How to Prep Before the Cleaners Arrive

It might be embarrassing to admit, but there’s no shame in wondering how to prep your home before the cleaners arrive! How much should you organize? Should you give appliances a preliminary wipe down…? Many people don’t properly know how to tidy up before a cleaning appointment, and some don’t bother to prepare at all. Although it may seem like pre-cleaning defeats the purpose of an appointment, it makes a tremendous difference in the speed and efficiency of the cleaners’ jobs.

One Word: De-Clutter 

A typical work desk

Bedroom side tables. Kitchen countertops. Bathroom counters. Even a sink loaded with dishes and floors littered with clothes and old receipts and cough drop wrappers can slow a cleaner down to an unsatisfactory pace! While neatening and straightening is an added service with the Purple Fig, not all cleaning companies include it in their protocol, namely because it takes precious time away from actually cleaning the residence.

The bottom line is this: the emptier the space, the more thoroughly it can be cleaned. Abandoned toys take time to organize, random articles of clothing eat up minutes being folded, kitchen gadgets get shifted and re-shifted during the course of the clean…all of which results in time that could be spent scrubbing getting eclipsed by time spent tidying up.

Tips for Tidying Up

Bed linens: Several cleaning companies will make your bed for you. If this is desired, toss the dirty linens into the hamper and place the fresh sheets on top of the mattress, preferably folded so the cleaners can easily identify them as fresh.

Desk clutter: If your work desk is buried underneath layers of paperwork and supplies, it’s a good idea to clear the space for your cleaner. Because some of the material may be confidential (important documents and bills) or considered a personal electronic (keyboard, mouse, iPod…), some cleaning services follow no-touch policies, leaving the area undone and uncleaned. Removing these items guarantees that your desk can actually get wiped; even if it means tossing miscellany into a temporary box, it will clear up space for cleaners to move and perform their jobs at 100%.

Countertop clutter: Much like desk clutter, countertop clutter severely hinders a cleaner’s speed and efficincy, usually resulting in a subpar cleaning of that particular area. In the kitchen, the cleaner typically must shift and re-shift items like utensil holders, cutting boards, and jars in order to clean sufficiently behind and beneath them– but when the entire countertop is flooded with kitchen gadgets, the cleaner may not be able to clean as thoroughly as desired due to the extra time s/he would use up. If you’ve scheduled an appointment with a cleaning service and notice a large amount of clutter on your counter space, temporarily remove the loose items until the appointment is over. If removal is not possible, the courteous thing to do is extend the appointment time and let the cleaners know about the situation.

Laundry: Depending on the cleaning service, your laundry may or may not be folded. At the Purple Fig, we only do laundry when specifically instructed, so any loose bundles of clothing outside of a hamper are set aside- unfolded -in order to clean around them. The easiest place to set loose laundry is on the bed…assuming the bed has already been made, of course!

Dirty dishes: The Purple Fig, as well as many other cleaning companies, are perfectly fine with cleaning a client’s dish-laden sink…but only if it is a reasonable amount. If you aren’t able to tackle the mountain of dishes piled up in your kitchen sink beforehand, adding time to your cleaning appointment is the courteous thing to do. An empty sink is a blessing for both the cleaner’s energy and time.

Refrigerators: While magnets are wonderful mementos and reminders, an excessive amount of magnets on your fridge can bar it from getting properly cleaned. No matter what brand or material, a fridge door dripping with magnetically bound clutter becomes a time-consuming gauntlet for the cleaner, who will most likely not take the time to remove each and every single magnet in order to reach the door beneath! If you want your fridge to get thorough attention, your best bet is to place the magnets in a temporary bag or box during the appointment.

Fragile and Valuable Items: Concern for your delicate, rare, or expensive pieces is totally natural and understandable. If you don’t want these items touched during your cleaning appointment, simply tuck them away!

The Wrong Solution

inhabitat_bed clutter

Photo courtesy of Inhabitat

Unfortunately, many clients’ solution to clutter is to merely kick their belongings under the bed. Random clothing, unmated socks and shoes, old wrappers, and hair pins are some of many treasures we at the Purple Fig find lurking beneath the mattress, usually clogging up vacuums and stealing time away from quality cleaning. While some cleaning companies do not clean under furniture, several companies do, so it’s important to be thoughtful while tidying up your home.

In the end, you are paying to have your home professionally cleaned…but there are steps that need to be taken in order to maximize your cleaners’ visit!

Tips for Pet Owners

Whether you own a cat, dog, or bird, giving your home a very quick “animal” pre-clean is always appreciated! If the kitty’s litter box is overflowing, change it out. Scrub out any vomit or feces stains in the carpet (most cleaning services do not handle animal feces), and watch for bird droppings on the floor or wall. Also consider crating your pet or locking them in a room during the clean, especially if it has any behavioral issues; this not only ensures the safety of your pet and the cleaner, but keeps your pet cozy and tucked away from any commotion.

Communication is Key

commHave a stubborn door lock? Alarm you usually set? A broken appliance? An animal that’s prone to barking? Let the cleaning company know pronto so they can be best prepared! Any comment, note, or concern that the client has is always welcomed from cleaning services, since it guarantees a smoother visit while in your home. Some common client notes include:

  • How to enter the house/where the key is hidden
  • Where to park
  • Problem areas that need special attention
  • Type of pet, how many, and what to expect from them

If you’d like to leave a tip for your cleaner (always appreciated!), place it out on an open table in a conspicuous place. If it’s placed too close to other nearby items, a professional cleaner will assume it is not for the service and leave it be.

While it seems redundant at first thought, preparing your home for a professional cleaning service is a vital step in the appointment process. A cleaner would never expect or demand an intensive full-clean in order to prep the environment– just a few quick things that will ultimately lead to a house that sparkles and shines at its best!

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About

The Purple Fig Cleaning Company is a small Austin-based cleaning business with a socially-conscious “green” mission. We are committed to serving our clients, employees and the Austin community.

Our Principles

Use natural products and the highest quality tools to provide exceptional cleanliness.

Be accountable to our customers and employees. We are bonded and insured and hire locals from Austin. We provide employee benefits like health insurance and fair pay.

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