I used to angst about whether it was right to have a cleaner – remember those days? Chiswick has collectively got over that feeling a long time ago. What was unheard of, at least in my social circle, growing up, is now absolutely de rigeur.
Nearly half of millennials hire cleaners, according to insurance firm Esure, even though they live in a one or two bedroom flat. They were “too busy” to clean their own flats, according to research carried out by cleaning company Helpling.com and the trend has been increasing over the past few years.
The coronavirus has put paid to that. Most of us haven’t been too busy for the past six or seven weeks, and we’ve now become conditioned to the idea that it isn’t safe to let anyone else into our homes. Estate agents, surveyors and plumbers can come in, touch one or two things, or maybe get away with touching nothing at all, but the whole point of cleaners is that they do. On 1 May the Government confirmed that cleaners could enter people’s homes.
“We only work for certain clients, close to where people who work for us live” Chiswick Cleaners told me, “so they don’t have to use public transport. We don’t do the houses of vulnerable people”.
Cleaners working for Chiswick Cleaners are expected to wear a protective suit, masks, protective glasses and shoe covers, but they are putting themselves on the line every time they enter a house. They don’t know if their client has the coronavirus. Most of their clients don’t know whether or not they have or have had it. Government advice to cleaners includes:
- continue to wash your hands regularly
- change and wash your face covering daily
- when wearing a face covering, avoid touching your face or face covering, as you could contaminate them with germs from your hands
- change your face covering if it becomes damp or if you’ve touched it
That’s harder than it sounds when you’re cleaning.
Image above: From Chiswick Cleaners’ website
Image above: cleaners adversiting on tidychoice.com
Fewer than 10% people letting cleaners back into their homes so far
Most people so far have concluded the luxury of having someone clean your house just isn’t worth the risk. Chiswick Cleaners told me they have gone back to doing about five percent of the work they were doing before the coronavirus emergency.
Tidychoice.com is a booking platform with several hundred cleaners on their books. You put in your postcode and see who’s available to come and clean in your area. They have about 20 cleaners who cover Chiswick. George from Tidychoice.com reports that they too have only seen a 5 – 10% take-up as people begin to go back to work this week.
“The majority would have used public transport” they told me, but a lot of them live locally enough to allow them not to have to use it”.
They have their own guidelines for their workers on top of the Government’s, which include:
- Cleaners should pay special attention to ‘high-touch’ areas, such as door, cupboard handles, light switches, TV remotes, tables and countertops
- Surfaces should be cleaned using regular products, then disinfected using a product such as Dettol Antibacterial Surface Cleaner Spray
- Cleaners and customers should wash cleaning cloths and mop covers at a high temperature (60C+) after every use
On the subject of paying your cleaner while they are not cleaning for you, their website has this to say:
‘Cleaners are freelance professionals and any such contribution would be greatly appreciated. We are sure that they will repay such kindness with free additional hours or cleaning tasks in the future’.
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