What to Expect from a House Cleaner versus Long Term Housekeeper

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Published on October 4, 2019

What's the difference between a cleaner and a housekeeper? Your expectations, their duties, schedules and salaries are different. Read on to find the best fit for you. Share on XHouse cleaners and housekeepers are very different. Understanding the difference between the two is important to achieve the results you desire for your home and property. So what you expect from a house cleaner versus a long-term housekeeper should be different as well.
Let’s have a look at the key differences between cleaners and housekeepers, including their duties, schedules, salaries, and what you can expect from both.

What to expect from a house cleaner versus long-term housekeeper?

House Cleaners

A house cleaner or a team of house cleaners typically work for a cleaning company and do short stints of cleaning. They will clean the property as required by the owner, and can also be used for end of tenancy cleaning or deep cleaning for commercial properties.  The main downside of a cleaner is that they will not tidy up. They will only clean, and they may not even be willing to do laundry and ironing.  Most properties need more than just a clean. They need someone to tidy up, put things away, and ensure the house is tidy and well managed as well as clean.


The long-term housekeeper, on the other hand, can work for you on a part time or full time basis. A housekeeper ensures that all your housekeeping needs are covered, from deep cleaning through to general day to day cleaning. They will ensure all the housekeeping tools and cleaning products are stocked and inventoried.  A housekeeper can also do additional duties, such as shopping, cooking, pet care, and even light childcare duties if required. You can even find a long-term live in housekeeper if you need more flexible care, or even offer security for your property when you are away.

Working Schedule

As mentioned, the working schedules for cleaners and long-term housekeepers are different. The cleaner will typically attend the property for shorter stints: once, twice or even three times a week. However you can employ a long-term housekeeper for part time or full time – or to live in or live out – depending on your specific needs.  This will allow complete flexibility on the working schedule.
So think about what you need. Is the level of flexibility important?  Do you need the schedule to work to your lifestyle, rather than compromise for the cleaning company you might be working with?

Type of Service

A cleaner will offer very different levels and standards of service versus a long term housekeeper.  This is because they are in essence meeting different needs.  So adjust your expectations to this, as a cleaner simply cleans.  They should clean under things, but it’s unlikely they will put things away – as in manage the items within the house.  This can be a problem for a busy family, who actually needs the toys, or family items to be put away each day.  Otherwise the family return from a busy day, and then they have to spend time putting things away – it’s not really solving the problem!  The cleaner will only ever clean.  They might not do laundry and ironing (so be sure to check they do).  When hiring a cleaner you want to make sure they will do the duties you need them to – so check with the cleaner or company before you hire!
The housekeeper, on the other hand, will ensure that everything is cleaned, well managed and tidied away.  Your expectations can be higher. They will understand where things ‘live’ in the house, and return the toys and household items to their home place.  This makes busy family life so much easier to cope with!
The housekeeper, will be able to provide additional support in the household, from pet care, shopping and running errands, cooking and even childcare – and with a whole host of housekeepers from live in housekeepers through to live out housekeepers, part time though to full time, you have complete flexibility on getting these duties covered for your property.


The salary a house cleaner will expect is quite different from a long term housekeeper.  Most cleaners work through cleaning companies that charge a comparatively high hourly rate and take a percentage of that rate while usually paying the cleaner the minimum wage. This means you have minimum-wage workers cleaning your property. The standards will be reflective of their hourly rate – minimum! Expect to pay between £10-20 per hour, or even more, depending on the number of cleaners who attend your property each time.
The long term housekeeper will expect to be paid directly, and therefore will be on a higher rate (relative to the cleaner). Bear in mind that a part-time housekeeper will be on a higher hourly rate as they have to take travel into account. They will most likely pay their own taxes.  A full time long term housekeeper will have a weekly wage (although they may be on an hourly rate depending on the role itself). Expect to pay £14 upwards per hour.

Quality of Work

This is perhaps the major difference between a cleaner and a long term housekeeper.  You can expect a house cleaner to clean well. They should be time-efficient, organized and well mannered.  They should be discreet and understand the need for security – particularly if they are given a key for the property.  The cleaner will turn up, do the work needed and then leave.  They will often bring their own cleaning products and materials to use.
Expect your housekeeper to be entirely flexible to the property they work in. They can use specific cleaning products (such as eco-friendly products), or work with specialist tools.  They will understand the need for complete discretion and flexibility, and also have a highly professional attitude at all times.  They will be willing to go the extra mile, and always happy to lend a hand.

How can Polo & Tweed help?

Polo & Tweed helps find experienced long term housekeepers – either part time or full time, live in or live out – for families and properties around the world.  Whatever your needs, we’ll help you find exactly what you require. Get in touch with our experienced consultants to discuss your needs.

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