Housekeeper vs cleaner - A housekeeper and a cleaner sitting on the floor

Housekeeping vs cleaning: Which service do you need?

Comparing housekeeping and cleaning services based on cleaning frequency, cleaning scope, cleaning objectives, and more.

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Key Facts

  • Housekeeping is a regular service aimed at maintaining the overall cleanliness of the whole house.
  • Cleaning is a scheduled service for intensive or deep cleaning and sanitisation. 

One of the troubles of daily living is the struggle to keep a household clean. It’s more than just aesthetics—experts agree that maintaining a home clean is the easiest way to prevent you and your family from getting sick.

But let’s face it: keeping up with housekeeping is hard and takes a lot of time. Thankfully, there are cleaning experts who can help you with this problem. In this guide, we’ll examine housekeeping vs cleaning to help you determine which service is perfect for you.

What is housekeeping? 

Housekeeper vs cleaner - A housekeeper sweeping a wooden floor

Housekeeping is a cleaning service typically performed daily or weekly to maintain the overall cleanliness of your home. Imagine the housekeeping services of a hotel or establishment scaled down to fit your home.

A professional housekeeper’s cleaning responsibilities typically include tidying up after children’s playtime, washing the dishes, and making the bed.

What is house cleaning? Housekeeper vs cleaner - Two cleaners cleaning a house with a wooden floor

House cleaning is a scheduled cleaning service. While this service can also maintain the overall cleanliness of your whole house, more often than not, it’s more targeted for those who need deep-cleaning services, like end-of-lease cleaning.

House cleaning often involves a team of cleaners performing various deep cleaning tasks. These include, but are not limited to, sanitising your home, removing stains, and performing heavy-duty vacuuming in specific areas of your home. 

Housekeeper vs cleaner: What are their key differences?

While housekeepers and cleaners share the same goal, their services have specific differences. This guide will help you determine which of these two cleaning services you need.

In terms of cleaning frequency

Housekeeper vs cleaner - A cleaner holding a bucket with cleaning materials

Housekeeping has the highest cleaning frequency of the two services. When you hire a housekeeper, their primary focus is maintaining the cleanliness of your home. While the duration of their service in your home varies, it typically lasts a good portion of the day for one, two, or even more days a week. Some housekeepers even offer stay-in or live-in housekeeping services.

Cleaning services, on the other hand, are usually hired for shorter periods for bigger cleaning jobs. Their services last from 1 to 8 hours on one scheduled day, and their cleaning responsibilities range from one room to the entire house.

Recommendation: A housekeeper cleans more frequently.

In terms of cleaning scope

A housekeeper’s work is generally focused on maintaining the general cleanliness of your house. Some general housekeeping examples are dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, washing dishes, making beds, tidying up rooms, and similar levels of cleaning.

On the other hand, the responsibilities of a cleaner are more technical in scope. Their cleaning responsibilities usually include power washing windows, deep cleaning rooms, sofa stain removals, and the like.

Recommendation: Hire a housekeeper for general cleaning, and a cleaner for deep cleaning.

In terms of cleaning objectives

Housekeeper vs cleaner - A team of housekeepers cleaning a living room

Both housekeeping and cleaning have the same general objective—to get your place clean. However, they differ in their specific goals.

As previously mentioned, a housekeeper is geared towards maintaining a level of cleanliness in your entire home. With the help of housekeepers, your house will regularly look clean, tidied up, and inviting. 

Meanwhile, cleaning services set intensive cleaning goals. They’re geared towards addressing problem areas and cleaning spaces that don’t get addressed during regular cleaning, such as the embedded stains and odours from your carpet fibres, or the heavy grease and grime that builds up on your range hoods. They perform deep-cleaning tasks aimed at restoring a place to a pristine condition.

Recommendation: If your objective is general cleanliness, housekeepers do the trick. For deeper cleaning, cleaners are your pick.

In terms of cleanliness level

For the cleanliness level, housekeepers aim to maintain the cleanliness of homes regularly. However, their approach and methods may differ from cleaners. Housekeepers typically use cleaning techniques and products that are accessible to the average homeowner, such as non-bio and bio detergents, cleaning agents, and bleach.

Meanwhile, cleaners often have specialised skills, equipment, and cleaning solutions suited for more intensive cleaning tasks. For example, a cleaner is equipped with the best industrial-grade cleaning products that can remove oil or grease-based stains. They also know the best way to remove hard or embedded dirt from window panes and wood flooring.

Recommendation: Cleaners are perfect for intensive cleaning.

In terms of expertise

Housekeeper vs cleaner - A cleaner standing in kitchen in gloves washing sink with detergent

Overall, cleaners have a different type of expertise in terms of cleaning. They’re typically specialised individuals whose professional skill lies in more intensive or industrial-level cleaning. Think of their end results like doing a factory reset on your home.

On the other hand, housekeepers are experts in domestic or household cleaning. Their cleaning process and end results are more tailored to personal preferences.

Recommendation: Cleaners for industrial-grade cleaning and housekeepers for domestic expertise.

In terms of service cost

Pricing for housekeeping and cleaning services will vary greatly depending on the scope of the services you need and the size and complexity of your home. 

Generally, housekeepers are more affordable than cleaning services, with averages of around £19 per hour for live-in services. Some housekeepers with fixed hours and days can go as low as £10. 

As for cleaning services, they start around £150 for 1-bedroom flats and scale up as more services are included. For larger properties such as 6-bedroom homes, some companies begin their offer at £280 but are more inclined to discuss for a more accurate estimate.

Again, these are ballpark figures and will still depend on the overall dimensions of your property.

Recommendation: Housekeepers are more affordable for daily cleaning and maintenance.

Take the stress out of cleaning! Discover professional housekeepers and cleaners on Airtasker 

Stop stressing out and let the cleaning pros take care of it. Airtasker is the perfect platform for finding housekeeping and cleaning experts who can help you clean your home conveniently and on the right budget! 

Housekeeper vs cleaner

Housekeeper Cleaner
Cleaning Frequency
Can be hourly, daily, weekly, or live-in
Scheduled, hourly, or flat rate

Cleaning Scope

General cleaning responsibilities for the whole home
Intensive and deeper cleaning for the whole home
Cleaning Objectives
Maintain overall cleanliness
Achieve spotless cleaning
Cleanliness Level
Regular cleaning level
Deep cleaning level
Cleaning skills to maintain a home
Specialised and skilled in industrial-grade cleaning
Service Cost
More affordable
More expensive overall

FAQs on housekeepers and cleaners

A maid is a person hired to maintain a house’s general cleanliness. A house cleaner is a person or group of persons specialising in industrial-level home cleaning.

Most domestic cleaning services involve vacuuming, window cleaning, steaming, stain removal, and other methods to make a home as clean as possible.

A cleaner service can typically finish a one-bedroom flat in two hours. However, the overall complexity of the living space, as well as the additional services availed, will definitely take longer and cost more.

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