Commercial Cleaner Job Description

Think of everything involved in keeping your home tidy. Now imagine performing those same tasks on a larger scale at a facility such as an office building or a shopping mall. That’s what commercial cleaners do. You may encounter these workers as you go about your own business, or you may never run into them. Shifts vary and many commercial cleaners work when operations are closed in order to more thoroughly clean the establishment and not bother others with their actions and noise. Because of the physical nature of the job and the tools and products involved, commercial cleaners have a higher rate of injury and illness than the national average.


Commercial Cleaner Duties and Responsibilities

A commercial cleaner’s exact responsibilities will differ depending on a facility’s size and structure, but some core tasks are almost always associated with the job. Based on listings we analyzed, commercial cleaners should expect to do the following:


As you might expect, cleaning-related tasks are at the heart of this position. Sweeping, buffing, mopping, dusting, vacuuming, emptying trash cans, polishing woodwork, wiping down tables, scrubbing toilets, and washing windows are some of the basic jobs commercial cleaners perform regularly.


Keeping places as sanitary as possible is another concern. To this end, commercial cleaners often use disinfectants and similar chemicals to prevent the spread of germs. This type of cleaning is common when buildings are relatively empty so as not to subject others to bothersome smells.

Restock Supplies

Ensuring that areas such as bathrooms and kitchens contain a sufficient supply of paper products is a common part of upkeep. Commercial cleaners also need to watch the inventory of supplies they need to perform their job and reorder as necessary.

Follow a Checklist

Team leaders receive instructions from employers or clients and create checklists for their staff. Schedules of what needs to be done and when maximizes efficiency and job performance. For example, the bathrooms at a shopping center may require attendance every hour, whereas the entrance lobby may only require upkeep every two hours.

Note Problems

As they perform their routine, commercial cleaners are in a good position to spot things their clients may want to look into, such as a fraying carpet, a wobbly table, or a running toilet. Commercial cleaners note these potential problems either verbally or by writing them down on their turned-in checklist.

Handle Unexpected Problems

Situations sometimes arise that require extra effort or skill. For instance, clients may call in commercial cleaners to get a stain out of a carpet before it sets, clean up a facility after a large event, or get a bathroom back into shape after a pipe leaks.


Commercial Cleaner Skills and Qualifications

Successful commercial cleaners take pride in their work. They see their efforts as important to the clients they serve. It helps to have a strong stomach – being around trash, bathrooms, and the like is often unpleasant. Other important skills for aspiring commercial cleaners to possess include:

  • Trustworthiness – with access to many rooms, stores, desks, and the like (and often at times when others aren’t around), commercial cleaners must be honest
  • Attention to detail – fully examining what you’re doing ensures spots aren’t missed and every area receives proper treatment
  • Teamwork – tasks are sometimes performed with others, so good collaboration builds morale and boosts productivity
  • Time management – commercial cleaners must maintain an awareness of what needs to be done and when
  • Ability to take direction – listening to instructions from a manager or client and following them to a tee is important to meet expectations
  • Physical stamina – cleaning involves bending, lifting, and spending long periods of time on one’s feet; stamina, fitness, and a good pair of shoes aid in job performance
  • Industry knowledge – commercial cleaners need to know how to use mops, brooms, floor buffers, and other tools; they also must choose the appropriate cleaning product for the situation and take safety into account, such as wearing gloves around chemicals or cracking a window for ventilation


Commercial Cleaner Education and Training

There are no minimum educational requirements to become a commercial cleaner, though some candidates aim to increase job prospects by obtaining certification through the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) or the Building Service Contractors Association International (BSCAI). New hires usually receive on-the-job training from their colleagues on equipment operation, proper cleaning techniques, and safety measures.


Commercial Cleaner Salary and Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the national median hourly wage for “janitors and building cleaners, except maids and housekeeping cleaners” as $11.63. Workers in the 10th percentile earn less than $8.65 an hour, while the highest-paid cleaners make more than $19.60.

According to the BLS Occupational Outlook Handbook, there are 2.3 million workers in the above-mentioned category. This sector is projected to grow 10 percent by 2026, bringing the number of commercial cleaners and similar workers to 2.6 million.


Helpful Resources

Ready to provide vital services as a commercial cleaner? Here are some sources for further information:

ISSA: The Worldwide Cleaning Industry Association – Covering trends, business certifications, safety, trade shows, and a plethora of other topics, this organization’s website is a go-to place for all things related to cleaning.

Building Service Contractors Association International – This group is dedicated to cleaners, landscapers, security, and others who provide services for commercial establishments.

The 6-Figure Cleaning Business Master Class – People interested in running a successful commercial cleaning business will appreciation these tips on how to get started.

Commercial Cleaning – Connect with others in the industry through this LinkedIn group of more than 4,400 members.

CIRI: Commercial Buildings – Examine the Cleaning Industry Research Institute’s latest findings on improving cleaning methods to create healthier indoor environments.


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