What does a Housekeeper (Cleaner, Maid) do?

Median Pay $24,630
Growth Rate 1%
Citation Retrieved from BLS.gov

A housekeeper is employed in a variety of places such as hotels, private households, hospitals, or other establishments that need multiple tasks of light cleaning. They may work at multiple locations for various clients in a given day or work at one location. Those in this career are also sometimes called housecleaners, maids, breakfast and room attendant, housekeeping aide, housekeeping laundry worker, and room cleaner.

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How to Become a Housekeeper

become a housekeeper

A housekeeper may be asked to have a high school diploma or the equivalent to get a job, however it is not always necessary. An employer may expect you to have work related experience such as a history and good referencing cleaning at other businesses and want someone who effectively works with people well. They may also ask how long cleaning a particular space may take you. This can also be a part-time job for someone who needs extra work or an option for a student who has yet to graduate high school as they may be able to get a position on the weekends working with an experienced housekeeper.

If you are a new housekeeper, you may work under a more experienced person from a few months to one year. A housekeeper must be physically able to do the work as you will often bend, stretch to reach items and hard to get to locations, and need stamina to stand on your feet for long hours. Having good core strength is also helpful as you may need to lift or move heavy objects. Employers like housekeepers that are detail-oriented, thorough, dependable, and timely.

Job Description of a Housekeeper

A housekeeper cleans spaces and must complete tasks such as vacuuming, emptying the trash, dusting, sweeping, mopping floors, doing dishes, and a variety of other tasks. They may be required to use disinfectants or use steam operated sterilizers. If working in a healthcare setting, they would also meet any sanitation standards that are in place. They may be required to move furniture or equipment in order to clean as well as carry items such as linens, towels, cleaning supplies, and trash.

Depending where they work, they may also need to change any used bed linens and replace them with clean bedding. In the bathroom, they would be responsible to remove any used towels and replace those with clean towels as well. Some private households may ask for additional duties to be done, such as washing dishes, doing light ironing, or even laundry. Additionally, housekeepers would report any safety hazards to their employer.

Housekeeper Job Posting

Let’s look at a job description posted by the National Park Service. This job announcement is looking for a person to perform the following responsibilities:

  • Performs varying degrees of complexity in cleaning processes.Demonstrates proficiency related to daily service, check-out, deep cleaning, and special project cleaning assignments based on Lodging program cleaning standards.
  • Vacuums, sweeps, and mops floors; dusts, polishes, cleans, and moves furniture.
  • Removes trash, places in dumpsters, and replaces liners.
  • Places proper number of amenities in room to include consumables/non-consumables, linen, kitchen, and bathroom.
  • Removes and replaces bed linen, inspects mattresses and pull-out sofas, and moves/re-positions beds upon guest checkout, weekly, or at a guest’s request.
  • Cleans walls, doors, ceilings, stand-up/ceiling fans, light fixtures, exterior of air vents, windows, sills, tracks, blinds and curtains.
  • Cleans coffee makers, ice buckets, beverage kits, refrigerators, stove tops, cookware, utensils, cutlery, cups/glasses, plates, sinks, counters, ovens, ranges, cupboards, drawers, and microwaves to include proper programming of its respective clock/time.
  • Ensures dishwashers are clean and in working condition.
  • Cleans vanities, mirrors, hardware, cabinets/shelving, toilets, bath tubs/shower stalls, tile, and bathroom exhaust fans. Replaces bathroom terry and linens to include shower curtains.
  • Cleans irons, removes excess water and replaces as necessary, cleans ironing boards and replaces covers as necessary, cleans and ensures proper functionality of luggage racks and ensures proper numbers of clean male/female hangers are available in closets.
  • Cleans washers and dryers and ensures machines are operational.
  • Ensures in-room guest directories are clean and organized, TV’s are clean and programmed to proper channel and volume, alarm clocks are properly programmed with back-up battery and in-room phones are clean, properly programmed, and in working condition.
  • Cleans common area spaces to include vending rooms and ice machines, laundry rooms, elevators, break rooms, walkways, corridors, stairwells, office spaces, lounges, storerooms and storage spaces.
  • Performs deep cleaning as required by program standards (e.g. on a scheduled basis and upon check-out of guests in “pet friendly” rooms and in rooms that had an ADA service animal), which includes, but is not limited to: defrosting the refrigerator, cleaning windows (inside and out), replacing and/or cleaning drapes, moving furniture and cleaning normally hidden areas, carpet cleaning (shampoo and/or spot treatment), cleaning walls/woodwork, and other such tasks.
  • Counts, sorts, inspects, and prepares linen for operational use.
  • Applies Blood Borne Pathogen criteria to determine potential safety concerns related to contaminated linens and applies appropriate NGIS protocols during daily service activity.
  • Completes maintenance requests for items broken, defective, or in need of replacing.
  • Performs basic, routine maintenance on vacuum cleaners by cleaning all areas and replacing filters as necessary.
  • Maintains the cleanliness, inventory, and organization of housekeeping carts and linen carts.
  • Reports any damages or valuables (e.g. large amounts of cash, jewelry, or confidential/sensitive information) left out in the open by guests to the Supervisor.
  • Reports any activity that appears unsafe, illegal, or suspicious to the Supervisor.
  • Interacts professionally with guests and other team members, displays a positive attitude, utilizes effective communication skills, and assists guests to include answering questions concerning hotel facilities and provides information about on base and local attractions.
  • Communicates with the front desk when identifying lost and found items by annotating all relevant information to facilitate retrieval of the item for that specific guest.
  • Maintains key control for assigned key and reports any issues immediately to the Supervisor.

This position was posted to run 12/27/2018 until 03/01/2019 with a salary range of $9.71 to $10.46 per hour on USAjobs.gov (link opens in a new tab). USAjobs.gov is an official website of the United States government and part of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Free Teacher and Student Resources

Teachers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (or EPA) offers a free Teacher’s Classroom Checklist (link opens in a new tab). You can print this to ensure your classroom is ready for students. The EPA also has free Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides and Online Environmental Resources for Educators (link opens in a new tab) if you want to check that out.

Housekeeper Career Video Transcript

Maids and housekeeping cleaners keep things sparkling and sanitary, whether they work in a hotel, hospital, business, or home. While specific duties can vary greatly depending on the establishment, cleaners take responsibility for a space after others are done using it, or while they’re away, and return it to the state it needs to be in for guests, patients, and residents to be comfortable. Maids and housekeeping cleaners maintain many facilities in daily use: they make beds, replace linens, empty wastebaskets, wash dishes, and replenish supplies. When conditions are more seriously out of order, they may also order repairs and perform more in-depth cleaning such as shampooing carpets. They also report damage and thefts, and may supervise other workers.

At hotels and hospitals, housekeeping cleaners often have responsibilities for a specific section of the facility, with duties such as keeping linens stocked and ordering supplies… whereas maids working in private households are more likely to perform errands or clean up by vacuuming, dusting and putting items away. Maids and housekeepers’ hours vary, ranging from full time, part time, to seasonal work schedules. Companies that contract out cleaning services may offer a variety of schedules and work environments. Maids and housekeeping cleaners do not usually require any formal education, although many have completed a high school diploma or equivalent.

Article Citations

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners.

National Center for O*NET Development. 37-2012.00. O*NET OnLine. This page includes information from O*NET OnLine by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. RethinkOldSchool, Inc. has modified all or some of this information. USDOL/ETA has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.