House Cleaning and Covid

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TallBoy29er
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House Cleaning and Covid

Post by TallBoy29er » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:33 pm

So, we live in Georgia, and will definitely not be going bowling, getting tats, going to the theater, getting haircuts and/or massages and/or mani/pedis, or going to the gym this weekend.

That said, I am wondering about starting with our house cleaners again. I was thinking that if they used masks, and we provided (like we always do) the cleaning agents, it may be ok. We would plan on leaving they house for the 1.5 hrs they are here, and probably for a bit longer.

Regardless, I was wondering what other folks who use house cleaners are doing at the moment. Would you feel comfortable with letting people who, by trade, are going to different locations, in your house, under the circumstances I outlined above?

TheOscarGuy
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by TheOscarGuy » Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:47 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:33 pm
So, we live in Georgia, and will definitely not be going bowling, getting tats, going to the theater, getting haircuts and/or massages and/or mani/pedis, or going to the gym this weekend.

That said, I am wondering about starting with our house cleaners again. I was thinking that if they used masks, and we provided (like we always do) the cleaning agents, it may be ok. We would plan on leaving they house for the 1.5 hrs they are here, and probably for a bit longer.

Regardless, I was wondering what other folks who use house cleaners are doing at the moment. Would you feel comfortable with letting people who, by trade, are going to different locations, in your house, under the circumstances I outlined above?

In MA for reference 😋
I won’t let anyone in the house till end of June, at the very least. That’s when our governor has decided to keep daycare and schools closed. I’d say if you can, don’t allow anyone in the house, clean frequently used surfaces: door knobs, computer keyboards, kitchen surfaces etc.

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telemark
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by telemark » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:15 pm

I'd suggest reading this article about making smart bets:

https://medium.com/@peteneuwirth/making ... e62cabd236

and then think of this as a gamble. If you win, you get a cleaner house. If you lose, you still get a cleaner house but you also die in a fairly unpleasant way. There's a good chance that you will win, but the odds depend on a bunch of stuff that nobody knows yet. Is it worth it?

P.S. I don't free climb at that level, but I've done enough rock scrambling to understand the appeal.

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Summit111
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Summit111 » Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:54 pm

We are still paying our house cleaning service their monthly fee, but they are not actually doing the work due to state wide shelter in place orders. I will continue to pay them, but will not allow them in my house until we are comfortable with the COVID-19 state of affairs relating to infection rates, deaths, etc. We will probably extend our own social distancing for a while, and not trust the advice of authority to open things up prematurely.

Summit
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HawkeyeJD
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by HawkeyeJD » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:06 pm

We continued with weekly housekeeping throughout the COVID epidemic and plan to continue to do so.

We approached our housekeepers and asked if they wanted to continue to work or put it on pause out of concern for their safety. We offered to continue paying them for one month no conditions, and then future months in a "pre-pay" type scenario (rather than just us cancelling) where we are basically buying "gift cards" for future cleanings. The housekeeping team (husband/wife combo, independent contractor) said they wanted to keep cleaning, did not want charity, did not want to do the "gift card" idea, and that most folks opted to continue cleaning rather than pause.

I found this article helpful in making a decision as it is focused on an ethical perspective. Note that I did not adopt the position in the article, but I thought it was a good framework to evaluate the situation: https://www.washingtonian.com/2020/03/2 ... till-come/

Here are some factors I used in making my decision:

1. We are not there when the cleaners come around (we take the kids for a walk and play outside) and the housekeepers have a good routine set up for hand washing, fresh gloves, PPE, and then "cleaning themselves out" so as to not go into a room once they cleaned it. We felt the plan helped lower the risk to ourselves and to the housekeepers.

2. Both my wife and myself are still required to go to work spending a lot of time around a lot of people (pediatric care provider in a large hospital, myself on a military base), still get gas in the car, and are still required to go stand in line at the grocery store and spend extended amounts of time in those stores. We feel we incur most of our risk in these situations, and add only a small amount of marginal risk through housekeeping.

3. I have 3 young kids (Kindergarten and younger) and I am now their teacher and caretaker during the day, and then I go work 9 hours on 2nd shift (which is an accommodation to allow more of us to space out at work). I get about 5 hours of sleep per night. The housekeeping is a godsend so that I have an opportunity to sleep in at least one weekend morning rather than spending 3 or 4 hours on cleaning chores.

4. Our state, and the CDC have not banned personal services like housekeeping, despite very specific guidance in a large number of other areas. Although I am a bit distrustful of some of the guidance because I don't know whether housekeeping was explicitly considered, it is nonetheless a data point that I think is fair to use in this analysis.

5. Our neighbors are both pharmacists. They continued on with their housekeepers as well. Doctor friends likewise (all 2 of them) have retained housekeeping. Very anecdotal, but I used that information in my decision making.

6. Phase 2 of reopening, which I guess will be starting in some places in a few weeks, involves opening up a range of personal services type locations, which implies limited contact in properly sanitized/PPE situations will soon be acceptable.

7. My wife is a pediatric healthcare provider in our regions largest hospital. She does not seem concerned about continuing with housekeeping and felt it was low/negligible risk.


All of the above said, its possible that my decision here is wrong, and in retrospect I will regret my decision. I also don't know how to quantify the actual marginal risk to my family, the housekeepers, and society at large due to my decision. Because I can't quantify the risk in a meaningful way, I have to rely on less than ideal data points as discussed above.

Katietsu
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Katietsu » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:20 pm

I do not think this is a one size fits all decision. First of all, I would consider the risk that you develop serious disease that requires hospitalization or worse if you were infected. Second, I would consider the chance that you are in contact with those who are vulnerable should you be asymptotic and pass it on. Third, I would consider the risk based on your community. And how well do you trust the house cleaner to follow best practices?

Personally, I would not do it in Georgia at this time regardless of who I was. I would consider Georgia to be amongst the riskiest places in country over the next few weeks. Still very high levels of new cases despite one of the lowest rates of testing in the country and then add permission to reopen business and churches. :shock:

go_mets
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by go_mets » Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:24 pm

telemark wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:15 pm
I'd suggest reading this article about making smart bets:

https://medium.com/@peteneuwirth/making ... e62cabd236

and then think of this as a gamble. If you win, you get a cleaner house. If you lose, you still get a cleaner house but you also die in a fairly unpleasant way. There's a good chance that you will win, but the odds depend on a bunch of stuff that nobody knows yet. Is it worth it?

P.S. I don't free climb at that level, but I've done enough rock scrambling to understand the appeal.
Thank you.

If I am reading the artice correctly, the "all in bets" when it comes to Covid-19 is basically anything that puts a person in contact with someone else whether grocery shopping or having a house cleaner come into one's home?

What about the anti-fragile part?

.

mega317
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by mega317 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:21 am

You're asking us to make a calculus based on too many factors and most of those are huge unknowns. If you covered your house in coronavirus, someone with proper PPE could do almost anything safely. If someone coughing out coronavirus cleaned your house then your little kids waltzed in and touched every surface within 5 minutes like mine do, that's risky. What are the odds your asymptomatic house cleaner with no known contacts is infected (location dependent), and odds that s/he leaves in on a surface, and odds that it's picked up and infects you? Who the hell knows. This thread is just going to be a survey of the risk tolerance of random internet people who click this thread on a Wednesday night.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212

Topic Author
TallBoy29er
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by TallBoy29er » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:15 am

mega317 wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:21 am
You're asking us to make a calculus based on too many factors and most of those are huge unknowns...... This thread is just going to be a survey of the risk tolerance of random internet people who click this thread on a Wednesday night.
I'd suggest that we are all dealing with very similar "huge unknowns", and therefore hearing how others are treating the same situation is useful. In my experience, getting input from others helps me make decisions, rather than me depending on my own siloed opinion. Reading HawkeyeJD's opinion was useful, esp as it related to what (granted a small sample size) of healthcare workers are doing. I'd consider that group more educated than me about CV-19, and weigh their opinions to a greater degree. Perhaps that is a flaw of mine.

Many, if not most, threads on this forum are surveys of opinions. Ever read an AA thread? A RBD thread? A Should I buy this house thread? You are in the wrong place if you are looking for distilled facts.

shell921
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by shell921 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:28 am

I'm in San Diego. My housecleaner has been on "leave with pay" for past 6 weeks. I am over 65 - and in good health - no underlying
health conditions. I'm tired of doing my whole house cleaning so I am thinking of having my housecleaner return in a week or 2. It seems like
this virus is highly contagious and a few people who get it get very sick very fast but most people who get it do survive. If I were to have my
cleaner come and do cleaning, I'd leave the house for the 4-5 hours she would be here cleaning and stay gone at least 3 more hours.

livesoft
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by livesoft » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:30 am

We still pay our house cleaners and have asked them not to come. The reality is that our house is not really getting dirty. I vacuum every once in a while and just leave the vacuum out. I put bleach in the toilet every once in a while which seems to keep it clean.

That reminds me: I'll go wash the bed linens now.

Full disclosure: I worked as a custodian during my college years.
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Swansea
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Swansea » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:32 am

Probably good to evaluate the contacts of the housekeeper and possible exposure. Mine lives in one of the 5 highest counties of the state and has a large family residing in an apartment bldg.

Mr. Rumples
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Mr. Rumples » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:39 am

I don't have a housekeeper...that said, I have two friends who really like the housekeepers they have. They pay 50% to come by and clean the porches, sweep the sidewalks, hose down the outdoor furniture from pollen and so forth. In a way its a swap, since these are things my friends would have been doing on the outside.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by TomatoTomahto » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:42 am

Summit111 wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:54 pm
We are still paying our house cleaning service their monthly fee, but they are not actually doing the work due to state wide shelter in place orders. I will continue to pay them, but will not allow them in my house until we are comfortable with the COVID-19 state of affairs relating to infection rates, deaths, etc. We will probably extend our own social distancing for a while, and not trust the advice of authority to open things up prematurely.
Same here.

Vacuuming and dusting is easy enough. I had never mopped before, and we have brand new flooring, and I bought a Kaercher floor cleaner to do better than moving dirty vinegar water around on my floors. It works really well.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.

JediMisty
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by JediMisty » Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:46 am

I am having them on their regular every two weeks schedule. They only clean the bathrooms and kitchen. Before they arrive, I remove everything from the counters in all rooms and the towels. I stay in my home office while they are here. Once they leave I disinfect everything that I usually touch - doorknobs, light switches, etc. Not a medical person, but I am a chemist who has worked in "isolation" clean rooms in full PPE. I am paying them extra, just because so many people have cancelled. Also, I offered to pay full price if they or I am not feeling well, so they can skip my house. I am getting more exposure in my twice weekly grocery trips as people are wearing paper thin (useless) masks and touch things they don't buy. I am 62 but the picture of health. Still working from home.

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telemark
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by telemark » Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:46 am

go_mets wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 9:24 pm
telemark wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:15 pm
I'd suggest reading this article about making smart bets:

https://medium.com/@peteneuwirth/making ... e62cabd236

and then think of this as a gamble. If you win, you get a cleaner house. If you lose, you still get a cleaner house but you also die in a fairly unpleasant way. There's a good chance that you will win, but the odds depend on a bunch of stuff that nobody knows yet. Is it worth it?

P.S. I don't free climb at that level, but I've done enough rock scrambling to understand the appeal.
Thank you.

If I am reading the artice correctly, the "all in bets" when it comes to Covid-19 is basically anything that puts a person in contact with someone else whether grocery shopping or having a house cleaner come into one's home?

What about the anti-fragile part?

.
Good question. I haven't read Taleb's books and only have a rough idea of what they are about, but what the heck, I'll take a crack at it anyway. Maybe someone else can tell me how wrong I am...

First, when Taleb says fragile he's referring to a highly specific meaning defined by himself, and "antifragile", besides functioning as a marketing term, refers to the opposite of that meaning. Something is fragile, roughly speaking, if it has the possibility to go very wrong, even when the chances of that are unlikely: what my avalanche safety instructor used to call consequences and financial advisors call tail risk. For example, a leveraged investment can leave you owing more than you invested, and a highly leveraged investment could potentially wipe you out. The anti-fragile approach to investing might be a barbell where you keep most of your assets very safe and then put the rest into high-risk, high-return investments, preferably with a low correlation to each other.

How to apply that to the question at hand? For a barbell, you could spend most of your time very cautiously, minimizing the time spent in risky activities. This is a good idea right now whether it's antifragile or not, but if you get COVID-19 your previous safe time won't help you the way a TIPS ladder would. Have a plan in case you get sick? Make sure your insurance is paid up? Maybe just avoid making choices with a limited upside and a lot of downside? Of course, we do that all the time normally; just driving to work in the morning is potentially fatal. The difference is that this is an unfamiliar risk with a lot of unknowns.

Oh, and try not to let prior beliefs fill in the knowledge gap.

OldBallCoach
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by OldBallCoach » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:08 pm

We have a house keeper and she has been with us for 183 years..so...she has been staying home and we have been paying her...she only works for us a few days a week so she needs our support and we are able to do it. My wife is still working part time in the NICU while while all of this is going on. In her hospital it has not been as bad as some places so she feels pretty safe...as much as you can stay safe anyway..I have been trained up on all kinds of new cleaning materials and how to use them...not gonna lie this is beginning to be my new jam..Lord help us....I did give our housekeeper a raise a few week ago...after seeing how much she does..well...she has earned it...I think a lot of us are going to see some new things going forward as to what we pay some folks...
As for the actual cleaning PLEASE read how long things need to be applied to be sure they are actually working...just spray and whip is actually not very good for some cleaners...Stay safe!!!

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Christine_NM
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Christine_NM » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:22 pm

I have a cleaning person who used to come twice a week, but for the duration she's coming once a week (plus doing the yard on an extra day, which she did before cv too). I pay her the same and gifted her some money to get thru being furloughed from her regular job. I pick up the slack between visits -- spray counters and sinks with bleach-detergent solution at night, wipe up in the morning.

We do social distancing while she's here, but we did that before -- she says it makes her nervous if I'm in the room she's cleaning.
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lws
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by lws » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:11 pm

I'm in SoCal. I will allow nobody into the house. I clean the house myself. Fortunately I am physically able to do so.

Isabelle77
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Isabelle77 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:01 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:33 pm
So, we live in Georgia, and will definitely not be going bowling, getting tats, going to the theater, getting haircuts and/or massages and/or mani/pedis, or going to the gym this weekend.

That said, I am wondering about starting with our house cleaners again. I was thinking that if they used masks, and we provided (like we always do) the cleaning agents, it may be ok. We would plan on leaving they house for the 1.5 hrs they are here, and probably for a bit longer.

Regardless, I was wondering what other folks who use house cleaners are doing at the moment. Would you feel comfortable with letting people who, by trade, are going to different locations, in your house, under the circumstances I outlined above?
I guess I'll go against the grain here, I'm 43 and healthy. If I lived in Georgia and had housekeepers that wore masks and used cleaning agents I provided, and I left the house while they were there, yes, I would probably have them return to work in a week or two. I live in MA and don't have housekeepers, but if I did I wouldn't let them in for another month plus.

I do think you need to look at your individual situation, what county and town you live in, how healthy are you, how comfortable you are having them in your home etc.

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tennisplyr
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by tennisplyr » Thu Apr 23, 2020 2:59 pm

We passed this month on having the house cleaner...no pay. DW is thinking about May, in the meantime it's she and I. Lots and lots of unknowns about various prior contacts. We cancelled an electrician last week and basically have no one in our home.
Those who move forward with a happy spirit will find that things always work out.

birnhamwood
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by birnhamwood » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:23 pm

Our housekeeper returned yesterday for the first time in a month. She would not accept pay for the time she had taken off and she was broke, so we reluctantly welcomed her back.

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Kitty Telltales
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Kitty Telltales » Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:39 pm

telemark wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 8:15 pm
I'd suggest reading this article about making smart bets:

https://medium.com/@peteneuwirth/making ... e62cabd236

and then think of this as a gamble. If you win, you get a cleaner house. If you lose, you still get a cleaner house but you also die in a fairly unpleasant way. There's a good chance that you will win, but the odds depend on a bunch of stuff that nobody knows yet. Is it worth it?

P.S. I don't free climb at that level, but I've done enough rock scrambling to understand the appeal.
Your scenario made me laugh out-loud in these Covid crazy times.

Our son has been doing the shopping up until this week. Next week he’ll have an elective surgery because our hospital has been very fortunate with less than 10 patients at any time. Now only 3 patients with only one in intensive care. The surgeons are becoming bored and are starting to call in postponed patients. So this means we have to put on our own PPE and fend for ourselves for the next month.

My question is: If the probability of being infected is 1 in 100 and your housekeeper comes 99 times, but has not tested positively, as far as you know, does it mean that the chances of becoming infected are 50/50 during the 100th visit? I don’t think so. The 100th visit is like the first as long as the living situation of your housekeeper hasn’t changed and the distribution of infected people in the city has also not changed.

But rather, if your housekeeper has tested positively, yet they promise to wear PPE while cleaning, something is more probable to go wrong, such as their mask slips while cleaning.

Next winter the second scenario is quite likely as we go further into this crisis and those who hate to clean will likely take the chance anyway given that there should be less unknowns.

The article was an interesting read. Thanks.

mega317
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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by mega317 » Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:58 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 9:15 am
Many, if not most, threads on this forum are surveys of opinions. Ever read an AA thread? A RBD thread? A Should I buy this house thread? You are in the wrong place if you are looking for distilled facts.
The difference and what I didn't articulate well is that the situation is different for all of us. Talking about AA or RBD we all have the same information and the same ability to act. COVID depends on where you are, and your own personal risk factors, and unknowns in terms of transmission, future government policy (I'd rather be where I am than the states talking about opening up soon, for example) etc.
https://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6212

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Re: House Cleaning and Covid

Post by Fallible » Thu Apr 23, 2020 7:21 pm

TallBoy29er wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 7:33 pm
...
That said, I am wondering about starting with our house cleaners again. I was thinking that if they used masks, and we provided (like we always do) the cleaning agents, it may be ok. We would plan on leaving they house for the 1.5 hrs they are here, and probably for a bit longer. ...
I use a cleaning service for spring house cleaning but will not this year because of the pandemic. Too much remains unknown about this virus or ways to test for it and track it. Maybe in a few months I could consider it and meantime do the basic cleaning.

As for their wearing masks, remember that your wearing a mask is important to protect them from you.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself – and you are the easiest person to fool. ~Richard Feynman

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