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House Cleaning vs. Housekeeping: What is the Difference?

Updated: May 14

Housekeeper making bed in LA
Housekeeper Making Bed

Keeping your home clean can feel like a constant battle. Between work, family, and errands, it's easy to let dust bunnies gather and dishes pile up. But before you resign yourself to a lifetime of weekend cleaning marathons, consider this: there's a world of professional home cleaning services out there, ready to help you reclaim your free time and sanity.

But here's the thing: there are two main types of professional cleaning services: house cleaning and housekeeping. And while they both involve cleaning your house, there are some key differences between the two.

In this blog post, we'll break down the distinction between house cleaning and housekeeping so you can decide which service is right for you. We'll also cover some additional factors to consider when hiring a professional cleaner, such as frequency, budget, and specific needs.

House Cleaning vs. Housekeeping: A Tale of Two Services

House Cleaning

House cleaning is a one-time or occasional service that focuses on deep cleaning your home. House cleaners typically tackle tasks like:

  • Scrubbing toilets and showers

  • Mopping floors

  • Vacuuming carpets and rugs

  • Dusting furniture and blinds

  • Wiping down countertops and appliances

  • Cleaning baseboards

  • Washing windows (sometimes)

Think of house cleaning as a spring cleaning on steroids. It's a great option for when your home needs a serious refresh, or before a big event like a holiday party or a move.

Pros of House Cleaning
  • Deep Cleaning: House cleaners give your home that top-to-bottom clean.

  • Time-saving: Lets you enjoy your time instead of cleaning for hours.

  • Special Occasion Prep: Get your house ready for big events or a fresh start in a new home.

Cons of House Cleaning
  • Cost: Can be more expensive than regular housekeeping, especially for larger homes.

  • Consistency: It doesn't address day-to-day cleaning needs.

  • Infrequent: You might still need to do some light cleaning between deep-cleaning visits.


Housekeeping, on the other hand, is an ongoing service that focuses on maintaining a clean and tidy home. Housekeepers typically visit your home on a regular basis (weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly) and perform a variety of lighter cleaning tasks, such as:

  • Vacuuming

  • Dusting

  • Making beds

  • Sweeping floors

  • Cleaning bathrooms (but usually not scrubbing toilets)

  • Wiping down countertops

  • Changing linens

  • Tidying up

Housekeeping is a great option for busy families or individuals who want to keep their home clean and presentable without having to do the cleaning themselves.

Pros of Housekeeping
  • Maintenance: Keeps your home consistently clean.

  • Saves Time: Reduces your overall cleaning chores.

  • Lifestyle Fit: Perfect for busy people who don't always have time to tidy up.

Cons of Housekeeping
  • Not for Deep Cleaning: Might still need occasional deep cleans.

  • Consistency Costs: Regular visits mean consistent costs.

  • Personal Touch: Can take some time to find the perfect housekeeper fit for your preferences.

House cleaner vacuuming in LA
House cleaner vacuuming hardwood floor

Which Service is Right for You?

The decision of whether to hire a house cleaner or a housekeeper depends on your individual needs and preferences. Consider these aspects:

  • Your lifestyle: How busy are you? Do you have time to clean your home regularly?

  • Your cleaning needs: Does your home need a deep clean, or do you just need help with maintenance cleaning? Does your space have special cleaning needs (hardwood floors, etc.)?

  • Your budget: House cleaning is typically a one-time expense, while housekeeping is an ongoing cost.

  • Your preferences: Do you prefer to have your home cleaned all at once, or do you prefer to have it cleaned on a regular basis?

Beyond Basic Cleaning: Additional Services to Consider

When choosing a house cleaner or housekeeper, don't be afraid to inquire about any additional services you may find useful. Many cleaners and cleaning companies offer extra tasks that can be included in your regular cleaning routine or requested for special occasions. Here are some common add-ons to consider:

  • Laundry: Folding clothes, washing and ironing linens – many cleaners can tackle basic laundry tasks.

  • Dishes: Beyond wiping down counters, some cleaners may be willing to load the dishwasher or wash dishes by hand.

  • Oven cleaning: This notoriously unpleasant task can be outsourced to professionals.

  • Refrigerator cleaning: A thorough inside-and-out refrigerator cleaning can help with freshness and organization.

  • Window Cleaning (interior & exterior): A great add-on service for brightening your home, especially if you don't have the time or equipment to do it yourself.

  • Organization: Some housekeepers may offer basic home organization services like tidying, decluttering closets, or helping with paperwork.

  • Special requests: Depending on the company or individual cleaner, you might be able to request unique services specific to your needs, whether it's cleaning pet areas, plant care, or other chores.

Housekeeper wiping window in LA
Housekeeper Wiping Window

A Personal Anecdote: Finding Hidden Value

Personally, when I first hired a housekeeping service, I was hesitant to add any extra services beyond the basics. However, after some time, I started asking my housekeeper if she wouldn't mind changing the bed linens each week. This tiny additional task completely transformed my bedroom! Arriving home to a freshly made bed with clean sheets felt surprisingly luxurious, making a huge difference in my quality of life without dramatically breaking the budget.

Pro-Tip: Inquire About Service Flexibility

When interviewing cleaning services, discuss the potential of additional services. Even if they're not standard offerings, some cleaners or companies may be open to customizing a package or rotating extra tasks into your cleaning routine.


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