Cleanliness of the home on arrival

Hi all,

I realise everyone has different ideas of what a “clean” home is, but how do you handle it when you arrive and it’s lower (much lower) than your standard?

My partner joked that perhaps the traveler does so, so that they’ll get their home cleaned whilst away.

Even with gentle questioning before they leave, the supplies aren’t available. While I don’t mind replenishing things I’m using, I don’t think it’s the place of the sitter to buy buckets, mops etc.

I always look carefully through the listing pictures, but it can be quite a different scene on arrival.



Hi @BridgetG you might want to have a look at the attached thread


As a sitter, I always ask beforehand where the cleaning supplies are kept. I’ve had to buy certain items such as paper towel, windex which I was surprised not to see in a home. Luckily, I’ve never arrived to sit in a “dirty” home. If It’s not to my standard, I will tidy up a bit to make myself comfortable. I’ve seen many reviews where a homeowner has noted the sitter left their home “cleaner than it was”. I never do that - I always leave it clean but I feel I would embarrass the homeowners if I was to go overboard with cleaning. That may be a different slant on what other sitters do.


I had a sit where I went in a day early and thought that this is where some sitters would say I’m not doing this and leave, the house was that bad. It was not obvious from the photos. I decided to make it work, mostly because I would have been in a bind if I’d had to find an alternative with no notice. My standards aren’t that high but the owner’s were even lower. :grin:


I’m not sure what to do about this either as the house in actuality can be different than the photos. Plus it’s not cool when you arrive to sit and there’s a whole bunch of dog poop in the yard that they didn’t bother to pick up. This has happened twice out of 11 sits. Maybe they thought of our family as part of “the help” instead of guests there to take care of the fur babies.


Hi @BridgetG
I just go with the flow and must admit, if it’s not as clean as I expect usually end up leaving it cleaner as your partner suggests! At a recent sit I noticed the bucket had one of those spinner attachments for the mop but was broken. I messaged the owner, offering to get a new one and she agreed transferring the money straight to my account. I have been known to buy the occasional cleaning materials. We all have different standards and some owners clearly don’t notice dirt!


This has been my biggest concern about housesitting, is what I might be walking into as far as cleanliness. Out of all the sits I’ve done, all of them have been VERY clean except one where it really could have used a more detailed cleaning, but it was manageable, not totally icky or anything-- I just cleaned the few things that were bothering me, and otherwise it was a really great sit so I got over it. I will say the fact that it wasn’t immaculate made me feel a little less stressed than usual when cleaning/departing, as I only felt obliged to return it to an averagely clean standard instead of pro-level clean, so that was kinda nice.


I have bought cleaning stuff on occasion. Sometimes the sponges or cloths look very sad and I like fresh ones that I can trust! Or I have bought all-purpose cleaner if theirs was nearly empty. I don’t really mind, it’s such a small expense. I would love love love to travel with a nifty vacuum cleaner :joy: I’ve had to use some horror vacuums on occasion! But yeah, it’s just not feasible.

Only once walked into a very dirty home and it was a long sit. It really broke our trust for a while. Those who haven’t been there, won’t understand. Luckily it was only 1 in 32, for which I’m very grateful.


It’s more difficult when overlapping with the owner and they’re inviting you to dine with them, but one look at that table…:face_with_peeking_eye:


I’ve bought cleaners and have been frustrated by vacuums and such that no longer work well. Cleanliness standards vary and are subjective. HOs also sometimes don’t realize their cleaning equipment is broken or worn out, unfortunately.

One sit had various elements in the household that were outright grimy. Because I realize that my cleanliness standards don’t apply to everyone, I cleaned what I needed to do the sit and just didn’t write a review. Other sitters loved the sit, according to previous reviews.

They invited me back, but I wouldn’t consider another sit there.


My goal is not to “leave it cleaner,” however, if I am vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, or wiping down a countertop, I do it thoroughly. Why do it halfway? During these “normal” efforts, I believe that sometimes I leave it “cleaner than I found it.”


@PVGemini, yes. I had a sit where I cleaned only days after the regular cleaner had been there and I found dirt in places they’d presumably cleaned. For instance, I was just vacuuming like I would at home, thoroughly.


I didn’t mention doing it “halfway”. I leave every house sit in “spotless” condition and my reviews attest to that but I don’t believe in cleaning an oven or a refrigerator that’s never been cleaned. I think that would insult the homeowners and make them feel they aren’t keeping on top of their home. Just my feelings.


I get what you mean… it would feel a little like your mother in law had come to stay and dusted off the ceiling fans. :rofl:

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I’m not sure they’d notice anyway…However, wouldn’t you want the fridge and oven clean before you use them? I’ve been presented with a couple of mouldy fridges and have cleaned a couple of really greasy ovens - appreciated by both owners.


@BridgetG haha! We had one like that recently where we overlapped for a night and the moment we stepped in the house I wanted to start cleaning! Had to wait till the next morning after they’d left and immediately found the vacuum cleaner (gathering cobwebs in the corner!) & one round of the house filled the whole vacuum cannister!! Goodness knows when it was last used!:rofl:
Couldn’t fault the hosts cooking skills though- they made us a fabulous dinner! But the cleaning!! :woozy_face::flushed: Anyway after a 2/3 hour cleaning blitz we settled in and thoroughly enjoyed the sit!

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On the other hand it can be too clean!!
We did a 2 night sitting and the husband remarked that it took wifey 2 weeks to prepare. We were frightened to use anything :laughing:


Lately, it has become almost routine that every time I arrive at a place, the first thing I must do is fetch those pictured items. The sponges are so revolting, I wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, let alone use them. Usually, there’s barely a drop of washing-up detergent left, so I need to grab that too.

The irony of it all is that, apart from my morning coffee, I don’t even cook and am hardly ever in the kitchen.

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I don’t cook, either. But I use their utensils, dishware, and pot or kettle for tea. One sit had so many crumbs in the utensil trays that I had to wash all of them and the trays first. I also didn’t trust the dishes, because when I emptied the load of dishes after them, there was food stuck to at least one plate. Their dishwasher and other appliances were so old that they didn’t work properly.

I put my hand into the utensil drawer to grab a spreader knife and there was some kind of sticky goo on it. Shudder.

I thought maybe my washing so much might hurt their feelings, but I wasn’t going to use utensils out of crumb-filled trays to spare them. I wonder if they even noticed on return. On that sit, I used two bottles of dish liquid, both of which I bought, along with new sponges.

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I never feel that I might hurt someone’s feelings when I clean something that should have been cleaned. They hurt my feelings first by not respecting my need for a clean space. Having to move into someone’s home and care for their pets is hard in itself, and then having to look at and use dirty things are just poor form in my opinion. I feel very opinionated on this topic because I would never do that to someone else (unless I’m severely sick and then hubby will jump in).

It is just not right to have to navigate through unvacuumed floors, yesteryear’s sponges, empty cleaning product containers, gardens full of dog poop, crumby and greasy countertops and utensil trays, microwaves who have never seen a wet cloth, fridges that are gross to touch, and the list goes on and on.

Yes! I hear you. Standards differ. Hence my learning curve to choose very carefully only those listings where their prior reviews mentioned that their house was immaculate on arrival. My kind of people :joy: By the way, we also don’t wear shoes inside homes…so you see my need for cleanliness.