More and more people are using the services of a cleaner as the demands of modern life make every hour of the day more valuable and cut into time available for domestic chores. What’s more, many people find some cleaning tasks difficult or just plain boring.

Whether you use a cleaning agency or deal direct with a local cleaner, the prerequisites of hiring a cleaner remain the same: You’re allowing a stranger into the most intimate spaces of your home so they need to be 100% trustworthy and honest. You can’t do the work yourself but you expect a professional, reliable service. You don’t want to pay over the odds for the service.

This guide aims to help you get all three of these requirements done and dusted.

What they do

A domestic cleaner will:

  • Wipe down kitchen and cooker tops and put away clean dishes and utensils
  • Clean bathrooms including toilets, showers and baths
  • Dust surfaces
  • Vacuum carpets /sweep and mop floors
  • Clean inside windows
  • Change bedlinen and put washing on
  • Hang washing up
  • Empty and restack dishwasher
  • Generally tidy around the house

What they charge

Cleaners usually charge by the hour and you should be able to find a local, independent cleaner for around £10 an hour. That’s for their time only and you’ll normally need to provide cleaning materials and any detergents or equipment such as a vacuum cleaner, though some will be fully equipped and ready to go.

Agencies are also becoming an increasingly popular way to source domestic cleaners. They should take away the guess work when it comes to vetting cleaners and operate a few different models. In some you pay the cleaner direct and pay the agency a monthly fee and in others you pay the agency direct. The benefit of these systems is that if your regular cleaner is ill or absent, you will usually be sent a replacement for minimum inconvenience.

Cleaning companies are another option. Their staff are generally full-time employed by them and they provide a professional job that comes at a higher price tag; usually between £15 and £25 per hour. Many people use this type of company for one-off jobs such as cleaning up after building work or a flood or fire.

What to ask

  • Do they have insurance and if so, what type?
  • Can they provide references from other clients?
  • Do they have their own supplies, and if so what kind of chemicals do they use? If you have pets or anyone in the house has an allergy, you may need to source specialist products – or you may want them to use eco-friendly products
  • How much do they think they can manage in the time you have available? Make a list of everything you expect them do to avoid any confusion

Trades to trust

The Federation of Master Cleaners (FMC) is a trade association that represents cleaning companies throughout the UK. Members are confirmed, have insurance and are bound to adhere to their code of practice.

The Domestic Cleaning Alliance is the UK trade association for domestic cleaners. Membership shows that a cleaner has been checked to be legitimate, tax-paying and insured.

Ready to hire?

3 is the magic number

As always, try and get three quotes from three different cleaners or cleaning companies to ensure you pay a fair price for the job.

Certification and references

Don’t be shy about asking for any relevant certification, proof of public liability insurance and references from previous clients. If the cleaner is trustworthy and competent, they’ll be pleased (and proud) to show you both.