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Housekeeping refers to the management of duties and chores involved in the running of a household, such as cleaning, cooking, home maintenance, shopping, and bill payment. These tasks may be performed by members of the household, or by other persons hired for the purpose. This is a more broad role than a cleaner, who is focussed only on the cleaning aspect. The term is also used to refer to the money allocated for such use. By extension, it may also refer to an office or organization, as well as the maintenance of computer storage systems.

A housekeeper is a person employed to manage a household and the domestic staff. According to the 1861 Victorian era Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, the housekeeper is second in command in the house and “except in large establishments, where there is a house steward, the housekeeper must consider his/herself as the immediate representative of her mistress”.

 

Housekeeping includes housecleaning, that is, disposing of rubbish, cleaning dirty surfaces, dusting, and vacuuming. It may also involve some outdoor chores, such as removing leaves from rain gutters, washing windows, and sweeping doormats. The term housecleaning is often used also figuratively in politics and business, for the removal of unwanted personnel, methods, or policies in an effort at reform or improvement.

Housecleaning is done to make the home look and smell better and to make it safer and easier to live in. Without housecleaning, lime scale can build upon taps, mold grows in wet areas, smudges appear on glass surfaces, dust forms on surfaces, bacterial action makes the garbage disposal and toilet smell and cobwebs accumulate. Tools used in housecleaning include vacuums, brooms, mops and sponges, together with cleaning products such as detergents, disinfectants and bleach.