I'm going to hire a house cleaner / cleaning lady

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kuleshov

Senior Member
Spain Spanish
What's the best expression to refer to a person you hire to do the housework? I mean someone you hire and pay by the hour, rather than a person who signs a contract. What if it's a man? I think CLEANER sounds right, don't you agree?

Cheers.
 
  • kuleshov

    Senior Member
    Spain Spanish
    Yeah, but the point is that I want to refer to the person doing the job. If I am talking to a friend, I'd like to say "Last week a hired a ...... because I'm up to my eyes with work and blah, blah, blah." I don't want to use a euphemism!!! but I don't want to sound disrespectul either.
     

    Cathy Rose

    Senior Member
    United States English
    If the person you hired is a woman, and you know it's a woman, I don't see anything wrong with saying "cleaning lady;" it's used all the time here. But if you are not certain of the sex of your cleaning person, you can say "cleaning person" or "cleaning service."
     

    andrea0733

    New Member
    canada -english
    Cleaner??? Seriously?? House maid would sound better, I don’t know usually I take up a professional <---> cleaning service every weekend. There you call them, the maids.


    <---> Name of service not needed. Cagey, moderator.
     
    Last edited by a moderator:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    Big difference across the Atlantic here! Housemaids existed in Britain until about 1930 - think of a girl of about 14 in black dress and white apron, and a lace cap on her head. See for example http://www.laoisedcentre.ie/Dreamemo/servants/Housemaids.htm. Or, for those of a more adventurous turn of mind, http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Free...-Adult-Housemaid-Costume-sets/1232003907.html. Don't go advertising for either of these in the UK unless you know what you're in for!

    British usage: If you're advertising or talking in theory: a cleaner. If you're talking about a known person, cleaning lady or cleaner.
     

    Parla

    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I'm pretty sure this varies by locale.

    Around here, a "cleaner" or "cleaning service" is a company that sends out people to clean offices, usually at night, or is engaged by someone readying a home or apartment for sale or rental. An individual hired by a resident to come in to do regular (weekly or biweekly) cleaning (dusting, sweeping, etc.) is a housekeeper.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If it were a company with several employees I might say "cleaning service" but since the women who clean my house (mother and daughter) work alone I call them "housekeepers". But since I contracted with the daughter and her mother works for her, I usually use the singular form, "My housekeeper comes on Friday mornings."
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I call them "housekeepers". But since I contracted with the daughter and her mother works for her, I usually use the singular form, "My housekeeper comes on Friday mornings."
    In BE, a 'housekeeper', is very definitely NOT a cleaner. A housekeeper might well employ a cleaner.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    When I am late leaving my hotel room a knock on the door and a "Housekeeping" announcement tells me that the cleaning lady is ready to clean the room.

    The "housekeeper" that I see in old British movies is almost non-existent where I live; perhaps the very wealthy have such an employee, but I have never entered a home with a "housekeeper" who was employed in that sense.

    But in all fairness I have never entered a home that had a butler, groundskeeper or any of that sort of staff. So this might exist somewhere in the USA.
     

    Copperknickers

    Senior Member
    Scotland - Scots and English
    Many wealthy households in Britain have a housekeeper. I've been in a couple of houses where there is a groundskeeper as well (these were very aristocratic households, one of them was an actual castle in fact). Housekeepers are basically a live-in servant employed to cook meals and do chores. If they referred to having a 'maid' however I would assume they were foreign, though I know many people still have maids in Asia (the Gulf States, India, Singapore) and refer to them as such when speaking English, and continue this practice if they buy a house in London.

    But cleaners in the UK are generally employed by a company which sends them out as needed, they wouldn't ever live in someone's house.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    In the New York area I have been to homes with "live in maids" who do cooking, light cleaning and sometimes also act as nannies. I've only ever come across that a couple of times.

    I have come across nannies, though they are almost always referred to as "au pair", and they mostly come from Sweden, Norway and Finland, though I think that is because of the local agency and not because the Swedes, Norwegians, or Finns are better at this sort of work.
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    For me, "a cleaner" is a person who hides the dead bodies. I've been watching too many gangster movies. ;)
     
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