10 Things Your House Cleaner Knows About You
Your personal space—and how you arrange it, decorate it and keep it tidy—says a lot about your personality, and house cleaners notice
Do you spend time on self-care? Are you organized? Are you in a relationship? We spoke to professional cleaners to find out how much they learn about you from your surroundings, your stuff, how you present it, what you conceal and just how tidy it all is—without snooping, of course. “People who clean other people’s homes on a regular basis are in a unique position to peek into their lives,” says Bryan C., an independent cleaner who has worked in other people’s homes for almost 30 years.
House cleaners not only know how to clean everything—they also work in their clients’ most intimate spaces. And regardless of their cleaning schedule, they pick up on a lot. “You absorb hints about who that person may be and what’s going on in their lives,” says Bryan. A client with a type-A personality, for instance, might have given their house a quick clean before their housekeeper arrived—a polite habit house cleaners actually dislike.
And while it is true that small habits can reveal a lot about your personality, this detective work is by no means an objective, formal science, but more like a casual and curious examination of clues, says Susan Shehata, a wellness expert known as The Space Guru.
Your space says it all
“A space does reveal so much about what’s happening in our life,” Shehata says. “Our spaces are a mirror of all our goals and obstacles, and in them, we’re going to find reflections of our pain and trauma, our past and present aspirations, our values and really very crucial aspects of our identity.”
So, are housekeepers noting all that? Do you need to clean up your act? Or can you sweep it all under the rug? Here’s what professional cleaners notice about you.
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You take personal hygiene seriously
“It’s a weird contradiction, but clean people have filthy bathtubs,” says Bryan. When the shower has a buildup of pink gunk residue, hard-water stains or they don’t have a clean bathtub, “it’s obvious to me that they take showers every day.” In most situations, he says, the cleaner they are, the dirtier the shower and tub tend to be. Another reason the bathroom may be well used: They spend time in that space because they’re serious about self-care.
You know your cleaning hacks
“Some clients have a ton of good cleaning products and buy everything they know I use: hydrogen peroxide, Magic Erasers, even Shark vacuums,” says Bryan. “This tells me that they really care about the job I’m doing and want me to do a good job.”
Another interpretation of a cabinet with expert-approved cleaning products: This person knows how to clean well. Maybe they haven’t always had the ability to hire someone, so they know the best cleaning tips, follow TikTok cleaning hacks and tend to deep-clean their space on their own.
You have a lot going on
Piles of paper, unorganized closets and chairs stacked with bags and coats—clutter-filled homes can mean different things for different people. It’s common to experience some sort of disarray when you have a lot going on, you are overwhelmed or at a transitional point in life, says Shehata. But for Bryan, it can be a sensitive issue. “I’m there to help,” he says. “I’m not trying to be judgmental, but visitors like me can see opportunities that the person who lives there cannot. So I try to help them declutter and make more room for themselves.”
You’re motivated by positivity
You have uplifting quotes hung on your wall and your calendar is filled with Monday motivation sayings, like “A beautiful day starts with a beautiful attitude.” You write happy sayings on Post-It notes and use fun refrigerator magnets. Most often, house cleaners can conclude you’re a positive person motivated by positivity.
“When I see signs, crafts or other trinkets with sayings on them about being kind, loving or family-oriented, it speaks to the personality of the client,” says Cory Chalmers, the founder and president of Steri-Clean. Whether it’s an award or a notebook filled with reminders to choose kindness, the decision to display it says something about your character.
You have a Costco membership
If your closet or pantry shelves are packed with toilet paper rolls and paper towels, there’s a good chance you’re a planner—you want to be prepared for anything and everything. House cleaners notice these well-stocked household supplies (and any perfectly maintained disaster survival kits), both of which speak to your think-ahead personality.
Not only might an in-bulk TP supply clue house cleaners in on the frequency of your bathroom trips, but it might also suggest a bit about your finances. People who buy in bulk and stay well stocked tend to have a decent cash flow, unlike those who cannot always afford to stock up.
You might have a type-A personality
If you love the all-white look (white walls, white sofa, white tiles, white towels), then you’re sending a strong message to your cleaner: You care about organization, neatness and cleanliness. “Very light colors and glass surfaces are hard to clean and to keep clean,” says Bryan, and smudge-free glass doors and tables can mean the client is fastidious. According to Shehata, a minimalist look says that the person who lives there appreciates a neat and clean home. They might also have a capsule wardrobe or an incredibly organized utility closet. Either way, “they’re probably very particular,” she says.
If you have a nugget ice maker, panini press or SodaStream on your kitchen counter, Bryan refers to this as the George Foreman Grill or salad spinner effect. A collection of trendy, fad appliances can give away how impressionable you may be. You could be especially vulnerable to hype or feel a need to find out for yourself what the fuss is about. Or maybe your appliance choices just mean you like kitchen gadgets and love to entertain.
You’re full of ideas
Sweeping and scrubbing someone’s personal space can reveal a lot about their working habits. If you have a messy office or an uncontained work-from-home space that includes open shelving, a white board, a visual calendar or cluttered stacks of papers on your desk, then you might just be full of ideas. The chaos of an office space can divulge to your house cleaner a lot of information about your industry, career or how you think. “I work with a lot of neurodivergent and creative people, and the way their brains work can show up in their physical environment,” says Shehata.
Seemingly messy workspaces can have more to do with how our brains process information, and some people need visual prompts to take action. Tidy offices and tucked-away organization ideas simply won’t be effective here.
You might be a hoarder
There are clues that someone is struggling with something more than just an untidy home. Chalmers, the founder of Hoarders.com, heads to the piles of paper for answers. “Hoarding typically starts from past traumas, so when we can find the beginning of this time capsule—dates on magazines, bills or newspapers—we can ask, ‘What happened in 1992?’ I love using this approach because it allows the client to talk about the things they may have put in their vault, not even realizing the ramifications have been playing out for years.”
You have guilty pleasures
Do you have a drawer full of takeout menus? What about a kitchen cabinet with a secret stash of junk food? Whether you hide it from your kids, your husband or the world, there’s a good chance your cleaner will come across it. And while Bryan says he’s surprised by secret candy stashes if the client otherwise projects an image of health and wellness, there’s nothing wrong with a few guilty pleasures and a love of snacks.
About the experts
- Bryan C. is a house cleaner and visual artist based in New York City.
- Susan Shehata is a certified wellness professional known as The Space Guru. She assists and educates people in transforming the space around them.
- Cory Chalmers is the founder and president of Steri-Clean and Hoarders.com. He also regularly appears on A&E’s Hoarders.