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BBSDTfamily's avatar

What's Appropriate in Critiquing Your Housekeeper?

Asked by BBSDTfamily (6834points) September 14th, 2009

Mine started today, and we like her a lot. She’s very sweet and reasonably priced. She comes twice a week so I left her a list of things to do on each day. She does not dust to my liking (dusts around most things) and I feel like if I’m paying someone to clean, I shouldn’t have to clean after them. Have any of you had this problem, and what is the most tactful way of handling it? Should I just give her a few weeks and see if she gets in the swing of things?

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11 Answers

Judi's avatar

She will never know what you want until you tell her exactly.
I worked as a hospital housekeeper once and was trained very well. I tried to clean for a lady I met in the hospital who saw how hard I worked I was intimidated. I was only 18 and I had no role models for housekeeping at home. Rhe lady complained about how others had cleaned (used wrong products ect) but never told me how she wanted me to do it. I was really intimidated and only cleaned for her 3 or 4 times.
I wish she would have taken the time to tell me exactly how she wanted things done.
That was a lifetime ago and now I hire a housekeeper who knows a lit more than me about what to clean and requires no direction at all. Then again, I probably wouldn’t notice if she didn’t move a candlestick.

wundayatta's avatar

It might help to train her. Take her around the house and show her exactly what you want her to do, everywhere in the house. Demonstrate what you expect her to do. She can’t read your mind. You may have to do this more than once, if she has difficulty understanding (like not speaking English).

ubersiren's avatar

Chances are if she’s not doing the best job on the first day, she never will. She would most likely want to impress you first, rather than slack off. I’d tell her asap.

Maybe the next time she comes, say something like, “Oh, I forgot last time to give you some details I’m really particular about…” Play it off like, “Silly me.” Then maybe leave her a short list of things you’d like special attention on (even if it seems like common sense to you). Also, ask if she has any questions. Maybe she’s unsure if she should be moving your things around to dust under them.

Good luck! Confrontation, I think, is even tougher when you like the person.

DominicX's avatar

You have to tell her what you want her to do and be as kind about it as possible. We have a housekeeper who comes every couple of weeks or so as well and does all kinds of cleaning. It’s not that my mom doesn’t want to do it, she simply thinks the housekeeper does a better job and more thorough. But she’s like a friend of ours now so we can tell her anything. She started out as someone my dad met who wanted work (and wasn’t getting enough of it) and that’s why we hired her and she didn’t seem to have a problem when my mom would request that she do something differently. I think she probably found a way to really skirt around saying “do this differently”. :)

As long as it’s not an outlandish request, I think they would want to do something better.

Jeruba's avatar

One piece of advice that was given to me was to provide a basket and say at first, “Do not throw anything away, not anything. Put it in here.” Over time you can start to tell her what it’s okay to throw away. This was suggested to me by someone who had a lot of clutter and found that the housekeeper was mistakenly judging some things to be trash that were not trash.

When the day comes that I can have this kind of help at home (I think I would love it!), I will follow that advice.

Supacase's avatar

Ask her to do the things you want done and tell her how you want them done. If she is good at what she does, she is flexible enough to accommodate you and understands that every home owner has different ways of doing things. She shouldn’t be offended. that said, if you ask her and nothing changes, move on. Don’t let it continue for months… like I have.

I’m actually thinking of letting our housekeeper go because she hasn’t changed the things I asked her. I don’t think she actually mops my floors, which is something I specifically said I wanted done. One week she didn’t clean my shower and I mentioned to her that cleaning the shower and mopping (there was hair on the bathroom tile) were two of the most important things. She swore she did them and I can’t say for sure because I’m not here when she is. I do know that I should not have cobwebs in my bedroom if I have a housekeeper, though. I left them there to see how long it would take her – I finally left her a note today.

BBSDTfamily's avatar

Great answers everybody! You are all right, I need to tell her what I expect instead of getting secretly frustrated and her never knowing. She comes again in a few days and I think I’ll make sure I’m here and clean with her that day to show her how I do things and how I like them done. Any more advice, please give it!

La_chica_gomela's avatar

It sounds like you’re on the right track. After watching my mom train several housekeepers when I was younger, I would say to even clean with her the first couple times. The next time she comes back, take the lead and show her how you like things done, and the second time, let her take the lead, and just kind of follow, make sure she’s doing things the way you like them, and then join in.

It can be hard to balance being tactful and pleasant, with giving directions, (especially for us women I think). Sometimes it’s just really hard (for me anyways) to tell someone else what to do, or feel like I’m reprimanding them in any way, so I definitely understand where you’re coming from.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Make sure you compliment what she’s doing that’s to your liking or if she does something extra.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I think that making a list of chores for her would be a good thing. But, you may also have to go through them and actually show her how you want things done.

For example, I have a bookshelf that gets very dusty. When I dust, I don’t dust just the exposed front part of the shelf. I actually move the book and dust underneath it, too, you almost have to because the dust gets in there. I figured out a really time-saving way to move the books quickly and dust underneath. You can always present your suggestions like this:

“Because I’m often pressed for time, I’ve figured out ways to get the cleaning done thoroughly…and this is what I would really appreciate you doing..too…” Then, show her what you need done.

Then you can say, ” I know it might take some time to get the hang of how I like things done but we can work on that and I’m here to answer your questions.” The “we” makes it less confrontational.


BBSDTfamily's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus Good tip! The housekeeper I asked about left a big clump of pet hair/dirt in the living room through 2 of her sweeping/mopping cycles, so we let her go. But I plan on getting someone else so this advice helps me! Thanks

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