An Etiquette Guide: Should You Tip the House Cleaner?

Wondering if you need to tip your house cleaner? We've got the tipping breakdown so you tip (or don't tip) with confidence.

Published July 14, 2023
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You're thrilled about the sparkling clean house, but you might be a bit confused about the tipping situation. Should you be tipping your cleaning person? We've found the answers, and it's actually pretty simple to figure out how often and how much you should tip your house cleaner.

Should You Tip Your House Cleaner?

Tipping can be such a confusing gesture these days. We understand that. Tips seem to come up every time you purchase a coffee or pay for a service. So, is your cleaning lady one of the people you should actually be tipping on a consistent basis? There's really no definite answer here.

The truth is, you don't have to tip your house cleaner. But standard practice suggests that a reasonable tip expresses gratitude for a job well done. Tips are a great way to build on your professional relationship with your cleaner and encourage them when they've done an exceptional job in caring for your home. So, you can choose not to tip your house cleaner, but it is to your advantage to consider offering some sort of tip for their services.

How Much Should You Tip Your House Cleaner?

Generally speaking, a range of 15-20% is standard for tipping a house cleaner. This percentage is based on the total fee for that specific cleaning visit. For non-seasonal tips, it's best to stick to monetary tips rather than small gifts.

You can tip with cash or add it to the total of your bill, but make sure you make a clear indication that you are offering a tip to the person performing the tasks. When your house cleaner goes above and beyond or tackles a messier home than they usually find during their visit, it might be wise to offer a slightly larger tip.

Helpful Hack

It's helpful to check in with the cleaning company you've hired if you're ever unsure of the best tipping practices. They can tell you what their tip policy is and what most of their customers choose to do.

When Should You Tip Your House Cleaner?

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You can truly tip your cleaning person as often as you like, but it's generally understood that tips occur after every visit. For weekly and monthly cleaning services, tip your team directly before or after each service. If the same team is cleaning your home during every visit, you can tip them up front once you are familiar with their level of service.

For new cleaning people or for a cleaning team with a lot of employees, you might wait until after the service to assess your tipping amount. Once you're able to take a look and see an exceptional cleaning job, you can determine how much you want to tip. After getting better acquainted with the level of work being done, you can start tipping up front if you wish. When you encounter a particularly thorough cleaning job and you're extra impressed, include a generous tip for the cleaning crew during that visit.

If you see the same cleaning person or crew during every visit, you can actually tip them once a month, especially if you are billed monthly. Make sure you tip the percentage of the sum of every visit that month. You can leave a cash tip in your home for them to grab upon entry or just make sure you include one during your payment of the final bill.

How to Tip a House Cleaner During the Holidays

The holidays are busy and stressful for everyone, including the crew that cleans your home. It's customary to tip a little more during the holiday season if you're able. You might consider a larger tip percentage during individual holiday cleanings, like 25-30% of the cleaning visit fee.

If you want to give your regular cleaning person a holiday or Christmas bonus, you can give them an amount equal to one week's pay or equal to the cost of one cleaning visit. It's generally expected that holiday bonuses are distributed between October and the end of the year.

Verbalize Your Gratitude

Regardless of how often you tip, you should always make a practice of offering verbal thanks to your house cleaner. A simple "thank you" is sufficient, but you might also mention specific details you're impressed with. Be sure to let your house cleaner know that you value their work and appreciate the care they give to your home.

Whenever you feel particularly grateful, consider leaving a small token of appreciation before your cleaning lady arrives. Baked goods, a small gift, or a gift card left on your entryway table or kitchen counter is a kind and simple way to thank your house cleaner any time of the year.

Need to Know

We are all encouraged in our work by small gestures of appreciation and recognition of a job well done. Make sure you extend that courtesy to the person caring for your home.

Are There Times When You Shouldn't Tip a House Cleaner?

As with choosing to leave a tip, choosing not to leave a tip is also completely up to you. That said, there may be instances when skipping the tip is not only reasonable, but expected.

  • If something in your home is damaged while the cleaning takes place, you may want to address how the issue will be handled before offering a tip.
  • If the cleaning company requests that you skip the tip, it may be best to do so.
  • You can skip tipping your cleaning person if you plan to offer a large tip at the end of the month or during the holiday season.
  • If the cleaning job is incomplete or incorrect, don't feel that you need to leave a tip.

Negotiating Prices With a House Cleaner

If you're looking for ways to save money on the cleaning services you pay for, don't skimp on the tips. Instead, look for ways to lower the overall cost of the service. You can negotiate prices with a cleaning company or self-employed house cleaner by discussing the services provided and looking at areas of your home that are a priority versus the ones that aren't.

Look for things in your home that don't need to be cleaned every week, and start including them only on a bi-weekly or monthly basis. For the cleaning tasks you actually enjoy doing yourself, have them removed from the list of things your house cleaner handles. Decrease the frequency of cleaning services to save money for the services (and the tips) that matter most to you.

To Tip or Not to Tip

Tipping ultimately falls to the discretion of the customer - that's you - and can change during each visit from your house cleaner. It's truly up to you if you want to offer a tip to your house cleaner for excellent service or a long-term professional relationship. We suggest expressing your gratitude with words no matter how you decide to - or not to - leave a tip.

An Etiquette Guide: Should You Tip the House Cleaner?