Is Cleaning Houses for Money an Easy Source of Income?

If you’re on the lookout for extra side income or even a full-time job cleaning houses and wondering how much money you can make then look no further, in this article we’ll cover everything you need to know about cleaning houses so you can start right now!

Why is cleaning houses for money a good opportunity? Because no one will ask you for a degree in house cleaning (if such a thing exists) and there’s also a very high demand for these services.

This means the cleaning business is one where you can easily make money without the need of putting as much effort as required by other fields e.g., Engineering, Medicine, or Sciences.

You can decide to become a house cleaner overnight and choose how much time you’re able to spend on it, part-time or full-time, it’s completely up to you.

How Much Can You Make Cleaning Houses?

cleaning houses for money

Like anything in life, it depends. On what? You ask.

It depends on which kind of commitment is realistic from your end and in which country, state, or city you’re looking to offer your services.

According to, the average salary of a house cleaner in the U.S is $14.67 per hour, $2,383/month, or $28,600 Annually.

Cleaning houses in states with higher overall income will obviously net you more money while the opposite is true for states with a lower overall income.

We’ve compared the average house cleaning earnings from against the average earnings per hour from 10 random craigslist listings and here are the results (per higher paying states and lower paying states):

House cleaning in higher paying states on average (

California: $20.46/hour

Washington, D.C.: $22.45/hour

New York: $18.70/hour

Craigslist house cleaning average income in higher paying states

California: $22.00/hour

Washington, D.C.: $23.00/hour

New York: $17.00/hour

House cleaning in lower-paying states on average (

Mississippi: $12.07/hour

Kentucky: $12.94/hour

Alabama: $12.90/hour

Craigslist house cleaning average income in lower-paying states

Mississippi: $9.23/hour

Kentucky: $11.11/hour

Alabama: $8.04/hour

You can also explore different types of cleaning other than residential cleaning if you enjoy diversifying. For instance, residential cleaning is usually charged by the hour while office, commercial and janitorial cleaning is typically charged by the square foot.

The average value to clean big areas sits anywhere between 5 to 55 cents per square foot.

Is It Legal to Be Paid in Cash for House Cleaning Services?

cleaning houses for money

While it’s completely legal to be paid in cash, it’s illegal to be paid under the table.

This is a practice performed by high-earning professionals who need sporadic cleaning services more often than companies.

If an individual or a company is caught paying under the table, some serious penalties will be applied.

Firstly, any owed taxes will have to be paid back. Next, the individual or company will face criminal tax fraud charges with penalties of up to $100.000 in fines for individuals, $500.000 for companies, and up to 5 years in prison, according to the tax crimes handbook on the IRS website.

Lastly, if you’re thinking of cleaning houses for money, it’s important to make sure your employer is playing by the rules so you can also protect yourself.

Even though you probably won’t face any criminal charges as an employee in this situation, you will not be able to collect any unemployment benefits and won’t have any worker rights.

In case of injury, you won’t be able to file a workers’ compensation claim and your social security benefits regarding retirement will go down the drain too because, for legal purposes, you’ve never been working as no income was ever reported from this activity. 

Make sure to stay away from these working conditions and report any known cases to authorities.

How Long Does It Take to Clean a House?

The house size will determine how long it will take to be cleaned, the average time you can expect to spend cleaning a small house (1 Bedroom 1 Bathroom Apartment) is 2 hours a week, whereas a house of generous proportions (5 Bedroom 5 Bathroom House) should take around 5 hours a week just for maintenance cleaning.

This is the reason why high-income professionals seek out this kind of service very often, they either own a big house that’s next to impossible to clean by themselves or they have a time-consuming career draining most of their day.

Another determining factor for cleaning times is how dirty the house is, light cleaning should take much less time than deep cleaning.

What classifies as light cleaning:

  • Taking out the trash
  • Vacuuming
  • Sweeping and mopping
  • Dishes
  • Making beds
  • Dusting
  • Surface cleaning
  • Laundry

What classifies as deep cleaning:

  • Oven cleaning
  • Chimney cleaning
  • Refrigerator cleaning
  • Gutters
  • Walls and baseboards
  • Blinds
  • Curtains

Anything that involves difficult access areas or appliances will take more time and requires attention to detail in order to be cleaned properly.

Should You Charge More for a Deep Clean?

cleaning houses for money

Deep cleaning is far more demanding than maintenance cleaning so the value should be negotiated accordingly and preferably before the service is done, eliminating any future misunderstandings.

This is of course in a fair scenario, depending on what kind of worker you are and how much you’re in need of the extra side income, you can charge more or keep the value close to light cleaning rates to land more opportunities.

Being an independent house cleaner means you can adopt flexible rates to better fit each client’s needs.

Private Cleaning Rates vs Company Rates

If you’ve put yourself in the market before, eagerly waiting to start cleaning houses for money but haven’t had any luck so far, chances are that you’re asking for too much.

It’s important to put in extra effort and always be on the lookout for companies specialized in cleaning houses, offering a better alternative. This means a reason for your individual services to be chosen over a certified company’s services.

These are companies to keep an eye on or in other words, your competition:

  • Molly Maid
  • Tidy
  • Merry Maids
  • MaidPro
  • The Maids
  • Maid Brigade
  • The Cleaning Authority

All these companies have their strong points, some focus on big services, deep cleaning, use eco-friendly cleaning products or charge below the competition. Make sure to check them out and use what they’re missing to your advantage.

Which Season Is the Best for House Cleaning Services?

Although there’s no one size fits all answer, there are good indicators of when you might land more gigs.

You can watch the demand for house cleaning services increasing in the following seasons:

  • Holiday seasons
  • Vacation times
  • When school starts and parents are busier
  • In the Summer

Regardless of the season, you’ll always be able to find available listings because the vast majority does not enjoy the cleaning activity, it’s a mandatory duty instead of a pleasure for most of us.

The Bottom Line

Cleaning houses for money may be one of the best forms to generate side income but the advantages don’t stop there.

The choice to make your own schedule and the adjustable working hours make the package even more attractive, you’ll be able to make as much money as you allow yourself to make.

It’s a flexible business of fairly easy access and not hard to master so anyone can pick it up in no time, at any time.

If you want to start your own cleaning business down the road, make sure to give our employee vs entrepreneurial mindset article a read so you can shift your pattern of thought 

We’d like to hear back from you dear reader, let us know if you have anything to add by leaving a comment below!


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