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Stop feeling guilt over using a house cleaning service

guilt-free cleaning

You’ve been thinking about trying out a meal kit service. Or a home cleaning service. But … you haven’t pressed “go” yet because there’s huge guilt over using a home cleaning service. So how do you overcome that and confidently purchase guilt-free cleaning help for your home? Keep reading, because this is important.

The 40-hour work-week was built on an obsolete premise of a single breadwinner

Canadians can thank American Henry Ford for the traditional 40-hour work week, when, in 1926, he aimed to boost productivity on his automotive assembly lines and began paying employees for one week while only requiring them to work an 8-hour shift five days a week. By the early 1940s, the US, Canada and many other countries mandated the 5-day work week and that’s how it’s been ever since. Yes. Today’s workforce still functions on a work schedule set by the needs of an automotive factory in the 1920s. And who were those factory workers? Well, they were men. And those who were married had wives at home, raising children, cooking the roast, and keeping the house.

The 40-hour work week simply wasn’t designed for dual-income households, because there are still only 24 hours in a day. Yet, people (yes, mostly women) are still stuck trying to cram in all those hours of housework, child-rearing, and cooking around a 9-5 job. And then they feel guilt over using a cleaning service? Here’s why that doesn’t make sense. 

“It’s honest work, worthy of a paycheque”

Suzanne Lucas wrote those words in an op-ed in Inc. Magazine. Her point: The person who cleans for you takes home a paycheque. It’s a simple exchange of service whereby one party pays another a good wage for their work. Which means, practically speaking, paying for house cleaning is the same as paying for:

  • A mechanic or Mr. Lube to change your oil
  • A company to paint your house
  • A nail technician for a manicure
  • Someone to shovel your driveway after a snowstorm
  • Someone to trim your hedges and trees
  • DoorDash to deliver your food
  • For an Uber to take you where you need to go

If you are paying market-value for a service and are using that service legally (meaning you’re paying taxes and not paying “under the table”), then you are valuing that work and providing a Canadian with legal employment

The cultural temperature on hiring out the house work is warming up

Paying for house cleaning services is strongly linked to cultural feelings about what a person (ahem, woman) should be able to do themselves, rightly or wrongly. So, let’s turn to the almighty Internet to take a current reading. From Reddit: The thread begins with the statement “I hired a house cleaning service and I feel guilty.” A few things popped out in the flood of responses from this post – here are the thematic highlights:

a). You and your partner are both working full-time. Why is the burden on you alone to do the bulk of the house work?

b). You are creating a job for someone else – why feel guilty about that?

c). You are exchanging your time for money. You gain time and the person who cleans your house is exchanging getting money for the job. It’s an equal exchange when the service exchange is legal and above board.

d). Pay people well. Treat people well. Feel zero guilt over using a cleaning service.

How to hire a house cleaner ethically and responsibly

So you get over the guilt and want to hire. You’ve got 3 potential options: Hire “under the table” cleaners (not advisable because those cleaners aren’t working legally and aren’t protected in any way); hire franchise cleaning companies (which use a brand name but essentially operate as its own company, meaning you can’t be sure what you’ll get); or hire a non-franchised cleaning company. That means all cleaners follow specific protocols, have an internal HR support system, and get compensated well and on time.

Arguably, a non-franchised, established house cleaning company is the most ethical way to hire a cleaning service if you want consistent results and excellent customer service. Ultimately, you’ll get the personal touches and attention you need to feel good about a cleaner coming into your home. And, the company supports the cleaner and pays them a competitive wage. Everyone is paid, protected and supported, and your home gets fabulously clean.

Now, you actually stop feeling guilty over using a cleaning service.



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