Who Cleans Your House?

Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY MEREDITH NOVARIO

That’s easy.

No one really cleans at my house. We do basic maintenance but to call it cleaning is a stretch. So I sent out a plea for help recently and got some great leads.

Initially, I hesitated to post this on the blog because I didn’t want to put out individual names and numbers which I assumed was how most of you all were getting your house clean. Alas, there are other options. I know doing it myself is one option but I don’t like that one so please don’t bring it up again.

The most promising option for me is Good Keeping Okinawa. Their website melted my heart. The pictures seem to promise to banish the cooties and deliver the crisp, lilac-scented purity that my house is missing. I’m easily persuaded by pictures and websites though. I could barely wait to get them in my house. Tomorrow at one, we have a date. Will report back later.

Also caught wind of a cleaning service started by mothers called Express Cleaning Service. Contact them at [email protected]

ALSO got another suggestion to post an ad through Japan Update stating explicitly what you want and need.

And you? Anything to add?

83 COMMENTS

  1. I used Aisah’s cleaning service today, and I didn’t like what she did. I gave her Y8000+$10 for tip. she said “she will help me get organized” but what she did it wasn’t organized,she can’t organize anything.
    now my house is looks like we just moved in again. I won’t use her never ever again.

  2. Hi can anyone recommend a good mamasan or housekeeper that services the Kinser area? Most of the people I contact don’t service down here on Kinser. My husband and I both work full time and Im just so tired after I get home that cleaning is the last thing I want to do. I don’t get any help from my husband so I want to get someone to come on a regular basis to help out so I don’t have to do a deep clean every weekend when I’m off.

  3. Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone has worked with Kioko before, she said that she works on Kadena but also cleans off-base houses once or twice a week. She stopped by our house offering her services and seemed very nice but I wanted to check her out before we decided wether to hire her or not. If any one has any info please let me know, thanks!!

    • Hi Emily,
      If its the same Kioko she cleans our house. We are thinking about letting her go just because I am a clean fanatic and she doesnt do much that I wouldn’t do already. Also originally she said she would come twice a week, but now she only comes once a month.

    • I was approached by a lady named Kioko today outside of Kadena and I was wondering if you ever ended up having her work for you? If so can you tell me about your experience? I am interested in having her over but like you said, I wanted to check her out before we decide.

  4. Hello, my name is Melissa and I will be arriving to Okinawa the end of Aug. I am a single parent who has a 8 yr old daughter who requires little supervision. As a single parent and Navy nurse I am challenged with child care and looking for light house cleaning. If someone is available they would be able to do possibly additional jobs while my daughter is in school. Only need a couple hours in the morning and afternoon on the days I work. Will need alday on some weedends. Please let me know if you can help or know of any one.

    Thank you,

    Melissa Slack

  5. Highly recommend House Cleaning Suzu, 080-2712-5190, especially for the McT/Courtney area. We have used them for over 2 yrs. Their service is exceptional and consistent!

  6. Carlos with Heavenly cleaners cleaned our house for the PCS. Awesome job. Highly recommend him. You can find his contact information on the OkinawaYardSale site.

  7. I had a wonderful experience with GHO until recently they failed to clean several areas of the house, to include all floors and after complaining they have been “investigating” the problem for nearly 2 weeks w/o any resolution.

  8. All I can say is YMMV (Your mileage may vary) depending when it comes to service… even with the same person from the same outfit. Though I expect a good job for the money, always keep in mind that the people cleaning your house are not getting getting rich doing a job we don’t want to do or are too busy to do. If you are not satisfied, just don’t use them again. I have had my ups and downs with several services. I appreciate their hard work. What I do not tolerate is no pride in their work and anyone who is rude, especially because I go out of my way to be as courteous as possible.

  9. I can say that I used GHO one time and while very pleased with the crew they sent, I was very displeased with the fact that there was confusion about when they were coming, and it took two days to get it straight.

  10. With my experience I don’t recommend ‘Good House Keeping.’ They’re not honest and reliable and it gets very frustrating. I used them about 3 times now and the last 2 was a disaster. As of right now, i’m looking elsewhere…very disappointed.

  11. My husband and I have decided not to hire GHO simply because they didn’t clean the way we like. We paid them over time for our kitchen and the bathrooms,but they were still dirty when I came home.
    I mean if I pay 200 dollars, I would like to see some changes.
    Fortunately, we have found a lady who cleans my friend’s house, and so far she is wonderful. She even came by for consultation and wrote down the things we would like clean.
    Personally, if I let someone in my house when I am gone, I would like to meet with whoever is cleaning, or in charge before I hire them.
    My experience with GHO was not so good like the other people, but I am not saying they are bad company, it just didn’t work out for us.

  12. If you are looking for a reliable and genuine cleaning on your house contact [email protected]. It’s two military housewives and they do an awesome job. They can clean your house in last time and do it right the first time. For my 3 bedrooms 2 1/2 baths their rate is $70.00 every 2 weeks. If the other companies aren’t working for you, give them a shot.

  13. Does anyone know where I can get a nanny? My husband and I both work long hours. It has been challenging to get things done around the house. I would like to know where I can find someone who does the works, pretty much everything? We also have beautiful 1 year old.

  14. Anyone have a great momma san who is looking to add another person? I am in desperate need of one as I am now on bed rest.
    Thanks!

  15. David- If you go with a mamasan instead of a cleaning business, you are more likely to get the personal touches. I have a mamasan come in every other week. She works very hard on the days she comes in, and she offers to do whatever she can round the house to be helpful.

  16. All I can say is wow, wow, WOW! Ok …so I’m looking for someone to clean my house, right and I stumble on this forum. After reading everyone’s comments..it wasn’t hard to see that GHO was the way to go. Boy was the right call. Can’t speak on the others…mostly because I couldn’t find their website or phone number or anything besides a yahoo address. Nothing wrong with that but I wanted to go with someone that’s been on the island a while and has a little experience. Anyway….they were polite on the phone and the housekeeper cleaned it EXACTLY the way that I wanted. If I can just get them to cook me dinner and stick it in the fridge for me… …that would be something worth paying extra for. Anyone know of someone on the island that does that?

  17. I just want to put a review out there. I took the chance and used Express Cleaning Service. They did a great job. Floors were mopped(actual bucket and mop) and rugs vacuumed, my full laundry basket was washed, dried and folded, all the dishes cleaned and put away, etc. The only problem was I had asked to have the windows washed and they weren’t done, but she said next time they will be and is giving me $5 off.
    Our house was a disaster thanks to 2 very furry cats, and it was just such a relief to have someone else do all of this at once, and it will be much easier for me to maintain over the next 2 weeks now.
    The best thing about them was we live off base and we had a hard time finding someone to come off base, but they had no problem. Also I felt completely safe leaving the ladies alone in my house, I went out for a bit and came back, they were still working hard, I also left before they did( I had planned on them only staying 4 hours as most mamasans do, but they stayed longer to finish), and came home to a wonderful job.

  18. I personally am offended about the comment “It’s just sad and an obvious attempt at bringing down a very good organization for no good reason.” We DID have a bad experience with them because they failed to clean our house well (including failing to mop the bathroom floors after I specifically told them the bathroom was the highest priority for cleaning). I stopped their service because I didn’t like their cleaning.

    This forum is for people to learn about businesses and people’s experiences with those companies. I am not trying to bring a company down for no reason – why would I do that?! I’m just letting people know how MY experience was with GHO and people can make their own decision based on reviews and their personal experience with the company.

  19. Has anyone ever used Express Cleaning Service? I saw their ad online but can’t find reviews. Our housing agency was no help in finding anyone and I’m iffy about the reviews of GHO. Thanks!

  20. HI!!

    All this posting. Obviously this business is getting the job done but no business satisfies 100% of it’s customers. I just want to say that I had a great experience with my housekeeper. Maybe my standards aren’t as high as some people on here and to them I say…clean it yourself. $65 is nothing when compared to the time that it saves me from cleaning the house. I paid twice that in San Diego and got about the same quality…which is pretty good as far as I’m concerned.

  21. I desperately need a mamasan if any one can email me that would be greatly appreciated. I would like some one who not only cleans but can help me organize my things. The house is not so much dirty but messy and I am not good at organizing things and deciding where things should go. I would like some one weekly if possible, I have been here on Island just a few months. I really really need some help, Thank you!

  22. I’ve heard good and bad reviews on GHO. It’s not realistic to believe 100% of people would have the exact same positive or negative experience with any company. I appreciate being able to read comments that show both sides of the coin and then decide, on my own, if I want to give a place a try.

  23. Although many people have had good experiences with GHO, I personally know that it’s possible to have a “not-so-good” experience.

    The last time they came out, the cleaner they sent spent a good chunk of time on the phone. I had to leave to pick up my son, and came back, and they were still cleaning the same room (had been for over 1 1/2 hours). It wasn’t any cleaner than any other time and took twice as long. Although the housekeeper stayed a little longer to finish up (about an extra 40 minutes I would guess), the house just simply wasn’t as clean as the first or 2nd time I had them out. I have not had them out since then (over a year ago) so it’s hard to say how they are now.

    I appreciate people leaving comments about a negative experience. It doesn’t paint a true picture about a service/business, etc if only positive comments are allowed. While some people may just be less easy to please, it’s also important to have a true evaluation of a business-and not everyone is going to have a rave.

  24. We have used GHO for the past 18 months, twice per month, 4 hours per visit. It has been very reliable for the most part. One time they forgot to mop my all tile floors, but when I called, they were very apologetic and it never happened again. They are very responsive with any feedback or criticisms. I think the person who comes may be variable and with using a service (vice hiring a specific person yourself) that is one of the drawbacks. Overall we have been very pleased. We lived in the DC area before coming out here and were paying twice the amount GHO charges for a pretty slapdash cleaning. Hope this helps.

  25. I’ve just started using GHO and I’m glad I did. They came to my house, were extremely courteous and very professional. I had no worries or problems at all. Seriously….I don’t know where some of these people on here get off on writing anything negative about the company. It’s just sad and an obvious attempt at bringing down a very good organization for no good reason.

    Keep it up GHO!!!! You’ve got my business as long as I’m here.

  26. I have used GHO (Good Housekeeping Okinawa) a couple times now. They charge $68 for four hours of cleaning (my apt is about 1700sq ft). I was hoping to have someone come once a month to mainly work on my bathrooms & kitchen so I only have to do the basics each week. Unfortunately, their cleaning is not up to my standards… the last time, the woman didn’t even clean my bathroom floor! I think they would be good (but pricey) for weekly cleaning that I could easily do myself, but not for anything beyond that.

  27. A mamasan usually helps not only with the cleaning, but she will gladly baby sit or cook if asked. The housekeepers just clean. Although I have heard of a few that will cook if asked.

  28. The GHO manager went ahead and charged me the full amount even though there was no electricity ih the house.
    NOTHING was done in the house, it looked exactly the same where I left off in the morning.
    I would have paid $35 cancelation fee and not the full amount.
    They had canceled my appointments so many times because of lack of staff.
    They left bleach spots on my carpet but they hide it by putting a hamper over it.

  29. I have used GHO 3 times in the past, they are okay.. I have a mama san now she charges me $56 for 4 hours usually she comes around 8AM and leaves around 12PM.
    She has base access so i never had to pick her up at the gate.
    She speaks such a good English so I never had any problems talking to her!!

  30. GHO has been cancelling my appointment for three times in a row in months too!!! And that happened today too! I am very upset with their management. Ms. Narumi the manager? should have hired more house keepers months ago when they have noticed the problem!!! Would somebody recommend a better cleaning company that I could trust? And that could move faster to avoid the cancellations??
    Thank you.

  31. I have been usuing GHO, but they just missed my appointment yesterday.
    They said that they will give us better service once they changed all the staffs but they didn’t!!
    I really need someone who I can trust and do a good job.
    Can someone please let me know if there are any more house cleaners out there I can call..

    Thank you!!

  32. Hello All

    I would just like to take a second and say thank you to all of our GHO customers. Some of the comments that have been posted about us has caused me to go back through our company records and I am finding accounting mistakes. Because of this, I have taken the opportunity to hire NEW office managers and housekeepers that will better serve you.

    We’re busy correcting the mistakes of the past and look forward to serving all of you in the future. To that end, we ask your patience as we verify our client database and hope that you’ll please accept my personal apology.

    It is our pleasure to be a part of this community and part of your lives. We will be better for you.

    To all Okinawa Hai! bloggers and readers, we’d like to offer you a free cup of coffee in our coffee shop. Please check out the map at http://bookandcafe.ghokinawa.com

    Very respectfully and God bless you all,

    Narumi

  33. Hello!! has anyone heard about Klean Wash Okinawa?? I hear their really good.
    BUT NO ONE HAS THEIR CONTACT INFO!
    If any of you know it, please let me know..
    By the way I have tried GHO, they are really good too!!I am just shopping around and see who is the best.

  34. I checked out GHO’s website. They sound like a great cleaning service, but I had to laugh at a few things I saw on their site (amused laugh, not mean laugh). First, I noticed that they offer in-home nail care and massage in addition to cleaning services- Ah… Only on Okinawa!. Also, in their schedule the company says that they are closed on Saturdays and Sundays, but they provide a number for “emergencies”. I had to giggle as I conjured up images of what constitutes a cleaning emergency. Too bad GHO does not air commercials on television because I bet they would be funny!

  35. Okinawa Good Housekeeping has been coming since Dec. 2009 (about 5 weeks). This was my Christmas present this year. They are wonderful! They come in on Friday (so I don’t have to meet them at the gate). It is the perfect way to start the weekend. We pay for an extra hour so that the dishes and laundry get done. With a one year old and twins on the way, having them come once a week is a blessing.

  36. I have a great lady come every other week. I pay her 6000Y and she does great; my DH said “ahhh, I like when A-san is here…” when he walked in that night…I wasn’t sure if I should be insulted or not – LOL! I went by word of mouth; if anyone is interested, you can PM me; she has open days and is looking to fill them – she has also shown me how to cook some japanese dishes when I’ve asked her to and will do whatever I add to the list (I’ve added sheets, if there’s laundry clean, she’ll fold and sort it and put it on the bed in nice piles, which I prefer to “put away”) – we show eachother things and practice our language skills on eachother…I like having her come and the clean house is a nice little bonus too! – oh, I meet her at the gate and she follows me thru; she arrives at 9am and usually leaves around 5:30

  37. If anyone wants a housekeeper, call Good housekeeping Okinawa!!!!
    I just had them clean my house last week and they did a fantastic job!!!!!
    I think the phone # is 098-898-7700 just call and ask for either Ryoko san or Yabiku san!!!

  38. I’ve used Good Housekeeping for about 18 months. I like them. They do a good job. I am home the whole time they are here with my baby and they are very sweet to her and try and work around whichever room we are in. If she takes a nap they stay away from her room and clean it after she gets up. They don’t seem to scrub the floors, they use a swiffer type thing and then every few weeks scrub it. It’s clean enough for the baby to crawl on so that’s good enough for me.

    Brook

  39. We have been using GHO since Fall 2008 and have had a very good experience. Different than the states in that it’s a single worker who comes and works for a total of 4 hours. Whatever gets done in that 4 hours is what gets done. They have time to mop our floors (over 1700 sq feet all tile), dust, clean kitchen 2 + 2-1/2 baths. Then about 80% of the time they strip our bed/launder sheets and make it up again (this happens most of the time). Clean windows if time permits. They have never not shown up when scheduled, but one caveat, if there’s a Japanese holiday and your day lands on it, you will not get service (they emailed us about 1 week before to let us know!?), and your next service will be the normally scheduled one. I.e. if you are unlucky, you could go 1 month between cleanings vice every 2 weeks. They are also not very flexible, I feel it’s due to demand more than anything, so if you want to schedule extra cleanings or change days, do it far in advance (months). For us, they are thorough, better than Merry Maids- type businesses in the states. I can’t say it’s hospital clean, but as I tell my husband, it’s good enough!

    • Loved your post but mostly I was impressed that you used the word “caveat” correctly. Most people don’t these days and it irks the hell out of me

  40. My mamasans are here for only the third time and so far it’s going well. I was wondering if they were going to show up this week due to Golden Week but so far they have been really reliable. I actually pay Y8,000 but I think it’s worth it. They do not do my laundry but they do windows and have even offered to mend my curtains that were made for our home in the states. We found ours through the ladies that work at the dry cleaners on Courtney. Ask people you already do business with and trust. Goodluck – a clean house is worth the effort!!!!!

  41. But May 4 – 6, 2009 is Golden Week(Japanese National Holiday) No Japanese office or even Bank will be opened until Thur the 7th.

  42. I’m disappointed too, their office management seems to be going downhill. They clean well but they are not very reliable. They have been scheduled to clean my house every other week but did not show up today or even call to let me know no one was coming. Not the most professional people I’ve ever dealt with.

  43. I am really bummed, Good Housekeeping was supposed to come and give me an estimate yesterday. I waited around all day and no one ever showed up or even called. I am hesitant to give them another try, but I really need someone who will do a good job.

  44. I just had Good Housekeeping Okinawa (GHO) here today to clean our apartment and all I can say is WOW! WOW! WOW!

    I am a fanatic house cleaner and keep our home extremely clean. Lately though, it has seemed to be not clean enough and has been bugging me. I am in full nesting mode right now and am scheduled to “hatch” baby #2 on Monday. When I told my husband that I wanted to call in “the ladies” he said “Clean what? It’s already clean. What do you want hospital clean?” To which I replied “YES!!”

    I was not really expecting hospital clean but that is exactly what I got. GHO sent one lady here to clean for 4 hours and our home is now immaculately pristine. I cannot find one tiny speck of dirt, dust, or otherwise anywhere! She used bleach to sanitize my kitchen and bathrooms. She cleaned out my oven, refrigerator, and microwave. She polished up my floors. It is FANTASTIC and I am a tough customer because my idea of clean borders on manic. I clean clean to make it clean. I’m a nutcase, it’s part of my charm! 🙂

    I recommend GHO 100%. They are professional, responsive, and do outstanding work. If you are looking for a bit of help taming the mess, please do not hesitate to contact them. They are great!

  45. If you find a Mamasan (I finally did when someone PCS’d) you can go to the main gate of your base and apply for a base pass for them. On Foster (I think) they can come and go on their own. On Kadena, I still have to meet her at the gate, but she has papers to come in through the gate easily. So it’s totally possible to have a Mamsan from off base — it’s finding one who has a free day that is hard!

  46. I had a mamasan named Yoshi for 4 of the 5 years I was there. She was a bit bossy, but worth all the dish washing, ironing, and vaccuming! Ask your neighbors or housing agency to refer you to a good one. Expect to pay about 5-6,000 yen per visit, but that covers EVERYTHING.

  47. I can’t wait for tomorrow!

    On Friday, Narumi-san & Akiko-san came to look at the depths of dirt that live in my house. I contemplated cleaning up a bit but then thought that they might get the wrong impression. Like that I was even an inch cleaner than I am. So they looked around, asked questions, listened to my needs and took notes. It was super.

    Tomorrow at one, someone is coming to clean the ins and outs of my kitchen and bathroom for 4 hours. They will have plenty to do in that time frame! I’m so giddy with hope. I’m on the verge of a clean house!

    ALSO, they are looking for people who might like to work FOR them. At the moment, they have five employees. If you’ve got a great attitude and a hankering for some cash, please contact Narumi-san or Akiko-san at 090-4168-1694 or e-mail at [email protected]. If you know of anyone that might be interested, spread the word.

    Did I mention how excited I am for tomorrow?

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here