once onsite, the pros thoroughly clean the area by wiping or sweeping down and then vacuuming up any dry dirt. Next a chemical tile cleaner is sprayed over the surface, causing dirt to loosen and adhere to the spray; the industry term for this is “suspension.” The pros then clean the floor with professional-strength machines, which often use a combination of steam, brushes and vacuum to loosen, agitate and lift entrenched dirt. Your floor is then rinsed, removing all the spray.

Usually a small room can be cleaned in under an hour. Applying a sealant afterward is recommend and will also affect cost.

How much does it cost to deep clean a house?

Deep cleaning a house goes beyond the surface level to clear out the dust, grime and gunk that’s collecting on the fan blades, hiding in the blinds, and built up inside the refrigerator drawers. Deep cleaning of a home or apartment costs more than regular house cleaning because it takes more time, effort, and cleaning products. You may choose to have a deep cleaning once or several times a year in addition to your standard cleaning services. You may have a one-time deep cleaning to prepare for company or to clean after a house party. Companies may charge an hourly rate or a price per square foot, or may offer you a flat rate after they have visited your home and estimated work time. The national average house cleaning price is $110-$150, with rates ranging higher for deep-cleaning services. Here are some examples of how a company may calculate their deep-cleaning prices:

  • 10 cents per square foot (compared with 5 cents per square foot for standard house cleaning).
  • $300 for a 3,000-square-foot home.
  • $25 per hour per worker for deep-cleaning services.

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.

What is included in a deep house cleaning vs. a basic house cleaning?

A basic house cleaning typically includes tasks like carpet cleaning, wiping countertops, taking out the trash, doing the laundry and washing dishes. A deep house cleaning is a much more involved process, where all aspects of the home are given full attention for a cleanout. In a deep house cleaning, the cleaners will wet-wipe everything from door frames to light switch plates, making sure to also clean walls, windows, air vents, ceiling fans, furniture and more.

Should I hire a move-out cleaning service or do it myself?

You may benefit from hiring a professional move-out cleaning service, depending on your budget, time frame and whether you will be getting a deposit back. Hiring a cleaning service takes the stress out of your move. But if you’ve had your house regularly deep-cleaned, or if your landlord will charge you for cleaning anyway, you can save costs by DIY-ing it.

How long does it take to clean a house professionally?

Generally, getting your house cleaned professionally can take several hours. The time it takes for house cleaners to complete their job depends on the size of your home, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you have, the type of service you require and the condition of your house. It also might depend on how many employees are cleaning and the supplies they are using. If you get recurring cleaning services, the first visit might take a bit longer than the subsequent visits. 

When choosing the best house cleaner for you, ask for an estimate about how long their services will take.

How much is a house cleaning?

The national average cost for house cleaning ranges between $25 and $50 per hour, per cleaner. However, the cost of house cleaning services near you might be different.

House cleaning prices vary based on how many square feet your home is, how dirty your house gets and how often the cleaning service comes. And, prices can be lower in areas with a lower cost of living, higher in big cities or affluent regions.

Some companies charge a set amount — such as 5 cents — per square foot, with a minimum amount, such as $100. You may save money by increasing the frequency of your house cleaning visits. Often a company will charge you less per cleaning when you schedule more cleanings per month. The cost advantage rewards your loyalty, and also reflects the fact that more frequent cleanings make it easier to maintain a high level of cleanliness in your home. A housecleaning service may charge more for the first visit or for one-time services than for recurring cleanings.

To learn more about the cost of house cleaning, visit our House Cleaning Cost Guide.

How do I choose the best house cleaning service?

When searching for the best house cleaning service near you, consider the depth of your cleaning needs, your budget and the size and condition of your home. Read reviews from verified customers of any cleaning service that you’re looking to hire. Also, check out the reviewers’ photos and do background checks on reviewers to ensure they’re not employed by established cleaning firms or maid agencies. 

When viewing house cleaners on Thumbtack, you might see a Top Pro badge. This indicates that the service is one of the most popular and highly-rated professionals using the platform.

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