In your dreams, the floor of your house is always clean, the dishes done, and the dust buffalos under your bed roaming no more. But the reality is that you, like most working/breathing people, have better things to do with your time than mop and dust. That’s why hiring a cleaning service can make mental and financial sense.

The first step in getting someone to do your dirty work is to choose whether to hire a company or an individual. Going with a company has one major advantage: You don’t have to act as an employer and fill out paperwork and pay various taxes. On the other hand, you may be more comfortable dealing with a single worker for such a personal job. Also, a company’s standard cleanup job may not be good enough if you need help with laundry, shopping, cooking, or childcare.

The first section below covers housecleaning companies, including tips for hiring one and a review of our ratings of area services for quality and price. The second part will help you screen and hire an individual, and deal with him or her fairly. It describes arrangements some of our subscribers have made with housekeepers, and provides guidelines for making your own.

We also have ratings of window washing services and carpet and rug cleaning services.