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House Cleaning Cost Calculator (i.e. Cost to Hire Cleaners)

Professional cleaners cleaning a home

We have cleaners clean our home once every 3 weeks. They do the big jobs that include all floors and bathrooms. That’s it. It’s a huge time saver for us because those big jobs are hard to fit into a schedule. Money well spent.

Some people hire cleaners to clean everything frequently while other people hire them to do some of the cleaning and then some people hire cleaners for one-time cleaning gigs such as when moving or they just want to give their house a really good cleaning.

When it comes to wanting to know how much it costs to hire cleaners, there are many different ways to report those costs. They include:

  • Hourly rate per cleaning person
  • Hourly rate for the crew (most cleaning services send out crews of 2 to 4 people)
  • Cost to per visit
  • Cost per month
  • Cost per year

To that end, we created a basic house cleaning cost calculator that calculates an ESTIMATED cost for cleaning your home based on square footage and hourly rates per cleaner.

Related To: Online Painting Cost Calculator

House Cleaning Cost Calculator


The big assumptions in our calculator are we assumed the following:

  • 2 cleaning hours for light cleaning 1,000 sq. ft.
  • 3 cleaning hours for moderate cleaning 1,000 sq. ft.
  • 4 cleaning hours for deep cleaning 1,000 sq. ft. This would not, however, include one-off items such as cleaning a fridge or freezer or oven. Those tasks would require additional time.


2 cleaning hours could be one person taking 2 hours or two people taking 1 hour to clean 1,000 square feet. Therefore, with this example, it would take two people 2 hours to clean 2,000 sq. ft.

Our calculator is intended to be a guideline only given the many variables involved. Moreover, the above calculator does not provide a cost quote; we are not a cleaning service, nor do we sell nor broker cleaning services.

What Do Housekeepers Do?

Sometimes there’s confusion about what housekeepers are actually responsible for.  Certain tasks are considered basic cleaning services, while others are “extras” that incur an added cost.

If you’re planning to hire a housekeeper, here are the standard cleaning duties you can include in the listing:

  • Light housekeeping – vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, and dusting in every room, and general tidying up — decluttering, picking up toys, light organizing
  • Bathroom cleaning  — wiping down bathtubs, showers, sinks, mirrors, and toilets, restocking toilet paper
  • Kitchen cleaning — wiping down counters, sinks, cabinet doors, and appliance, plus washing dishes, drying them, and putting them away
  • Bedroom cleaning — replacing bed linens and making beds
  • Polishing interior windows
  • Garbage removal and recycling
  • Letting you know when cleaning supplies run low

Additionally, housekeepers may be tasked with:

  • Running Errands — dropping off dry cleaning, taking care of grocery shopping, taking packages to the post office
  • Meal-Prep — If you want your house cleaner to prepare meals for your family, you will need to specify this in your ad to ensure you hire someone who is culinarily inclined.  Someone who is not a good cook or isn’t comfortable in the kitchen won’t be a good fit for this job.

If your housekeeper is going to be running errands for you, be sure to provide a way for them to pay for the groceries, dry cleaning, etc.

Some housekeepers may not want to take care of these chores, so it’s important to be upfront about your expectations.

What Should a Housekeeper Not Be Expected to Do?

A woman vacuuming the patterned area rug in the living room.

When schedules are busy, it’s tempting to pawn everything off on your housekeeper.  But there is a limit to what these long-suffering people should be expected to do.  Here are the tasks that should not be part of a housekeeping job description:

  • Outdoor window washing
  • Deep-cleaning
  • Childcare.  If you need someone to care for your children, post an ad for a nanny.  Some nannies are willing to do light housekeeping, but they shouldn’t be expected to.
  • Moving furniture or lifting anything heavy.  Because it puts their safety at risk, most housekeepers will not lift anything weighing more than 35 pounds.  Use a moving company or line up someone who has the physical stamina and equipment to do these jobs.
  • Removing human waste.  A housekeeper shouldn’t take on any house cleaning job involving sewage or human waste, as this could pose serious health risks.  Housekeeping shouldn’t require showing up to work in a Hazmat suit.
  • Anything they’re not qualified to do or that could put them in harm’s way.

The general rule of thumb: Housekeepers shouldn’t be expected to clean anything that requires them to climb any higher than the top of a stepstool.  However, some housekeepers may be up for doing a seasonal gig, like spring-cleaning, provided they have compensated appropriately for the extra duties.  You can discuss the possibility with your housekeeper, but don’t be put off if that person isn’t up to taking it on.  That’s what professional deep or exterior cleaning services are for.

What Does a House Cleaner Do?

A house cleaner will do some serious deep-cleaning.  Job duties include:

  • Thorough bathroom sanitizing — scrubbing, tubs, toilets, showers, sinks, drain openings, and polishing chrome surfaces and countertops
  • Top-to-bottom kitchen sanitizing — all surfaces including countertops, tables, chairs, exteriors of cabinets and drawers, refrigerators, stoves, and other appliances, light switch plate covers, sinks, drains, and backsplashes, knobs and handles; sweeping and mopping of floors, Interior window cleaning
  • Vacuuming of carpet and upholstery
  • Vacuuming and mopping hard floors
  • Dusting trim work (baseboards, light fixtures, picture frames, doors, and the like)

What’s the Difference Between Housekeeping and House Cleaning?

A team of janitors cleaning the office.

Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, so it can be confusing, especially when you’re hiring and aren’t sure what to put in the job description.  But there’s actually a difference between housekeepers and house cleaners.

Housekeepers manage light housecleaning tasks.  You provide all the cleaning products and equipment.  In addition to tidying up, housekeepers may run errands and prepare meals.  Housekeepers frequently spend more time in your home than a house cleaner would.

Housecleaners work individually or as a team.  When they’re done cleaning your home, they take their supplies with them to their next job.  They usually spend a set time in each home (less than what a housekeeper does) before moving on to the next.   A domestic cleaner may be self-employed or work for a cleaning company.  House cleaners are tasked with top-to-bottom deep-cleaning.

House Cleaning Cost Calculator

So how much does a house cleaner cost?  That depends on several factors.

First, costs may vary based on where you live.  It almost always costs more to hire house cleaners and housekeepers in big cities.

The cost may also depend on the size of your home and to some extent, how many people and pets share the home.  When more people live together, there’s usually more cleaning that has to be done.

Whether they’re working as individuals or a team, house cleaners usually charge for their services in one of two ways: either by the hour or by square footage.  If housecleaners have never been to your home before, they may want to do an initial cleaning based on the square footage.  This gives them an idea of the time and effort involved in keeping your home clean so they can accurately calculate the cost of subsequent cleanings.

House cleaning rates are usually $25-$45 per hour.  It’s possible that you may pay more for a team or pair of cleaners than you would for an individual cleaner.  If you opt to have housecleaners come in more frequently, you may pay a little less for each house cleaning, though it’s usually only a savings of $5-$10.  You may also be able to negotiate a lower house cleaning price by agreeing to a certain number of cleanings up-front or signing a contract to receive these services for a set time period.

What’s the Difference Between Hiring a House Cleaning Company vs. Hiring an Individual to Clean?

A team of housekeeping cleaning the office that has a large glass wall.

Larger companies, individuals, and small businesses may operate a little differently.  Here’s a breakdown of those differences.  A professional home cleaning service is more likely to have cleaners who are fully licensed and insured.

That means you have some recourse if you’re not satisfied with the work.  You can take the matter up with the company or, in extreme cases, even the courts.  Well-established companies tend to have standardized processes so you know what to expect when you sign up for house cleaning services.

A housecleaning service will usually provide all necessary supplies and equipment, although some may ask you to provide these yourself.  If you want them to only use specific products, such as eco-friendly or hypo-allergenic cleaners, you may have to provide these yourself or pay a higher fee for the company to furnish them.

A cleaning business may offer “add-ons” in addition to regular cleaning tasks.  These cost extra.  (Add-ons are “above and beyond” chores like knocking out serious soap scum stains, dusting the blinds, or cleaning the oven).

Some smaller companies are run by individuals, in which case they may not be fully licensed, so it’s wise to do your due diligence if this is important to you.  An unlicensed cleaner will usually charge less than someone who is fully bonded.

A housekeeping attendant keeping the pillows tidy.

Another concern with hiring an individual or small business is availability.  If a cleaner gets sick or decides to go on vacation, you may be out of luck until they return.  A larger company will almost always have a back-up plan if your usual housecleaner is not available.

With small companies or individuals, you may not have many options if you are not satisfied with the work, especially because small-scale, independent establishments are more likely to abruptly close up shop when there are numerous complaints.

It may be easier to research larger companies (like Molly Maid or Merry Maid) since you can probably find plenty of reviews from multiple sources.  Individuals and small businesses sometimes have less of an online presence; most of their referrals come from word of mouth.

When hiring an individual, find out if you have to provide your own house cleaning products and equipment.  As with a larger company, you’ll usually have to pay extra for any additional services that you request.

Ultimately, you can get great results whether you enlist the services of a large company, an individual, or a small business.  Consider your budget and house cleaning needs and find the service that’s right for you.

What to Look for In a Cleaning Company

This is a colorful infographics illustration of the various housework that needs attending to.

If you’ve never used a cleaning service before, you may not be sure where to start.  It’s important that you and your house cleaner are on the same page about what they’re expected to do and how much you will pay for services.  Here are some points to consider.

Find out if the company conducts background checks on the house cleaners it hires.

It’s a good idea to make sure the company properly vets people who are going to be in your home.  Similarly, if you are concerned about the possibility of property damage while a cleaner is working in your home, make sure the individual is licensed and bonded.

Check out the company’s experience and reputation.

Especially if you are signing a contract for services, you’ll want to make sure this business can abide by its terms.  Look up reviews online, from sources other than the company’s website.  Also, don’t be afraid to ask for references.  Ask how many clients they have and how many cleaners are on staff.  If they’re stretched thin, you may get less than you signed up for.

Make a list of the tasks you want the cleaner to do.

A team of cleaners cleaning the house.

First, jot done non-negotiables, followed by duties you’d like to have completed, but could ultimately get by without.  Communicate these clearly to an individual or company so there are no surprises later.  Also, your cleaner needs to know exactly what’s expected so they can be transparent about the cost involved.

Learn about the company’s procedures and policies.

Ask about their standards for cleaning.  You wouldn’t want a house cleaner to use the same rage for scrubbing the outside of the toilet and then wiping your kitchen counters.  Ask how they keep track of what needs to be done, such as by following a checklist.  Additionally, ask what products they use and why.

Unfortunately, it’s not unheard of for housecleaners to use watered-down or lower-quality products.  Admittedly, most won’t admit to this, so it’s good to find independent reviews.  If you’re all about “green cleaning”, find out if eco-friendly products are available.

 Get an idea of their customer service.

If the company does a decent job cleaning but has poor customer service, it may not be the best one to work with.  They might make an excellent first impression, but what happens down the road when you have a complaint or need to reschedule a cleaning?  Again, this is something to look for when you read reviews.  Check out sites like, Yelp, and social media to find out not only about how well they clean, but how they treat their customers, too.

Ask about costs.

And last but certainly not least, you will need to know how much the services cost.  Get a breakdown of the house cleaning fee too, in case you’ll be charged extra for certain tasks.  See if there are package deals or other ways to cut costs.

How Do You Find a Good Housecleaning Service?

A woman supervising the cleaning of her house.

Now that you know what to look for, how do you go about locating a good house cleaner?  Get leads from people you trust.  Check online reviews of companies.  Whether you’re enlisting the services of a company or an individual, ask for references.  If someone isn’t willing to provide for them, look elsewhere.

If you manage to get references, contact them to find out about their experience with the housecleaner.  If there is a contract involved, see if you can receive services for a trial period before you agree to anything official.

Why Hire a Professional House Cleaner?

Housecleaning takes considerable time — 13 hours per week, on average.  If you don’t have much extra time on your hands, house cleaning is one of the first things to fall by the wayside, especially deep-cleaning.  Outsourcing your cleaning jobs saves time, makes your home more sanitary, and is good for your mental health.

Hiring a cleaning service can be great for one-time cleaning jobs too.  If you’re renting your home, your landlord is more likely to refund your whole security deposit if you leave your living space in the same, or better, condition than they were when you moved in.

A good end-of-tenancy cleaning can save you a lot of time and effort when you’re in the process of moving. Likewise, if you’re selling a home, a thorough cleaning is a must, especially amid all the chaos of packing up.  Plus, you’ll want it to look its best when you’re showing the home to prospective buyers.

A Side Noe About Housecleaners

Some people casually throw around the terms “maid” or “maid service”, especially when talking about residential cleaners.  Some house cleaners may take this with a grain of salt and won’t be terribly offended.  But calling a cleaner “the maid” can have negative connotations and therefore may be considered derogatory.  Plus, not all house cleaners are women.  So it’s better to simply refer to the person straightening up your living quarters as your housecleaner.

Who Can You Hire to Clean the Exterior of Your Home and What’s Involved?

A close look at the house exterior being cleaned with a power washer.

When you hire professionals to clean the exterior of your home, they’ll wash the walls, windows, soffits, fascia, and entryway.  Outside gutter cleaning is usually included too.  But if you want the roof washed, you’ll need to fork over some additional cash.

To clean siding and other exterior surfaces, you’ll need a power or pressure washer.  Pressure washing is not as effective for removing certain types of debris from homes and driveways, but it’s extraordinarily versatile; you can use it on just about any surface.

For cleaning that’s a little more heavy-duty, you can opt for power-washing, which uses hot water.  Power-washing works especially well when you need to remove mold, mildew, grease, and (if you live by the coast) salt.

Most companies use a biodegradable bleach solution that contains a detergent disinfectant.  This agent kills fungus and algae.  Some homeowners are concerned that this chemical will kill landscaping around the home.  While things can go wrong, if the agent is used in the right concentration, it will not harm surrounding grass and shrubs.  Some people cover their greenery with plastic as a protective measure, but this is not recommended, as it has the potential to kill plants.

After the solution is applied, it’s rinsed off at low pressure.  Some companies stand by their chemical-free process.  However, if no chemical is used, cleaners have to use incredibly high pressure, which may damage the home’s exterior.

Thoroughly washing the outside of your home enhances its longevity, protecting it from the damage that mildew and other debris can cause.  A good pressure-washing (or power-washing) will remove insect eggs too.  But you shouldn’t use exterior cleaning as a form of pest control; that requires another professional service altogether.

What’s the Cost of Cleaning the Exterior of Your Home?

When cleaning the outside of your home, you have two options: power washing or pressure washing.  Small jobs may cost as little as $100, but the typical range is $187-$388, and the average rate is $288.  Exceptionally large jobs could require you to shell out up to $600.  Wondering what those costs look like in terms of square footage?  Anywhere from $0.15-$0.75.

How Do You Find a Reputable Power Washing or Pressure Washing Company?

The steps to take in finding a good home exterior cleaning company are similar to locating a good indoor housecleaner.  Find a company that specializes in cleaning siding, decks, roofs, and the like.  Don’t hire just anyone for the job.  If your neighbor down the street has a pressure washer but doesn’t have much cleaning experience, you’re probably better off lining up someone who’s been in the business for a while.  Look for someone who is fully insured and licensed.  Get recommendations from people you trust and check online reviews.

How Often Should You Get the Outside of Your Home Cleaned?

A man washing the exterior of the windows with a hose.

There’s no set timetable for how often you should have the outside of your home cleaned.  But you’ll definitely be able to see when your brick or siding is due for a bath.  Mold, dirt, moss, and other debris will collect on the exterior.  It’s important to tackle the problem as soon as you spot it.  Industry experts recommend that you get a good cleaning every 12-18 months, but that’s not necessary for everyone.

If you live in a wooded area or an especially moist climate, your home’s exterior will need to be washed more often than it would in a drier climate with little or no foliage on your property.


What is a commercial cleaner responsible for?

Commercial cleaners work behind the scenes to keep businesses neat and tidy so they can carry out their operations as effectively as possible.  Janitorial services are typically tasked with general tasks like disinfecting, vacuuming and dusting.  Other responsibilities include mopping hard floors, cleaning restrooms, taking out the garbage and replacing the bags, if needed, and replenishing supplies of paper products like paper towels and toilet paper.

Sometimes an office cleaning service will also take care of additional tasks, such as window cleaning or occasional carpet cleaning.  Commercial cleaners usually do their work after their clients close for the day, although it’s not unheard of for a company to provide services throughout the day to keep up with tasks like garbage removal and restroom cleaning.

How do you find the right cleaning company for your business?

Here are some tips for finding a janitorial service.

  • Compare quotes.  The cleaning service will probably send someone to your business to assess what needs to be done in order to give you an accurate cost figure.
  • Get references.  A reputable janitorial service should be willing to provide references.  If not, it’s a red flag.  But when you get references, don’t stop there.  Contact them and ask about their experience with the company.  You may want to prepare a list of questions ahead of time.
  • Make sure you go with a company that is properly insured.  This is important because you don’t want to be liable if a cleaner is injured while working on your premises.
  • Read the fine print.  Don’t rush to sign a contract.  Read through it to make sure you’re on board with the company’s policies.  You also need to make sure you have some recourse if you’re not satisfied with the services provided.  See if the company will work for you for a trial period before you have to agree to a contract or service package.

How much does a commercial cleaner cost?

Commercial cleaning rates in the US vary quite a bit.  If companies charge a flat rate, the cheapest rates you’ll be able to find are as low as $80-$100.   On the other end of the fee spectrum, commercial operators could end up shelling out as much as $450-$880 for janitorial services.  On average, though, the cost can be anywhere from $135-$300.

Some commercial cleaning services charge by the square footage of your business so costs depend on its size.

  • 1,000 or less: $120
  • 1,000-2,000: $200
  • 2,000-3,000: $290
  • 3,000-4,000: $370
  • 4,000-5,000: $460
  • 5,000-6,000: $540
  • 6,000-7,000: $630
  • 7,000-8,000: $700
  • 8,000-9,000: $800
  • 9,000-10,000: $880

Like residential cleaning services, commercial cleaners also charge hourly rates.  These may range from $25-$28 for the least expensive services, and as much as $75-$90 for a high-end company.  The average hourly rate for janitorial services in the United States is $30-$50.

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