Home > Tradespeople > When A Cleaner Doesn't Clean

When A Cleaner Doesn't Clean

By: Chris Nickson - Updated: 28 Jun 2010 | comments*Discuss
Cleaning Domestic Cleaning Dirty Dirt

It doesn’t matter if it’s a business or a domestic cleaning, when you hire a cleaner, you expect that person to undertake proper cleaning – dusting, dirt vacuuming, making sure that nothing is dirty. It’s a simple as that, although you might also have some specific tasks arranged.

Most who are doing it for a living will do a good, through job of cleaning – after all, it’s their livelihood. But what do you do when the cleaning, especially domestic cleaning, isn’t satisfactory, if the house still looks dirty and the dusting hasn’t been done, for instance?

You might well have already paid the cleaner, especially if you work for a living. It’s common for the cleaner to be trusted, to have a key and for the owner to leave the money.

Should you Pay for a Bad Job?

You should obtain references for any cleaner you wish to employ, and check them by phone. That’s important, not only because it reassures you about the standard of their cleaning, but also that they’re not a thief, which is vital. As most people involved in domestic cleaning are self-employed, there’s no trade association, nor are they likely to be insured.

In the case of commercial cleaning, again check references, and they could well belong to a trade organisation. They should be insured, and should offer a guarantee of satisfaction. You’ll also be employing them on a contract, with fees fixed, and expectations for performance set out.

What To Expect From Cleaning

As with anything else, with cleaning you should expect the job to be done properly, with reasonable skill and care, in good time, at and at reasonable cost. What would generally not be at issue here are the cost and time. It all pivots on a job done with reasonable skill and care (there are exceptions, where the cleaning is charged hourly and you’re told it took longer than anticipated, for instance, or it’s not done when promised with no excuse such as illness offered to you).

In terms of what constitutes reasonable skill and care in domestic cleaning, that should be fairly obvious – dusting, dirt vacuuming, cleaning of surfaces, and so on. Of course, some employers can be a little draconian, insisting that all surfaces pass the white glove test.

However, as a general rule, domestic cleaning (nor commercial cleaning) has to be so thorough. The house should neither look nor feel dirty, nor should a finger on a table on windowsill sweep up dirt, for example.

What Can You Do If The Cleaning Is Bad?

If you feel the cleaning hasn’t been up to par, talk to the cleaner initially as a first step. If it’s someone you’ve employed for a while with no previous bad results, there could be a genuine reason, and they’ll be willing to put things right at no charge.

However, if you can’t reach an agreement, you’ll have no choice but to sack the cleaner. You can go to small claims court to recoup your money, but in all likelihood it’s not worth your time. The exception would be if there was damage to your house because of the cleaning – it’s broken, for instance – in which case you’ll need to supply proof, and it might not be easy to prove the cleaner was at fault.

Where it’s commercial cleaning, call the company, explain the problem, and try for a resolution that way. If that doesn’t work, talk to the trade organisation, which might be able to mediate. Depending on the conditions of the contract, you might be able to cancel; you should certainly pursue the cleaning company in small claims court, although again you’ll need proof, and you’d very likely have to demonstrate a pattern of the work not being done properly.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Kath
    Re: What If Your Plumber Makes Mistakes?
    I have a completely new bathroom fitted and everything seems to be wrong and all the other bathroom companies who have…
    20 March 2019
  • Mws
    Re: Buying a New Car: Your Rights
    I’ve just found out that my jaguar is being recalled as the published emissions are significantly higher that advertised in real…
    18 March 2019
  • Jenny
    Re: A Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015
    We bought my platinum and diamond engagement ring in June 2018. We got engaged in January this year so I have only…
    14 March 2019
  • Sad lady
    Re: When Am I Not Entitled to a Refund?
    I bought a sofa that would easily fit into my room. I was given very basic measurements by the seller. I have a normal…
    12 March 2019
  • Shell
    Re: What If Your Plumber Makes Mistakes?
    We bought a new build 3 years ago and we have just had a leak coming through our living room ceiling. We contacted the…
    28 February 2019
  • Aga
    Re: The Fake EHIC Card Scam
    This happed also to me:/ I used just yesterday this scam service, wasn't sure maybe a some of the low about " free of charged" been…
    27 February 2019
  • Ido
    Re: The Fake EHIC Card Scam
    I have just been scammed. The website seemed official. They charged me 24.50 to renew. I only discovered today when I received the card…
    22 February 2019
  • Annetta
    Re: Buying a Used Car: Your Rights
    I bought a car in August last year after a week i discovered a faults garage offering to help but that was 4 hours away from him…
    20 February 2019
  • Nik
    Re: How to Complain
    Purchased oak coloured laminated flooring from retailer who fitted it over a large area. 7 years on the ends of some planks have faded at an angle,…
    20 February 2019
  • BigAl
    Re: The Fake EHIC Card Scam
    I too have been caught by this scan at the cost of £27.50. The website looks official and is clearly still up and running on the 14/02/19…
    19 February 2019