When I use the term "house cleaner" in a translator (deepl, google) it will translate house cleaner with "femme de ménage". I'm looking for a cleaner, be it male or female or otherwise, and I don't want to use such sexist language. What is the gender neutral way to say this?
I remember this being a point of discussion already during my first years in France, in the 1990s, and the consensus back then was that no term existed for men who did this job. Since then, however, femmes de ménage no longer work predominantly either as independent contractors or for small cleaning outfits, but are instead very often employed by large home services companies. From what I have seen, such businesses tend to use either or both of the following terms for their cleaning staff:
- assistant(e) ménager(ère)
- intervenant(e) à domicile
In other words, I haven't been able to find any single, neutral, term to refer to this profession. This is therefore one of those cases where the only realistic option is to use what is called écriture inclusive, namely to write the gender options out in formats such as étudiant·e or avocat(e).
Unfortunately, the first of the two terms above becomes more than a little awkward in écriture inclusive. The other one is more manageable, but also the one that is used less.
You could use "agent d'entretien à domicile".
"Agent d'entretien" is the usual label for companies (for whom it isn't politically correct to use a sexist label, even if most of the population is still using it), and that use made it so that this gender-neutral term got progressively associated with "people who do cleaning for companies".
By adding "à domicile", you clarify that you are not a big corporation and just want someone to come at your home to do some cleaning.