Cleaning rooms that you haven't been allowed into

Hi everyone! We are in the last few days of a 7 week sit and have just had a message from the home owner to ask us to give their bedroom and ensuite bathroom a “good dusting” before their return. This is a room that has been off limits to us (other than popping in weekly to water plants) so we hadn’t even considered this…is this normal? I don’t know if I’m being a bit fussy because the message didn’t say please or thank you so perhaps I’m feeling a bit put out or if this is actually a bit OTT and not really within our responsibilities. What do you think? Curious to hear others thoughts and experiences…


We leave every room we’ve used sparkling clean, and don’t touch rooms that we either don’t need to use or have been instructed not to. It’s a bit odd that they’ve asked you to clean those rooms, and if you’re not comfortable doing so, I would just leave them!

Unless it’s a really long sit where things can get quite dusty (i.e: 1 - 2 months), I think it’s only within reason to clean rooms you’ve actually used. The 2 week sit we’re currently doing has an entire separate living space downstairs (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom etc) and we’ve never been into those rooms besides the house tour. There’s no way I’m touching or going to clean all those rooms downstairs :laughing:


Thanks Nagy! It has been 7 weeks so I suppose it is getting up there in terms of length :slight_smile: thanks for your reply.


Ah right, just realised you mentioned it was a 7 week sit! Makes a bit more sense now that they asked you to give it a clean. Maybe take a look and if needs a dust, just give it a dust & quick vacuum? I wouldn’t go to any great lengths to clean or tidy a room you didn’t use though.


@Jjay I would feel the same way if I felt it was being “demanded” of me and all responsibilities should be discussed before the sit is confirmed .

We have stayed in some very large properties with lots of rooms that we didn’t use -we only cleaned the ones that we had used and the homeowners were fine with that.

If I felt it was OTT I would probably reply “we are house sitters not cleaners but we will of course clean the rooms that we have been using and leave them as we found them . As we haven’t used your bedroom and en-suite we will leave them as they are “

However, if the hosts had been kind ,friendly, welcoming , generous and accommodating in other aspects of a 7 week sit then I may feel that a quick dust would be a nice gesture to make them feel welcome back to their home after their travels . Some sitters cook meals to welcome the hosts home ( we’ve have never done this ) but a quick dust of their bedroom might be an equally nice gesture .

I do know from experience of returning home after an extensive hospital stay that even a room that hasn’t been lived in does get dusty after several weeks . I was surprised how much dust there was in the bath … which is not something that I typically would need to “dust” when in regular use.

It seems it may be in the tone of the message rather than the request that seems off … if it had been worded “would you mind giving our room a quick dust please ? We would really appreciate it .


I would do it because it wouldn’t take long (with gritted teeth) but mention it diplomatically in the review.


Oh difficult one.
I don’t feel obligated to clean rooms which I don’t use. But sometimes, at a longer then one week sit) I just do it as an extra little gesture. So the owners will have a clean bedroom when they come home.
But not if the HO specifically tells me to not go in some rooms.

But f.e. the last housesit was rural. So I did flush their toilet weekly (to avoid smelling) and on the end I did a quick hoover and swipe to remove spiderwebs and some (dead) insects. Took me just 10 minutes extra.

Or when the older cat sleeps in the HO bedroom…then I do a quick swipe also, removing the hair etc.

But it never was specifically asked (let alone told) to me to also clean those “not used” rooms. That maybe would give me also an odd feeling.


I’m afraid that I would consider it a bit of a cheek and (very diplomatically) tell them where to stick their duster!

The room has been off limits, and you’re not there as a cleaner. I would stop at leaving the rooms that you’ve been able to use clean and tidy. Of course, if they’ve been lovely hosts and gone above and beyond to make you feel welcome, you may not mind returning the favour…


Thanks so much everyone, it’s really interesting hearing all of your replies as it has had me going back and forth wondering if I’m being a bit precious or am rightfully a bit put out. Unfortunately the sit has been a bit strained, we’ve not felt particularly welcome or appreciated and it’s been very much a vibe of not wanting the dog and cat to be put into kennels but also not really wanting people living in their home either. We’ve never been asked if we are comfortable and having a good time, despite lots of messages from us of photos of the pets and updates of their time with us with lots of “hope you’re having a fab trip!”, etc…all of which are not acknowledged other than the photos of the pets. When we’ve gone a day or two without sending an update we’ve had a one liner message from HO saying “photos?”, I guess that’s their way of asking for an update :woman_shrugging::joy:
…I think we just aren’t their sort of people and vice-versa. There have also been two things that were broken when we arrived (kitchen appliances that we really did need to use) and when we messaged to ask how to use them (as we hadn’t realised that they were broken) we were told how to temporarily fix one (without an apology or thanks) and were ignored about the second one so just haven’t used it. It’s a shame as we really love sitting and hate leaving a sit with a bit of a bad taste, I also feel awkward now when it comes to the reviews. Ahhh, anyway! Thanks again, appreciate the feedback. Take care everyone and happy sitting!


You’re a cleaner/maid? Wow!


Forgot to add - we have completed long sits in the past (2-6 months) where home owners have arranged to have a cleaner come during the last few days to spruce up the unused rooms so that is the “normal” for us. For the 6 months sits we’ve done we’ve gone and dusted and hoovered once a month just to keep on top of things and then put new bedding on before their arrival but they were the most kind, appreciative, generous, lovely people and we just wanted to go above and beyond for them. I think that’s where the issue is perhaps with this one, it’s the feeling of being taken advantage of and not appreciated…and demanded to do these extra things which we should want to do out of the kindness of our hearts.


@Jjay in that case I would probably dust their bedroom as requested and then mention in the review

“we were surprised to receive a text at the end of our sit when our hosts requested that we clean their bedroom since it had been off limits for the duration of the sit “

The new categories help sitters to be specific with the reviews , about hospitality and communication



We’d find that super annoying and pretty cheeky. They don’t sound very kind or thoughtful @Jjay and you owe it to yourself & future sitters to write an honest review. Maybe reply along the lines of “We thought your room and bathroom were off limits to us during the sit so haven’t used either space during our sit & it’s not normal practice for sitters to clean unused rooms.” With no question (as they don’t seem to answer yours) & see if they respond. A quick dust isn’t going to be the end of the world but it hasn’t been asked for very nicely. No one wants to sit for HOs with that kind of attitude. Lots of members giving you some great support on here. #allaboutfairexchange


So you were expected to clean the rooms that were off limits to you???

Having gone through a similar ordeal recently and having (for the first time ever) not one but two stars knocked off for cleaning and tidiness, it might be wiser to let prospective hosts know your views on the matter prior to accepting the sit.

No matter how big the place is, I typically find a little corner somewhere, often in the bedroom, which I make my home away from home. I do not watch TV, nor do I cook (I use only the kettle and microwave to warm up takeout). Thus, I do not even set foot in other rooms, let alone use them.

It goes without saying that I clean up after myself but leave all other spaces exactly as I found them. Yet, it wasn´t good enough for one host recently who apparently needed someone to clean the whole apartment.

I’ll be enclosing a disclaimer in my profile requesting prospective hosts not to invite me or to decline my application if they are looking for someone to clean their place as I might not be the right fit for them.


I’ve been promoted! :clinking_glasses::champagne::joy:


We have NEVER been asked to clean rooms that we don’t use, however, we have CHOSEN to dust & quickly vacuum sometimes in the odd larger house, but we wouldn’t even think of doing a bathroom/en suite that we haven’t used. It’s not in the feel good spirit of THS, but with it being 7 weeks I can understand the need for a quick dust and vac, as there will be dead flies etc, so I don’t think given the time duration that it’s too bad a request… but the en-suite too??? I hope they just mean a quick dry dust and that’s all.

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How utterly rude. That is not how you speak to anyone.


I wanted to try and think of something smart in response to the “Photos?” @botvot :thinking: like “Please maybe?” And see what they said then….honestly, so rude :flushed::flushed: #mannersmakethman


Wow, sorry to hear you aren’t being appreciated @Jjay. This is an awkward situation. If it were me, I’d do a basic dust and vacuum, then try to kill them with kindness in the hope of getting a good review, and also trying to demonstrate warmth and humanity at the same time😆
I think they will never change, and just don’t see sitters as interesting people, so best not to give them any reason to fault you.


You know, sitters shouldn’t have to try and do nice stuff to get a 5 star review; us homeowners should be thankful someone wants to live in their space and look after their animals! Me…I’m just relieved and thankful there’s some wonderful people who want to look after my ungrateful cats…oh, and feed my husbands fish! Thank you! But if anyone’s looking, I’ve got a request for a sitter in September……:kissing_heart: