Cleaner Job Description

Cleaners are responsible for a wide range of cleaning and housekeeping duties in corporate and residential settings. They may be employed by a cleaning agency, or they may be self-employed. Cleaners work part-time or full-time, and depending on the type of work, cleaners may regularly work second or third shift and weekends. Cleaners working in commercial properties often work in corporate offices, hotels, and restaurants.


Cleaner Duties and Responsibilities

Cleaners are tasked with cleaning and light maintenance duties in both residential and commercial properties. Current job postings frequently list the following duties for cleaners:

General Cleaning

Whether working in a corporate office or residential home, cleaners are hired to not only create a clean and sanitary environment but also to make the space presentable and welcoming. Cleaners are therefore responsible for keeping their assigned areas clean, tidy, and sanitary as frequently as required.

Waste Disposal

Cleaners empty trash cans and recycle bins in offices, conference rooms, and other areas daily. If working during the day, cleaners make sure that shared waste bins are timely emptied to prevent overflowing. Cleaners replace trash bags and bin liners where appropriate.

Clean and Stock Restrooms

Cleaners working in corporate office buildings are responsible for keeping restrooms cleaned in their assigned areas. At the minimum, cleaners clean and sanitize restrooms daily during the workweek, including sinks, toilets, and floors, ensuring that paper goods and soap dispensers are properly stocked.

Clean Floors and Surrounding Areas

Cleaners vacuum carpeted areas and mop floors as assigned in offices, hallways, conference rooms, customer areas, and elsewhere as needed. Cleaners also dust baseboards and spot clean walls.

Stock and Maintain Cleaning Supplies

Cleaners handle a variety of cleaning supplies and solutions every day, and therefore know best when it’s time to restock cleaning materials. Cleaners monitor supply levels and communicate restocking needs as required. Cleaners repair and replace cleaning tools when needed.


Cleaner Skills and Qualifications

Cleaners are reliable, independent workers who can transform an untidy area into a welcoming and refreshing space. Although cleaners may work second or third shift, their work is evaluated constantly by those who frequent the areas they clean. No formal education is required, but cleaners should have the following skills:

  • Dependability – commercial employers rely on cleaners to make individual areas (offices, cubicles, workstations) and common spaces (conference rooms, reception, dining areas) clean and presentable to employees and clients on a daily basis. Residential employers welcome cleaners into their homes, and cleaners respond with reliable and consistent work
  • Physical fitness – cleaners are on their feet for the duration of the performance of their job duties, so a minimal level of fitness is usually required. Depending on the employment, some cleaners need to have the ability to lift up to 50 pounds, as needed
  • English language proficiency – cleaners often interact with the employees and clients who are present during the time cleaners are working in those individuals’ assigned areas. Although cleaners aren’t responsible for engaging in customer relationships, they are expected to be professional, friendly, and conversational when appropriate
  • Clean background check – cleaners working in corporate offices, hotels, and homes often have access to classified and personal information, as well as valuable personal items. Cleaners are therefore trustworthy, honest, and able to pass background checks and obtain security clearance
  • Reliable transportation – cleaners working across job sites have the ability to travel to and between sites without issue and are often expected to have a valid driver’s license


Cleaner Tools of the Trade

Cleaners use the following on a weekly, if not daily basis:

  • Janitorial equipment (floor buffers, industrial vacuums)


Cleaner Education and Training

Cleaners do not need any formal education, although some employers do require either a high school diploma or GED. Most employers are looking for at least one year of experience in the cleaning industry.


Cleaner Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics most closely approximates cleaner employment data by reference to “janitors and building cleaners” statistics. The BLS lists the 2016 median annual salary for cleaners at $24,190, or $11.63 per hour. Cleaners in the lowest ten percent earned less than $8.65 per hour, and the highest ten percent made over $19.60 per hour. The government and “elementary and secondary schools; state, local, and private” industries paid the highest wages.

Cleaners’ employment is projected to grow by 10 percent from 2016 through 2026, a rate the BLS describes as faster than average for all occupations.


Cleaner Helpful Resources

The organizations below may provide helpful information for people interested in working as a cleaner:

Association of Residential Cleaning Services, International – This organization is geared towards owners of residential cleaning services. In addition to providing a network of owners, ARCSI helps prospective business people get their cleaning service operation off the ground.

International Sanitary Supply Association, Inc. – This trade association provides educational, networking, and other resources for people in the cleaning industry.


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