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Housekeeping Vocabulary

Rooms in a House | Furniture and Decor | Appliances | Cleaning Supplies
Linen & Laundry
| Describing Words | Action Words

Rooms in a House

atticstorage room at the very top of the house
basementthe lowest level of the house
bathroom, washroomthe room for bathing and using the toilet
bedroomthe room where people sleep
dining roomroom with a table and chairs for eating; in some houses this room is only used on special occasions
hallwaylong narrow area that joins one room to another
kitchenplace for preparing food; sometimes has a table and chairs for eating informal meals
living room; family roomplace where family spends leisure time; often has a TV, also used for entertaining
lobbyarea in the front entrance for hanging coats and placing shoes
master bedroomthe largest bedroom in the house; used by parents
nurseryroom for baby or young child
pantryroom off the kitchen for keeping dry foods and storage items
patiooutdoor area in front or backyard; usually sits slightly off the ground; often made of wood
playroomroom filled with toys; books and games; indoor area for kids to play
rec roomoften in basement; extra room for watching TV and playing games such as billiards or ping pong
sunroomenclosed room with large windows; often used for relaxation, visiting, or reading

Furniture and Decor

bedlong frame with a mattress on top for sleeping; has blankets and pillows for comfort
bookshelf, bookcasetall wooden piece used for holding books
chairvarious types of furniture used for sitting on
change tablesurface found in the nursery, used for changing a baby's diaper
couch/sofalong comfortable piece for sitting on; found in common rooms
countersurface in the kitchen; used for preparing food and holding small appliances
cupboardsstorage area with doors; used for holding food, dishes, cleaning supplies, etc.
deskpiece used for doing work and holding papers, books, writing tools; usually found in an office
dresser, bureaupiece of furniture for holding folded clothing
entertainment centrepiece of furniture for holding television, stereo, and other electronic devices
fireplacesquare opening on a wall to hold a fire and warm up the home; may be electric, gas, or wood
mirrorsspecial glass placed on a wall or counter, used for viewing one's self
pictures, paintingsdecorations hung on walls or placed on surfaces; often framed
shelveslong surfaces for organizing and storing household items
tub, bathtubfound in bathrooms, a large area where you lie down and wash your body
window sills, ledgeslong shelf-like surface beneath a window


dishwasherelectric appliance that washes dishes; can be "built-in" (under a sink) or "portable" (moved and attached to the sink when in use)
dryerelectric appliance used to dry laundry
fridgeelectric appliance used for keeping food cold
freezerelectric appliance used for keeping food frozen (very cold)
garbage disposallocated inside a drain; chops up bits of food into small pieces to fit down the pipes
microwaveelectric appliance for cooking food quickly
ovenelectric appliance for baking and heating food
stove, rangeelements on top of an oven for heating, frying, and boiling food
washing machineelectric appliance for cleaning laundry

Cleaning Supplies

baking sodawhite powder used for cleaning and removing odours
bleachliquid added in small amounts to water; has strong chemicals that remove stains on white clothing; also used to clean bathrooms
broombrush with a long handle on it for sweeping floors
carpet cleanerfoam or liquid soap used on rugs and carpets
deodorizerproduct that removes bad smells from a room; often scented
dishwashing detergentliquid or powder soap that goes into a dishwasher
dust panflat container used for collecting dirt and dust swept up with a broom
dustera cleaning tool with a handle and feathers (or a soft cloth) used for wiping dust off surfaces
garbage or trash baglarge, heavy bag for collecting the household garbage
garbage or trash bincontainer with a lid that holds large garbage bags
glovescoverings for the hands, with separate holes for the fingers
hosea long tube that fills with water; often kept outside and used for outdoor cleaning
laundry detergentpowder or liquid soap used for cleaning clothes and linen
moplong stick with a sponge at the bottom that is soaked in water and soap; used for cleaning floors
recycling bina container that holds paper, tins, glass, and other garbage that can be reused
scouring padstough cleaning pads used for scrubbing pots, pans, and ovens
scrub brusha brush with a handle on it; often used for cleaning toilets
spongea soft cleaning product that absorbs water and is used for washing surfaces
stain removerlaundry product used specifically on spots that regular laundry detergent cannot clean (stains include red wine or blood)
vacuum cleanera machine that sucks up dust and dirt on the floor as you push it around
vinegara clear sour tasting liquid mixed with water and used for cleaning; environmentally friendly alternative to store bought cleaners

Linen and Laundry terms

bath towellarge towel used for drying the body after a shower or bath
face cloth or wash clothsmall, square shaped towel or cloth used for washing the face and hands
fitted sheetsheet with elastic that goes on top of the mattress and stays in place
make articles of clothing small and neat for storage
hand towela towel hung in the bathroom; used for drying hands
a wire or plastic hook used for hanging clothes in a closet
noun and verb
an electric appliance used for making clothes flat; to remove wrinkles
king sizethe largest size bed or bed covering
do the laundry
the washing of clothing
pillow casea covering similar to a sheet that protects the head cushion
queen sizelarge size bed and bed covering (smaller than king, larger than double)
a light cover on the bed
singlesmallest bed or bed covering size; made for one person
a spot that is difficult to clean
top sheetthe sheet that goes on top of the fitted sheet and under a heavier blanket
twin sizebed or bed covering size that is larger than a single and smaller than a double; used for one person

Describing words for Housekeepers

WordMeaningExample sentence
allergicwhen a person must stay away from a certain food or cleaning product because it can cause them to get very sickOur daughter is allergic to that laundry detergent.
cleanremove dirt and stainsWhen the kitchen is clean I will start on the laundry.
clogged, pluggedwhen something is blocking the hole of a tube or pipeThe kitchen drain is clogged with potato skins.
dampa little bit wetI hung up your suit, but it is still a little damp.
dirtyopposite of cleanThe floors are dirty because the kids walked through with their boots on.
dustywhen furniture and surfaces are covered with a small layer of matterThe office furniture upstairs is very dusty.
filthyvery dirtyThe bathroom is filthy because we went away for the weekend and left the kids at home.
messyout of order, opposite of neat and tidyThe children's rooms are messy, but it's their job to clean them.
neat, tidy (often expressed as "neat and tidy")in good order, opposite of messyThank you for leaving the house so neat and tidy.
slipperysurface that is wet or polished and is easy to fall onI just mopped, so the floors are a bit slippery.
soapycovered with lots of soap bubblesCan you rinse the dishes again? They are still soapy.
wetfilled or covered with water, opposite of dryI put the dryer on twice but the clothes are still wet.
environmentally friendlygood for the world, doesn't contain strong chemicalsWe only use cleaning products that are environmentally friendly.

Action words for Housekeepers

WordMeaningExample sentence
clean; clean upremove dirt, dust, and other messesAfter you clean up the kitchen you can take your break.
drytake the water out of somethingPlease dry the dishes fully before you put them away in the cupboards.
dustremove the dust from surfaces such as furnitureI'm sorry I forgot to dust the entertainment stand last week.
finish; completehave no more work to doI'm finished everything on the list, so I guess I'll be going home now.
freshen upmake a room smell and look more invitingThe master bedroom is relatively clean, but you could freshen it up a little.
hang; hang uporganize and store items (often clothes) by putting them on hooks and hangersAfter you have folded the laundry, please hang the guest towels in the washroom.
mop; mop upclean the floors with soap and waterThe dishwasher flooded, so I mopped up the water.
organizesort or put away in a neat and tidy mannerI organized the indoor and outdoor shoes.
polishwipe with a special cleaner that makes something (such as floors) shine; remove smudges or printsMake sure to polish the silverware before you put it away.
rinsepour water over something for a long time to remove soapYou'll have to rinse the dishes a little better. My coffee tasted soapy today.
sanitize; sterilizeremove any bacteria or other harmful substances that could cause illness, often by using boiling water or a special cleanerYou have to sterilize the baby bottles in boiling water.
scrubuse a lot of physical energy and a heavy cleaning tool to remove dirt or stainsYou'll have to scrub the upstairs tub because it's pretty dirty.
tidy; tidy upmake a room or area look neat by organizing and putting things awayYou don't need to vacuum the family room, but you could tidy up the books and toys.
vacuumuse a special hose that sucks up dust and dirt from the floors and furniturePlease pick up large items like coins before you vacuum the basement.
washmake clean with water and soapPlease wash the windows with water and vinegar.
waterpour water onto plants or grassYou forgot to water the indoor and outdoor plants.
wipe; wipe upclean up a mess or spillDon't use bleach to wipe the counters.

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