Home  /  Home Stuff   /  What’s the Difference Between a Maid and a Housekeeper?
Difference Between a Maid and a Housekeeper

What’s the Difference Between a Maid and a Housekeeper?

On the surface, these two professions might seem like the same – but there are subtle differences between the two that is important if you are thinking about hiring one. To get a better understanding of this to let’s delve into the responsibilities of both jobs.

What does a maid do?

According to Companion Maids Cleaning Service, maid service in Chicago, Maids are often in charge of domestic chores related to cleaning and upkeep. This can vary anywhere from cleaning the house, laundry, ironing while also going as far as grocery shopping, cooking, and taking care of pets and children. Maids can come as one or in a team.

Tell me a brief history of maids.
The words “maid” comes from the word “maiden to refer to an unmarried woman. In the past there was often a strict hierarchy needed as there would be several maids underneath one roof – these maids all had their specific area of expertise and section that they had to take care of.

What are some of the responsibilities of a modern maid?
Most modern maid services focus specifically on house cleaning services. Often akin to a cleaning person, maids will do the basics of sweeping, vacuuming, washing dishes, and scrubbing that is necessary. They usually come on a weekly basis.

What won’t a maid service do?
Maids are typically only certified to do basic duties and so won’t be found taking care of excessive accumulations of muck centered around areas like the refrigerator or attic. They also are purely internal workers, so any external cleaning and upkeep will have to be someone else.

What is the main job of a housekeeper?

Historically a housekeeper was often in charge of any and all servants underneath a home. Their primary job is that of management, making sure that all the junior staff members are upkeeping the home to proper standards – some even have much power to hire and fire staff.

Tell me a brief history of housekeepers.
Housekeepers became particularly useful to the great house of the eighteenth and nineteenth century. Often a woman, they would have considerable power at least in terms of domestic affairs. They would often be the highest rank of management aside from the owners.

What are some of the modern responsibilities of a housekeeper?
Modern housekeepers are much different from their historical counterparts but markedly different from maids. They are often in charge of things like making beds, folding clothes, restocking toiletries, picking up toys, and running errands for the hiring family.

What won’t a housekeeping service do?
Housekeepers have slightly different jurisdiction compared to that of maids so don’t expect any deep cleaning. Things like dusting, vacuuming, and mopping are usually outside of their profession. As a rule of thumb if it requires chemical they probably won’t do it.

I’ve heard people refer to housekeepers as maids and vice versa, what gives?
This is often a confusion of the specific professions but also is indicative of how our culture treats certain words. In the 1800s being a maid was considered a noble profession, nowadays maids are often referred to as housekeeper because it is considered more proper.

What about Butlers? How do they factor in?

A butler of today works similar to how a housekeeper worked in days past – they often manage household affairs such as managing staff, high-tech systems, providing a dinner service, acting as a valet, among many other things. They can be found in a corporate setting as well.

Does the responsibilities between housekeeper and maid change in Europe?
A little bit actually. In some areas, such as Great Britain, maids are considered on a higher rank than housekeepers – which is a bit of a reversal compared to history. Maids can often be counted to do other responsibilities like cooking and being in charge of the staff.

What about a live-in housekeeper?
A live-in housekeeper is exactly what it implies – a person who stays in your home and follows a specific schedule to clean, straighten up, and take care of errands for your home. These are perfect for those that have a tight schedule to follow and constant upkeep.

What should I look out for when hiring a maid or housekeeper?
While you might want to go to social networking sites it may be best to get to specific websites like housekeeper.com to find a person that is right for you. Vetting your picks is incredibly important as you have to trust these individuals to be around your stuff and family.

Is there anything else I should know?
Much of the differences between housekeepers and maids goes all the way back to the 1700s – in the modern era, their roles have morphed with the times. While not as commonplace as they once were they are still a diverse and important job.