Domestic personnel see to the needs of residents of hostels, hotels, residences, children's homes and old age homes.
Domestic assistants work long hours and the duties are mainly routine. They often start work very early each morning. Their duties include cleaning rooms, hallways, lounges, restrooms, corridors, stairs, locker rooms and other work areas so that health standards are maintained, carrying linen, towels, toilet items and cleaning supplies in wheeled carts, making beds, emptying waste baskets, emptying and cleaning ashtrays, and moving rubbish and waste to disposal areas. They dust and polish furniture and equipment, sweep, scrub, wax or polish floors, using brooms, mops or powered scrubbing and waxing machines, clean rugs, carpets, upholstered furniture and curtains, using vacuum cleaners and shampooers, and wash windows, walls, ceilings and woodwork, waxing and polishing as necessary.
Equipment and supplies are disinfected using germicides or steam-operated sterilisers. Storage carts need to be kept well-stocked, clean and tidy. Supplies of drinking glasses, linens, writing supplies and bathroom items are replenished. If necessary, they request repair services and wait for repair workers to arrive, answer telephones and doorbells and deliver television sets, ironing boards, baby cots and rollaway beds to guests' rooms.
Some domestic personnel are required to wash dishes and clean kitchens, cooking utensils and silverware, or to plan menus and cook and serve meals and refreshments following their employer's instructions or their own methods, and to purchase or order groceries and household supplies to keep the kitchens stocked, and record their expenditure. Other members of staff are required to collect the soiled linen, sort clothing and other articles, load the washing machines, iron and fold the dried items, and sort, count and mark clean linens and store them in linen closets, or run errands, such as taking laundry to the cleaners and buying groceries.
They may be required to prepare rooms for meetings and arrange decorations, media equipment and furniture for social or business functions. Some have the special task of caring for children or elderly persons by supervising their activities, providing companionship and assisting them with dressing, bathing, eating and other needs.