Housekeeping Duties: What Can You Expect From Your Housekeeper
Hiring a housekeeper doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are some common housekeeping duties you can expect from your housekeeper, plus some tips on writing an effective housekeeper job description to help you find the best housekeeper for your family.
It’s not uncommon in this day and age for families to outsource household maintenance and upkeep. With one or more working parents, kids of varying ages in school and extracurricular activities, and all of the scheduling and running around that entails, it can be difficult to keep up! Hiring a housekeeper is one way that families can lighten their load and get some extra help around the house. But what exactly can you expect from your housekeeper? And how do you go about hiring one that fits your needs and lifestyle? The first step is understanding what the most common housekeeper duties are, and then tailoring those to create an effective housekeeper job description.
Once you’re familiar with what a typical housekeeper does and what the most common housekeeper duties are, you’ll feel more comfortable crafting your own housekeeper job description. We’ve highlighted some of the duties that families rely on their housekeepers to manage, which will serve as an excellent starting point for your own housekeeper search. As with any domestic employee, you want to make sure that the person you hire fits with your family and lifestyle, and that you clearly communicate your expectations and needs up front. Knowing what housekeeping duties you need managed and including them in your housekeeper job description can help make hiring a housekeeper a seamless and easy process.
Housekeeping Services vs. Home Cleaning Services
Before hiring a housekeeper or housekeeping service, you’ll want to determine if you’re looking for a housekeeper, or a home cleaner. While the two jobs sound very similar, they differ greatly in what services they perform, and the frequency of visits to your home. Housekeepers generally work 1-2 days per week (or more, depending on your needs), and complete a set list of housekeeper duties on a daily and weekly basis. A home cleaner, on the other hand, is someone you’d hire for a specific one-off job. For example, a housekeeper is responsible for general upkeep and maintenance in the home. A home cleaner would be hired to deep clean a kitchen or bathrooms, clean a vacation home before your arrival, or do a major top-to-bottom deep cleaning of your entire home. If you have a big job and just need someone to complete it, a home cleaner would be your best option. However, if you’re looking for consistent help in completing a list of housekeeper duties, hiring a regular housekeeper is the way to go.
What Duties Can You Expect Your Housekeeper to Complete and Manage?
Before you embark on hiring a housekeeper, it’s important to identify what your family’s needs are, and create a list of housekeeper duties you’d expect your housekeeper to manage. By this point, you’ve decided that a regular housekeeper is what you’re looking for, rather than a house cleaner to help with random projects. So now you need to ask yourself: what do we need from our housekeeper? Are their specific things that you don’t have the time to get to every week, or tasks that you need help with in order to simplify your life and manage your time and household better? This list will look very different for every family, and really comes down to what YOUR needs are. But as a general rule of thumb, these are some of the housekeeper duties a typical housekeeper may perform.
- Tidy up bedrooms and living spaces. Some people will do some light tidying up before their housekeeper arrives (putting toys away, putting laundry in the hamper, straightening up the office, etc). This allows the housekeeper to focus on more involved tasks in each room.
- Laundry. Having someone sort, wash, dry, and fold laundry for you can be a huge help, we know! Some housekeepers may not consider this a part of their regular housekeeping duties, so it’s a good idea to specify that laundry is expected when you write your housekeeper job description.
- Clean the floors, which should include sweeping and mopping hardwood or tile floors, and vacuuming carpets and rugs throughout the home.
- Clean the bathrooms, including toilets, wiping down counters, cleaning mirrors, and scrubbing tubs and showers.
- Clean the kitchen, including wiping down counters and appliances, cleaning the sink, and wiping down cabinet doors.
- Dusting, which should include all rooms and surfaces.
- Wash indoor windows as needed, except anything above arm’s reach. You’ll also want to specify in your housekeeper job description if you require blinds and drapes to be cleaned on a set schedule.
- Change linens and makes beds in all rooms, as needed.
- Empty trash cans throughout the home, and dispose of trash in a sanitary manner.
- Keep track of cleaning supplies and what needs to be replaced and/or restocked, and report to you on an as-needed basis.
Additional Housekeeping Duties to Include in Your Job Description
In addition to the typical housekeeper duties you can expect a housekeeper to complete, you may have a list of other things you’d like them to manage as well. This, again, will look different for every family depending on their needs. Likewise, if you’d like the housekeeper to be responsible for any of these additional tasks, make sure to specify that in your housekeeper job description! And keep in mind you may have to pay extra for your housekeeper to complete anything above and beyond the typical housekeeper duties.
- Track household grocery or sundry items, and replace as needed on weekly shopping trips. Some families task their housekeepers with completing weekly grocery shopping, either giving them access to the funds to do so, or reimbursing the housekeeper using receipts.
- Plan and cook meals or snacks. Cooking for the family requires an additional skill set, so including your expectations regarding food preparation in your housekeeper job description is particularly important.
- Run errands for you and your family. This can include dropping off or picking up clothes at the dry cleaner, taking an item for repair, or picking up a package from the post office.
- Care for your pets. Like food preparation, this one requires a special skill set that you need to specify upfront. Some housekeepers may not feel comfortable enough with animals to handle this responsibility. Additionally, if you expect your housekeeper to clean up after any pets (cleaning the cat box, refilling food and water, etc.), this should be made clear in the housekeeper job description.
- Deep cleaning, such as cleaning an oven, refrigerator, shampooing carpets or upholstery. If you’d like these tasks completed at some point, discuss with your housekeeper what their fee would be to complete them. But they shouldn’t be included in their daily or weekly housekeeper duties.
4 Duties You Shouldn’t Expect Your Housekeeper to Complete
While the list of common housekeeper duties is long and comprehensive, there are some things you shouldn’t expect your housekeeper to complete while in your employ. These are typically tasks that may put the housekeeper in danger, put an inordinate physical burden on them, or change the job description from housekeeper to nanny. If you need any of these duties completed, hiring someone who specializes in them is your best bet.
- Lift heavy objects or move furniture. As a general rule, most housekeepers won’t attempt to lift or move anything over 35 pounds. You want to make sure their safety and physical abilities are the priority, so don’t ask your housekeeper to rearrange your living room or move a safe into the attic.
- Wash outside windows, or climb anything taller than a stepstool. If you have high windows or surfaces in your home that need attention, you’ll want to hire a service that has the right equipment and insurance to do that. Remember, you’re responsible for the safety of anyone who works in your home, and are liable for any injuries that occur while completing duties assigned to them. Limit your liability and ensure the safety of your domestic employees by hiring companies to handle the big stuff.
- Clean up human waste. There have been many instances of housekeepers who’ve gotten sick from mishandling human waste, and that’s a danger you don’t want to expose anyone to. Again, hire a company that specializes in waste removal, if necessary.
- Childcare. If you’re looking for someone to complete all of these housekeeper duties AND watch your children, then you may want to consider hiring a live-in domestic employee or nanny.
Writing an Effective and Comprehensive Housekeeper Job Description
Now that you’re familiar with the typical housekeeper duties you may expect to be completed by whomever you hire, it’s time to compose a detailed housekeeper job description. Remember, being clear and upfront about your expectations is key; if you’re vague on what you’re looking for in a housekeeper, you’ll find yourself weeding through a lot of unqualified or uninterested applicants.
This is a good example of what your housekeeper job description should look like. Depending on your family’s needs, you may have additional housekeeper duties you’d like completed, so when you’re writing your own job description, make sure to add those in!
Housekeeper Wanted for Weekly Maintenance of Our Family’s Home
Housekeeper Job Description
We’re looking for a housekeeper for 2 days a week to complete chores around the home, shop for groceries and household items, and run household-related errands. The ideal candidate will be reliable, detail-oriented, comfortable with pets, and experienced in working in a bustling family home!
Expected Housekeeper Duties
●Tidy bedrooms, living spaces, kitchen, and bathrooms
●Sweep and mop wood floors in living spaces, and vacuum carpets in all bedrooms
●Unload and load dishwasher as needed
●Wipe down kitchen countertops, cabinet doors and appliances, and scrub kitchen sinks
●Wipe down mirrors and bathroom countertops, clean toilets, scrub tubs and shower stalls, and restock toiletries as needed
●Wash, dry, and fold sorted laundry, and place in correct room to be put away
●Dust all surfaces in bedrooms and living spaces
●Clean inside windows on a biweekly basis
●Empty trash bins throughout the home, and dispose of trash in outside receptacles
●Change linens and make beds in all bedrooms
●Clean cat box and refill food and water as needed
●Keep track of household items and replace as needed with money provided by us
●Complete weekly grocery shopping trips with list and money provided by us
●Drop off and pick up clothes at the dry-cleaner on a weekly basis
Requirements and Qualifications
●Previous experience working in a family home
●Comfortable working in a home with pets
●Must provide your own transportation with proof of clean driving record and insurance
●Ability to lift up to 35 pounds
●Must commit to two full days to be determined (we’re willing to work with your schedule!)
●Able to work with minimal supervision
●Able to manage time effectively in order to complete housekeeping duties
●3 professional references, previous employers preferred
Hiring a housekeeper to work in your home can be an easy process, as long as you’re crystal-clear on your expectations of housekeeper duties and qualifications in your housekeeper job description. Just like when you hire a nanny or babysitter, you want to make sure that you’re getting the best candidates to fill the role. Following these guidelines can ensure you find the best housekeeper to fit your family, lifestyle, and needs.
Updated by Jayme Kennedy on March 13, 2018.