7 Secrets of Professional Cleaners

You know when you have access to insider information you would only get if you knew someone who was in the know? Well, I am that insider for you in the world of cleaning. I have owned a cleaning company since 2006 and that’s how I got my start in the cleaning world. I cleaned hundreds of places before I ever started filming YouTube videos. That cleaning business is still going strong today, and I’m constantly researching, practicing and learning the best new cleaning techniques so that I can teach my staff to go out and do the very best job. I’m going to share with you seven things that expert cleaners know that your average person doesn’t. I’m going to teach you how to be more effective and more efficient with your cleaning so that you can clean like a pro without having to hire one!

Keep It Simple

The majority of cleaning needs in any home can be handled with very basic cleaning products. Now, when you go to the cleaning aisle, you might feel befuddled because there are so many different options and products, but for all intents and purposes, you just need the basics to get the majority of the work done. If you encounter a particularly unique issue in your home like a clogged drain, mold or mildew, or something that needs a specialty product, by all means, hit the shelves and buy the specialty product. But, for your everyday general cleaning jobs some simple things will get the job done—dish soap, water, baking soda, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and vinegar should be your staples. (BTW, we have tons of DIY cleaning recipes). So, save your money, keep it simple, and reduce your cleaning needs to the most basic cleaning supplies.

Keep Your Tools Close

One of the easiest ways to waste time when you’re cleaning is to run around looking for different products and tools. In the professional cleaning world, we collect everything ahead of time and prepare all of our products and tools. We go in and assess the room before doing any cleaning. What am I going to need? Which products, tools, and techniques will I employ? Then, go and collect everything that you’re going to need, bring it all back, and start your cleaning. I’ve seen people waste so much time running around looking for a bottle of glass cleaner, or that forgotten microfiber cloth—instead, have everything with you in your space, keep it close, do your work and then move on.

Have A System

When I started my cleaning service company, I actually learned something really simple about professional cleaning: Professional cleaners always have a plan of action—they know exactly what they need to do when they go into a room. I created my very own cleaning plan called the 3 Wave System. I teach my staff about it, I use it when I clean my house, I wrote about it in my book, and I talk about it on the Clean My Space channel. The reason I’m such a believer in this 3 wave system is that it actually works. It tells you exactly what to do each and every time you get into a room. It is the most efficient way to clean a space, and you don’t waste time, because as we know… time is money.

Most Important Areas

Sometimes when we think about cleaning a room, we think about it holistically and it feels overwhelming because there can be so many things to accomplish. Cleaning doesn’t have to be that complicated. In fact, if you think about your room and what areas are most important, you can then prioritize areas of focus when you’re cleaning. I call these MIAs, or, Most Important Areas. You can easily leave the things that aren’t as important for another day. In the professional cleaning space, we call this Task Rotation. I like to go into a space, look around and say, “This is really important to me. This isn’t so important to me.” So, for example, baseboards aren’t that important to me, so unless they really need cleaning I will put it off. However, dirty cupboard doors in the kitchen are important to me because I find they stand out, so, I will clean them almost every time I clean my kitchen. You can take this approach and apply it to any room in your home. It’ll save you a lot of time when you’re cleaning, and it makes you feel less stressed and less guilty that you’re not getting to everything done right then and there.

Do 2 Jobs At Once

Something else very unique to the cleaning world is the importance of pre-treating a surface. Basically, you’re going to take something, soak it in the appropriate cleaning product and let the product do the work for you. Think about it like this; when you watch a cleaning product commercial on TV, this is basically what you see: spray, spray, spray, wipe and then… *ding*, everything looks clean and shiny. That’s not reality, it doesn’t work that quickly. Products need time to work, but in commercials, they work in 30 seconds. At home, you’ve actually got to work smart. When I’m in a grimy space like a kitchen or a bathroom, I like to soak the areas and let the product do the work for me. I’ll walk in and do an assessment of the space, then get the appropriate products, and I soak all of the surfaces that need soaking. I’ll start at the 12 o’clock point so I can work my way around the room clockwise and if a surface needs time to soak for longer, I’ll skip it and I’ll come back to it when I know it’s ready. Typically, I would leave something for between 5 and 10 minutes. By that time, the product has done what it is intended to do and by the time you get there all you have to do is take your sponge, cloth, or brush, and simply wipe it clean.

Safety First

I see everybody’s cleaning mistakes in my Instagram DMs. My first response whenever I see something like this is, “Did you use the right product, tool, and technique?”. Using the wrong ones can ruin a surface (sometimes permanently), and can also be really expensive to fix. When it comes to cleaning, it is very important to play it safe. Make sure that you are reading the product label so you understand what it can and cannot be used on, but also make sure you’re using the appropriate tool for the surface so you won’t scratch or otherwise damage it. You also want to make sure that you’re taking good care of yourself by wearing eye protection and/or gloves and properly ventilating the space you’re in. Whatever precautions you need to take are well worth the time it’ll take to investigate—that little bit of extra time can bigger prevent problems down the line.

Sometimes I still find it absolutely laughable that I am called a Cleaning Pro, because before 2006 when I started Clean My Space, I was the biggest slob you have ever seen. I hated cleaning and cried about it like it was a legitimate real-life problem for me and here I am talking about cleaning with all of you. But I’m so glad that I can do that and help you because I know so many of you struggle the way that I used to, and frankly the way that I sometimes still do.

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. Make sure that you are reading the product label so you understand what it can and cannot be used on, but also make sure you’re using the appropriate tool for the surface so you won’t scratch or otherwise damage it.

  2. Thank you so much for your words of wisdom. I refer to your Clean My Space often because of it’s valuable information and directions. When in doubt, I always consult you. I’ve been a home maker for 59 years and still am learning NEW routines and hints from youngsters like you.

  3. Hi Melissa,
    As a pro cleaner since 2007, I read up to find useful tips, and appreciate your videos. I would appreciate hearing your method cleaning master bathroom soaking tubs; those big wide ones. As I have enough equipment to take to a job, I use my entire self to clean those type tubs, that require soap scum removed, rather than have another price of equipment to carry in.


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