House cleaning person in kitchen with duster


Are you interested in cleaning houses for a living or starting your own cleaning business? You may have searched the internet and found lots of information on how to structure an LLC or what types of cleaning tools to use with dollar signs in your eyes. While house cleaning can be a very lucrative profession, it takes a certain kind of person to be successful. I’m here to tell you the things people won’t about being a cleaning lady or man. And the key to being a successful house cleaner boils down to some personality traits that are a must if you want to be in this business.

Is being a house cleaner hard?

First let’s get this out of the way. Yes, it is a hard, labor intensive job physically. There is a lot of walking, bending and lifting. Mentally it can take a toll as well as I have written here about the emotional costs. You are dealing directly with the public, in their homes and personal spaces. That takes a special kind of person.

How do I learn to be a house cleaner

Most people will get a job with an accredited cleaning company to get some experience before venturing out on their own. I actually sort of fell into house cleaning through a friend who had an elderly client that needed help around the house. And 20 years later the rest is history as they say. But getting a basic knowledge of the cleaning process is a must.

Two house cleaners standing in kitchen

What makes a good house cleaner?

Besides having some semblance of business acumen, there are some personality traits that lend themselves to excelling in the house cleaning service world. These include:

  • Being physically fit– As I said before, house cleaning is physically demanding. Some days I spend 8 hours straight on my feet. This also includes lots of bending, lifting and reaching. Being physically fit is not a requirement, but it will make it easier to do your job.
  • Being a people person– Again, you are dealing with people, in their homes. People get a little crazy when a stranger comes rummaging through their stuff and moving it all around. Knowing how to talk to people and calming their anxieties is very helpful. An understanding and calm demeanor goes a long way.
  • Being non-judgmental–This is a must if you are going to clean other people’s houses. Many people, especially with physical and emotional handicaps are very hesitant to reach out for help because of what others may think of the state of their home. Care and compassion go a long way in this business.
  • Being trustworthy–If strangers rummaging through your stuff isn’t enough to make a person paranoid, it is rummaging through expensive stuff. Clients should be able to trust you enough to leave you in their homes unsupervised.
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  • Not being squeamish–I have a lot of elderly clients and if I got grossed out easily, I would have failed at this job a long time ago. While you can make your own rules about cleaning up bodily fluids, you are still going to run into these, especially in the toilet and bathroom areas.
  • Being able to follow directions–People are very picky about their homes and how they are cleaned. They may tell you exactly how they want their bed made or towels folded. They are paying you for a service so they are allowed to tell you how they would like this service to be performed. If you decide that making the bed your way is better, you may be out of a job pretty quickly.
  • Being detail-oriented–This goes along with people being picky about their homes. If you have to take all of their figurines off a shelf to dust it, put them back exactly how they were. If there is one streak on a window after you have cleaned it, get that streak off. You are striving for perfection for your clients homes.
  • Being knowledgeable about cleaning products–Cleaning products can be downright dangerous and can really destroy surfaces they are not made for. Know what chemicals can be used on which surfaces and know never to mix products.
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Cleaning houses can be a very lucrative job. But it takes the right person to be successful. Hopefully I’ve given you a guide to determine if it is right for you. For more advice from the experts, see this great Huff Post article.