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What is a 'deep clean,' and what does this service include?

How deep is deep? 

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For many of us, the new year brings the impulse to get things in order both metaphorically and literally. That includes, obviously, bringing some order to your physical surroundings, i.e. cleaning.

If it’s been a while (no judgments), you may need to step things up to get back on the right track and give your living space a deep clean. But what exactly, is a “deep clean,” and how much does such a thing cost?

What it is—and is not

Most cleaning companies do, in fact, offer a “deep clean” service more extensive (and expensive) than a regularly-scheduled clean. The specifics of what is included may vary slightly from service to service, with some tasks included or offered as add-ons.

However, a deep clean is not a post-renovation clean, which is typically done in an empty space and targets the pervasive microdust produced by renovation work. A post-reno clean is even more expensive than a deep clean: Surfaces, the insides of drawers and cabinets, etc. are wiped down and vacuumed. (Plan to spend at least $500 for a four-hour post-reno job.)

Do you need a deep clean?

You may already be pretty sure of your needs, but how do you know if you’re a deep-clean candidate?

“I ask people, ‘When was the last time you had your apartment cleaned professionally?’" says Donna Walrond, owner of Cleaning Brooklyn, which also serves Manhattan and Long Island City in Queens. If it’s been more than three or four months, she recommends it. Also: if you have kids, for obvious reasons.

Over at Wizard of Homes, you’re kind of always in need of a deep clean. “We normally start our relationship with a client with a deep clean,” says owner Kadi Dulude. “Even if they've had other companies clean before, it's still a usual case that it's not been done the ‘Wizard Way.'” (That's not an unusual rule of thumb.)

Define “deep” and its cost

What’s included in the starting price of a deep clean will vary from provider to provider. Some may offer a lower base rate with add-ons, while others have a higher starting fee that encompasses more tasks.

That said, the “extra mile” of a deep clean will often include tasks such as moving furniture and appliances away from the wall to get behind or under them, the cleaning of walls and baseboards, dusting or vacuuming ceiling fans and blinds.

One example of how a basic clean would differ from a deep clean with Cleaning Brooklyn is the handling of the space underneath a bed, which Walrond notes is often used as a storage area by space-starved New Yorkers. A basic clean will make sure the area around boxes or items under the bed is dust free; a deep clean will take everything from out under the bed, clean the area, then dust the items  before putting them back.

Wizard of Homes offers a basic deep clean for $150 for a studio to $225 for a three-bedroom.

“For example, not all homes have kitchen cabinet tops that can be cleaned—the cabinets go to ceiling—and not all homes have windows that tilt in and can be cleaned from outside,” says Dulude. “We don't include those types of things in the to-do list but they can be added on. We try to be very transparent about what is included and what is not included in the rate, to avoid surprises and people assuming that certain things should be included in a deep clean.”

Pricing at Cleaning Brooklyn is somewhat determined by the state of your apartment (how cluttered is it?) but ranges from about $325 and up for studios, $475 and up for two bedrooms, and $600 and up for three-bedrooms. However, Cleaning Brooklyn’s deep clean includes cleaning both the inside and outside of windows, the interior of the refrigerator, and the oven.

Over at MyClean, which operates in New York City and Chicago, the company has a 50-point checklist detailing what’s included in its “Deep Clean” service. Rates start at $249 for a studio; a three-bedroom, two-bath apartment costs $379. There are additional fees of $35  for cleaning the interior of the refrigerator, oven, and kitchen cabinets.

While the interface of MyClean has a “cleaner on demand” feel of a service like Handy, MyClean notes that its professionals are not contract workers, but full-time employees.

When your cleaning needs are more than deep

Finally, don’t try to pass off an above-and-beyond situation for a deep clean. These extreme cleans are called different things by different companies. (Our personal favorite is the “Filth Clean” from Wizard of Homes, which commands the skill of select staff and will set you back $75 an hour.)

So, be upfront about your level of grime: if you book a deep with Wizard of Home but are really a filth, they reserve the right to turn around and walk away.