House cleaners: are they worth the time saved
Most busy mums would rate house cleaning as one of their most time-consuming tasks along with doing the laundry and ironing. That’s of course aside from the time spent looking after the little ones, which for many can leave no time to relax at all during the day.
Of course when the kids have reached school age, there is usually more time to attend to household chores, but even then there never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done.
“How I wish I could afford a house cleaner” is something that most busy mums have said or thought of from time to time, but are house cleaners really that expensive?
Finding out the cost
A good way to find out how much a house would cost to be cleaned on a regular basis, is to go to the website of a cleaning agency that provides an online quotation service. Many of these agencies enable potential clients to obtain a quote online without having to enter any personal details – thus avoiding the inevitable follow-up sales calls.
For example, StellarHome.com enables potential clients to find out how much it will cost to clean their home by filling in an online questionnaire and then the site automatically calculates how much the cleaning cost will be.
The questionnaire only requires information like the type of dwelling (for example, house, townhouse or apartment), the number and types of rooms (for example, living room, bedrooms, bathrooms), and the general condition of the house (for example, is it dirty, very dirty, or is it reasonably clean?)
Then by submitting the information, the site gives a quote based on the agency’s experience of having provided quotes for different type of houses over many years.
Of course, if there are special requirements such as window cleaning or removing leaves from gutters, then those requirements will have to be specified for a sales agent to price.
But it’s a great way to find out whether employing a house cleaner is affordable, and would justify the time saved to be able to get out of the house whilst the kids are at school and enjoy life.
Cleaning chemical safety
Aside from the cost of employing cleaners, one of the concerns that many mothers have about employing external cleaners, is the assumption that they will use powerful chemicals that may be harmful to the health of children.
That’s a reasonable concern because commercial cleaners do use chemicals that enable them to get the job done faster and more efficiently, but the most concentrated chemicals are usually reserved for big jobs like offices and shopping malls.
For domestic premises, house cleaners usually use chemicals that are the same as sold by local supermarkets – although they may buy them in bulk to save on cost. These are not so concentrated and would rarely be considered as hazardous to health in the home environment.
But for parents with small children who may still be concerned about the safety of the cleaning chemicals to be used, they can ask the cleaning agency to specify the names of the chemicals, and then check them against websites that provide online safety ratings.
The Environmental Working Group publishes and regularly updates its list of safety ratings for more than 2,500 commonly available cleaning products, including all the major brands that are found on supermarket shelves.
If an agency specifies a chemical that gives cause for concern, then the client can specify that a ‘greener’ or safer option be used. Sometimes that may result in a small increase in cost, but it’s an additional cost worth bearing when the health of children is at stake.