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What is a Hotel Housekeeper?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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A hotel housekeeper is an employee of a hotel who is responsible for keeping rooms and other areas of the establishment clean. It is preferred that hotel housekeepers have a high school diploma or equivalent before applying for a job, though this is not typically a requirement. Most hotels are willing to train a new housekeeper.

A hotel housekeeper will typically be responsible for cleaning rooms in the hotel every day, with a particularly thorough cleaning after guests check out on their last day. On a day to day basis, cleaning rooms may involve making beds, swapping used towels for fresh ones, cleaning and disinfecting the bathroom and providing new toiletries as provided by the hotel, vacuuming the carpet, and taking the trash away. When a guest checks out, a hotel housekeeper will change the sheets on the bed and polish the furniture. In addition, the housekeeper will take any forgotten items to lost and found.

While a hotel housekeeper is cleaning, he or she takes account of the room and notices whether or not everything is working properly. If a light bulb is burned out, for instance, she may be responsible for replacing it, or for calling maintenance to fix a light fixture. Hotel housekeepers may be responsible for keeping the rest of the hotel looking nice as well, by vacuuming the carpeting found in stairs, hallways, conference rooms, and the lobby, among other areas. It might also be necessary to clean the furniture or the windows.

Some hotel housekeepers work in the laundry department of a hotel. Depending on the size of the hotel, they may only work in the laundry department, or they may work there in addition to their cleaning responsibilities. In this area, the hotel housekeeper will need to efficiently wash and dry sheets, towels, and other linens that need to be cleaned, and will restock linen carts.

To become a hotel housekeeper, simply fill out an application to apply for the job. Housekeeping is a physically demanding line of work, so it is a good idea to be in fairly good physical shape. In addition, it is necessary to be discreet, and able to respect the privacy of the guests in the hotel, but hotel housekeepers rarely interact with guests personally. Hotel housekeepers typically work full time, and may be required to wear a uniform as well. Housekeepers who excel in their work may be able to move up to a supervisory or managerial position in housekeeping.

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Discussion Comments
By anon324343 — On Mar 09, 2013

I work at a resort. We have five housekeepers for 98 rooms. We clean 15 to 20 rooms, stock all of the supplies, wash and fold all the towels and reload our carts at least three times daily. We do not receive tips and are paid minimum wage.

The rooms cost from 150.00 to 200.00 a night. In the summer, we get a little more help, but our workload increases.

By anon195433 — On Jul 11, 2011

It's a nice job. Especially if you have nice work mates and facilities. And a good website and reservation system.

By yumdelish — On Jun 19, 2011

It must be quite easy for hotel room attendants or housekeepers to overlook things, simply because so much of the job is repetitive.

I once read that they may make 120 beds a shift, which must be mind numbingly boring. I tend to overlook them forgetting to refill the shampoo sample box once in a while. So long as there is plenty of toilet tissue I'm happy enough!

By Bakersdozen — On Jun 18, 2011

In my experience hotels with five stars don't always mean the service from the housekeeping staff is better than cheaper places.

I once paid a small fortune to stay in a posh hotel near the Eiffel Tower, and was very glad of the view. It saved me having to look at the sheets with someone else's hair on and the stained bath tub.

On the other hand I've had fantastic service from smaller places, which makes me go for a back street hotel over the big names most of the time nowadays. Maybe the housekeepers in those feel more of a commitment to what they do?

By SauteePan — On Jun 18, 2011

@Crispety - The only thing pet peeve that I have about the hotel housekeepers is when they clean the room in the afternoon at the same time that I return from a long day.

I feel like the room should have been picked up in the morning and it makes me feel uncomfortable when they have to pick up the room when I am there. I usually just want to relax when I get to my room and I don’t want to have to be bothered like this.

I know they have a schedule and this does not happen often, but when it does, I am not very happy about it.

By Crispety — On Jun 18, 2011

@Mutsy - I wanted to add that I know this lady that had a hotel housekeeper job and later bought her own cleaning franchise. She is now making really great money and continues to hire more people.

I think that if you have a lot of vision, any job can really offer a lot of potential. This lady realized that she could do the same thing that she did for the hotel, but instead work for herself and keep most of the profits.

By mutsy — On Jun 18, 2011

@SurfNTurf - I love when they do that with the towels too. I think that hotel housekeeping jobs always seem to be available. There seems to be a lot of turnover with hotel housekeeping jobs, but it is a good way to break into the hospitality industry.

There are more openings in larger cities with a higher tourism rates. I know in Miami, the best opportunities are all on South Beach which offers more of the higher end and somewhat trendy hotels.

By manykitties2 — On Jun 18, 2011

If you are thinking about applying for a job as a hotel housekeeper, be warned, it can be very hard work, and you are not always well rewarded for your duties. Many times people leave their rooms quite messy and are forgetful about tipping.

The salary for a hotel housekeeper is on average around $20,000 - $35,000 USD a year, and that depends on the hotel you are at and what duties you are expected to perform.

If possible try to speak with another hotel housekeeper at the hotel before taking the position if you are offered one. Finding out how the hotel treats employees can save you a lot of hassles.

By surfNturf — On Jun 18, 2011

I have to say that I agree that hotel housekeeping job is really demanding. They usually have a schedule and an assigned area to cover within a certain timetable. I was speaking with a hotel housekeeping employee the other day and that was what she told me.

I have to say that I really like when they do these creative sculptures with the hand towels and wash cloths. My kids get a kick out of it. I always try to leave a nice tip when I finish my stay because I know how hard a hotel housekeeper job is.

By letshearit — On Jun 18, 2011

If you are staying in a hotel it is a good idea to tip the housekeepers that are looking after your room. Often these staff members don't earn very much and are usually invisible to the hotel guests 99% of the time.

If you are happy with the cleanliness of your room, tipping daily assures that whomever is keeping your room clean that day gets a little extra appreciation.

For an average hotel a couple of dollars a night is fine, and for a luxury hotel you are looking at $3 to $5 dollars a night as a guideline.

Always make sure to write hotel housekeeper in the language of the hotel staff on an envelope with the money inside and leave it in an easy to see place. This prevents confusion, as just leaving money sitting around may not work.

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