How To Tell Someone To Clean Their House The Right Way

Cleaners Talk is reader-supported. This post contains affiliate links, we may earn a commission at no additional costs to you. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

When there is a mess around, it is natural to want to help and clean up that mess, even if it is in someone else’s home, but that’s not always easy. You don’t want to come off as rude or trying to “fix” someone else’s home environment.

There are many ways you can tell someone to clean their house without being rude and only showing encouragement. There is always a time and place, and as much as you wish someone else’s house is clean, it is still not your home but theirs.

It can be difficult to help others out or let them know what you see. You may see a dirty house but they may see something completely different. You must be careful when communicating this to someone or it can end badly. Continue reading to learn how.

Why Robot Vacuum Going in Circles
Video Player is loading.
Current Time 0:00
Duration 0:00
Loaded: 0%
Stream Type LIVE
Remaining Time 0:00
Why Robot Vacuum Going in Circles

How To Encourage Someone To Clean Their House

Navigating the waters of trying to encourage someone to clean their house without coming off as rude can be difficult. But there are many polite ways to help them without overstepping your role in the matter. 

Here is everything you need to know to encourage another to clean their home:

  • Tell them in a nice way.
  • Acknowledge their strengths.
  • Be positive.
  • Encourage completing small tasks.
  • Be kind and compassionate.
  • Help in little ways.
  • Understand the cause.

1. Tell Them in a Nice Way

Don’t just walk into someone’s house and start pointing to all the areas that need to be clean. This will not come across nicely to the owner and you will sound condescending. This is their home and although you may not understand how they could have a messy home, it doesn’t mean they don’t love their house.

You can simply take notice that their house is well lived in. Homes sometimes get messy and we don’t see what they look like 24/7. It should only become an issue when your health becomes involved. Tell the person immediately if there is an infestation because they may not know of it.

2. Acknowledge Their Strengths

When you are trying to encourage someone to clean their house, acknowledge their strengths. A messy home often indicates the person doesn’t feel confident or feels like they are always behind. Noticing their strengths will give them motivation to start cleaning.

Maybe the one thing they are consistent with is doing the dishes. Acknowledge that they are doing well in that aspect. When you encourage the small things, it will increase their motivation and could cause them to do more than just one task.

3. Be Positive

Be positive. It is as simple as that. Don’t go around the house pointing out every negative thing and what needs to be done. Don’t tell them what they are doing wrong because that will only discourage competing cleaning.

Try to be positive. Understand that there are more underneath that you don’t see. Hopefully your positivity will help motivate them. But also ensure that you aren’t overly positive to the point that the person feels even worse than before. 

4. Encourage Completing Small Tasks

Looking at the entire home as a mess can be overwhelming.

That is a large project that could feel never ending. There will always be chores around the house that need to be completed and feels like a never ending cycle.

Suggest trying to complete small tasks. When you begin looking at the small things as an accomplishment, it can change the way we look at cleaning. Advise that they start with easy chores like sweeping, dishes, or laundry and then moving to larger projects.

It has been proven that when you start looking at the small task, your way of looking at cleaning will ultimately transform into a more positive light. Try and get the person to concentrate on those small tasks.

5. Be Kind and Compassionate

Keep in mind that you don’t know everything and that person may not want to share everything with you. This isn’t about you but about them, their mental and physical health. You don’t know what they are struggling with so be kind and compassionate.

6. Help in Little Ways

Don’t overwhelm them trying to completely take their house by storm. No one wants someone coming in and just cleaning everything unless it was paid for. Start off with small things and ensure that you aren’t pushing yourself on them. This can be just as overwhelming.

Start by cleaning after yourself and doing small things like cleaning up the trash.

Don’t just start doing the dishes or organizing their living room. It can make things worse and feel like you are overstepping your boundaries. Instead, help them in little ways.

7. Understand the Cause

Often, people are struggling with other things that cause their house to be a mess. Don’t just assume that they are lazy and don’t know how to take care of themselves. Mental illnesses make it difficult to do everyday tasks, even as simple as cleaning up after themselves.

In fact, there are about 14 causes why someone would not clean their house. Before you judge them, understand that there must be a reason behind their daily habits and actions.

Is It Rude To Clean Someone Else’s House?

Being rude can sometimes be a relative term. Based on the person’s inner thoughts, they may consider you rude for cleaning their house. This is especially the case if you are overdoing it. Your cleaning could be taken the wrong way and end up doing more harm than good.

It is important to remember that their home is their sanctuary. It is their place of safety. No one wants someone to come in and change everything without permission. Always get permission beforehand to clean and only clean the areas they want you to.

You don’t want to push yourself on them. You should be trying to help them, but don’t if they want it. If you continue to clean after they have asked you not to, it is overstepping their boundary. Their house is the one place they can have control over entirely.

Avoid Doing These Things

You can do many things to help you communicate that you are trying to be of assistance instead of rude. Sometimes it can be difficult not to sound rude, but as long as you respect their boundaries and respect their decisions, you aren’t being rude.

Here are a few things that you should avoid so that you don’t come off as rude:

  • Don’t assume they need your help.
  • Offer help to do small things around the house.
  • Clean up after yourself first.
  • Ask them what they wouldn’t mind you cleaning.
  • Don’t tell them they are doing things wrong.
  • Don’t shift blame to them.
  • Ask them if there is anything off-limits.
  • Try not to change their entire house around.
  • Stay away from their items.

The biggest thing you can do without coming off as rude is to communicate with the person. If they refuse the help, then don’t help. Although you are trying to be kind, it is still their space and that is their choice to refuse your assistance.

How To Tell A Family Member They Need To Clean Their House

Although family should be the easiest to communicate about your worries and the state of their house, sometimes family is the hardest to do this.

But you care and are worried, so here are some methods to telling your family member:

  • Be polite.
  • Be honest about your worries.
  • Avoid the blame game.
  • Respect their boundaries.
  • Help on their terms.
  • Remember this is about them and not you.
  • Set some boundaries.

1. Be Polite

Even though they are family and you feel like you can be more blunt, you still need to be polite.

You are talking about this home, and being too blunt can be considered rude. No one likes when you point out every little flaw, so the best route is to be polite.

2. Be Honest About Your Worries

Be honest about why you want to help them or why you are worried.

If you want them to clean their house because it bothers you, you may want to reconsider some internal beliefs. You should want to help them with this situation because you want them to be in a clean home.

Try not to push your beliefs on them or what you consider clean. This is about how you are worried about them, not that a dish wasn’t cleaned correctly. If it is, then there may be some things you need to face.

3. Avoid The Blame Game

Avoid blaming them for the messy house. Blaming and finding the fault will not make cleaning the house any easier. It may even cause them to ignore the dirty home even more so. The blame game will only add to the negativity that surrounds the act of cleaning.

4. Respect Their Boundaries

Respect their boundaries. If they don’t want something to be cleaned or don’t want to do it right, don’t push the issue. This is still their home, and you cannot force them to do things your way.

If you think that their health is at risk both mentally and physically, inform a professional. You may know their doctor or therapist, and you can inform them of the living conditions. Their quality of life is important, but you cannot force anyone to do anything again.

5. Help on Their Terms

You cannot take control of the cleaning unless they specify to do so. If they say you can only touch the living room, so be it. When it comes to the home, you don’t want people rearranging things differently, especially if you like things in a certain way.

Be considerate of what they want to be done and how they want it done. You are doing this for them, so if they want the dishes in the dishwasher a certain way, you may have to do it this way. Understand there is a reason behind this, and you are helping them.

6. Remember, This is About Them

Focus on the fact that this is about them and not about you. When you try to take control or tell them what to do, you are trying to control the situation instead of helping with the situation. You want to help them.

7. Set Some Boundaries

Set some boundaries yourself. Suppose the home is in disarray and not in good condition. Set your own boundaries. Communicate to your family member that you may limit your visits or may not even want to visit their home because of how dirty it is.

Your health is as important, and it is okay for you to set this boundary. No one likes to be in a home they find messy, especially when it is to the point where you can’t get comfortable.

Final Words

It is always important to have compassion when approaching the subject of someone else’s home. It may not be much to you, and you aren’t trying to offend, but it is still their home. Homes are personal. So be kind when helping someone and respect their boundaries.