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Five Swiss cleaning nightmares -- and how to avoid them

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Five Swiss cleaning nightmares -- and how to avoid them
Photo: Syda_productions/Depositphotos
09:01 CEST+02:00
They say cleanliness is next to godliness. That’s nowhere truer than in Switzerland, where cleaning is considered a fine art (and if you want your deposit back, you better master it).

Admit it. When you’ve got a busy schedule, the last thing you want to do is clean. We’re all guilty of being a little, ahem, lazy when it comes to getting out the hoover every now and then.

Unfortunately, that just doesn’t cut it in Switzerland. If you live in a rental property you plan on leaving one day, you better make sure every nook and cranny gleams.

And even if you own, having a clean home never goes amiss - after all, what would your Swiss friends think of you if they spotted a dusty skirting board? The shame!

That said, accidents happen and corners are missed, even in sparklingly clean Swiss homes. Here are some of the more common Swiss housekeeping nightmares, and how you can avoid them.

1. Hiring a cleaner: awkward interviews

Photo: Coolfonk/Depositphotos

If you think adhering to draconian Swiss cleaning standards is beyond your capabilities, it might be best to hire a cleaner.

You’ll need to advertise to find someone your area, and organise interviews when you have a list of candidates. You should always ask for references, and ideally, hire someone who shares a common language with you. Interviews can be tricky if you can’t even communicate, and unless you’ve nailed Swiss German you probably don’t want to explain how you like your chuchichäschtli - the notoriously tough-to-pronounce word for “kitchen cupboard” - cleaned!

With an online service like Batmaid, you know exactly what will be included in your clean before the maid arrives. You can add on extras, too -- like scrubbing the oven, doing some laundry, and even cleaning the chuchichäschtli -- so your home won’t just be clean, it’ll be Swiss clean.

What’s more, only 3 percent of candidates make it through Batmaid’s demanding selection process, which includes a preliminary application and two rounds of interviews. That means you can skip this step altogether, and know you’re entrusting your home to a professional who has already met the company’s high standards.

2. Mountains of paperwork

Photo: Mactrunk/Depositphotos

Anyone who’s moved to Switzerland knows there’s plenty of paperwork involved. And if you decide to hire a cleaner, be prepared to have the death of even more trees on your conscience.

See,  the moment you hire a cleaner you’re seen as an employer in the eyes of Swiss law -- which means following lots of administrative and tax requirements that may not be all that straightforward

It’s no wonder then that roughly 80 percent of Swiss home cleaning is done on the black market. People pay less, but taxes and social contributions go unpaid. And you certainly don’t want to fall into that 80 percent. Your local commune office can advise you on the process, which (surprise!) usually involves a lot of paperwork.

Although not required by law, an employment contract is never a bad idea. If you hire a non-Swiss citizen, you’ll need to present one if you have to apply for their work visa. And it’s always handy to have one in case of a dispute.

3. Being hunted down for not using the right bin bag

Photo: Yekophotostudio/Depositphotos

Recycling is serious business in Switzerland and the government is always trying to raise awareness about sustainability.

To encourage people to recycle more, the waste management system in many communes was recently changed. The tax for garbage disposal used to be calculated on a yearly basis depending on the household size. Now bags are taxed by unit and only the recognisable white ones can be left out for removal.

Paying per bag definitely gives you more incentive to recycle! If you do, you reduce your costs, if you don’t, you pay more (an outcome popular with the Swiss).

Some people rebelled against the new disposal charge. However, police and health officials often open illegally dumped bags and try to track down the perpetrators using clues found in their contents.

If found, you can be heavily fined with costs reaching 10,000 Swiss francs. In conclusion, make sure to only use the official bags (or don’t throw out anything that has your name or address on it!).

4. Inadvertent overdose with your cleaning products

Photo: Odua/Depositphotos

 

You know the expression “can’t do right for doing wrong”? It’s never apter than when you’ve been a little over enthusiastic with the cleaning products in preparation for the handover inspection.

Believe it or not, there are horror stories out there in the deepest darkest corners of the internet about apartments being cleaned TOO rigorously. Turns out it’s easy to damage floors with chemical cleaners, and bleach stains are impossible to get out.

Moral of the story: carefully does it. Or hire a pro who knows better!

5. Spilling your Müller-Thurgau on the carpet

Photo: Ginasanders/Depositphotos

It happens to the best of us. You’re relaxing in your spotless Swiss apartment with a fine glass of Swiss red wine. Before you know it you’ve accidentally swilled said wine onto your pristine carpet.

Never fear! If you act quickly you can salvage the situation.

Blot away any wine that hasn’t absorbed yet. Then pour two cups of warm water into a bowl, mix with a tablespoon of white vinegar and one tablespoon of dishwashing liquid. Dip a sponge in the bowl and apply directly to the stain. Drink the rest of the bottle, and blot until the stain lifts.

Housecleaning made easy

Photo: Batmaid

If you still want a cleaner but want to avoid all those headaches above, a cleaning service like Batmaid might be a better option for you.

All Batmaids are carefully screened, interviewed, and tested, and the company checks their background, references, and criminal records before hiring. Batmaid sorts out all the finer details, including pay, so you get the best price without money passing under the table.

The cleaners are also fully insured, so they’re covered if they get hurt, and you’re covered if anything is damaged. All you have to do is book online and wait for a trusted professional to show up and get the job done!

Find out more about Batmaid, and sleep easy knowing these Swiss housecleaning nightmares are things that only happen to other people.

This article was produced by The Local Client Studio and sponsored by Batmaid.

 
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