The basic duties of a housekeeping department or service include routine cleaning and everyday maintenance, such as dusting, polishing furniture and vacuuming. Housekeepers empty trash cans, take out garbage and replace supplies such as towels and toilet paper. They clean all rooms, offices and hallways and wash flat surfaces, including windows and walls. In hotels, motels and health care facilities, they make beds and change linens. Depending on the industry, housekeepers clean sinks, toilets, shelves, stoves, refrigerators and appliances.
Unlike janitorial departments,housekeeping isn’t usually in charge of repairs, painting or outside work. Janitors work in facilities such as schools and typically have duties that go beyond cleaning, such as checking the heating system and fixing leaky faucets.
Housekeepers use wheeled carts to carry cleaning equipment, chemicals, linens and supplies. For floor care, housekeepers use vacuum cleaners, power buffers and floor polishers. They also use hand equipment, such as brooms and mops, and cleaning chemicals in various forms, including liquids, sprays and gels. Storing this equipment and keeping it in good condition are other responsibilities of the housekeeping unit.
Some tools and chemicals are dangerous, soeach housekeeping department or service must establish and follow safety procedures, such as wearing uniforms and protective gear. This gear may include gloves, safety shoes and aprons.