A Cleaning Gift For Valentine’s Day Will Get You A Long Way

updated: 16/02/2024


A Valentine's Day celebration message

Ah, Valentine’s Day! Little chubby Cupids fly, teddy bears thrive, and love is in the air… The most romantic day of the year and the perfect time to show your better half how much you care about her… OK, enough with this romantic nonsense! Let’s get back to work. Sort of.

A Valentine’s Day Gift: The Call

Let me tell you what happened to me this weekend, just a few days before Valentine’s Day. I was sitting at my desk, catching up with some paperwork, when one of the lines buzzed. Ellie – one of our most experienced operators – picked up, pen in her hand, ready to book our next cleaning job. I glanced in her direction and saw her roll her eyes in disbelief. Trust me, if Ellie rolls her eyes, this has the potential to be interesting. 

After a minute or so, she began taking notes. It is always a good sign – it means the potential customers are giving us their details and describing the service they want to book. The process rarely takes more than 2-3 minutes, and right on cue, Ellie terminated the call, sighed with a “You’ve got to be kidding me” expression and headed towards my desk. 

“You are going to enjoy this one, boss! James M. (I will withhold the family name for privacy’s sake) just booked a thorough deep cleaning for his Hampstead house. Two bedrooms, two bathrooms, large living room and kitchen, plus thorough window cleaning in and out. But here is the catch – we’ve got to finish the job in no more than three hours. What do you think?”

I’ve had my fair share of odd deadlines but couldn’t help my curiosity. “What’s the rush for?”

A cat holding a "Valentine's Day" card in its teeth.

“Here’s the onion. The cleaning is supposed to be a surprise Valentine’s Day gift for his wife. She has the Saturday mornings for her spa and beauty pampering, but they do not last more than three hours. So this is our window when wifey’s out of the house, and we do the cleaning. I told him I’d call back in fifteen minutes to confirm we could take the job. So what do you think?”

The Planning Starts

I reclined back in my chair. If it was a general domestic cleaning, we could do it, no problem. But deep cleans require more effort and attention to detail, especially in the bathrooms. “What’s the situation with the floors?”

“Tiled floors in the living room and kitchen, carpets in the bedrooms”, shot Ellie right away without even looking at her notes. “I explained that hot water extraction for the carpets is out of the question within such a timeframe.”

I silently nodded my approval. It was going to be a close call, a very close one. But you do not stay in business as long as we have if you don’t take close calls. “Contact the guy and tell him we take the job. We need to time this perfectly, down to the last minute. I will personally take the lead on this one.”

Planning was going to be of the essence if I were to have any chance to finish the job on time. The date and time of appointment favoured us – traffic is usually light in Hampstead, even more so on Saturday mornings. The address was less than a hundred yards away from Hampstead Heath, the house in question – a tall, narrow, detached one flanked by large trees. James gave us the precise hour of his wife’s departure – he would drive her to her spa appointment and then go to play tennis with his friends. We would enter the house five minutes after she had left. After that, it would be a race against the clock.

Hampstead Speed Cleaning For The Ages

A chilly February Saturday morning. I was sitting behind the wheel of the minivan while Nelly – one of my best house cleaners – was finishing her extra-butter muffin. We had parked a few houses away from the address, waiting for the couple to leave the house. I felt a bit odd, like I was doing a particularly inept James Bond impersonation. “I tell you what, I think this is commendable”, she said between bites. “What’s the practical use of earrings, another necklace, or a dinner in a fancy restaurant? But every housewife would kill for someone else doing the cleaning. You should market this service, boss! Valentine Day’s Cleaning Gift vouchers, think about it!” I chuckled but could not refute the logic. Nelly always makes a good point.

Two minutes before the appointed time, a large grey 4×4 appeared from the driveway, turned right, and headed south towards Central London. It was our cue to move in. We entered the house and lost no time. Nelly was going to clean the bathrooms and bedrooms, and I had the living room, kitchen, and windows for myself. The place felt surprisingly spacious, looking a lot smaller from the outside. I started from the kitchen – dusting the cupboards above the sink, cleaning the fridge inside and out, degreasing the stove. The house looked neat and clean, yet a professional could spot some tiny signs of neglect – or rather, the common issues of homeowners who have too much on their plate. 

A woman mopping the tiled floors of a spacious living room.

After each task, I looked at my watch, checking if I was progressing according to plan. The kitchen took me more than expected, but I still hoped to catch up in the living room. Nelly was a hurricane of cleaning activity but hit a hurdle – there were mould spots behind the toilet seat in one of the bathrooms. It wasn’t a critical or impossible task, but it meant additional time to address it. 

I quickly polished the large front windows, vacuum-cleaned the furniture set in the living room, and prepared to mop the floors. Things were looking good – we had already spent just over two hours cleaning, and the place looked and felt spotless. I told Nelly to concentrate exclusively on the second bathroom and leave the vacuum cleaning in the bedrooms to me. If James’s wife ran just a bit late, we would be done before she came home. 

Caught In The Act

I had just finished mopping and was heading towards the stairs with our heavy-duty vacuum cleaner when the front door opened. A charming blond woman in her mid-thirties stood at the threshold, a paper shopping bag in each hand. She stared at me in total shock, her mouth wide open. “Who the hell are you, and what are you doing in my house?!” I was really thankful she didn’t shout it. 

I put the vacuum cleaner on the floor and started explaining. “Nice to meet you, Ma’am. My name is Nick, and I am a professional cleaner. We really hoped we could finish before you arrived home. You see, your husband wanted to surprise you for Valentine’s Day and booked a thorough deep-clean.”

I didn’t think my words convinced her. She was slowly recovering from the shock, put the bags on the floor, and took her smartphone out of the pocket of her coat. I couldn’t really blame her if she called the cops on us. 

“James, there is somebody in the house who claims you booked a house cleaning… Yes… Why didn’t you tell me?! You idiot, you gave me the fright of my life! I will murder you when you come home!”

Contrary to the tone of her voice, I could see a smile shaping at the tip of her lips. She finished her call and extended a hand. “I am Blake. I’m sorry, but you gave me quite the shock.”

“It’s OK. I’m glad you didn’t call the cops. Anyway, let me show you what we’ve done.” I pointed her towards the living room and explained all the chores we’ve covered. Her face lightened immediately when she saw the windows. Then, her smile became even bigger when she noticed the stove. 

“I hate scrubbing the damn thing”, she admitted, tracing a finger on the surface. We inspected the second-floor bathroom and bedrooms, and Blake praised Nelly’s performance – which was top-notch, as usual. Evidently, she was more than pleased with the job, telling us that she could never quite find the time for the big cleaning overhaul. 

Although the surprise had not worked quite as planned, Blake’s delight was well worth the effort. “I don’t think her husband is sleeping on the couch tonight…”, Nelly said, and we both burst out laughing as we were loading our cleaning tools. Yes, indeed – a cleaning for Valentine’s Day will get you a long way!

About the author 

Nick Vassilev

Nick blogs about cleaning. He is a cleaning expert with more than 25 years of experience. He is also an NCCA-certified carpet cleaner. Founder and CEO of Anyclean.