Cleaning rooms that you haven't been allowed into

Anytime I need a guidance with diplomatic response, I’ll come to you Maggie!!!


As a newbie, perhaps I’m naive, but looking at the cleaning request in isolation, I personally don’t think this is a lot to ask for.

Although the main focus of THS is on pets, it is also called HOUSEsitting for a reason. As a sitter, I see our role is also to take care of the property as well as any pets. Cleaning requests shouldn’t be onerous e.g. asking for a deep clean, or to clean every single day. But a dustdown of a bedroom doesn’t seem like much to ask.

I think a good general rule of thumb is to look after the property as if it were my own. If this were my own house, would I have to give this room a clean after 7 weeks? The answer is probably yes, even if I haven’t been using the room myself.

In this particular instance, with all the OP’s comments taken into consideration, it does sound like the HO has been a little inhospitable and some good manners would go a long way. But definitely not worth risking cutting your nose off to spite your face by refusing the simple request. It only creates potential of a retaliatory review. And at least they asked in this instance, rather than assumed the sitter would do it anyway, then leave a bad review! Although how the HO reviews here remains to be seen. As others have suggested, possibly worth deducting a star from the hospitality category in this, and similar, instances.


Quite honestly I cant even believe someone would ask you to do that…its off limits to you but clean it before I get home…thats a big old nope!!


My POV: I’m a big believer in being firm and not making compromises with people who are unwelcoming, exploitative, etc.

Some people might consider that cutting off your nose to spite your face. I consider it having boundaries and deciding how you let people treat you. And the more others are willing to let them get away with such, the more those folks think they can do it to others. I won’t enable such.

I’m perfectly willing to risk a bad review for standing up for myself and maybe others. Bullies and exploiters tend to respond well to that, because they prefer easier targets.

If I get a bad review for not rolling over, shrug, I’ll live. I’d rather not sit if that were a necessity of THS. But it simply isn’t.

This dynamic can play out in work settings as well. From my experience, standing up for yourself pays off. YMMV.


It’s a long sit, you are “housesitting” - that includes rooms you aren’t using. A quick dusting isn’t going to hurt you. I’ve let owners know in advance that I will clean the space I use but not those I don’t use on short sits but for long ones, I always dust and give a quick vacuum. Because, I personally would want to return to a dust free home after a long trip away. Rather than complaining, make it about creating a space you yourself would be pleased to return to. Giving kindness to others is a lot more far reaching than complaining about doing kindness.
I was kicked out of a sit halfway through and I still managed to clean the home and present it to a high standard, because, despite the owners being horrible, that’s how I WOULD WANT my space to be treated. So How do you want your space to be returned to you after a nearly 2 month trip away? Then do that.
The owners are not required to respond to your comments about their travels. It’s none of your business. You’re there to look after their home and pets, not enquire about their personal business.
The way we choose to read texts is also interesting. There is no emotion in text messages so to choose to read it a particular way, is, your choice. Asking for photos could well have been sent with a huge smile upon their face and a heart full of goodwill. Or did you choose to read “photos?” as rude and unkind? Its all a choice. Reacting in a negative way says more about you than it does the owners.
Dusting a room after nearly 2 months closed up is not a tall ask, its logical to want to return to a dust free space. Right?

@Gabba the way you write sounds like you are putting the HO needs/demands above your own. Cleaning a home you are being kicked out of? Why would you bother?!
‘Photos??’ Without a smily face I think most would interprete that as unfriendly and demanding…


WRONG. Sorry. As you´re most welcome to approach life the way you like but you cannot (nor should you) impose your views on others.


I was bothered because despite them being horrible, I am not. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

As for the “photos?” how would you suggest to react to that? Send photos or complain about sending photos?

Isn’t this a forum to share our views and experiences with others?
Why are you sorry?

@Gabba For us, housesitting isn’t about being simply kind, it’s an equitable exchange, and - like alll human interactions - best when it includes mutual respect. A one word message stating ‘Photos?’ demonstrates quite the opposite. Another, requesting that unused rooms should receive ‘a good dusting’ denotes expectations, verging on demands. This is not equitable, it conveys a rather rude sense of entitlement, in my book.

There clearly have been other issues at play here, for the OP to feel uncomfortable or undervalued.

I think response depends on one’s own character, values and sense of worth. We’re all different. But, if rude demands are met by current sitters, the PP will continue to expect absolute compliance.


Personally we don’t want to sit for people who aren’t kind, engaging, communicative and appreciative. They also need to understand the whole ethos of mutual exchange and balance. We don’t need to be their friends but we do deserve respect & thoughtfulness. Yes their prerogative to be rude, unfriendly and demanding but the next sitters also deserve to know that’s what they’re letting themselves in for. Sure, dust the room and let the rudeness float past your ears but be sure it will be noted in their review. #becarefulwhatyouwishfor


Such owners are not kind.

I am not going to clean the cobwebs in the rest of their home/mansion/castle/palace.


@ ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’ that’s true but in this context you make yourself small and servant-like when you do what they expect- to please them- even when they treat you badly. They will continue to treat sitters like servants if you don’t ‘teach’ them that is not the way!
Re- the photos- I would probably send some (through gritted teeth) without any comment added.
I may or may not dust their room- depends on how I feel at the time but if I did it would be very quick & superficial and only done not to jeopardize my 5* review (which these types might not give anyway…)
But I would write all the negatives in my review and knock a couple of stars of on hospitality. I’d definitely want to warn future sitters but I’d probably not say anything directly to the hosts as it would likely backfire.


good points

@Gabba I disagree that housesitting equals house cleaning service. To me, the housesitting part of the exchange is making sure the house doesn’t look empty, watering plants, bringing in mail/packages, and most importantly, being there if something goes wrong such as a leak or storm that causes damage.

When I leave, the rooms I used are spotless, but I don’t feel the need to clean rooms I didn’t use. Some homes are very large, If there are 6 bathrooms and I used one, I don’t feel it’s my responsibility to clean the other 5. I’m on a sit now with an entire floor I haven’t been on. I’m not planning to clean the rooms up there. If a host takes an extended trip and wants the entire home cleaned/freshened up before they return, they are welcome to hire a cleaner.

As others have stated, this is a mutual exchange. Unfortunately, some hosts don’t seem to understand that and want to add on extra chores. Those that get away with it will likely keep adding more. It’s important for all of us to set boundaries.


These HOs appear not to differentiate between housesitting and housekeeping. Their communication style seems to suggest they expect the latter, but even so their seeming abrupt and demanding style of their texts would be off putting to the latter, even if they are paying well.


These are fair points. As with many of the cases on the forum here, it all comes down to the particular context of the situation. You are absolutely right, if a HO has been completely inhospitable, why should I overburden myself bending to their will? Especially if they are the type who may write a poor review (or nothing at all) regardless. In this particular instance, I don’t think the dusting of a room is a hill worth dying on, but there are definitely other scenarios which would be. YMMV indeed (you have taught me a new acronym!)

Particularly like your point on the impact on the wider community/enabling poor behaviours. Will keep that in mind, and again that’s why being honest with the reviews is so important.


It’s an odd request but if I did it, I’d just lightly dust and vacuum. If you leave a couple of items in slightly different angles, they’ll know that you did what they asked. Took me years to realize that that’s a paid housecleaner trick.:sweat_smile:


Perhaps reply with, Did the spell check delete the P’s and Q’s? :slight_smile:
Or, photographer was not in the job description.

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@cuttlefish LOVE the Kingsman reference!

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