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10 signs of a good & bad cleaning lady

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Cleaning services, whether residential or commercial, vary in their pricing and quality of their work. What matter in the process of you hiring a cleaning service or an independent cleaning lady is your experience from estimates and booking, to having a clean house, and everything in between. If you have hired a cleaning service or a cleaning lady for the first time, here are several tips to assess your experience and decide whether the cleaning lady did her job properly and ethically. Even though you may be disappointed with some of the elements of your experience, having these tips will help you to understand whether the cleaning service was up to parr and whether you can trust to hire them again and improve what they did wrong the first time around.

What is a cleaning service?

Generally speaking, a cleaning service is a service offered by a company or an individual to clean your residential or commercial premises. To better distinguish it from solely window or carpet cleaning, the cleaning services are also often referred to as ‘maid services’. As a rule, common cleaning services offer things like regular house cleaning in Toronto – and commercial cleaning services, such as restaurant, garages, and office cleaning. Commercial and residential cleaning services often offer a range in the scope of work their cleaning ladies perform – i.e. post-construction cleaning or deep cleaning services in Toronto (see Cleaning service can and often will send several staff/cleaning ladies for a larger job, ranging from 4 to 10 hours of a lady cleaning.

Signs of a good cleaning company start with a professional looking website, to competitive pricing, to good feedback on the quality of their work. Your first encounter with the company says a thousand words about what to expect during the cleaning process. Although the saying ‘don’t judge the book by its cover’ applies to many scenarios, your initial experience with things like a telephone call or booking process will likely be representative of the level of professionalism on the behalf of the cleaning company and their staff. So look out for that!

Signs of a bad cleaning company will also be prominent from the first steps of your experience – their lack of flexibility in timing, unwillingness to meet your needs in special requests, rude or pushy representative and inability to answer simple questions.

Professionalism is a number one factor that you should expect from a cleaning company. House cleaning services lady will likely carry out the company’s level of professionalism. Cleaning service is not a cheap thrill, and to make sure you get your money’s worth, look out for the signs and things that will or will not meet your expectations.

Who is a cleaning lady?

A cleaning lady is either an independent cleaning person, or a staff member of a cleaning service. While you may find that independent cleaning ladies may be lower in fees they charge for cleaning services, you are taking risks such as liability (independent cleaning ladies commonly don’t have insurance for damaged property), confidentiality (disclosing alarm codes, door codes and lockbox numbers), and refund policies if you are unhappy with the services. For more information about the difference between a cleaning lady and a cleaning service, see

Cleaning lady etiquette will always depend on the individual. Things that may seem like common sense may not always be individually or culturally relevant to all people – such things as touching/moving personal belongings or throwing things into the garbage without permission can range depending on the house cleaning lady. However, a reputable cleaning service will always demand a certain level of etiquette to be adhered to by their staff. Similar with your expectations from a cleaning service, you should expect a certain level of professionalism, integrity and communication from your local cleaning lady.

10 signs of a good cleaning lady

Whether your cleaning staff is independent or hired through a cleaning service, these signs will always be a measure of a good cleaning lady:

  1. Neatness. It will show in her clothes and appearance, and it will show in her treatment of your home.
  2. Organization. Her equipment, tools and products are well organized, and she knows where her belongings are.
  3. She is prompt and punctual. Commonly a cleaning service will give you a window of time they will show up and deliver their services. A good cleaning lady will not only arrive within that window, but will also give you heads up about her ETA.
  4. Rushing. A good cleaning lady will refuse to be rushed if it will effect the quality of her work.
  5. Communication. They say it’s key. If a cleaning lady is uncertain about something, she will ask.
  6. Tidy and organized working process. She follows a process, instructions or a to-do list in a logical and organized order.
  7. Knows her stuff. She knows how to properly use her equipment and products. Not only will she use her knowledge in her work, but if asked, can explain and suggest things about certain cleaning products.
  8. Prompt and hardworking. She is working swiftly to get things done in a timely manner. If you are paying by the hour, this is especially important.
  9. Respect. A good cleaning lady will always respect you, your family, your pets and your personal belongings.
  10. A good cleaning lady is always easily identified. She is friendly, neat, organized and hardworking. These things are hard to miss.

10 signs of a bad cleaning lady

Signs of a bad cleaning lady are fairly easy to assess. However, if your cleaning staff doesn’t speak much English, for example, there are different things you can look at to determine her quality of work and etiquette.

  1. Bad timing. She is either not on time, or not on schedule.
  2. Old and outdated techniques. Her equipment is not working properly, she uses same sponges or brushes for different areas of your home, or her cleaning process is not up to date or up to your standards.
  3. Ill-prepared. She shows up without proper equipment is expecting you to provide cleaning supplies.
  4. She spends time on her phone or chatting with you or your family members instead of using the time to do her job.
  5. Not professional or respectful. You will see it in her manners and her treatment of your property.
  6. Works faster but not better. This is sometimes also called ‘slacking’.
  7. Her issues are your problem. She ran out of cleaning solution or forgot to bring something, and this is somehow becoming your problem.
  8. Careless with your belongings. Some things have sentimental value, and some are just plain expensive. You want your belongings to be attended to carefully either way.
  9. Disregards security. She didn’t put on the alarm after leaving or worse, didn’t lock the doors after leaving the premises.
  10. Doesn’t follow instructions. The worst part is that she lets the cat out despite being told not to.

Things Cleaning Ladies Hate

The worst nightmare of a good cleaning lady is uncertainty. She doesn’t know how to best declutter or what to do with your belongings in spaces she needs to clean. If you are in the home or on the premises, she may be uncertain when to clean the space you are in or if you need privacy. Best policy in all of the circumstances is clear communication and instruction.

How Much to Tip a Cleaning Lady

Just like any other service, you generally tip based on the level of your satisfaction. You have used the above 10 tips to determine whether she is a good or a bad cleaning lady, and based on this you can determine on how much to tip. Generally, the tips range from 10% to 25%, average being 15% – 18%. If you are highly unsatisfied or thought she was a bad cleaning lady, you are not obliged to tip at all. Use your discretion.


Q: What is my best bet, a cleaning service vs. a cleaning lady.

A: Depending on what matters to you, you may have good luck and good experience with an independent cleaning lady. But your safest best is to hire a reputable cleaning service. For more info, see

Q: What to do if a cleaning lady didn’t show up.

A: If you hired a cleaning service, first thing you do, is call the customer service and advise them. They will likely offer you a refund if you’ve paid a deposit, a compensation or a reschedule for the services.

Q: Cleaning lady damaged my property. What’s next?

A: Immediately report the problem to customer service. Best thing is to do it in writing with pictures provided. The cleaning company should take immediate measures to assess the damage and remedy it.

Q: I am unhappy with my services. What should I do?

A: Ask for a refund or a re-clean. Not all cleaning ladies are good, the cleaning company may have problems with their staff, and can likely offer you a different staff member to do a re-clean.


While searching for a good cleaning service, you may want to consult articles such as this A good and reputable business will always strive to hire staff that will best represent their professionalism, etiquette and policies.

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Our main office is in Toronto, but our commercial cleaning services are available in the Greater Toronto Area, Oakville, North York, Vaughan, and many other cities in Ontario. You may also reach us via (647) 888-8441 for inquiries regarding our service locations.

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