Do you let your cleaning person near your new kitchen appliances?

ArchitectMammaMarch 12, 2013

Am I crazy for banning anyone but myself from cleaning our new wolf and subzero? There was a tiny scratch in the finish on the wolf last week and my heart sank to the floor. I get totally nervous when I see any bathroom cleaning products even sitting in my kitchen waiting to be taken upstairs (clorox clean up is for old tile grout only!!!).
How does everyone handle this? Do you extensively train your cleaning help or relegate their assistance to floor mopping in the new kitchen? Yes, I've already tried coaching, but the scratch has had me obsessing all this week.

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Fori is not pleased

The butler was in charge of the remodel and was thus sort of emotionally invested in the well being of the kitchen so he was able to train the maids.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 3:41PM
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Debbi Branka

I have a list for my cleaning lady of what to use on what. Also, on the vinegar/water bottle, I have taped on there with big sharpie writing - do not use anywhere near the marble island.

I'm sure it's a pain for her, but she's good about it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 3:46PM
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Our housekeeper is the only one who cooks or cleans in our house, so yes. I don't really know how to clean anything (never been very domestic) so I have to trust her.

She purchases all of the cleaning supplies and does 99% the grocery shopping as well, but when she was hired I told her about the etching issues w/ the granite and the marble. She is wonderful and I trust her absolutely. She even took the initiative to get an all-natural sealer and seal the counters for us!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:00PM
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You're not crazy. We have someone who cleans for us in the apartment we are in twice a month and I am seriously considering not having her clean the new house. I'm too paranoid about the marble/brass/etc. I'm not worried about "life stains" from food and such - I know that is going to happen - but the idea of someone bleaching my Carrara is enough to make me swear off anyone but me and my husband cleaning it. Happened to the sister of a good friend in her bathroom and the whole slab had to be replaced.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:01PM
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beagles: Does she have any friends in Houston?!? She sounds amazing.

Mine loves the bleach a little too much!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I don't have a cleaner, other than me, but my GC told me a story of a client whose cleaner took a Brillo pad to a blob on her brand new stove . . . I'm not sure what they did to re-finish the surface (Brillo all over it to even it up?) but I gather they had a fairly lengthy 'training' session afterwards.

In my case, knowing that visiting relatives are likely to dive in and assist with cleaning, I removed anything from the kitchen other than dish soap, non-bleach surface cleaner and BKF. Soft scrubbies and microfibre cloths.

Anything else has to be fetched from the basement, and only I know where I hid it . . . .

1 Like    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:03PM
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I instructed the upstairs maid (me) on how to clean my appliances. The downstairs maid is hopeless. She was a little snippy with me at first, but I put the fear of god in her so now she obeys. She will be fired if she does not comply. ;)

Seriously, if I could afford someone to clean my house, I'd let them clean my new appliances after I instructed them on how and which products to use.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:12PM
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The novelty of the new kitchen wears off after about three months and then you'll be wondering why you're cleaning the appliances when you are paying someone else to do it!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:21PM
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My MIL bleached my farmhouse sink with the Ridiculously Expensive Rohl brass disposal flange. In her defense, the sink needed bleaching because it had little cracks in the glaze all around the Ridiculously Expensive Rohl brass disposal flange and I have a pretty serious coffee/red wine habit.

That said, this time we went with Silgranit and a Regular Cheap disposal flange. And I just don't have any bleach products in my kitchen this time around. I have bleach based cleaning stuff well hidden in the upstairs all white 1990's bath (but trust me, no one is looking for the cleaning products other than me).

But I would probably pass out from happiness if someone other than me cleaned anything around here.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:31PM
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I only keep Pink Solution in the house for my cleaner. And I only keep pads that I'm happy to know she uses. Works for me. Below is a link that might be helpful.

No, I don't schill for PInk, I just like it, and it seems to work reasonably well, without me having to worry about it ruining things.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pink Solution

This post was edited by jansin62 on Tue, Mar 12, 13 at 16:49

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:42PM
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When I was considering hiring cleaning help, I invited two ladies who cleaned my friend's house and she was quite happy with them.

I asked them to do XYZ and not to touch AB. Well, they did what they thought should be done, not I asked them. Plus, I could bet money that whatever I said about cleaning supplies would be ignored and they'd use whatever was easiest for them (i.e., abrasive).

Had a similar experience when hired someone to clean all windows in the house.

For example, Kohler allows certain cleaners on their surfaces while Toto allows different ones. Anything else would void the warranties. But why would they care if the finish is ruined after using a cleaner with bleach if it cleans faster? I wouldn't be able to prove they did it, right?

We installed a Robern cabinet in a bathroom and the mirror doors are ruined. I have never cleaned it with anything but water and DH wouldn't even think of cleaning it, how did it happen? It started soon after the bathroom was painted and I am pretty sure that the painter wiped pant spills with something but I cannot prove it. It will cost $$$ to replace two of three doors.

So, no, I am not letting anyone near my appliances - or my new windows, LOL. Hopefully, by the time I cannot do it myself, DD will be old enough and wiling to share the chore.

Or we move - because the problem is pretty much area-specific. Everyone I know who built a house or remodeled here completely agrees that it is next to impossible to find a contractor who know what he is doing. Same goes to almost any service.

So, I can totally relate to your concerns. :-)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:42PM
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That would be me, so yes. If I were not the cleaning person, I would have a discussion with them about what cleaning products/methods to use.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 4:51PM
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I spoke with our cleaning person about what to use/not use where. If I get something new I'm concerned about, I just tell her. I trust her, and in the end it's only stuff. I wouldn't not get my kitchen cleaned out of fear.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 5:17PM
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So hard to find good help nowadays. Why, my hall boy up and left us after one day! Pity we can't beat them like we used to.

BTW I don't know why everyone is so paranoid about marble and bleach, used within reason. Danby recommends buffing out etches with Comet.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 6:03PM
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^^^Danby Striato going in a new bathroom next week!!^^^
The Comet thing is one reason why I chose it. I used Calacatta Gold for the vanity tops in another bathroom and it looks terrible. It only looked beautiful for a few weeks. )-:

No cleaning help for me--I have a hard enough time not ruining my own stuff and would be seriously ticked if someone else ruined something.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 6:50PM
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I totally trust our cleaning peeps - I did make up a list and only allow them to use certain products and pads - BTW the little green pads from WS are awesome - no scratches and easy to manage - I toss into the laundry after use.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 7:04PM
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fori, LOL!!

Never even thought about it. I know our service takes all the grates off and cleans them down each time and it never occurred to me to worry about it. But our cleaning service uses only "green clean" products. I like that, not because I'm a greenie myself, in fact I probably use more paper towels than anyone else I know (DH excepted, he is brutal), but because at least I know the cleaners aren't super abrasive.

I think you will relax about the appliances after a few months once the newness of them wears off.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 7:07PM
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Back when I had a job and a cleaning person, I carefully explained to her how things should be cleaned. And then she just cleaned the way she darn well pleased. Nothing was terribly scarred, and I got over it.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:02PM
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Fori, you crack me up!

I rarely have a maid but when I do they are not allowed to clean the kitchen, just the floors and bathrooms. The only reason is that I have a friend whose maid did strange things with the stainless steel appliances and she ended up with scratches all over her refrigerator.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:09PM
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LOL texas_cajun, I'm pretty sure my housekeeper is one-of-a-kind.

We have had some bad cleaning people too in our old house. One who broke things routinely was, we found out, bringing her two year old over w/o permission (to our no-kid house) and leaving him unsupervised to destroy things, which he did (we weren't home when she cleaned at the time).

I think you just have to look until you find someone you can trust. I never want to lose my housekeeper and I think she really likes working for us (she made a special point of saying she does anyway) so hopefully we will have her w/ us for a long time!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 8:16PM
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This thread is hilarious!


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:06PM
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No, no cleaning people are allowed in my house, because they would want to get paid for ruining my stuff. The installers already took all those liberties....


    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:14PM
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Must. Bite. Tongue.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:17PM
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I've given up trying to find a good maid, I just make the pool boy clean the kitchen now, and I've found I don't care what he uses on my over priced appliances so long as he's shirtless while he cleans them.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:24PM
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So very funny, Fori!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:25PM
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Ah, but coffeeaddict, does your pool boy also roll out the piecrust ala this thread? (I guess he would have to clean the counters afterwards . . .)

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen workout

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 9:53PM
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Of course he does. I refuse to eat any pie unless the crusts were made by the pool boy, doing one handed counter push-ups while rolling out the dough.

Yep, I said one one handed...don't try to imagine how that's possible, he's just that good.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:00PM
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You and me both, Realism.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:08PM
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I barely had to train Carson at all--he's SO intuitive. But I have to watch O'Brien like a hawk. There's something odd about her obsession with soap.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:08PM
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What's a cleaning person?

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:41PM
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I would think Mrs. Hughes would have everything under control . . .

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 10:41PM
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To answer your specific question as specifically as possible: No, you are not crazy for banning anyone else from cleaning your appliances if you are unwilling to give them direction and training to do the job as you wish it to be done. Indeed, if you are unwilling to train your staff (or family), or if they are unable or unwilling to do the job, you (as the manager) by definition need to do the job yourself, or it won't get done.

As a long-ago "cleaning person" and current manager, I would suggest doing what any supervisor does when hiring and training employees: Look for talent; seek qualified applicants; check references of those who pass the qualifications and experience test; give a sample task; evaluate, and hire if the applicant is both WILLING and ABLE to do the job. After hire, every employee deserves to be provided enough orientation, training, tools, and formal and informal feedback to do their job well. Evaluate often based on hiring criteria, and if they are not ABLE to do the job, train or coach and give them a performance improvement plan. If, after training and coaching, they are not WILLING or ABLE to improve, fire them plain and simple. This is basic HR, people. Be a manager. Communicate. If you are not willing to delegate, train and supervise, then yes, like any manager, you should be willing to do the job yourself.

As a caveat: My partner and I agreed long ago that we are both able to clean up any mess we are able to create ourselves. Unfortunately, we're not always willing. So occasionally we live in a dirty house until a day or so before company arrives, when we become more willing. That system works for us because we agreed not to fire each other, and neither of us reacts well to being supervised by the other.

But an employee is an employee, not a life partner, so give them what they need to do their job or get a different employee. Good luck, and have fun!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2013 at 11:33PM
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We used to have someone clean every couple of months - we didn't know how to take care of much, our kitchen had formica and that kind of "bone" fridge & stove that basically gets clean with windex or anything thrown at it, really. They asked if they should use anything in particular - we said no - they used Murphy's Oil Soap on the floors and totally dulled them. I only heard later that that was bad.

Fast forward to renting a house from a colleague for the 9 months our remodel was being done. We moved everything out of our house. Our hostess/landlady left a 14-page, single-spaced "operating instructions" manual for the house. I have to quote, or nobody will understand. (Below)

The moral of this story was that: we were terrified to touch anything with anything and barely cleaned at all besides vacuuming and dusting and wiping off counters and burners.

Back at our house: the remodeling people had someone clean up before we moved back in. I trusted our remodeling people 100%, so I was not worried about what they'd do to the place. They were excellent, and were back in a couple of weeks to do it again with all the new stuff that was around. I don't know what they did, I don't know what they did it with, but they were perfect. If I were going to let ANYONE touch our house after that, it would be those cleaners. But I'm not.

From rental house operating manual:

"Please check periodically to see if water is standing in drain trough at inside
back of frig, and if it is, use turkey baster (in right hand drawer in the mudroom)
to remove it or it will drain down into your veg compartment and onto lower shelf
and ruin food. If trough fills back up again too quickly, it probably means there is
a food particle clogging the hole. This can be released by shooting steam down
the hole for maybe 30 seconds, which I’ve done once myself. There is a Shark
steam cleaner in its box on the black shelving in middle room of the basement.
That darn Shark came with too many attachments, so you have to make sure you
are using the simplest attachment �" which goes straight on the Shark’s nozzle
rather than being installed at the end of the hose needed for those big fancy
attachments. The correct attachment, of course, just looks like a point which
fits right down, or at least over, that drain hole in the fridge."

"Exterior of fridge should be cleaned only with stainless steel cleaner (under
kitchen sink) and using those silver-colored mits mentioned above under Stove

"It cleans dishes very well without your having
to completely wash them first. The more food you leave on, the more often you
will have to check the trap on the floor of the dishwasher for food that is not

broken down completely by the dishwasher’s cleaning processes. Check trap
occasionally in bottom of dishwasher for large pieces of food, and then be sure
to replace trap again. Of course you should make sure the disposal is completely
empty before you start the dishwasher, so dishwasher draining does not back up
into the dishwasher or the sink. Stainless steel exterior can be cleaned with the
stainless steel cleaner under the kitchen sink and those silver-colored stainless
steel cleaning mitts mentioned above. Operating manual for the dishwasher is in
the lefthand drawer in the mudroom with all the other manuals."

There was more. Drove me insane, plus had the effect of not wanting to use anything stronger than water and a microfiber on anything.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:24AM
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Thanks for all the laughs and the perspective!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 8:09AM
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Of course! And that would be me but even if I employed domestic help, I would let them do their jobs and stay out of their hair.

For all my business endeavors, I hire the highest quality personnel I can afford, state my expectations and turn them loose. If they do not perform, well - rinse and repeat until I'm happy.

I purchased heavy duty, high grade appliances, dishes and dinnerware simply because I use my kitchen hard and I knew the 'normal' grade appliances would not hold up to the stresses I would put them through. The appearance of the appliances was a secondary consideration for me.

My range has some light scratches from both normal use and probably from my cleaning. I don't care.

My countertop has a small ding in the edge because I dropped one of my (very) heavy copper stock pots on it. I wish I hadn't done it but I got over it in about an hour.

Heavens - I’m veering wildly off topic here but the crux of my thinking is this - My kitchen is lived in and loved in. My kitchen is the heart of my home ��" it’s a living, breathing space and is the most important room in the house. Meals, while significant, are not the most important activity that will have taken place there. It’s the place where family births, deaths and other concerns are talked over, teenage drama is put in its proper place, my deployed son calls into, homework gets done and joys are shared. The kitchen was also where I sat shocked to the point of muteness when my wife died and where everyone gathered to cook, visit, laugh and cry. This is where all the conversations that begin “Dad, I need to talk to you.” occur. It’s where I sit in the dead of night and stew over another’s illness and look inward - did I do all that was humanly possible? Did I say the right things? Could I have been a better man?

The kitchen is a much larger part of my family than the measurements of the room would suggest and the memories of what has occurred there will occupy an enormous portion of my kids’ recollections. Because of all this, I cannot trouble myself over mere cosmetic issues. Our lives are much too short for this to occupy any of my time.

Of course your mileage may vary and I pray that all of us are freed from that which troubles us.
Best wishes - Doc

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:20AM
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I asked my then five-year-old boy and his friend to help clean up the mess they had made at our house. The friend looked me straight in the eye and said, "Why don't you call the cleaning lady and have her come and clean it up?"

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 9:35AM
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I'm too embarrassed by construction mess, piling of stuff, a cat that pees, and my own expectations of what my house should look like.

I'd have to clean before my cleaning lady came in and that defeats the purpose. Plus, I hate to clean so I'd have to keep calling her to come another day.

Something's wrong with that picture.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:42AM
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Doc - that was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing your perspective.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 10:43AM
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robo (z6a)

Agreed, really nice post!

Cleaning people aren't necessarily just for the crazy rich! Don't get me wrong, we are comfortable, but for example, we have one car and I gave up cable and our landline to have a cleaning person come in twice a month. It was the best decision ever. I would far rather have her than a second car or HGTV (although with HGTV it might be a close call...)

Anything she wants to clean, she cleans. She uses our rags and cleaners and I only provide green cleaners and gentle rags so no problems there.

Between full time grad school and full time work, routine housework is not what I want to be spending free time on. DH already does all the cooking and shopping and also works full time. Because we know she's coming, we keep things around the house down to a dull roar and are forced to do a thorough tidy every 2 weeks. We both are messy but love being in a clean house so it's given us that bit of discipline we wanted and now we no longer dread surprise visits by the inlaws! If I could find other things to chop out of the budget so she could come every week I would!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 11:06AM
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My house is 7-8 yrs old. I have a cleaning person once a week. I clean my own appliances. If they were doing my appliances they wouldn't get done in the allotted time. Plus this is just something I would rather do myself.

I put my Wolf grates in my Rohl sink, wash them and lay them on paper towels to dry when I clean my range. If anyone is going to ding the granite around my sink, it better be me.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:03PM
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OT, but that's what I tell people who come to the house....
"Sorry about the mess, the cleaning lady QUIT"......that would have been me.


    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:15PM
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"I'd have to clean before my cleaning lady came in and that defeats the purpose."

That would be me as well, LOL.

And I know other folks who tidied like crazy every time their cleaning lady was coming.

I was expecting a post similar to Doc's when the thread started. While I totally agree that a kitchen is not a collection of appliances and countertops to obsess about but a space where life happens, I think that the OP's question was about something else.

It is unfortunate that new appliances are so over-priced and come with so many restrictions. Any violation and the manufacturer may not honor the warranty even if totally unrelated. That is why I cannot "rinse and repeat". Even one use may be enough to cause permanent cosmetic damage. If my $$$$ oven breaks, the manufacturer can deny service or replacement if they find that abrasive cleaners were used to clean the outside of the oven, even if it has nothing to do with the oven functioning.

I am not "rich enough" to keep replacing those appliances. If I were, I probably would be able to afford house cleaning, if you kwim.

I am sure there are cleaning people who would respect your wishes, they are just hard to find.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 12:54PM
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I remember telling my mom how we could once use Comet for everything. Now, every appliance and every bathroom fixture has its own recommended cleaning product and not using the recommended product voids the warranty. Crazy.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:36PM
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Agree with eleena. In my bathroom, I can't get the cleaner for the tile on the mirror, or the faucet cleaner on the floor, or the floor cleaner on the faucet. You can't clean the whole thing without a damn spreadsheet.

Teasing aside, having a simple cleaning service is not an upper class thing, at least not for two-job households. However, the reality is, having an intelligent, reliable cleaning person is an upper-class luxury, unless you happen to be lucky.

I would love to have a touchup every week or two. However, I remember what the cleaning people did at my mom's place when she got sick and couldn't do it all herself. Each week, something new was broken, scratched, stained or missing. She couldn't afford to supplement the housekeeper's income by running out and buying new carpets or collectibles or lamps on a weekly basis--which is precisely what you are doing if you allow someone to break something in your house without paying for it. She lucked out for a while with an old Italian lady who cleaned like she did, but for the most part they were more trouble and money than they were worth.

Now, if you can afford real staff, then you can get into human resources techniques. But if you can't, then you're not the employer, just a customer, and you take what you get.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:47PM
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There exists a cleaning school in Texas where we sent our staff and they do provide excellent appliance cleaning training. I am happy to report that entire staff have now been fully crosstrained on appliance cleaning in addition to their regular specialties.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 1:59PM
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Your schtick is getting real old, oceangirl. So are you.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 2:10PM
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I don't have anywhere close to upscale anything, and all my appliances have come from the scratch n dent store -- except the range hoods, which were new although still low end painted ones. I have had cleaning service in occassionally as a treat for myself (in 20 years as a working single parent) maybe 5-6 times, and twice I have had the finish on the hood ruined by the cleaner used on it.

So, if I had concerns about more expensive appliances being properly cleaned, I would do it myself.

BTW, I do believe that way back in the day, having someone come in to clean or help with the household was not just for the wealhy or the upper middle class; it was common for many in the middle class in order to manage households before the days of automatic washers, dryers, electric vacuums, disposable furnishings etc. I know that my farming ancestors always had a neighborhood "girl to help". Now we don't need so much help and feel kind of ashamed of hiring someone to "serve" us, I guess,but there are a whole bunch of people who no longer have this honorable means of making a living as a result.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:33PM
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Our kitchen project hasn't started (so I reserve the right to change my mind), but I look at it this way...
1) Kitchens and bathrooms are the primary reason that we hire a housekeeper. If he's not cleaning the kitchen appliances, it will significantly reduces his value to us.
2) The appliances are going to get scratched because they are being used. I'll be much more forgiving on our housekeeper than on myself of my husband, so we might as well let him break them in!

We will provide him with specific cleaning products and he will take it from there. Our housekeeper is great. I think he's fully booked right now, but I can give you his number if you want.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 3:51PM
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cleaning??? With the price they are supposedly worth, they should clean themselves.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:01PM
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Too funny! I'm with Catbuilder!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 4:02PM
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I am with weedmeister... and fori!

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:09PM
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Ah, such funny people here, no wonder I still hang around. Thanks for the chuckles, fori et al.

drbeanie -- we bid on (and won) a stay at a lake house at a charity auction, and arrived to one of those cleaning manifestos. We turned around and drove home. Noooooo thank you. :-)

And doc, such --- wisdom. Thanks for the healthy reminder of the relative importance of "stuff" that happens.

This post was edited by kris_ma on Wed, Mar 13, 13 at 17:54

    Bookmark   March 13, 2013 at 5:53PM
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I'm with Doc on this (great post, btw). I have a cleaning lady and I don't know, nor particularly care, what she uses to clean my house. My feeling is, if I were some sort of cleaning expert, I'd be doing it myself!

I have carrera marble in the bathroom. She may throw bleach on it for all I know (come to think of it, that bathroom does smell strongly of bleach when she leaves...). To me, the marble looks perfectly fine. To many of you GW'ers, it is probably a disfigured mess.

The point being, if something is going to bother you, be it a scratch, a streak, a spot, then you are perfectly within your rights to provide the appropriate cleaning products and instructions, or do it yourself.

We all have different things that get under our skin. I don't think you should be ridiculed for that. Especially so soon after losing your sister to eclampsia and your husband in a car crash! ;)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2013 at 9:30PM
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