Tipping etiquette is common among those housekeepers where you stay temporarily, such as a hotel, but can create a bit of confusion when it comes to your regular house cleaning service at home. The general consensus is that you do not need to tip, as this is not specified in the financial compensation of services rendered. However you can still tip your house cleaners for a job well done for special occasions.
Deciding to Tip
The standard rule of thumb regarding house cleaners is not to tip when services are rendered. They are compensated by the company for which they work, and that doesn't take tips in consideration to compensate their salary like other service jobs. If you have the same person cleaning then it would be appropriate to tip them around the holidays. If you do not have a regular house cleaner then do not feel obligated to give them a gratuity.
When to Tip
Considering tips are usually kept to a holiday gratuity, it is thoughtful to present it toward the beginning of December. This will allow the cleaner enough time to decide how to use the money for the holidays. Company bonuses generally run later in the month so giving these tips earlier in the month gives your house cleaner the opportunity to use the money for Christmas gifts and her own holiday preparation.
How Much to Tip
If you employ a regular house cleaner independently of a service then a good Christmas bonus would be one week's pay. If you use a service, the suggested tip for a holiday bonus is about 20 to 30 per cent of the cleaning fee. Keep in mind this really should only apply if you have a regular cleaner with whom you have established a relationship. In the end what you decide to tip is up to you, and should be consistent with the level of service provided.
Other Forms of Appreciation
Since tips are not required you can show your appreciation for your house cleaner in other ways. Money is only one way to reward a job well done. A thoughtful note or even a kind word or special recognition of a really good job performed goes a long way to build rapport with your house cleaners. Maintain that relationship throughout the year and then you can reinforce that with a financial gift around the holidays.