A white woman mopping the floor with a swifter in hand.

Hiring a house cleaner can not only make life easier, it can make it significantly better. It may free up precious time and energy for other things you value. And for those who are unable to clean for themselves, the service may be a necessity.

 For such a valuable service, how much should you expect to pay? You want to find a place where what’s fair aligns with what you can afford. 


The right wages for house cleaners’ hard work

 Most of us have cleaned our own homes and know how grueling it can be. Even when we get the job done ourselves, however, we may not produce the same results as a professional.

This is a profession that takes skill, attention to detail and endurance. The hours are long and the work is physically demanding. A cleaners’ wages should reflect this. 


A hand wearing yellow rubber gloves wiping an electric stove with a green sponge.


Should I pay a cleaner an hourly rate or flat fee? 

Some cleaners prefer a flat fee for cleaning a house or apartment, while others prefer to charge by the hour to account for different levels of messiness each visit.

Either way, pay a living wage, which in metropolitan areas is at least $25-30 an hour. Pay for at least three hours per cleaning, too. (Even if you live in a studio apartment, the cleaner will have unpaid commuting time between your home and other jobs.)

If you’re considering a flat fee, calculate it based on an hourly rate for cleaning your home on its messiest day. For example, let’s say it takes a cleaner between three and four hours to clean your home, depending on the week. Set a flat rate of $120 every cleaning, which is $30/hour for four hours. 


But how many hours will it take to clean my home? 

 A cleaners’ estimate may depend on factors like: 

  • The size of your house or apartment
  • How often the cleaner will visit (less frequent cleanings can take longer) 
  • If you have (hairy) pets or (messy) children   
  • Which cleaning tasks are involved 

Invite prospective cleaners to see your home and give you a quote. If you can’t afford what they’ve requested, rather than negotiating down their rate, why not compromise on some of the tasks involved or the frequency of their visits? 


A white hand holding money

Deep cleaning and “extras” that aren’t included

Make sure to discuss specifics upfront and outline deep cleaning tasks such as cleaning an oven or fridge, or doing laundry. Additional services like window cleaning or carpet cleaning will cost extra. If you later ask a cleaner to take on a new task, compensate them accordingly.


Benefits, bonuses, and raises for house cleaners

In most of the country cleaners don’t have formal access to paid time off.  That’s why we suggest paying an additional $5 each time you get your house cleaned. Over time, especially if all clients do this, cleaners can use this towards creating their own paid time off, which they could use for vacation time, a personal day, sick time, or time to care for a loved one.

  Giving an annual bonus and annual pay raise helps your cleaner support themselves and ups the chances that they’ll stay with your family for the long term. 


A white woman wearing yellow rubber gloves wiping a round glass mirror.


Other considerations 

 If you need​ ​to​ ​reschedule​ ​or​ ​cancel​ ​a​ ​cleaning​​ appointment​, make sure to give your housecleaner enough notice. They’ll lose opportunities for other work if they are holding the time slot for you. Decide on a timeframe that works for both of you—48 hours is standard—and commit to pay for their time if you cancel with less notice. 

 Make sure your cleaner has access to appropriate safety equipment, such as masks and gloves, and non-toxic cleaning supplies, or offer to pay for these.  

Details like these should be included in a written agreement you create together. You can check out our sample work agreement to get you started. 

 Housecleaners do hard work that gives us more time, they make our homes healthy spaces we can live and breathe in. Remember to say thank you, too, and enjoy your clean home. 


The Takeaway 

  • Pay a living wage; at least $25-30 per hour 
  • Create a written contract with a policy for cancellations and schedule changes
  • Pay if you have to cancel without sufficient notice
  • Consider the cleaners’ travel time and if the cost of supplies if they provide them
  • Add $5 per cleaning for paid time off
  • Pay extra for extra services, like laundry or cleaning the refrigerator
  • Pay on time and consistently