I’m a House Cleaner and I’m allergic to pets!
Like it or not, allergic or not, as a house cleaner, you will be working in homes with pets.
The American Pet Products Manufacturers Association reports that 63% of U.S. Households owns a pet. My current ratio is 98% of my current house cleaning clients own a pet. So there will be pets, and if you are a maid or house cleaner, you’ve got to find a way to deal with it.
There are serious allergic reactions a house cleaner can get like animal related asthma, linked with breathing, or contacting animal dander (loose scales on the skin), fur, body wastes, saliva or urine allergens. The safest policy is to limit exposure by wearing protective gloves when cleaning up after cats and dogs.
Before you start a house cleaning business you have to decide if you will be able to deal with pet allergies. If you decide you still want to be a house cleaner, you might consider one of grandma’s homemade recipes that I personally drink every day and so do many of the house cleaners in my network.
Take a 16 oz bottle of water and drink down to the label which is about 4 oz. Add 2 oz. of Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) + 2 oz. of Lemon Juice to the remaining water in the bottle. Shake and drink. It’s nasty tasting but somehow the mix keeps allergies, sore throats, common colds, and other flu like germs at bay.
Don’t be the house cleaner that is sick for 24 hours after cleaning a house because the allergies from a pet knocked you out of commission.
Pet growls at the house cleaner
Often pets won’t like you until they feel safe around you. I have several clients who have Chihuahuas who bark constantly. To prevent this, when I enter a home, I call the dogs by name. They are tiny and skittish and they skate across the hardwood floors barking, and protecting their territory.
I calmly let them smell my hand and reassure them in a calm tone that I am here to clean and everything is okay. It usually takes 10-15 seconds and then the dog is good to go. They leave me alone and let me clean in peace.
During the cleaning process I will need to move them from the couch or floor they are laying on so I can clean under them. Again this is an opportunity to gently rub the pup’s head while in a soothing voice let them know I am moving them away from the vacuum. After vacuuming, I put them back where I found them safely on the couch, and when I leave, I tell them I am leaving and I say goodbye. The dogs know after a while that I can be trusted in the house, and that I am kind to them. That is usually good enough for the dogs, and their owners.
Cats on the other hand are quite mischievous. They meow incessantly, snoop through cleaning supplies, knock over bottles of cleaning solutions and get into all sorts of stuff that is not cat related.
Animals can be unpredictable so it pays to be prepared and aware if the pets are in your cleaning stuff. You don’t want to be responsible for an animal poisoned by chemicals you brought that were unattended.
Discourage cats from hanging out with you while you clean. Cats hate the smell of citronella, citrus, pine, cedar, perfumes, solid air fresheners, aloe, eucalyptus and wintergreen oil. If you have a problem cat at one of the homes you clean, a solid citrus air freshener set near your cleaning supplies is most likely all you need to send it running.
Don’t play with the cats. You are there to clean, not babysit the animals. If a cat needs to sniff you to know that it is you, in order for them to be okay with you in their home, that is fine, but if they swat at you, scratch you etc. Disengage and ignore the cat. You don’t want to want to antagonize a cat and you will if you keep swatting back at it.
Don’t forget that as a house cleaner, you are being watched on the home security cameras. Your clients will be watching to see how you treat their animals. If they see you attacking their animals or spraying them with cleaning chemicals, you could lose your job. Don’t be that house cleaner – and it’s mean.
Other pets to stay away from are guinea pigs, hamsters, and pet mice. Also avoid birds, snakes and ant farms. None of them bring anything but trouble to your schedule if they get out, get lose, or don’t like you. And the pets will usually take cues from their owners about you in the home, are you an intruder or a guest? Are you safe to be around? And are you kind?
Don’t ever give any of the animals in the homes you clean a reason to dislike you. Most of them will just ignore you once they know you. That is best.
It is helpful during your initial walk through with a client to make notes of their pet’s names, and to call the animals by name when you see them. This creates a consistency with the animal, and also shows the client you care enough to learn the names of their tiny family members.