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9 Things Professional House Cleaners Aren’t Allowed to Clean

Professional housecleaners won't clean these items for a variety of reasons — including their safety, and yours.

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Man holding mop and plastic bucket with brushes, gloves and detergents in the kitchen

Cleaning the Home

Vacuuming, mopping, sweeping, sanitizing, disinfecting…there’s so much that goes into cleaning a home, including knowing the difference between sanitizing and disinfecting. There’s so much going on in kitchen cupboards and storage closets that it would make sense to hire professional cleaners to do a deep clean of the home.

But even the pros prefer to leave certain cleaning tasks to the homeowner. From antique items to contaminated surfaces, here are a few things professional cleaners won’t clean.

One thing to note: Not all cleaning services are the same.

“Every cleaning service is different, and most likely is going to come down to the type of training and specialty of the service as well as theirs insurance restrictions,” says Jacqueline Janus, cleaning expert and owner of cleaning company Two Chicks and a Broom. “For example, our cleaners cannot clean outside, because our insurance only covers items inside of the house.”

This could also be a good time to review these 10 things you didn’t realize homeowners insurance will cover.

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Blue China On Sideboard

Antiques and Specialty Items

Would you trust the professionals to clean the antique couch you inherited from your grandparents, or would you rather learn how to clean it yourself? Janus tells her employees not to clean antiques, specialty items, jewelry or anything breakable.

“Most of those things require training, special equipment/tools, and run a high likelihood of damage,” she says. “Items like those things are best left to cleaning services that specialize in cleaning and restoration of those items.”

If you’re looking to do it yourself, here are eight clever uses for Alka-Seltzer around your home.

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Roach in a kitchen

Bug-Infested Homes

Homes with insect infestations are red flags for professional cleaners.

“Whether it’s fleas, cockroaches, or other little animals, we only clean these homes after they are fully exterminated and have had their infestation handled by a professional,” says Michael Silva-Nash, owner of Molly Maid of Northwest Arkansas, a Neighborly company.

“We do this to avoid any risk of carrying from home to home. Most professional house cleaners also don’t use full-body suits to protect themselves against fleas, ticks, etc. These are usually multi-step and require different vendors at different points of the service.”

For a more DIY approach, here are the 16 most disgusting bugs and how to get rid of them.

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Low Angle View Of Illuminated Chandelier Hanging From Ceiling

High, Hard-to-Reach Areas

If you think hiring professional cleaners to clean areas that you can’t reach like chandeliers, tops of cabinets and high windows is a good solution, you might need to rethink that plan.

“We will do as far as we can with a two-step stool like most professional house cleaners, however our insurance does limit us to that tool,” says Silva-Nash. “Our teams are not trained to deal with larger ladders and does restrict our movement.” Here are cleaning tricks for hard-to-reach household objects.

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A cream rug on a dark wooden floor

Carpet Cleaning

With rugs and carpets, Janus says anything more than basic vacuuming isn’t something her company does.

“Carpet cleaning is a specialty service that requires special equipment, tools, and training, and clients are not going to get the results they want/need from the products and tools we carry,” explains Janus. “We will spot clean a carpet for a spill or something of that nature if the client specially requests it and provides the cleaner they want to be used.”

Here’s a quick guide on how to remove every type of stain.

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educate your pet

Bodily Fluids

It might be gross to think about, but someone needs to clean up bodily fluids if an accident happens, whether it’s blood or anything else.

“We do clean/scrub bathrooms top to bottom, including toilets, but basically anything at the level that would be considered a health hazard we cannot clean, for obvious reasons,” says Janus. “That includes pet waste/accidents. Our cleaners’ protective gear is not medical grade and they do not have the tools or cleaners for that level of cleaning.”

Here’s how you can clean the dirtiest items in your home.

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Limited Edition or Expensive Books

Expensive and limited edition books require expert knowledge on how to clean and care for the covers and pages. Many items need to be cleaned in a certain way.

According to the experts at Top Cleaners in London, England, “there is no guarantee your regular domestic cleaners have the necessary knowledge or tools. Some items need to be handled by a professional. This is the case with old books or expensive art. The simple act of dusting can damage the leather cover of a book. People who own these sorts of items must provide the cleaning company with a list of valuables. This way, the cleaners can inform the potential customer what is out of their scope.”

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Man in protective suit disinfecting and spraying every room in the building

COVID-19 Sanitization Within 14 Days of an Infected Person Being Present

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on unprecedented levels of cleanliness, in the home and around the world.

“While COVID-19 has shown to not transfer as easily through surfaces, we do not carry the equipment to disinfect the house, such as foggers, bodysuits, etc.,” says Silva-Nash. “Other companies, such as Rainbow International, do provide that, and then we can come in for the cleaning of the home. We can provide services after 14 days of the infected person being there.”

If cleaning feels overwhelming, just remember: Here are home cleaning tips straight from the CDC.

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Bathroom dirt and mould on grouting and tiles behind taps

Large Amounts of Mold

“We all get the pink mold in our toilets here and there, but black mold that is throughout the home, like ceilings, etc. is a different issue,” says Silva-Nash. “Again, we don’t have the equipment to safely remove it.” These are the 12 hidden signs your home could have toxic mold.

Removing mold also depends on which country you’re in. Professional house cleaners aren’t allowed to clean a variety of things, many of which “depend on what the customer wants, what certificates the cleaning company has, and what are the regulations in a particular country,” explains Top Cleaners. “For example, in the United Kingdom, regular professional cleaners need to be licensed to remove mold. They are not allowed to use bleach or strong solvents otherwise.”

Regardless of where you happen to be located, these are the things you should be cleaning every day from now on.

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Home destroyed by tornado

Extreme Cleaning

When professional cleaners say extreme cleaning, they mean extreme cleaning. Think of natural disasters and removing debris and traces from a flood or a fire.

The experts from Top Cleaners add that “basically, house cleaners are allowed to deal with standard stains and issues. Therefore, if you are looking for a specific service, like extreme cleaning, you can’t expect that your regular domestic cleaners can perform it.” Natural disasters can happen at any time, but thankfully there are good people in the world who can help.

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Female Hand set up white bed sheet in bedroomSuphansa Subruayying/Getty Images

Acknowledging Strengths

Professional house cleaners are professionals for a reason. However, when it comes to certain items, it might be best to leave it to, well, other professionals who are adept in their respective fields.

“We focus on what we are really good at doing — house cleaning,” says Silva-Nash. “We focus on the baseboards, blinds, ceiling fans (with an extendable high duster), making beds, taking the trash out, and leaving the bathrooms and kitchen sparkling! We are the pros at that – and we recognize when something isn’t our strength and we should leave it to the professionals in those fields.”

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Madeline Wahl
Madeline Wahl is a Digital Associate Editor/Writer at Previously, she worked for HuffPost and Golf Channel. Her writing has appeared on HuffPost, Red Magazine, McSweeney's, Pink Pangea, The Mighty, and Yahoo Lifestyle, among others. More of her work can be found on her website: