If you choose to hire a cleaning person, the best way to do it is by looking for a referral. Your friends will probably be able to recommend at least one reliable person (if not several). Once a week should be plenty in terms of cleaning appointments – you can expect the floors to be mopped or swept, dishes to be done, your bathroom to be scrubbed and beds to be made.
It is also possible to make special arrangements whereby a cleaning woman will prepare a meal for you once or twice a week and refrigerate it. This is a more expensive arrangement, but it is certainly convenient if you are working. It also provides ample opportunity to sample home-cooked Egyptian food.
While you shouldn’t have to worry about theft (provided you find someone through a referral) it is generally not a good idea to leave cash or valuable jewellery lying out in the open. Use common sense when deciding where you should keep money and valuables if someone will be cleaning your flat or home on a regular basis.
Maintaining a flat yourself
Power surges will happen. Fuses will blow. Drains will stink. The floor will get dusty and you’ll probably wake up at least one morning to find a roach scuttling across your kitchen. As with many, many aspects of life in Egypt, patience will be key to feeling comfortable in your flat. Still, developing regular cleaning habits will help minimize any frustration.
- Do not let food waste sit in your sink or kitchen. Try to move it into a garbage can outside your flat, preferably one with a lid.
- Do not let dirty dishes sit in the sink for extended periods of time. If there are flies, ants or roaches hiding in the walls or crevices they will buzz, crawl and creep out to investigate.
- Keep two cans of bug spray readily available: one for things that crawl and one for things that fly. Sprays are inexpensive and can be purchased at local convenience stores, supermarkets and shops.
- Vacuum rugs and carpets at least once a week to remove dust.
- Try and mop wood or tile floors at least once a week to keep dust from accumulating.
- Learn to tolerate a moment’s inconvenience or disgust every now and again. Unless you live in ultra high-end housing, it is unlikely you’ll be able to both keep your apartment immaculate and maintain your sanity, even if you have hired someone to clean.