What’s the difference between a house cleaner and a housekeeper?

What’s the difference between a house cleaner and a housekeeper?

See the published article in Angie’s List magazine.

Do you need a House Cleaner or a Housekeeper and what’s the difference?  Just don’t call us maids!
House Cleaner and Housekeeper:  They sound the same but they’re actually two very different jobs.  Are you looking for someone to clean the kitchen, scrub the toilets and make appliances shine?  Or are you looking for someone to change the sheets, wash and put away dishes and do some light dusting?

A housekeeper is an individual person who is usually in the home for a longer period of time and may have many projects within the home to keep them busy.  A Housekeeper is usually hired by a family who provides everything needed for the job (which stays in the home).

Typical duties of a Housekeeper may include:

  • Light cleaning (not deep cleaning): dusting, sweeping, mopping
  • Washing and drying dishes
  • Washing, folding, ironing clothes
  • Changing bed linens, making beds
  • Separating and remove garbage and recycling
  • Restocking personal care products, toilet paper, etc.
  • Picking up toys and/or clutter and other general organizing
  • Running errands for the family
  • Preparing meals
  • Replacing light bulbs
  • Scooping litter boxes
  • Other light duties as requested

A House Cleaner may be an individual person or a team of cleaners.  They arrive on a scheduled day/time with all the proper cleaning supplies, products and equipment.  They are usually in the home for a specific amount of time and take their supplies with them when they leave for their next cleaning appointment.  Cleaners may be independently employed or employed by a House Cleaning Company.

Typical duties of a House Cleaner may include:

  • Deep cleaning most surfaces (countertops, sinks, tubs, toilets, floors, appliances, etc.)
  • Scrubbing and sanitizing kitchens from top to bottom (including the exterior of cabinets and drawers, exterior of appliances like stoves and refrigerators, countertops, sinks and drains, backsplashes, light switch plate covers, knobs and handles, vacuuming and mopping, cleaning tables and chairs)
  • Scrubbing and sanitizing bathrooms from top to bottom (including toilets, tubs, showers, sinks and drain openings and polishing chrome)
  • Dusting (including trim work, baseboards, doors, picture frames, light fixtures, etc.)
  • Vacuuming upholstery and carpet
  • Vacuuming and mopping hard floors
  • Interior window cleaning

If you think in terms of light-duty work with some organizing thrown in, that’s for a Housekeeper.  If you’re looking for a top-to-bottom cleaning of your home, that’s for a House Cleaner.  Whether you choose a Housekeeper or a House Cleaner, just don’t call them a Maid!  The word is shortened from “female maidservant” and “female housemaid”.  It’s now considered derogatory; especially to male house cleaners and keepers.

Jennifer Troyer is the Founder of Seattle Green Cleaner, LLC; an environmentally and socially responsible professional house cleaning company. Established in 2007, Troyer takes pride in her environmental stewardship while being a socially responsible employer. Her cleaners are all W-2 employees who enjoy paid time off, top pay for a job well done, have everything they need provided for them and they are protected. Seattle Green Cleaner is a fully licensed, bonded and insured, residential cleaning company serving Greater Seattle and they’ve earned the Angie’s List Super Service Award three years in a row.