What is a General Clean, Angela Brown, Savvy Cleaner

What is a General Clean?

What is a general clean? (Also known as a maintenance clean.) When you do the walkthrough it’s important to clarify with the client if you’re doing a deep clean or a general clean. This way you can meet customer expectations.

A general clean can apply to DIY cleaning or #cleaning done by maids.

You can break maintenance cleaning into chunks and follow a routine so the house is clean often.

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

What are General Cleans?

What is a General Clean, CanadaWhat is a general clean? General cleaning is also known as maintenance cleaning.   This question comes from a house cleaner, “I live in Canada and I’ve started a solo cleaning business.

I have a question for you. My question is, what do you mean when you say general straightening up and general cleanup on the worksheets?

A General Clean is Every Time You Show Up

What is a General Clean, House Cleaner ThinkingWhether you are cleaning an Airbnb,  a home, or an apartment, there are about 30 or 40 things that you are going to do right off the top of the bat.

You will have a checklist that you’re going to be working through, and there will be specifics to that house.

But if there was no checklist, and there were no specifics, these are the things you’re going to do at every clean.

Do Your Walkthrough First

What is a General Clean, Man Holding Clipboard with Thumb UpThe very first thing that you’re going to do when you arrive at a house is to take out your flashlight and your clipboard and do a walkthrough of the house.

You might say, “What? I already did a walkthrough with the customer.” Yes, that’s true, but we’re going to do a walkthrough for every job. What are you are looking for on this quick walkthrough?  Its fast, you’ve got a flashlight, You are looking at surfaces.

Where is the dust? Where are the cobwebs? Is there anything that I don’t see that a customer sees when the light hits it at a different time of the day? They’re going to call you back and say you didn’t clean it, right? So you will be looking for all those hot pockets that need extra special attention.

Get a General Overview of the Room

What is a General Clean, House Cleaner Looking at RoomAs you walk into a room, you are going to get a general overview of the room, is there anything out of place? And if things are out of place, meaning, there’s a whole bunch of stuff that was leftover. That’s going to need to be dealt with.

And so when you get there for the job, you are going to take a snapshot of that with your camera. I’m going to text it to the customer and say, “Hey, this room is not how it normally is. It’s going to take me a little bit of extra time today, did you want me to spend my focus here, or did you have other priorities in the house?”

They might say, “Skip that room altogether, I want you to do the regular general cleaning.” Okay, great, now you know you’re not going to spend an hour in this room tidying everything up and resetting this room. That’s not what they asked for, they want you to do the regular cleaning, not a deep cleaning. So, they want you to skip this room altogether.

Look for any Damage on a General Cleaning

What is a General Clean, House Cleaner Looking at PhoneThe next thing to look for is any damage. So if you show up at a job at eight o’clock in the morning, and you walk in and there’s a busted light, or a lamp,  you need to make a note of that as well.

You’re going to send a picture of that to the customer, and say, “I just arrived at the job. You know I was expected here at eight o’clock, it’s 8:03, there’s a busted lamp here. I didn’t have anything to do with it, what do you want me to do with it?”

And they might say, “Just clean it up and I’ll deal with it later.” But at least they know you did not break it.

Tell Clients Right Away About Damage

What is a General Clean, Worried Man Holding PhoneIf you send them that text at 12 o’clock in the afternoon. Then they’re going to say, “You’ve been at my house for hours, why are you telling me about this broken lamp now,” right? They will think you broke it. And you had nothing to do with it, but if you don’t get to that part of the house until the later part of your job. They’re going to think that whatever’s busted, you did.

That’s why you should do a quick walkthrough at the very beginning of every job. You are going to go in and find our bearings and find out what’s messier, what needs your attention. If there are cobwebs, do you need your big pole?

If you don’t need your big pole, you’re not going to bring it out today. You have it with you, but you’re not going to bring it out if you don’t need it.  So you’re going to do a quick double-check, make sure everything is set up so that you can do your job efficiently.

How to Clean the Bathrooms in a General Cleaning

What is a General Clean, Big BathroomNow that you’ve set everything up, you’ve talked with the customer and you’re ready to do the general cleaning. So in every bathroom, you’re going to do the toilets. You’re going to wipe them down from top to bottom. Around the toilets, around the base of the toilet, the baseboards of the toilet, at every house, it’s non-negotiable.

In every house there’s a bathtub or a shower, you’re going to wipe that down, scour it down from top to bottom. It’s non-negotiable. People take showers every day that need to be cleaned. The glass doors of the shower need to be wiped down and sanitized. If it’s a shower curtain, that also needs to be cleaned. It depends on what the situation is, but the shower and bathtub at every cleaning.

Now that the general big fixtures of the bathroom are done, you’re going to sweep and mop your way out, which means you’re going to dust everything along the way. If there are any shelves, all that stuff needs to be wiped down before you can work your way out of the bathroom.

Put Yourself in the Homeowner’s Shoes During a General Cleaning

What is a General Clean, Cleaning Man ThinkingIf you are in doubt,  about what needs to be done, you need to ask yourself  “How much am I being paid for this job?”

If the answer is $200.00, then you need to ask yourself, “If this were my house, and I were paying someone else $200.00 to come to my house and clean it. And they skipped this area, would I be mad? Would I call them back and want them to come back and clean it?”

If the answer is yes, you would be mad and you would want them to come back and clean it, your answer is solved. Then stay and clean that area, that is your general cleaning. Put yourself in your client’s shoes.

Cleaning the Kitchen on a General Clean

What is a General Clean, Rinsing Out Bottle in SinkAll right, now into the kitchen. As you go to clean the kitchen, there are common things that will be done at every single cleaning, it’s non-negotiable. And so all the flat surfaces will be wiped down, these are all the countertops, and the surfaces of the appliances.

So the front of the fridge, the front of the stove, the front of the microwave. The front of the dishwasher, all the cabinets, and the little handles. You’ll wipe that down quickly as you clean.

Start at the Top of Every Room in a General Clean

What is a General Clean, Duster with Extension WandStart at the top in every room.  If there’s anything above your head, all that needs to be dusted and you work your way down. Worktop to bottom in every room

And so as you work your way down, you wipe all the flat surfaces and work your way down and you’re done.  The inside of the sink, the inside of the microwave, all the insides of the major appliances, you do.

You do not clean the inside of the refrigerator or the inside of the dishwasher on regular cleaning. You don’t clean any of the insides of the drawers, but you will clean the outsides of everything, That’s general cleaning.

Dealing with Garbage During a General Cleaning

What is a General Clean, Messy BedroomThere is usually a  garbage can in the kitchen, and sometimes there are recyclables too, which all need to be emptied.  Whatever it is you make it work for that house.

So that’s your general for that house. As you move through the house, every room has its own general things. If you go into the living room and there are pictures on the walls, again we start at the top and we work our way down.

If there’s a ceiling fan, you’re going to do that on a deep clean. You may want to clean it every couple of times to keep the dust and debris off. Because if people are spinning it all the time, it’s spinning dust around the room, so you will want to keep that clean. That’s going to need your big pole.

How to Clean Sofas on a General Cleaning

What is a General Clean, Coins in DishHow do you clean the couches? If there are sofas that have removable cushions, vacuum underneath the removable cushions. Then put them back and reset everything. If there are chairs that have pennies and food and things that are stuck in them. Of course, you empty the food, you vacuum the areas, you remove the pennies, you put them in a little dish.

Or in a little spot right there on the coffee table so that the family knows that you found them, that you cleaned them and that you did not steal them.

So, there are common things in every single room. What it’s going to come down to is common sense. And if you are unsure, ask yourself the question, “If I were paying for this service at the price I’m being paid, would I want this area clean?” And so, every room is a little bit different, every room has its little nuances.

How to Clean a Bonus Room for a General Cleaning

What is a General Clean, Home Weight RoomIf you get to a house and there’s a bonus room, and it’s full of weight equipment. Have a conversation with the homeowner upfront, “Do you want me to dust all the arms and legs, and move parts of this equipment every time I come?”

They might say yes, that might be the man cave of their home, and that’s important to them. They might say, “I never go in there, I never use the equipment, you can skip that room altogether.”

But once you’ve had those conversations with the homeowner, it makes your job super easy. Because then you know what exactly they want, and what you have agreed to as part of this job that you have billed for. So before anything, you have to find out what your clients want.

Don’t Clean Rooms That Clients Never Use During a General Cleaning

What is a General Clean, Exhausted House CleanerIf you’re doing rooms of the house that they never use and they don’t want you to clean, and they’re not willing to pay for that, it shouldn’t be part of your bid.

And there are lots of rooms in lots of houses where they don’t have you clean, like guest rooms that are being unused. You don’t clean those every time if it’s not part of the bid. Because you only clean them when the guests come in.

If nobody’s using it, they may not want to pay you to have you do that part of the house.

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