Tag Archives: cleaning tasks

Domestic cleaning, a little bit of history

Domestic cleaning has been one of the oldest jobs in history; a task usually done by the women in the household.

Just before the “housework revolution” in late 19th Century and early 20th Century, domestic cleaning was a harsh physical task.

The job of bringing water from the pump was exhausting by itself and it needed to be done at least 8 or 10 times a day, so families could have enough water for any household tasks, from cleaning to cooking.

The smoke from coal or wood burning stoves would make walls black and leave carpets full of dirt and debris. So, on a daily basis, all walls and floors and windows had to be washed and scrubbed.

Before the invention of washing machines, doing the laundry was the “monster” task; one that all housewives would hate the most. Clothes needed to be soaked the day before, boiled, starched, rinsed… Homemade lye soap was used, which would irritate women’s hands considerably.

Hard and exhausting domestic cleaning chores started to see light at the end of 19th Century. Do you know that the carpet sweeper was invented in the 1880s? and the mop in 1893? The electric iron was invented in 1903 and the electric vacuum cleaner in 1907. The use of these appliances didn’t extended to all households at the beginning, being only rich families the ones enjoying the improvements. It wasn’t until 1920s and 1930s, when the use of these commodities started to spread, that we could talk about a real revolution in domestic cleaning.

What do you think? Have you find a new love in your washing machine after reading this article?


What can I tell my cleaner on the first day?

Here at Amy Cleaning we consider quite beneficial to always arrange a meeting with your domestic cleaner before s/he starts cleaning on a regular basis. Your requirements and expectations as a client can be very different from those of your neighbour, friend or any person you cross on the street; and this is the main reason why it is essential that you pass on this information to your cleaner before the work starts on a regular basis.

Here are some ideas on what to talk about with your new domestic cleaner on the first visit:

1- Explain what needs to be done in the house. I know, some people may think “it’s just cleaning what s/he has to do”; but it may be that you don’t want your domestic cleaner to clean the fridge every week or do the washing up. Explain her/him what you expect  to be cleaned and how often; this will avoid confusion on a later day. Check the task sheet on our web to help you out.

2- Show cleaning products, and most importantly, where you keep all the stuff. So, domestic cleaners are not magicians. They know how to use a hoover, but they don’t know where you keep yours; so it would be better if you can show them around the house and tell them where and how to keep everything after each use. And if they will need to use your washing machine or iron, just give them a quick lesson on how to use it (we all remember how crazy we got the first day we used our state of the art-do-it-all-digital washing machine!).

3- Rubbish collection. It is part of a domestic cleaner’s job to get all rubbish out at the end of the cleaning job, that we know. But you will need to explain her/him where to put it, if s/he needs to do recycling, on which day your council is collecting the rubbish and so on.

4- Keys and alarms. We all have our tricks to open the main door to our home and we may need to show this to our new cleaner if we don’t want her/him to get stuck outside the house on her first day of cleaning. So show her and let her try her new set of keys and let her practice with the alarm code while you are beside her; that will give her confidence and you will avoid major problems in the future.

5- Specific requirements. We talked about the “What to do” but here at Amy Cleaning we believe the “How to do” is even more important. If you want your domestic cleaner to take her shoes off when entering the house, tell her; if you are an organisation freak and don’t want her to touch the papers you usually leave on the desk, then tell her; if you want her to start by cleaning the bedrooms instead of the kitchen, tell her. Explain your new cleaner what you like and dislike with no fears; believe me, they will appreciate the honesty as it will make their jobs easier.

Share with us! what other information you would consider essential to communicate to your cleaner on the first meeting?

House Cleaning made fun

House cleaning is always seen like a hard chore for most of us adults. This may be the cause for not being able to make our children embrace the cleaning with open arms.

Have you ever found difficult to teach your children that clean = good? Do you think it is a mission-impossible to make your kids clean their bedroom and do the washing? I may have found the answer to your prayers…

HighScore House is a website and ipad app that will guide your children through the process of cleaning chores while earning points that will lead to rewards (of your choice).

It has a special “parents section” where you could add tasks, change rewards and settings. Once these are set up, your children will be able to check their progress and how close they are from getting that well deserved prize!

Try it out and let us know your thoughts!

How to get the best of your cleaner on the interview

Choosing a good domestic cleaner is not easy. There are always potential problems that need to be addressed from the start. Using a domestic cleaning agency will be an advantage for you in terms of quick replacements in case your regular cleaner is ill or resigns unexpectedly; but still, there is always some tips that you, as a customer, can follow during the interview with your prospective domestic cleaner to get the best of it (and her!).

Thinking of a domestic cleaner that can, magically, guess your cleaning requirements and get them done with a touch of a magic wand is not at all realistic. Every person has different priorities and expectations and it is important that you communicate them to the domestic cleaning agency as well as the domestic cleaner.

So, before the interview is arranged, make a plan and prioritize your needs. At http://www.amycleaning.co.uk we recommend that, when doing this, you consider: a) What tasks require equipment or supplies you don’t have; b) what tasks you prefer to do yourself; c) what items or areas in the house are of special importance.

When interviewing the cleaner that the domestic cleaning agency has allocated to you consider these easy to follow points so you can get more information about your new cleaner at the same time that you give her all the information she needs to provide a high quality cleaning service:

  1.        The length of the interview will depend on you; it is usually  between 5 and 30 minutes (but do not be afraid if it takes you longer than this! At the end of the day she is going to be your regular cleaner!).
  2.    Check the domestic cleaner’s appearance and non verbal communication. Someone that is looking down to the floor when you are explaining where the chemicals are kept won’t be very willing to work!
  3.      Ask a variety of questions including those relating to training, experience, cleaning times and days…
  4.      Show her your priorities: Which room is more important for you? How often do you want the blinds to be dusted?…Make sure she understands your needs; it will be easier to get what you want if you make it clear at the start.
  5.      Ironing: This seems to be a very obvious task to do. Nothing further from reality; everyone has specific preferences. Explain the domestic cleaner how you would like your shirts to be ironed (creases on your sleeves for example) or what would be the essential clothes for you to be ironed.
  6.      Laundry: It would be fine to ask your cleaner to organise the laundry and change the bed linen but it would be better for you to leave very clear instructions to avoid any pink socks in the future!
  7.       Rubbish: There are a lot of councils that issue fines if the rubbish is placed in the wrong place at the wrong day. For this reason, make sure you let the domestic cleaner know on the interview about the correct procedure.
  8.   The task sheet: Some people feel more comfortable writing a task list for the cleaner. It is in fact very useful for the domestic cleaners as it enables them to follow your requirements more easily (remember that the first days on your house will be the hardest ones for your domestic cleaner as she needs to get used to a “different way of doing things”). The domestic cleaning agency will have the possibility to give you an easy to use task sheet, making your life easier.
  9.      Cleaning products: You know by the domestic cleaning agency that you will need to provide the chemicals yourself. The interview is a good time to go through the chemicals you have in your house and also get to know the knowledge the domestic cleaner has on the different chemicals and cloths used.
  10.  The keys and the alarm: No one wants to get called in the middle of an important meeting because the cleaner has turn on the alarm by mistake or maybe she cannot open the door! It is better to make sure the cleaner knows how the alarm works from the beginning (make her practice a little bit) or any other “tricks” to open the door to the house.

Hiring your cleaning services from a domestic cleaning agency not only saves you time; it can also reduce your stress level. The domestic cleaning agency can always communicate your cleaner any changes on your priorities or needs to make sure that the information shared on your interview with the cleaner is accurate and up to date.

We can say that proper communication on the interview with the prospective cleaner is the key to a successful relationship with her. You have to get to know her at the same time that you need to assess her suitability; but it is important to make the effort at the beginning and avoid any stressful situation afterwards.