Cleaning guides

The complete guide:

How to get a domestic cleaner for your home

By Dawnn Hilton-Lito

Jul 4

8 min read


Getting a regular domestic cleaning service is one of the best and most cost-effective ways to improve your quality of life.

Domestic house cleaners can save you hours each week – giving you back quality time to spend with your family or on other interests. And, you get to come home to a professionally cleaned house that's spotless and looks and feels amazing!

In this guide you'll learn how to get a regular domestic cleaner and avoid the common mistakes people make.

Picture of a private domestic cleaner working in a client's home
Picture of a private domestic cleaner working in a client's home

What does a professional cleaning service include?

A regular cleaning service involves the general tasks required to maintain a clean and tidy home.

Every room is included, with the cleaner taking time to vacuum or mop floors, dust and polish surfaces, worktops and skirting boards and other general cleaning and tidying tasks.

Cleaning surfaces is also a house cleaning staple - including cupboards, light switches and even the front door.

What's not included in a regular domestic cleaning service

There are some tasks which are generally excluded from a domestic cleaning service.

Things such as specialist carpet cleaning (above the usual vacuuming), exterior windows, away-from-home laundry and dry cleaning, hoarding or biohazard cleaning and end-of-tenancy cleaning are generally not covered.

Oven cleaning can be included, but this differs from deep oven cleaning services that involve specialist training, chemicals, cleaning tools and equipment.

How often does a domestic cleaner visit?

From a domestic cleaning perspective it's best for home cleaning to take place weekly as this allows a thorough cleaning standard to be maintained. However, fortnightly cleaning can work too if more time is allocated to each visit.

A monthly home cleaning service is best avoided as this makes it difficult to maintain the right standard. Instead of regular domestic cleaning it becomes more like a one-off cleaner service each month (which takes much longer).

Picture showing an expert domestic cleaner cleaning a bathroom sink
Picture showing an expert domestic cleaner cleaning a bathroom sink

How long will it take to clean my home?

The time it takes to clean your home depends on a few things:

  • The size of your home and how many bedrooms and bathrooms it has
  • Whether it's a one-off or regular clean (and how often regular cleaning takes place)
  • Whether you have the same cleaner each visit
  • Whether your cleaning service includes all rooms
  • Any time needed for extra, less frequent cleaner tasks
  • Whether your home is pet-free or pet-friendly

More time will be spent on higher traffic rooms such as the kitchen and bathrooms so if your home has more of these rooms then more time is required.

Estimated cleaning times based on the size of your house

Every home is different, but the following table provides an approximate guide of regular domestic cleaning services based for different house sizes.

  1 Bed 2 Bed 3 Bed 4 Bed 5+ Bed
1 Bath 2hrs/wk 2hrs/wk 2.5hrs/wk
2 Bath 2hrs/wk 2.5hrs/wk 3hrs/wk 3.5hrs/wk
3 Bath 3hrs/wk 3.5hrs/wk 4hrs/wk 5+hrs/wk
4 Bath 5hrs/wk 5.5+hrs/wk
5+ Bath 6+hrs/wk

Times can be adjusted depending on whether all rooms need cleaning each visit, and whether your home is pet-friendly or pet-free. For example, times can also be reduced if some of the bed or bathrooms are spare and so not used every day.

However, one-off cleans (such as a Spring clean) usually takes two-or-three-times longer as there is a lot more involved.

Is a deep clean needed before the regular cleaner service starts?

It's a good idea to have a one-off clean before regular cleaning starts. This brings your house to a spotless standard that your cleaner can then maintain by staying on top of regular house cleaning tasks.

For one-off visits you should communicate areas of particular focus and provide pictures to clarify your cleaning requirements, where possible.

How to find a domestic cleaner

Great cleaners are in demand, and finding a reliable house cleaner that has availability when and where you need it can be tricky.

We suggest the following methods to find a great private cleaner for your home:

  • Ask friends and family for recommendations
  • Look out for leaflets from local cleaners
  • Search online for "home cleaning service" or "reliable house cleaning services", for example
  • Through a domestic cleaning company (such as One Less Thing)
Picture of a homeowner looking for a domestic cleaner
Picture of a homeowner looking for a domestic cleaner

Some people choose to post on Facebook but we don't recommend this as it often results in lots of responses of very varied quality. This can be overwhelming if you're looking to focus on quality and take a lot of time to follow-up and vet each one.

Make a shortlist of local domestic cleaners

If searching for expert cleaners yourself, you should aim to shortlist a few to meet and interview.

Alternatively, we'll be happy to arrange your cleaner for you. As a cleaning company we provide local regular domestic cleaners that meet our thorough vetting and approval process.

This includes interviews, references-checking and test clean to ensure they meet our high standards. You'll get the same local cleaner each visit and all our domestic cleaners are also DBS-checked.

Fewer than one in six cleaners that apply are successful but those that are prove to be reliable and professional cleaners that provide an excellent service.

What should I look for in potential house cleaners?

You will obviously want your cleaner to be good at home cleaning, but there are many other important traits to doing a fantastic job:

  • Being on time and consistent (key to a reliable house cleaning service)
  • Being friendly and approachable
  • Having good communication skills
  • Being resourceful/problem-solving skills
  • Being honest and trustworthy

Once you've shortlisted a few potential domestic cleaners you should ask them questions to understand if they're the right fit for your house cleaning requirements.

What questions should I ask?

Good questions to ask a potential cleaners include:

  • How long would they recommend each visit?
  • What are their hourly rates, and how will you pay?
  • Are they good with animals if you are a pet-friendly home?
  • How they store your house keys between cleaning sessions?
  • Do they have any references/reviews?
  • Do they have insurance (cleaning should be an fully insured service)?
  • Do they drive or will they come via public transport?
  • Will I have the same cleaner each visit?
  • What happens when they're away (e.g. bank holidays or around Christmas)?
  • Will I have an individual person or do they use cleaning teams?
  • Do they bring your own cleaning products/equipment? If so, how do they ensure there is no cross contamination between homes?
  • What happens if I want to change or cancel my regular cleaning service?

Cleaning service tasks

Ask them what house cleaning services they can help with to meet your cleaning needs, such as:

  • Ironing
  • Changing bedding
  • Cleaning inside windows
  • Do they vacuum and mop all floors each visit?
  • Can they perform a deep clean or one-off spring clean, if required?
  • Do they provide any other professional cleaning services?

You may want your cleaner to be DBS-checked. They may already have this (if so you can ask to see their certificate), or they can apply online and get a DBS check within a week or so.

How long will they be providing cleaner services?

It's useful to understand how long your cleaner plans to continue offering local domestic cleaning services as you want to avoid having to find a new cleaner if they leave the area/industry.

If you'd prefer a local cleaner that's been through a full vetting process then we're on hand to help. We provide local, vetted cleaners to deliver a great service. We also arrange a replacement cleaner if they are unavailable, or you would like to change.

How much does a domestic cleaner cost?

Outsourcing your domestic cleaning is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your quality of life.

It's worth paying the market rate for your private house cleaner to attract (and retain) someone that will make your life easier and deliver an exceptional service. But how much should you pay?

What is the market rate in my local area?

We're constantly recruiting domestic cleaners at rates that are both fair and attractive to cleaners, and represent great value to clients too. You can find the market rate in your area by entering your postcode into our online quoting tool.

You should expect to pay a little more per hour for one-off cleaning compared to weekly or fortnightly cleaning too.

At One Less Thing we look to match clients with cleaners that live (or already work) close to you. This reduces travel time and cost so your cleaner can keep more of the money they charge – avoiding wasted costs and reducing cleaning fees.

What agreements should I have with my cleaner?

Once you've found a cleaner you need to put the right service agreements in place with them:

  • A service agreement between you and your cleaner

    This is a simple agreement that sets out that your cleaner is self-employed and will provide the agreed fortnightly/weekly clean services to you.
  • A keyholder agreement

    If your cleaner will hold a key and let themselves into your house each visit then you should ask them to sign a keyholder agreement to acknowledge that they'll keep your key safe, not label it with anything to identify your house, and return it if requested.
  • A payment/cleaning attendance form

    A simple form to keep track of payments after each cleaning visit.
  • A domestic cleaning checklist

    To allow you to identify what you'd like your cleaner to focus on.

You can find some of these documents in our downloads section. We also provide our clients with service agreement which can be used for the expert cleaners that we arrange.

How should I provide access to my house?

For regular cleaning service visits you can:

  • Give your cleaner a key

    You can give your cleaners a key and ask them to sign a keyholder agreement (see above). They can then let themselves in for each visit.
  • Let them in each visit

    If you plan to be at home then you can let your cleaner in for each visit. If you are working from home communicate an entry protocol to minimise disruptions.
  • Install a key safe

    Adding a key safe to the exterior of your property allow you them to gain access to your house and then return the key once done. The combination code should always be jumbled upon retrieving and returning the keys to the safe. (Find a key safe on
Picture of a key safe, used to provide your cleaner access to you home
Picture of a key safe, used to provide your cleaner access to you home

You should make your cleaner aware if there are any other considerations when they visit your house, for example if your house has an alarm (and how to disarm it) and any pets that should be kept inside (or that are not allowed in certain rooms).

What cleaning products and equipment should I provide?

It's best to provide the cleaning products and equipment to ensure you're happy with what's being used in your home. This also avoids any cross contamination with your cleaner's other clients (pet-friendly and pet-free homes for example).

A good supply of microfibre cloths is a must for successful cleaning. Not only do they provide a superior finish but are used to colour code cleaning areas:

Using your cleaning products also means your cleaner can cater for any special requirements you may have, such as using eco-friendly products or solutions for specialist floors and surfaces.

The items you should have available include:

In terms of cleaning equipment, you'll need the following:

What to do on your cleaner's first visit

Once you've selected a cleaner, signed the appropriate agreements, provided them with a way to access your home it's time to arrange their first visit.

It's a good idea to be available to meet your cleaner in person at the beginning of the first visit. This means you can walk them through your home, show them around and answer their questions.

You should also maintain an open channel via phone, SMS or WhatsApp in case you need to coordinate any changes.

Should you choose to work with One Less Thing house cleaning company you'll also benefit from friendly account management by your local branch manager.

And that's it!

With your regular domestic clean service arranged, you can enjoy the amazing feeling of walking into a professionally cleaned home, and all the extra time that you no longer have to spend cleaning.

Once you've had a great, reliable and quality cleaner it's hard to go back.

Picture of One Less Thing author Dawnn Hilton-Lito

Dawnn Hilton-Lito

Dawnn is General Manager at One Less Thing. She has been in the domestic cleaning industry since 2016 and has done everything from being a cleaner herself to running her own cleaning business.

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