Housekeeping Vocabulary

This page lists English words and phrases used in the context of housekeeping duties. Each word is shown with its contextual meaning and some with an example sentence.

After reviewing this vocabulary, you may like to try our housekeeping vocabulary quiz.

Rooms in a House

word meaning
attic storage room at the very top of the house
basement the lowest level of the house
bathroom, washroom the room for bathing and using the toilet
bedroom the room where people sleep
dining room room with a table and chairs for eating; in some houses this room is only used on special occasions
hallway long narrow area that joins one room to another
kitchen place for preparing food; sometimes has a table and chairs for eating informal meals
living room; family room place where family spends leisure time; often has a TV, also used for entertaining
lobby area in the front entrance for hanging coats and placing shoes
master bedroom the largest bedroom in the house; used by parents
nursery room for baby or young child
pantry room off the kitchen for keeping dry foods and storage items
patio outdoor area in front or backyard; usually sits slightly off the ground; often made of wood
playroom room filled with toys; books and games; indoor area for kids to play
rec room often in basement; extra room for watching TV and playing games such as billiards or ping pong
sunroom enclosed room with large windows; often used for relaxation, visiting, or reading

Furniture and Decor

word meaning
bed long frame with a mattress on top for sleeping; has blankets and pillows for comfort
bookshelf, bookcase tall wooden piece used for holding books
chair various types of furniture used for sitting on
change table surface found in the nursery, used for changing a baby's diaper
couch/sofa long comfortable piece for sitting on; found in common rooms
counter surface in the kitchen; used for preparing food and holding small appliances
cupboards storage area with doors; used for holding food, dishes, cleaning supplies, etc.
desk piece used for doing work and holding papers, books, writing tools; usually found in an office
dresser, bureau piece of furniture for holding folded clothing
entertainment centre piece of furniture for holding television, stereo, and other electronic devices
fireplace square opening on a wall to hold a fire and warm up the home; may be electric, gas, or wood
mirrors special glass placed on a wall or counter, used for viewing one's self
pictures, paintings decorations hung on walls or placed on surfaces; often framed
shelves long surfaces for organizing and storing household items
tub, bathtub found in bathrooms, a large area where you lie down and wash your body
window sills, ledges long shelf-like surface beneath a window
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Household Appliances

word meaning
dishwasher electric appliance that washes dishes; can be "built-in" (under a sink) or "portable" (moved and attached to the sink when in use)
dryer electric appliance used to dry laundry
fridge electric appliance used for keeping food cold
freezer electric appliance used for keeping food frozen (very cold)
garbage disposal located inside a drain; chops up bits of food into small pieces to fit down the pipes
microwave electric appliance for cooking food quickly
oven electric appliance for baking and heating food
stove, range elements on top of an oven for heating, frying, and boiling food
washing machine electric appliance for cleaning laundry

Cleaning Supplies

word meaning
baking soda white powder used for cleaning and removing odours
bleach liquid added in small amounts to water; has strong chemicals that remove stains on white clothing; also used to clean bathrooms
broom brush with a long handle on it for sweeping floors
carpet cleaner foam or liquid soap used on rugs and carpets
deodorizer product that removes bad smells from a room; often scented
dishwashing detergent liquid or powder soap that goes into a dishwasher
dust pan flat container used for collecting dirt and dust swept up with a broom
duster a cleaning tool with a handle and feathers (or a soft cloth) used for wiping dust off surfaces
garbage or trash bag large, heavy bag for collecting the household garbage
garbage or trash bin container with a lid that holds large garbage bags
gloves coverings for the hands, with separate holes for the fingers
hose a long tube that fills with water; often kept outside and used for outdoor cleaning
laundry detergent powder or liquid soap used for cleaning clothes and linen
mop long stick with a sponge at the bottom that is soaked in water and soap; used for cleaning floors
recycling bin a container that holds paper, tins, glass, and other garbage that can be reused
scouring pads tough cleaning pads used for scrubbing pots, pans, and ovens
scrub brush a brush with a handle on it; often used for cleaning toilets
sponge a soft cleaning product that absorbs water and is used for washing surfaces
stain remover laundry product used specifically on spots that regular laundry detergent cannot clean (stains include red wine or blood)
vacuum cleaner a machine that sucks up dust and dirt on the floor as you push it around
vinegar a clear sour tasting liquid mixed with water and used for cleaning; environmentally friendly alternative to store bought cleaners

Linen and Laundry

word meaning
bath towel large towel used for drying the body after a shower or bath
face cloth or wash cloth small, square shaped towel or cloth used for washing the face and hands
fitted sheet sheet with elastic that goes on top of the mattress and stays in place
make articles of clothing small and neat for storage
hand towel a 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 size the largest size bed or bed covering
do the laundry
the washing of clothing
pillow case a covering similar to a sheet that protects the head cushion
queen size large size bed and bed covering (smaller than king, larger than double)
a light cover on the bed
single smallest bed or bed covering size; made for one person
a spot that is difficult to clean
top sheet the sheet that goes on top of the fitted sheet and under a heavier blanket
twin size bed or bed covering size that is larger than a single and smaller than a double; used for one person

Describing Words for Housekeepers

word meaning example sentence
allergic when a person must stay away from a certain food or cleaning product because it can cause them to get very sick Our daughter is allergic to that laundry detergent.
clean remove dirt and stains When the kitchen is clean I will start on the laundry.
clogged, plugged when something is blocking the hole of a tube or pipe The kitchen drain is clogged with potato skins.
damp a little bit wet I hung up your suit, but it is still a little damp.
dirty opposite of clean The floors are dirty because the kids walked through with their boots on.
dusty when furniture and surfaces are covered with a small layer of matter The office furniture upstairs is very dusty.
filthy very dirty The bathroom is filthy because we went away for the weekend and left the kids at home.
messy out of order, opposite of neat and tidy The 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 messy Thank you for leaving the house so neat and tidy.
slippery surface that is wet or polished and is easy to fall on I just mopped, so the floors are a bit slippery.
soapy covered with lots of soap bubbles Can you rinse the dishes again? They are still soapy.
wet filled or covered with water, opposite of dry I put the dryer on twice but the clothes are still wet.
environmentally friendly good for the world, doesn't contain strong chemicals We only use cleaning products that are environmentally friendly.

Action Words for Housekeepers

word meaning example sentence
clean; clean up remove dirt, dust, and other messes After you clean up the kitchen you can take your break.
dry take the water out of something Please dry the dishes fully before you put them away in the cupboards.
dust remove the dust from surfaces such as furniture I'm sorry I forgot to dust the entertainment stand last week.
finish; complete have no more work to do I'm finished everything on the list, so I guess I'll be going home now.
freshen up make a room smell and look more inviting The master bedroom is relatively clean, but you could freshen it up a little.
hang; hang up organize and store items (often clothes) by putting them on hooks and hangers After you have folded the laundry, please hang the guest towels in the washroom.
mop; mop up clean the floors with soap and water The dishwasher flooded, so I mopped up the water.
organize sort or put away in a neat and tidy manner I organized the indoor and outdoor shoes.
polish wipe with a special cleaner that makes something (such as floors) shine; remove smudges or prints Make sure to polish the silverware before you put it away.
rinse pour water over something for a long time to remove soap You'll have to rinse the dishes a little better. My coffee tasted soapy today.
sanitize; sterilize remove any bacteria or other harmful substances that could cause illness, often by using boiling water or a special cleaner You have to sterilize the baby bottles in boiling water.
scrub use a lot of physical energy and a heavy cleaning tool to remove dirt or stains You'll have to scrub the upstairs tub because it's pretty dirty.
tidy; tidy up make a room or area look neat by organizing and putting things away You don't need to vacuum the family room, but you could tidy up the books and toys.
vacuum use a special hose that sucks up dust and dirt from the floors and furniture Please pick up large items like coins before you vacuum the basement.
wash make clean with water and soap Please wash the windows with water and vinegar.
water pour water onto plants or grass You forgot to water the indoor and outdoor plants.
wipe; wipe up clean up a mess or spill Don't use bleach to wipe the counters.