Housekeepers perform a full range of cleaning tasks in private homes and commercial businesses. While the specific tasks vary by employer, a housekeeper is primarily an expert on restoring rooms or homes to a basic level of cleanliness.
Laundry duties are among the primary cleaning tasks for a housekeeper. In a hotel, for instance, housekeepers pull all of the bed linens for washing after guests leave. In private homes, they often gather the laundry from each hamper and wash it. Folding and ironing the clothes is also common. In addition, housekeepers vacuum and clean hallways and rooms, dust and polish counters and fixtures, mop floors and wipe down windows. Other responsibilities include washing dishes and emptying all wastebaskets into the trash.
Housekeepers perform a number of secondary duties as well. In some homes, hotels and resorts, housekeepers are responsible for putting away dishes and replacing toiletries and supplies. They might also have to shampoo and vacuum rugs, draperies and upholstered furniture. In the course of cleaning, housekeepers have to move pieces of furniture. They also flip mattresses periodically after cleaning. Housekeepers take accessories like cribs and rollaway beds to guest rooms in lodging facilities.
Traveler accommodation businesses such as hotels, motels and inns are the largest employers of housekeepers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Hospitals, nursing homes and retirement facilities are other common employment settings. Most housekeepers work full time, but some work part-time, including evening and weekend service providers. The physical nature of the work, along with dusty and dirty conditions, contribute to health ailments and injuries for housekeepers. The BLS reports that the average pay for housekeepers was $22,130 per year as of May 2013.
There are no formal education requirements for housekeepers, according to the BLS. Instead, on-the-job training is provided specific to the work environment. Housekeeping processes in a home are often very different from those in a hotel, for instance. Shadowing a veteran housekeeper is a common form of training. Housekeepers do need a few key qualities for success, including attention to detail, interpersonal communication skills and physical stamina. Some days are long and a housekeeper is on her feet most of the day. Interpersonal communication is important in terms of listening to instructions and understanding expectations from clients and employers.
- CareerDepot.org: Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: What Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners Do
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: How to Become a Maid or Housekeeping Cleaner
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners: Work Environment
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2013: Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners