When house sitters leave your place

I’ve worked through TH for approx 7 years during which time I’ve finetuned my interview process to find very good candidates, but always trying to refine. My question is how much do you expect housesiters to do to leave your home in the condition you left it?

When house sitters exit, I hope they leave our place relatively clean at least as well as we’ve left it. and basically, I say so. I’ve rarely been disappointed as my prime objective is for happy, safe pets, cared for garden etc. I always have their bed made up, room and bathroom cleaned, as well as the rest of the house–refig cleaned etc. before they arrive. Many times housesitters will ask specifics on making up the bed (usually not) before I return, etc. as I know many of them will leave early morning.

This last time there were housesitters who required two separate bedrooms etc. I understood this from the beginning, of course. They left our home and they stripped their beds but I had all their sheets, towels, dishtowels etc. to do when I returned–basically 4 loads of laundry. This irked me more than a bti as they had time to run a few loads etc, but of course that was not spelled out.

This usually is not something that irks me and maybe I should let it go, but wondering what others’ expectations are.

Many thanks, Mary

@EASTBAYCA I do think that it’s important that you state your expectations clearly.

We tend to strip bed and wash sheets when it isn’t an early departure. However we have also had some homeowners request that we did not do it for a variety of reasons such as

  1. Their Home was up for sale and there was going to be a viewing shortly after we left, so they wanted the guest bed to remain made up as it was .
  2. Due to utility costs - HO didn’t want the machine used for a partial load of only our bedding , they wanted it to be used for full loads only.
  3. HO didn’t want tumble dryer used excessively (U.K. winter) so would wait for a dry day when washing could be hung outside to dry.

4.HO wanted to wash their own holiday laundry as a priority on their return so didn’t want machine in use and would do the bedding later on .

We would not have known this had the homeowner not specified and we could have inadvertently upset them .

So yes if there is something that is important to you, it’s best to state it in a polite way .

Something along the lines of “We would appreciate it if you would strip all of the bedding / towels you have used and wash on the last day of your stay “


I have always stripped the bed and either completely done or at least started the laundry, and remade the bed if I was able to finish laundry or other sheets were left for me to remake the bed.

BUT, I will say, I only realized this was a general expectation after reading through the forum posts and lots of reviews of sitters!

I stay in a ton of airbnb’s and if I hadn’t read that the laundry/bedding thing was a general expectation, I probably would have just stripped the bed, taken out garbage, made sure dishes were done, place was tidy, much as I would when leaving an airbnb.

I always leave the place as clean as or a little bit cleaner than I found it.

If there is something specific you want done, be specific about it, is my advice. it’s not really fair to be disappointed when someone didn’t know that was important to you.


Both of you are right, of course. I usually don’t care but this was a particularly difficult return via flights etc. and I’m sure that colored my reaction.


When I signed up for this service as a sitter, I never even thought sitters would be expected to do laundry. It only occurred to me after reading a review on a house I was applying for. You’ll get replies here with sitters saying “I leave the house cleaner than when I arrived” Different people have different opinions on what “clean” means. Before our departure, our family does do a deep clean and make sure all laundry is clean but if I were a HO and someone just spent their hard earned money traveling to my house to give 24hr security and took care of my pets, I would just be grateful without being “irked” and just clean my own house.

My cousin was shocked when I told her we deep clean our housesits before leave. She said “the pet parents just saved a ton of money with you taking care of their pets for free. Why in the world are you also expected to be cleaners?” I think she has a point.

There have been a couple HO’s who told me not to do the laundry or clean the house. “We’re just so thankful that you’ll be here and we get to go on vacation. We’ll hire cleaners to take care of it” As a sitter, you can’t imagine how nice it is to find grateful HOs and feel appreciated that we as sitters are watching their precious furbabies for “FREE”. If you want petsitters, then say so in the ad. If you want petsitters + cleaners, then state so in your ad so that you won’t get disappointed.


I have always stripped the bed but don’t always put the washing machine on. I am assuming the HO will have their own washing to do and get dried when they get home and not arrive home to wet sheets. If I’m leaving in the afternoon and it is a sunny day, I sometimes do wash my sheets but quite often the HO has asked me not to as their cleaner likes to iron them still damp.

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Nothing like coming back from stressful traveling to an unmade bed and big pile of laundry, haha! I get it.

You’re absolutely right and I do express appreciation for their great care. People do have different ideas of what “clean” is and I never expect a deep clean but I do expect a tidy home when I return–as in common courtesy ie clean up after yourself which as I say I have rarely been disappointed in that. I usually handle housesitter laundry etc. when I return and don’t think a thing about it–I just wasn’t expecting so much.


@EASTBAYCA Sorry that you had a stressful return. Going forward, you can just put “ Please launder the linen/towels used and remake the beds prior to your departure” in the responsibilities section of your posting and also mention it in your guide. That way your expectations are very clear. I drive to my sits and when I have an early departure, I usually bring my own sheets and a set of towels to launder at home, so that I don’t have to wake up at 4 am to do laundry or sleep on the couch the last night.


@EASTBAYCA Sounds like you had good experiences most of the time. I’ve had a few sits where I arrive and it is really clean and tidy and I love it. But I’ve had a few where the HO’s thought they cleaned it well but it wasn’t super great in my opinion. But… I’m happy to be there, we’ll just clean it ourselves, love the pets, and it’s a new location so life is good. But I do know what you mean. It’s kinda hard not to compare from sit to sit. I’m sure it’s the same on the HO’s side where it’s hard not to compare sitter to sitter.

@Southernsitter we do the same thing. We depart early tomorrow morning for a different sit so on the beds were our own clean linens and I’m washing all their towels right now and will just use our own microfiber camping bath towels and 2 of our own hand towels. The only thing we have time for early mornings is to grab our stuff, feed the pets breakfast, and then depart.

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As a homeowner, I state in my welcome guide that I would only like the sitters to strip the bed (or beds if more than one used) and leave any dirty sheets, towels, napkins (we use cloth), by the laundry machine. We have dedicated guest rooms so if we’re arriving late, I do not have to worry about getting the bed we need late that night ready for us to sleep in. I feel that the sitters have done enough for us by staying in our home and caring for our pets that they do not have to do laundry as well. And, I’m pretty particular about how I do laundry, so I just prefer to do it myself. I don’t mind doing loads of laundry when I return – I just get to it when I get to it. And as far as cleanliness, I’m happy as long as there aren’t huge dust bunnies of dog hair everywhere. After hosting 12 sitters, I’ve never had an issue of my home not being as clean as I left it for the sitter.
As a sitter, I always ask the homeowner how they would like used/dirty items left and will do what they request. Many times I’ll sit for someone who doesn’t have a guest room, and of course they would like their bed ready for them to use, especially if their travel brings them home late at night.


I ask sitters to strip the bed and leave the dirty linens in the washer so I can run a full load, with my travel clothes, when I get back. My Welcome Guide did ask the last sitter to remake the bed with the second set of sheets if she had time before leaving. I’m sure she had time but the bed was not remade. I don’t think she even used the 2nd set during her month-long stay, though they were easy to find.

As a sitter, I like to leave the place as I found it - or cleaner. If the homeowner has put clean sheets on the bed for my arrival, I do the same for them (unless they specifically request otherwise).

We’re sitters and we always leave a place cleaner than it was when we arrived, including washing and drying any bedding and tea towels/towels. The only exception is if the owner doesn’t have a tumble dryer, we’re in a rainy area of the UK, so I still clean the sheets but then leave them on a clothes-horse or airer to dry before leaving, rather than placing them on a washing line where they are likely to end up wet again from the rain.

Sometimes it’s hard time-wise when leaving a place early in the morning, but it just means we have to start cleaning everywhere else the day before leaving.

Communication, communication, communication!! We are also members of HomeExchange, and what I have learned over the years is to be explicit with your expectations when guests leave your home. I have a special piece of paper titled “Final Day Checklist” which should be followed. If the Sitter has to leave early in the morning, perhaps they could wash the sheets and place them in the dryer, and then leave? It can be a conundrum, for sure, but well-organized people can always figure it out.


I would just be grateful for bed stripped. I would not ask for anymore but everyone is different. As long as the pets are looked after well I am happy and that our instructions were followed in their case. Unfortunately this was not the case in the last sit. We have a 1 year old puppy that is still chewing everything, so I closed all the doors that were not in use and explained why. All the doors were open when I got back including the children’s bedrooms that did not need any entry. The damage on return was huge, especially in the children’s bedrooms on a 2 day sit. Ripped things everywhere. Unfortunately communication does not always work.

Sounds like irresponsible sitters. I hope you reviewed them accordingly to save other HOs grief.


She was a very nice person but I think rather head in the clouds. How would I word such a review?

Maybe something along the lines of “whilst our puppy was well cared of & happy during their two days with XX, some basic home care instructions weren’t followed, resulting in quite a few items chewed & damaged.” And mark her down in the relavant categories (I think owners have five to rate a sitter on) Also, as you like her, it would be nice to talk to your sitter @Coco about the issue before you review so she understands her responsibilities for future sits. You live and learn as they say.

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I’d stick to the facts of what happened — doors opened unnecessarily and left ajar despite your explaining that the puppy chews everything. Lots of damage.

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