Our cleaner didn't wash her hands after cleaning the toilet - ugh!...

(42 Posts)
Teaandcupcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 14:50:14

As our baby is due in a few weeks, we decided now is the time to get a cleaner to clean our flat every fortnight, to help us out and make things (a little bit!) easier when baby arrives.

Anyway, I woke up today feeling really relieved that someone else would be making our flat lovely and clean. But, alas, the day hasn't quite gone to plan!

So I don't end up going out and leaving the cleaner alone as planned (thank goodness), as I was feeling very tired and one of my feet was swollen, so I decided to chill on the sofa instead and let the cleaner get on with her work for 2 hours. She cleaned the bathroom and toilet first and then went straight into the bedrooms to work in them. I noticed that she came out of the toilet and didn't wash her hands, but assumed she was wearing the new pair of rubber gloves I provided her with (as most people would wear gloves when cleaning a toilet - especially someone else's - right?!) and had taken them off, so didn't think much of it... She then came into the lounge to clean and then walked into the kitchen. It was at this point that I went into the kitchen to get a glass of water and noticed that she was about to pick up a sponge from a bucket - and it was the same sponge she had used in the bathroom and toilet!! SHOCK, HORROR. My OCD then kicked in and I started feeling really hot and my heart rate went up. She didn't speak very good English but I managed to explain to her that she needed to put that sponge in the bin and not use it anywhere else in the flat. I just about got her to understand this but she didn't understand that she needed to wash her hands too. I gave up in the end, knowing she only had the kitchen to clean and just telling myself I would have to reclean it afterwards (a complete waste of money and time I know, but I was frustrated and tired!).

But then it gets worse... As she was leaving, I noticed the rubber gloves still in their packaging, hiding under some sponges on the kitchen table. OH MY GOD... So she had cleaned the toilet with no gloves on, then cleaned our two bedrooms and our lounge (and touched dozens of personal items in all of these rooms) with "dirty" hands.

I quickly gave her the money and got her out of the house, then spent about 15 minutes fighting off tears (I didn't have the energy to go the other way and be angry!), knowing I then had to go around and clean everything she could have touched with antibacterial wipes... This process then took about 90 minutes and I must have used about 40 antibacterial wipes!!! But I obviously can't clean all the cushions and the sofa she touched, so I guess if I drop any sweets on the sofa over the next few weeks, I won't eat them! smile

What a complete waste of money and time. I am now going to complain to the agency (which had so many fantastic reviews on checkatrade!) and tell them how bad (and potentially dangerous to health) what she did was. I didn't see the point in telling her, as she couldn't understand what I was saying anyway.

It just makes me wonder how many other cleaners do this. Perhaps it happens all the time and people are not aware, as they are not at home when the cleaners work. I really hope not, but I am not going to trust anyone now without watching over them and giving very clear instructions at the start. I might even say leave the toilet altogether!

Sorry for the long post - but I feel a bit better now I have shared the story! Still very frustrated though about the whole situation and the amount of time I have wasted cleaning after a cleaner... Aaaagggh.

gamerchick Fri 27-Jun-14 14:55:13

i do understand where you're coming from somewhat (I wear disposable gloves and change them after bathrooms) but how minging was your toilet in the first place to feel the way you did after she left?

Don't you think you may be overeacting just a tad on the dangerous to health thing you've got going on?

DrankSangriaInThePark Fri 27-Jun-14 14:58:07

If this is not a wind up, may I suggest counselling for the OCD before the baby comes?

Mucky little buggers babies.

Teaandcupcakes Fri 27-Jun-14 15:01:27

Our toilet wasn't all that dirty at all, but no matter how dirty, if she had gone ahead and used the sponge she used to clean the toilet in the kitchen, I think that would be considered dangerous to health?! It's not really the done thing is it. But I am probably over reacting a bit about the dirty hands (and probably because I'm pregnant!), I will admit that smile But, it's still not nice... It's polite to wash your hands after using the toilet, let alone washing it!

Frontier Fri 27-Jun-14 15:16:33

Well of course it would have been better if she had followed your hygiene expectations but I guarantee no-one has in any hotel you've ever stayed in or at you workplace. Whilst I'm sure there are cleaners who make sure everything's done properly I have long suspected that the job for most involves making things look clean rather than be clean IYSWIM.

If she was really going to use the same sponge in the kitchen that she'd used in the toilet, that would bother me a lot but not the rest of it.

If you're going to stress this much over it I really don't think you should employ a cleaner

specialsubject Fri 27-Jun-14 19:25:34

this is obviously bad practice and you should complain.

But really your health is not at that much risk, certainly not for the massive use of wipes.

as others note, things are about to get much dirtier...

It seems grim but I highly doubt there will actually be any risk to your health. I can see where you’re coming from though, how good is a cleaner who can’t even wash her own hands.

The baby will make sure there is poo on everything anyway.

stiffstink Sat 28-Jun-14 00:03:13

My house is not clean. My kid licks stuff. He's fine.

Friend's house is sterile. Her kids can't watch Doc McStuffins without getting a bug.

myusernameis Sat 28-Jun-14 00:06:02

Do you know that she didn't wash her hands in the bathroom?

gointothewoods Sat 28-Jun-14 00:07:39

You're totally over reacting.
I wonder how often you'll be wiping the baby with anti bacterial wipes?
I once found my son licking the toilet brush.
Nobody died.

Iswallowedawatermelon Sat 28-Jun-14 00:23:22

That does sound grim but in reality, you are probably quite used to being surrounded by your own family's toilet germs. I assume she used bleach or disinfectant in the toilet, this would also have helped reduce the spreading of germs.

Defietely tell the cleaning company though, as it would be more of a concern in hotels, public toilets and for homes where people may be immuno compromised.

Maybe provide some disposable toilet cleaning brushes/paper towels for the next cleaner? Or just ask them to not clean the toilet.

Bankholidaybaby Sat 28-Jun-14 00:42:09

I would get a new cleaner and not watch them at work at all. Our cleaner has been here weekly for almost a year and I have no idea what she uses to clean the toilet or whether or not she washes her hands. Everything looks clean, and is certainly cleaner than when I used to do the housework, so I'm happy.

I do sympathise, however, as I was very very careful in pregnancy with hygiene/food safety and so on, as you are immuno compromised and your baby is vulnerable to certain infections. Pregnant or not, though, you should never use a loo sponge elsewhere unless it's been thoroughly disinfected.

As others have said, when the baby arrives, just about everything in your house, including you, will be liberally covered in poo, wee, sick, dribble, food and sudocrem, and your child will find little bits of ? on the floor to eat, no matter how much you clean it. My son licked the outside of the toilet today whilst I was brushing my teeth.

SoonToBeSix Sat 28-Jun-14 00:56:41

Thanks op I was having a really crap day and you made me smile.

LizLimone Sat 28-Jun-14 01:38:03

As someone who is currently trying to potty-train a reluctant toddler, I'm wondering how you're going to cope in 2+ years time with a toddler dragging poo and pee through the house, OP!

The cleaner wasn't great but you are being a tad excessive in your poo-phobia for someone who is about to enter the world of interminable bodily fluid clean-up that is early parenthood grin

I don't think I'd react quite as extremely as this but I see your point OP.

If I had a cleaner I wouldn't be watching them work I don't think simply because it may throw things like this up.

Having a cleaner will make your life easier if you aren't over thinking the germ thing so is say continue with it and next time just go out so you don't know what they're doing. Then all you'll know is it looks cleaner and smells nice and bleachy when you get back.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sat 28-Jun-14 08:06:06

Yeah I knew a cleaner who used the same sponge to do the loo, then she'd wipe the sink etc. grim.

I bought coloured cloths and told her the pink ones are for the loo, blue ones for sink etc.

It's pretty basic hygiene ,I doubt you'd get ill, in fact I'm sure you wouldn't but I understand how you feel especially as you're pregnant.

oohdaddypig Sat 28-Jun-14 08:14:45

I don't mean to be mean, but it will be way worse for your baby to grow up in a house which has been anti-bac'd within an inch of its life.

What bugs are you trying to kill, exactly?

We are humans with immune systems who are not designed to grow up in a sterile environment. Please please read up in this before your baby arrives....

Obviously it would be nice to wash your hands after cleaning a bathroom, and I would. But it won't kill anyone.

I also have no idea about the cloths our cleaner uses. Neither do I care.

bakingaddict Sat 28-Jun-14 08:24:33

I wouldn't have gone to the extent of wiping anything with anti-bac wipes but understandably you have OCD. I wouldn't use this cleaner again as obviously she lacks any basic knowledge of hygiene. Tell the agency why so maybe they can pass on to her why this kind of practice isn't advisable.

scarletforya Sat 28-Jun-14 08:27:14

That's disgusting Op. She basically spread toilet bacteria all over your house.

You are not over reacting. There is so much wrong with what she did. It shows she is totally clueless about hygiene.

She cleaned the kitchen with the toilet sponge! Can't believe people are saying you're over reacting.

I'd complain to the agency. Cleaning a toilet with her bare hands! <shudder>

nooka Sat 28-Jun-14 08:28:08

The cloth used to clean stuff will have been full of cleaning product so likely will have no live bugs on it anyway, that cloth/sponge is what will have touched the cleaner's hands, so the 'dirt' will be mostly cleaning product residue. I don't do any cleaning with rubber gloves on and I would never throw away a sponge that I'd used to clean the loo, that seems to me incredibly environmentally unsound and wasteful. Using anti-bacterial wipes is also both environmentally damaging and bad for you (as well as problematic for infection control, many of these products should be reserved for environments where there is a real need for care).

OP, I really think that you should consider getting some help with your OCD. I know that you are pregnant and emotional but your reaction was really very extreme.

What the cleaner did might not have been to your personal standard, but it was not bad nor was it harmful to health. If she had been cleaning an ICU then yes of course it would have needed to be done differently, but for a normal home it was pretty normal practice.

I suggest that if you do want to use a cleaner in future you find an individual that you can talk to about how you want things done and build a relationship with them rather than contracting with an agency.

SunnyRandall Sat 28-Jun-14 08:30:02

How do you know she didn't wash her hands in the bathroom?

dibdobs Sat 28-Jun-14 08:33:15

Im a cleaner/housekeeper and wouldnt dream of doing that! I wear disposable gloves and different cloths for different rooms, toikets sinks etc which are then put in the wash (i use spray and wipes in my own house though), i personally wouldnt have a cleaner if i could afford one as i prefer to do it myself and know ive done it properly, though by the time ive spent five days cleaning others houses mine does feel like a chore lol. I would either go through what you would like her to do exactly or if that doesnt work maybe try a private cleaner, one woth references and insurance? And as mum to three boys babies (and boys lol) are mucky little monkeys lol x

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Sat 28-Jun-14 09:49:08

I disagree that's it's not bad or harmful-it isn't usually but the reason it shouldn't be done is as if someone had a stomach bug it would be spread all over the house. Anyone coming into the house would be exposed to germs they hadn't built up immunity against.

I'm not into anti bac wipes etc but I would never use a loo sponge to clean anything but the toilet. That is the same as using a loo brush to clean the sink which is revolting and I don't know anyone in their right mind who'd think that was acceptable or clean.

You over reacted with the anti bac wipes OP but no way is this acceptable and you were right to contact the agency.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 29-Jun-14 12:56:30

Anti-bac wipes are terrible things. I agree with the pp who recommended you read up on the reasons for avoiding them before the baby arrives. Children need to develop a healthy immune system and you will do your baby no favours by sterilising everything. You are more likely to cause problems by exposure to the harmful chemicals in cleaning products and especially anti-bac wipes.

BauerTime Sun 29-Jun-14 16:22:59

Wiping something with an antibacterial and therefore exposing it to it for a mere second will not rid your stuff of bacteria anyway. Contact has to be much more prolonged than that. Anyway, hot soapy water and a cloth is all of the cleaning most of the home actually needs to keep it clean. We don't need our lives to be sterile!

OP, you are over reacting although i understand the horror of using a toilet sponge on your food preparation areas, regardless of the fact that it probably wouldn't actually cause you any harm. Maybe just leaving different colour cloths/sponges for kitchen/bathroom/general use in future would be sufficient?

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