a housekeeper making dinner next to a maid, or house cleaner with a bucket full of cleaning supplies

By The Cleaning Lady


Are you looking to hire someone to clean your house or do other chores or errands? Are you looking to get into this services field? There are many terms for these domestic services and it can get kind of confusing when all you want to do is find help or get a job. In this post, I’ll run down the major differences between a maid (or cleaning person) and a housekeeper.

What is a maid?

A maid is usually someone who comes to your house strictly to clean. Now, this term has become a bit outdated and has a derogatory tone to it these days. People in these service positions like to be called house cleaners, cleaning lady (like me) or cleaning person as more and more males are entering the field.

What does a maid do?

Maids (or house cleaners) are responsible for general cleaning duties such as dusting, vacuuming, and washing floors. They may also do laundry and ironing, as well as make beds and tidy up living spaces. A maid generally works for a few hours each week, depending on the size of the home and the amount of cleaning required.

Two house cleaners standing at a counter smiling with blue shirts on.  One has Windex in a gloved hand and one has a broom

What is a housekeeper?

A housekeeper will do many of the duties of a maid but also may be responsible for more tasks that help the household run efficiently. This would be a more full-time position instead of having a maid come in for a few hours once a week. This position may require living at the residence that you work.

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What does a housekeeper do?

While a housekeeper will be in charge of the house cleaning, they may do more including cooking meals and running errands. They may get to a family’s home early in the morning, cook breakfast for the family, help the children get ready for school, then take the children to school. Then they may pick up a prescription for the family, grocery shop, then come back to the house and clean. Basically they oversee the running of the house.

A woman who works as a housekeeper grocery shopping for a client

Difference between a maid and a housekeeper

  1. Responsibility–A maid’s primary responsibility is cleaning, while a housekeeper has a broader range of responsibilities that includes cleaning, organization, and management
  2. Hours worked–Maids generally work part-time hours for a few hours each week, while housekeepers may work full-time hours and live in the home.
  3. Skills and qualifications–While both positions require good organizational skills and attention to detail, a housekeeper typically has more experience and a wider range of skills, including cooking and budget management.
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The difference between a maid and a housekeeper lies in their responsibilities, working hours, and skills. Understanding these differences is important when deciding which type of help to hire. While a maid is generally less expensive and works fewer hours, a housekeeper has a broader range of responsibilities and is more experienced. When hiring, consider your budget, the size of your household, and the level of organization you need.

You can try my Cleaning Service Cost Calculator to get an idea of how much it will cost. If you are interested in starting a business as a cleaning person, I’ve got some good tips here. Just make sure you do your homework. This job is not for the faint of heart.