A cleaner's job is to tidy up and clean places where people live or visit. They clean in private homes and ensure that buildings are kept clean and hygienic for the people who use them.
A cleaner may be responsible for a variety of cleaning tasks, depending on the requirements of the job. Cleaners are likely to be multiskilled and able to tackle a wide range of tasks, for example:
- They may dust and polish furniture, sweep and mop floors, vacuum carpets, disinfect kitchens and bathrooms and clean windows.
- Some cleaners may specialise in cleaning houses that have not been used or cleaned for a long time by giving the building a thorough top to toe 'deep clean' .
- Some cleaners work in teams on aeroplanes or trains, removing rubbish left by passengers and making sure the cabins or carriages are ready for the next journey.
Working hours for cleaners vary greatly. Some cleaners work shifts, which often include early mornings and evenings, and part-time and casual work is common. However, there is a trend to create more full-time jobs with work taking place during regular office hours. Many cleaners are self-employed. Most cleaners work indoors but they may travel to different sites.
Cleaners need to:
- be reliable, responsible and honest
- follow instructions and routines
- work to consistently high standards
- have a good understanding of health and safety regulations.
There are 553,000 cleaners in the UK, and opportunities are increasing. Formal qualifications are not required to become a cleaner, although some numerical skills are needed for measuring out cleaning fluids.
Apprenticeships in cleaning and support services may be available. Most cleaners train whilst at work and employers may offer specialised training. Relevant qualifications include NVQs at Levels 1 and 2. The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) offers its own qualifications.