Way back, it was traditionally a woman's role to clean the home, but as more
and more women have joined the work force, the time pressure on families with
children has grown immeasurably, so paying someone to do the cleaning makes
sense to time-pressured couples where both work, and are making a reasonable income.
Maids and housecleaners are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of
the establishment in which they work. The duties of maids/housecleaners range
from light cleaning chores such as dusting to chores such as vacuuming, washing
bathrooms, making beds, doing laundry and ironing sheets or clothes. Depending
on the employer, additional duties may be required, such as sterilization of
supplies and equipment in a hospital.
Housecleaners work in establishments ranging from privately owned houses to
large commercial buildings such as hotels or hospitals. In some countries, maids
take on the role of a nurse in taking care of the elderly and people with
disabilities. Maids are often expected to work at least fifteen hours per day.
Many maids are required by their employers to wear a uniform.
Wages for a house clean help depend on the size of the residence, the number
of people in the family, the hours required and experience.
A maid is generally a female employed in domestic service. Once part of an
elaborate hierarchy in great houses, today the maid may be the only domestic
worker that upper and even middle-income households can afford.
In hierarchical order, the types of maids in a large household are: head
house-maid (or head housemaid), housemaids, chambermaids (also known as
housemaids), nursery maids, kitchen maids, also between maid (hall girl in the
US), scullery maids and lady's maid.
Outside of the normal hierarchy, the lady's maid was a senior servant who
reported directly to the lady of the house, rather than to the housekeeper or butler.
A lady's maid is a female personal attendant who waits on the lady of the
house. The position is somewhat analogous to a gentleman's valet, but not as
high-ranking as a lady's companion, who is a retainer rather than a servant. The
position is rare today and the few women who still perform this role often use
the term dresser instead.
Traditionally, a lady's maid was expected to maintain her lady's wardrobe and
accessories and be an expert needlewoman and hairdresser as well.
A chambermaid is a maid who cleans and cares for bedrooms.
Scullery maids are assistants to kitchen maids. Duties included the most
physical and demanding tasks in the kitchen, such as cleaning of the floor,
stoves, sinks, pots and dishes. Scullery maids would rarely have handled fine
china, stemware, crystal or plate silver; these are cleaned by housemaids and
footmen. The scullery maid reported (through the kitchen maid) to the cook or chef.