What is a Housekeeper?

J. Beam

A housekeeper is a person who is hired to provide professional domestic services such as cleaning, laundry, and sometimes cooking and errands. Usually only wealthy households employ full-time domestic workers, though many dual-income upper and middle class families hire the services of a housekeeper for periodic household cleaning.

Many housekeepers work part-time for several households providing routine cleaning.
Many housekeepers work part-time for several households providing routine cleaning.

Considered a luxury by many, employing a full-time housekeeper may involve providing room and board in addition to a weekly or monthly salary. This person usually does not have any involvement with children in the household, but rather is responsible only for keeping the house clean and orderly. He or she may or may not be employed to shop for and prepare meals.

A housekeeper typically performs tasks like ironing clothes.
A housekeeper typically performs tasks like ironing clothes.

Part-time housekeepers, on the other hand, do not work for a single household, but rather visit several different households throughout the course of a week. They may work for an agency or company who places them with interested clients. Households that hire a part-time cleaners might request their services weekly, biweekly, or even monthly. Typically, a housekeeper working part-time is responsible only for routine, thorough cleaning of the home.

A housekeeper may be responsible for cleaning a hotel's guest rooms.
A housekeeper may be responsible for cleaning a hotel's guest rooms.

Typical duties of a housekeeper include vacuuming, dusting, mopping, kitchen and bathroom details, along with surface cleaning. The person's exact duties are worked out between the employer and the housekeeper when discussing employment terms. In addition to private households, hotels, nursing homes and extended care facilities also hire staff specifically for housekeeping.

Housekeepers at a hotel make sure rooms have plenty of toilet paper for guests.
Housekeepers at a hotel make sure rooms have plenty of toilet paper for guests.

A housekeeper’s salary depends on his or her location and duties, and ranges from an hourly rate to a weekly or monthly salary. Someone who is employed full time is usually paid a salary, while part-time housekeepers and those employed by businesses are generally paid by the hour. If a household wishes to employ a housekeeper who also works as a nanny and cares for children, the expected salary is generally higher than that of a cleaner alone.

Housekeepers may provide laundry services.
Housekeepers may provide laundry services.
Some housekeepers may help their clients with shopping duties.
Some housekeepers may help their clients with shopping duties.

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Discussion Comments


We pay our housekeeper $15 an hour. We provide our own cleaning supplies. We pay the gas fare for her to get to and from work. And we never talked in the very beginning about raises because I generally don't do them, or holiday pay. If it is not on Christmas or Thanksgiving day, I don't pay extra money for that. And well, she never expressed in the beginning that those were her expectations. And after all of this, she wants to know if I am going to pay her extra money on top of $15 an hour when we provide 15 work hours a week for working Jan. 1.

Ladies or men, listen: cleaning people's homes is a convenience to the homeowner, not a necessity and the money is coming straight from the homeowner and we're only going to pay what we can afford. If people are not satisfied with what housekeeping jobs pay, then don't get into this line of work.


Being a full time worker along with my husband, we are never home and have a really big house. We always seem to have visitors and the place needs cleaning and we don't have time to do it ourselves. We love the cleaning service in Westchester County that we have gotten. We haven't had a problem with our help.


If you don't get any pay, how do you buy your own food? If this blurb is legitimate, I would say this is slave labor, except wouldn't a slave receive food? Run away! Slave labor is illegal and immoral. Honestly, this seems unbelievable, although sometimes the unbelievable is true.


I am a housekeeper, but I get a cleaner in. I cook all the meals for the day, keep the house tidy, do laundry and do the grocery shopping. I was working five days but now work six.

My average day is six to eight hours, but I do a 12-hour shift at times. I am on salary, which I think is quite pitiful for what I do and have to contend with.

My job can be quite demanding at times, even though, most of the time I enjoy it. The salary is hard at times when I am waiting on my bosses, when I could be finishing work to go home. Can anybody give me an idea of what wage is good for this job? I am in my first year but multitask in all areas. I love the job, but not the money.


Some employers require uniforms, others do not.


I'm an estate housekeeper and earn a salary of $1,000 a week. It's a good money but the work is hard. I've got to clean the house (6,000 sq feet) and boat house, laundry, cook, run errands, shop and whatever else they want! Not an easy job.


For a small rent free rm. I am not permitted to have any of my own furnishings in, I daily clean a four bedroom, three bath home, that is about 2,000 square feet.

I clean and put away the laundry/wash and put away the dishes, dust and move a house full of collectibles before I can even surface clean the furniture. I sweep, mop, vacuum and prepare up to three meals a day, bring in and put away the groceries as well make all the beds, maintain the cleanliness of all the appliances and clean up messes after four large untrained dogs.

Daily the washer and dryer are in use up to four to six hours to maintain all the bed linens and four furniture covers the dogs may soil up to three times a day.

To prep the house to mop the floors, I have to sweep the house up to three times every other day, as well as dust off nearly a thousand collectibles in an attempt to get all the hair out before I can even mop. Just to surface clean one bathroom sink I have to move and clean off 27 objects.

I buy my own food, take care of two people, their four messy dogs and home, for a room in which over half of it is being used to store their possessions.

I receive no money at all for all the work I do daily. My question is that having to live under these conditions doing all this overhead work, how much pay should I be receiving?


well, I'm not sure when this was written, but $10-$15 is rather low.


I'm a 28 year old female and I thought I'd post a comment since I am a housekeeper and work exclusively for one family. I work 4-5 days a week doing everything from vacuuming, mopping, bathrooms, kitchen, windows, laundry, ironing and running errands. I don't cook for the family but I do everything else to maintain their home.

I don't wear a uniform but I do have to maintain a proper look. I love what I do and hope to be a housekeeper for many years to come.


Cafe41- Yes they do. They usually wear solid white uniforms. I think the reason for the white is so the housekeeper maintains proper grooming.

You can’t hide dirt when wearing white. Proper grooming is essential for housekeepers as they often interact with their client’s guests at dinner parties and other functions.

Also remember that the housekeeper often cooks and prepares food, so proper hygiene is essential. The white uniforms can pick up any speck of dirt, so it forces the housekeeper to take extra care of her uniform.


Sunny27- I have never had a housekeeper before but I know it would be nice. Do they have to wear uniforms?


Mentirosa- I agree with you and I just wanted to say that full-time housekeepers don’t always reside in the client’s home, as the article suggests.

My father-in law has two housekeepers to maintain his home and neither one lives at his residence. The housekeepers park their cars in the driveway and then get to work. They clean the interior of the home and perform some gardening tasks as well.

They also run many errands relating to grocery shopping and accompany my father-in-law on doctor appointments. They both usually work a standard forty hour work week and receive periodic bonuses.


It is a good idea to hire a housekeeper even if it is for a few hours a week, or as some people do use a housekeeper's help if they are expecting guests and or after guests leave.

The benefits are twofold. One, you are helping somebody earn some money and the other is you make it easier on yourself. You give yourself time to do other projects.

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