A Dusty Apartment After A Professional Cleaning Is Totally Normal, Right?

"You should contact them and tell them. You shouldn't pay for the service!"

This was Frogger's reaction when I told her about the lackluster experience I had with a cleaning service yesterday.

People who know me know how opposed to hiring a service I am. Prior to yesterday, I had done it once in my life - about three years ago when I was living in Toronto. It took a team of eight people almost eight hours to thoroughly clean my house. And they were stellar. They dusted every nook and cranny... Every piece of crown molding... They moved furniture to get at baseboards. They cleaned the microwave.... The windows... All five bathrooms... Every stair in the house.

They did a great job. It cost me about 10 times what I paid for yesterday's service. But it was worth it. They did a very thorough cleaning. And I was able to keep it clean and tidy very well after that. The house was four times the size of the apartment, and had far more to it. There were multiple floors and rooms. And very intricate design elements.

The apartment here in Boston is pretty straight-forward in comparison. There's one floor. Most of it is open concept. There is one full bathroom and one half bathroom. I was trying out the service in order to see if they would be worth bringing in while I am away in Europe.

I now have three different couples looking to stay at my place while I am gone. Which is great! It means my plants will get watered and my mail will get picked up. But I thought it would be a good idea to see if I could get a cleaning service in to help them out while they stay here.

Which is why I actually caved and tested one out yesterday.

I won't say which one I used. But they are known here in Boston, and they have stellar reviews. I researched them before I booked them. And I took their list of everything they said they would clean, in the 3.5 hours they said they needed in order to clean it, as sacred.

I assumed:

  • There would be no sticky stains left on the kitchen counter tops.
  • That the spider web in the corner of the kitchen, near the baseboard by the kitchen stools, would be gone.
  • That the table the TV sits on would be dust-free. 
  • That the picture frames would be dusted (as they specifically say they would be in their checklist).
  • That the window sills would be dusted.

I left the apartment after the person arrived, only at their prompting.

"You're the first person I've worked for who has stuck around," they said.

I laughed and said I did have errands to run. But if they had any questions, to call me. I showed them where extra cleaning supplies were, and where the vacuum cleaner was living. And then I left.

I returned home about three hours later. They were already gone. And I was greeted by a rogue dust bunny as I opened the door.

I figured that was one that they had probably gotten, but escaped their hold as they were putting it away.

Now I'm not so sure, given what I paid for... What I was told I would be getting... And what the reality is.

So despite many people telling me how wonderful it is to have a cleaning service/person come to your house regularly and take care of this stuff, I say to that, "Bullshit!"

I am absolutely not convinced that cleaning services are worth the money on a regular basis for a private home.

"You should use my person," Frogger said. And I agree, it could have been more useful to have used a person someone had referred directly. And it likely would have been much cheaper.

But I fall back to my long-held view that of, "I'm one person living in this space. If I just take 10 minutes every day - as part of my pre-bedtime routine** - keeping a clean place isn't difficult. And it shouldn't be for anyone who stays here either."

I did submit feedback via an email link they sent me. And I was straight-forward with my complaint. I'm not sure it will do anything, given that I let them know I would not be using the service again or recommending it to people.

**I'll be writing about this later.