Disappointing start

We’re on our very first sit.
An hour away from home with two lovely dogs. The trouble is that the modern house is untidy, we’re not sure if the bed is made up with clean bedding and we’ve had to wash all the pans and dishes that we want to use.
Floors had to be swept, dining table had to be cleaned and we cant use the oven or air fryer as they are unwashed and full of grease.
How do experienced sitters deal with this?


Hopefully you are not staying long but if a short stay just eat out and leave it as you find it. House sitters are not paid to clean house owners mess.


Condolences @Marcus. How disappointing to start off with such a sit. Our first 24 sits were lovely and clean. But our 25th was as you described yours, as well as dogs marking on carpets, and smelliness and vacuum not working - gross all round. Because we haven’t experienced anything like that before, we were in complete shock. It was a 4 week sit. Bad energy in the house. When we eventually finished the sit, we felt like we ‘escaped’, it felt like a mild form of PTSD, to be honest.

-it took several weeks to get over that experience, but it eventually fades away
-clean what you need to make the best of your time there
-you hopefully get better at screening
-leave honest feedback - imperative for future sitters to know what they’re getting into
-find fun things to do outside, take the dogs with you if you can.

Good luck! Hopefully it’s a short sit!!


This is really disappointing @Marcus but does occasionally happen. The owners get an email telling them to ensure the house is clean and tidy, with clean bedding etc. It seems they’ve disregarded that and it’s disrespectful to you.
Have you contacted them to ask them about the bedding?
Fortunately the new review system is in play so you can give them an honest review without fear of a retaliatory review from them so other sitters can give them a wide berth.


I had this once. It was a sit for almost three weeks. Great environment, great pet. But shocked about the dirt indeed.

I reversed my routine:

Normally I thoroughly clean the house the last one-two days before I leave.

This time I deepcleaned everything in the first days and I didn’t have to clean anymore the last days. (Except what you normally daily clean, like vacuuming, stove, shower etc.)

Had 19 wonderfull, relaxing days left.
And got a review in which was mentioned that the house was so clean.

Maybe an option?


Take some before and after photos. Clean it to your specificiations. Not what you planned to do, but it’s easier than complaining. If there is a washing machine wash the sheets. Personally, I would not get into this with an HO because people can be very sensitive about criticisms of their housekeeping.

Ask yourself some questions: Do you think this is simply how they live and they don’t really notice or did they expect you to clean up for them as part of a service? (My guess is it’s probably the former, but sometimes are convinced it’s the latter.) Are they otherwise nice people? Were they honest about the pet expectations? Do you think other people might have lower standards than you and might be fine with this?

Is there a cleaner coming during your sit? Do they have a cleaner? Is there mention of a cleaner in the Welcome Guide? If there is a cleaner, you could contact the HOs and discuss getting the cleaner in at their expense and be very specific about what needs cleaning. (If the list really isn’t something that would take you more than a couple of hours, I wouldn’t. If it is really horrible to the point where you want to leave yesterday, it is worth the risk.) It’s also possible if there is a previous sitter, the sitter left the place in that condition, and that is something the HOs should know.

There is now a blind review system. There is not yet a rating in different categories for sits although allegedly THS is looking at this. You could rightly ding them a star if you felt strongly that this was not just a normal case of leaving a house quickly and some stuff wasn’t done. You could also write about it the issues you found in an objective manner – the good and the bad, so sitters can decide for themselves if it is worth taking the sit.

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Hi Marcus
I know that is disappointing. Without knowing the exact circumstances of you accepting the sit, there are a couple of things I would say.

1.If you accepted a sit without seeing photos of the home, this is a good learning experience not to do so. While THS has a rule that listings are supposed to include interior photos of the home, some listings are lacking this.

As a very experienced sitter, I have sometimes taken sits without seeing a lot of photos, but between a strong intuitive sense I got about certain things said in the listing and/or feedback that specifically said how nice and clean the house was, I strongly suspected everything would be fine and it was. But I do this pretty rarely, as I find most listings show sufficient photos of the interior.

2.Did the house perhaps look like it wasn’t the most spotless, but not as bad as you expected it to be? In cases where photos suggest the house is not a complete mess but may not be up to my standards of cleanliness, I take a pass. Perhaps a basic cleaning would be all that is needed, but if there is even a small chance it could be much worse than it appears, I don’t want to take that risk.

I may relax this a bit when looking for shorter sits to fill gaps. I recently had a couple of sits that weren’t up to my standards but I was well aware of this going in, and doing my own cleaning made the environment comfortable enough for me.

As someone who has been doing this for almost a decade, and if I am being honest, has an affinity for more luxurious surroundings, I pay a lot of attention to how clean a house looks in the photos. With maybe the exception of a couple of places, homes that looked super clean in the photos were just as clean as in person.


Only 3 days thank goodness


Only 3 days - thank goodness.

Hi @Marcus , Welcome to the dark side of petsitting! I feel your pain! - our second ever sit was as you describe. Thankfully it was only for 4 nights so we washed all the bedding , cleaned the kitchen work top and a couple of plates etc to get us by then gritted our teeth and got on with it.

The good news is that we are currently on our 49th sit and the other 48 have been good/great/amazing!

Dont let it put you off continuing to petsit


Can’t tell you how many times I"ve had a similar experience!

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In the app (but not in the web interface) one could have seen if these HOs had any sitters that did not leave a review. That would then probably have been because of the dirt.

If it is three days: just use the kitchen as little as possible.

We have experienced that more times than I’d like to count. We spend time cleaning it so that we are comfortable there & try to figure out how to avoid this in the future.

With several sits under our belt, I look for multiple sitter reviews that talk about how clean it was, zoom in on pictures (if clutter there’s a chance it might not be well dusted).

I haven’t done a review under the new system but I HOPE there is an area to rate in stars how clean the place was. I think that will help alot.

Very disappointing but yes this does happen. Please leave an honest review so that the homeowners can reflect and clean better for the next sitters.

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One of our first sits had suspect bedding so we now take bedding with us. We use it if we aren’t sure but it also helps to make tidying up at the end easier as we put our bedding on and wash theirs a couple of days before the end. For a short sit we often just use our own bedding anyway rather than theirs and that way it’s clean when they come home. Obviously this only works if you have room in your luggage for bedding!
Having said all of this we’ve only had that one short sit where we were uncomfortable with the bedding left for us, so don’t give up - it’s unfortunate that it’s your first sit.

I was hoping the same with the new review system, but it’s the same as it was. There are still no categories to rate the pet and house sit itself, it’s just writing your review as before. There are still the same categories for the pet sitter as there was before. I think the only difference now is if you don’t write a review within 14 days, only the reviewer who has written a review has it posted. Comments can still be made below the review by either party after review(s) posted.

Fully agree, been there and done similar

Just did my first review as a sitter, yes, I was disappointed to not see the ability for sitters to leave stars on categories. Bummer!


It’s such a basic fix after two years of waiting! Damp squib. The addition of categories would have been a great improvement as would changing it to “review” for both parties. Totally underwhelmed after all this time….:flushed:


OT, but what an excellent and compassionate review you left - I think it will help both potential sitters and the PPs get the right fit for their sweet pup.

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