First time having a sitter question

This is our first time having a sitter. I’ve written out a very detailed Welcome Guide. Should I put in the guide my expectations of how she should leave the house upon our return?. I mean cleanliness. Do I just have a conversation? What do ya’ expect? I know if I sit for someone, that house will be spotless. Clean, do sheets, etc. Better than it was.

Thank for you help

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We are sitters and do a thorough cleaning prior to departure but if the homeowners had specifics in the welcome guide, it would be a complete turnoff and I will 100% believe it should have been in the original listing. And if it was in the listing, I would not apply as I would wonder how finicky or picky the homeowner would be and how much stress I would have to deal with trying to make sure everything was perfect for the homeowner. Maybe you would get applications anyways if the home was in a great area even if you did notate the cleaning steps in the listing. For me, I would just pass


I don’t mind if someone mentions that the home should be returned as it was found. If a HO wants their home “better than it was,” I suggest they hire a cleaning service. I would never apply for such a sit.


First of all I really dislike the Welcome Guide and find it very hard to write due to the way everything is sectioned off. I also do some sitting, and have found some ingenious homeowners have found ways to get all the necessary information onto one or two pages of coherent instructions and just ditch the thing. Personally, I’ve created two documents – one focusing on making yourself at home, home safety, responsibilities related to the home, etc. and the other just about the pet responsibilities. At the end of the home responsibilities I have a short section that is missing from the seemingly comprehensive official THS Welcome Guide. That section is called the Exit Guide. I basically go over what I would like the sitter to do before existing. It’s a checklist. This makes things very easy for everyone. There is NOT a lot sitters have to do, and that’s also in there – that is I remind them of what they don’t need to do, as in: “You don’t need to any laundry for me, but please strip the bed and leave the used linens and blankets in a neat pile on the floor with used towels, etc. If there are towels, extra pillow cases, etc that you didn’t use please place these in one of the empty cubes…”


Totally fair to say please look after & respect our home as you would your own and also, please return it as you found it @Skellogg but you can’t say “Better than”. You can have a cleaning chat with your sitter and also put it in the welcome guide. Hopefully it was specified in your original listing which means only clean freaks :wink: will have applied! Sitters aren’t house cleaners as @Maggie8K says. If you’re very particular you might want to book your own cleaner for your return day if it’s a long sit. Communication and clear expectations on both sides are everything :+1:t3:

I agree with others. Its a turn off to be told- too specifically- about cleaning expectations as most conscientious sitters will always aim to leave the home as clean as they found it anyway. So if you leave it beautifully clean & welcoming for the sitter that’s how you should get it back.
But if you have specific wishes e.g re laundry its good to mention. We would always strip the beds as a very minimum and wash/dry/remake beds etc according to HO instructions and/or time.
Make sure to provide all necessary cleaning products-not all hosts do! And new cleaning sponges in the kitchen please!!:flushed:


Although not explicitly stated, a sitter should leave the house as they found it or better. For me, this means emptying all trash, washing linens and towels, cleaning counters and floors, rinsing/wiping toilets and sinks, and making sure there is no trace of my presence. The only exception I have ever had to this is when the pet parent left a filthy stovetop and dirty dishes in the sink and a messy litterbox for my arrival. I cleaned up the disaster of a litter box for the cat but promptly took photos and notified support of the mess in the kitchen. I only washed what I used and left the rest for the owner to take care of when they got back. I’m a caretaker and not a maid!


Hi @Skellogg - sitters also get a reminder from THS towards the end of the sit regarding a suggested cleaning routine.
This is a bit hit and miss as sometimes I get one and sometimes not but I have my own end of sit routine and standards anyway.
As other members have said, be specific in the guide with regard to anything that is very important to you. Communication is key.

@Twitcher 7 sits completed and I’ve never had that cleaning reminder ! Is it an e-mail ?
Fortunately I’ve managed without it :rofl: and reviews have said “very clean house ““immaculate “

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We completed 15 and have never received a reminder either


Welcome @Skellogg ,
For us as sitters, I feel the best approach is to mention in your listing that you will turn over the home clean and would appreciate it to be returned in the same condition. That lets us know as sitters that cleanliness is important to you. If there are specific things you’d like, they can be dealt with in the welcome guide. For example, we will normally wash all sheets & towels used prior to your arrival unless we are specifically told otherwise. Sometimes it’s a request to just strip the bed as they may wish to wash other things with the sheets when they get home.
One of the best things to do is look at the comments in the feedback and see what others have to say about cleanliness.
Saying anything about returning it cleaner would be a turn off for us as we would feel you’re looking for a housekeeper instead of a sitter.
Dan and Nan


@IHeartAnimals i don’t think we’ve ever received one either.

A couple of screenshots just for info. There is also a homeowner checklist.

But there are plenty of those, at least on the forum.

I’ve never received the cleaning checklist. I already do all those things (I have my own checklist), except I don’t stay long enough to merit washing the pets’ bedding.

One of my sit cats barfed, so I of course washed the soiled item. But first I asked the HOs whether it needed dry cleaning or whatever, because it looked handmade. Didn’t want to risk ruining it.

Never had a cleaning list sent. Ever. Full time sitters for two years :flushed::joy::raised_hands:t3:

Thank you everyone for your honest opinion. I really appreciate it!

I guess it may have come across wrong. I don’t expect my house to be left better than I have it when they arrive. That’s why I reached out to you experts. I want to be respectful and am thankful for their stay here. I didn’t realize they got a reminder from TH. I’ve not sat before.

Your tips and suggested have helped.

Much appreciated!


So this checklist tells sitter to replace all the toiletries they’ve used? To mop floors? Wash pet bedding?

I don’t want my sitters to do any of that!

Also, advising sitters to leave used sheets/towels on the floor (if there is not opportunity to do laundry) is a huge no in my house, due to pet mischief. Fortunately I specifically cover this with sitters, but if anything this list should say to place any dirty linens in a hamper or wherever dirty laundry goes or to ASK.


There really isn’t an “Exit Guide” in the official THS Welcome Guide, but I’ve found it useful to write Exit instructions. I try to keep them simple and not overwhelming, but I think it is important to be specific as different hosts have different expectations. For instance, I live in NYC. I don’t have roaches, but they are common and to avoid them, I don’t want any dirty dishes left in the sink. However, I also don’t want the dishwasher left running when no one is in the apartment because a leak or problem could be very costly. So I tell sitters, to please leave the kitchen sink clean and empty, but it’s fine for dishes to be drying in the dish rack, and it’s fine to have hand rinsed “dirty” dishes in the dishwasher. I remind them to do things that are important – a final scoop of the litter for instance, and check the fridge if they left anything that should be thrown away. I also sit, so I am well-aware that different people in different homes do things differently and have different priorities. Communication is the key.

This is why communication is the key! I want the bedding in a pile on the floor! But I totally get why you don’t!