Cleaning the house

So far I’ve had 3 sitters and only one left my house “clean and tidy”. One cleaned only the kitchen sink and left grease on every appliance. Another didn’t even remove linens from their bed, let alone wash and fold them, and left towels all around. With my rabbits, the litter boxes within the cage were cleaned, but the cage itself was left filthy. When I leave the house in the sitter’s care I make sure everything is clean so they’re comfortable, I’ve even had it professionally cleaned. Is it necessary to put “please leave the house cleaned and in good order”, or more cleaning expectations in the list of responsibilities? It seems so obvious, so I think spelling it out would detract from my listing.


As a sitter, I don’t have a problem with something like, I’d appreciate my house being left as clean as I’ve left it. But I’m clean and tidy. It might turn off some sitters, but many of them, you’d probably want to avoid.

The tone of how you write your listing matters, though. I’ve seen some with similar responsibilities, but the ones written in an “order-giving” or “employment like” tone are ones I avoid, because the HO’s mindset comes across as potentially entitled or presumptuous. That’s more likely to lead to poor outcomes.

Have you screened sitters by looking for references to cleanliness and tidiness in their reviews? If not, that can help.


Expectations around things like washing and folding used sheets should be spelled out in the welcome guide or notes you leave the sitter out as every HO seems to want something different and sitters are not mind readers. Unless you only have one bed and one set of sheets I would recommend some flexibility as often HS have to leave early and for one reason or another may not be able to wash, dry, fold or, and I wouldn’t even apply for a sit that asked for this, iron sheets. In terms of cage cleaning maybe better instructions at the start of the sit if you don’t already cover this.


Personally we leave a home cleaner than when we arrived, however, it would put me off if it was actually in your profile as I may think you are picky, and also it isn’t always viable to both wash and dry sheets, let alone iron them, if leaving very early on the last day.

I wouldn’t want to read in an HO’s profile that they were tarnishing us with the same brush as other not-so-great sitters, as it would give me a negative vibe about your sit to start of with, so I am likely to not apply.

I’d prefer you popped it clearly in your Welcome Pack, but treat each sitter/s individually, most of us are clean, tidy, respectful, and thankful that we have the pleasure of caring for your most loved family members.

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@Bunnylady I’ve had a few pet parents tell me not to worry about cleaning and one even said “we’re just grateful that you’re here. Our house is your house so help yourself to anything you want”. I was so grateful to hear those words that we went over and beyond for these folks. We do clean, wash dirty linen and towels if we used them but I don’t think every sitter would. I will say though that if I read in a listing a long list of cleanup chores, I would just pass as I don’t want to start off the relationship feeling like an employee. If I saw it at the last minute in the welcome guide, I would not give you 5 stars as I would want to know all expectations and information. If I were you, I would ready sitters reviews and look for statements where it mentions how the home was returned clean and tidy and that the dirty laundry was washed.


It’s a tough one. I’m probably overly worried about cleaning and tidying on a sit - to the point where my partner has to try and reign it in a bit. We always leave places spotless and I’d thought that was very normal behaviour from a sitter.

If a place is given to us in a less than spotless state I’m less worried but it sounds like yours is very clean.

But yes listings which are overly particular or ding multiple sitters for not being clean would ring alarm bells for me - just because it’s very unusual for the majority of sitters to leave a place messy. Maybe for your next sit look through previous reviews for applicants and find one where they all mention how clean the house was left.

You could perhaps look at other reviews left for your previous sitters and see if they mention cleanliness- if all other homeowners were satisfied interrogate whether you just have very high standards? I’d have to do that if I was ever hosting sitters I’m sure!

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I leave everywhere clean and tidy but a few times I have been told not to bother to clean as they will do it or they have a cleaner coming in who will also come when I am there if I want them. As for bed linen again its a choice often I leave early in the morning, so cannot wash and dry in the time so I just put them in the laundry basket. On my sit at the moment their washer is on the top floor and they once had a leak so they certainly don’t want anyone to leave the house with the wash still on. I make sure I discuss it before I leave so we are all clear. I think too many people treat it as having a paid employee. If I get that impression I don’t accept the sit. Often you can read it in how the advert in worded


As Hosts, we are reminded to clean the house prior to our sitters arrival. I wonder if sitters are provided with similar advice? If not, they should be, would make it easier all round.
All our sitters were great bar the last couple. Bath filthy, kitchen greasy.


Good topic.

My wife and I are super clean, well, she is significantly more than I.

As sitters, we do pretty much anything to make sure the animals and pets are as happy as possible.

Our first priority is that the pets are safe, loved, and spoiled with attention while under our care.

Second priority is leaving the house immaculate.

That said, we have arrived at two sits in the past 18 months that were dirty, one of them not with THS.

And when I say dirty, the non-THS place the dishes were stuck to the cupboards, there was moldy food in the microwave, sink was left full for us to do the dishes, there was quite literally things growing in the fridge and even a plant had sprouted in the dishwasher which was more funny than gross.

My wife tracked her hours and it took four hours a day for almost two weeks of cleaning to get it to her standard of living.

So you having standards is good.

That said, I think it’s critical to include something in your profile like you mentioned in your post and also reiterate it during your interview.

We always have a conversation about cleanliness with the HO because of the experiences we had last year.

I feel like the minimum standard is to give the home back at least as good as you found it.

If cleanliness is important to you, add this to your listing won’t detract from it, it’ll attract the people you want for sitters, at least it would for us.

Hope that perspective helps.

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I will reiterate what others have said here. I wouldn’t put detailed cleaning processes in your listing; I believe that’s what should go in your Welcome Guide. I have many details in my Welcome Guide, and I also let the sitter know that once they have confirmed, I will send the Welcome Guide immediately so that they will have time to read it and determine if the sit is right for them. I have told every sitter that after reading the Welcome Guide, if something doesn’t sit right with them, they can either cancel, or we can work through any issues. I think it’s important to start out with honest communication between sitter and homeowner. I don’t require a lot in the way of end of sit cleaning, just strip the beds, leave dirty items at the washer and vacuum any dog hair dust bunnies. But, if I did have certain requirements, I would definitely put them in the Welcome Guide and let the sitter decide if that’s something they could do at the end of the sit, and if they couldn’t, they could just cancel and I would relist.

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Thanks for all the good input. Yes, I usually say as I meet the sitter in person, “the house doesn’t need to be perfect, but please leave it as clean as you found it”. I Also add: help yourself to any spices, items in the fridge that you’d like, etc.

I like the idea of THS sending the sitters a reminder to clean up before the homeowner is back, since they give us a cleaning reminder before the sitter arrives.

(wish I could get that pop up again that offered to tie my TH list)

They’re supposed to get an email just like yours @Furlove & @Bunnylady but in 2 years of full time sitting on here we have never once been sent it! (We’re also super clean sitters who leave the house as it was) #gofigure :flushed:

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I’ve never received a cleaning reminder for sitters, but no need. I automatically clean as I go and do a final clean before leaving.


I think in that situation I should have presented the home owners with a bill for all the cleaning you did. How absolutely disgusting. I think you’d have been within your rights to have left immediately on arrival as a result, although appreciate that’s not always possible especially if you arrive after the owners have left.

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Yes, I’ve had emails. However, I don’t think owners nor hosts should need emails telling us to clean and what to clean, it’s rather patronising. It should go without saying and is in the terms and conditions that not many of us have probably read…


Hi @Bunnylady
I always try to leave the HO place cleaner than I found it. However I rarely have time to wash, dry and fold bed sheets (my washer/dryer takes 5 and a half hours to wash and dry heavy loads like bed sheets). I ask whether I’m to leave the bed sheets and towels in the washing machine when I leave. I say to the HO that I prefer not leaving the washing machine on after I leave as a friend had a small kitchen fire this way.

@Smiley “it should go without saying”…if only hey? :face_with_spiral_eyes: So many comments recently stating how bad some places were left, as well as how bad some were on arrival.

I personally do not get how anyone that was raised properly, can leave a home, either HO or HS, anything other than how you would like your own home to be. It defies logic to me. I am a clean freak but gee, some people really abuse that term.:person_shrugging:

Yes, I don’t remember getting that email reminder either when I was the sitter 2 times. It would be so helpful to have THS send the information about cleaning to the sitters instead of us HO, for all the reasons mentioned in the comments: we don’t want to scare away good sitters by appearing overly picky, etc But Our houses are not hotels, and there’s not a maid coming in to pickup after these sitters. HOs don’t feel like cleaning the whole house after a day-long drive or coming home with jet lag.


Here’s what I’ve done and it’s worked. I have a set of Exit instructions. It’s not a very long list. I try to keep it simple and doable and try to imagine what it’s like for someone on their last day. It’s a checklist. It’s simple, but it’s also specific because different people may have entirely different priorities. Think of the 5 tasks (maximum) that are the most important to you. My list starts with “Strip bed” but “clean bathroom” is second.

Why do you need a list? It should be obvious…