Cleaner: Job Profile and Role

Cleaning is a job most of us loathe and do rather grudgingly – even though you can argue that a clean house equals a clean mind (or something along these lines). Maybe you are not one of the people who regard cleaning as a time-consuming and annoying chore but actually enjoy it. In this case, the job of a cleaner might be just perfect for you.

In this blog, you will find out if the job of a cleaner is, indeed, your perfect fit. You will get all the information on your average annual salary, your working hours, and your employers. You will also find out what it takes to become a cleaner in the UK. We conclude this blog by giving you insights into a day in the life of a cleaner and tips for thriving in this profession.

Short Summary

  • As a cleaner, you are responsible for cleaning different properties. Depending on your employer, these can range from schools to commercial and private properties.
  • As a cleaner, you need to adhere to the implemented health and safety standards to ensure a safe working and living environment for you, your colleagues, and the people using the cleaned properties.
  • As a cleaner, you are responsible for reporting maintenance issues that you have noticed while cleaning a property. You are also in charge of restocking cleaning supplies.

Job description

It is your job to clean properties. So far, so good. But that is not the only task you perform daily. Being a cleaner also means that you need to adhere to the health and safety standards and the infection control procedures. This way, you ensure a safe working and living environment for everyone connected to your job. You may also be in charge of performing specialised cleaning jobs, such as sanitising bathrooms and kitchens or cleaning windows. You will also be asked to restock cleaning supplies and report any maintenance issues you encounter during your working day.


  • Trash Removal
  • Customer Service
  • Time Management
  • Restocking Supplies
  • Following Instructions
  • Cleaning and Sanitising
  • Health/Safety Standards
  • Specialised Cleaning Tasks
  • Infection Control Procedures
  • Reporting Maintenance Issues

Different types of Cleaners

  • Domestic Cleaner
  • Housekeeping Staff
  • Specialised Cleaner
  • Commercial Cleaner
  • Environmental Services Cleaner


When working as a cleaner in the UK, you can expect a starting salary of £17,000 per year. This can increase to £25,000 after you have gained work experience in this job. You should also keep in mind that there are further salary-affecting factors. Two of those are your employer/the company size and your employer’s location.

Working hours

You should factor in weekly working hours ranging from 37 to 40 hours. Note that you might be working evenings and weekends, including Sundays. This mainly depends on your cleaner contract and also on peak times that may require more working hours from you. Also, your work will be shift work, meaning that your week’s shift pattern decides on when you start and finish.


You more or less can take your pick when it comes to employment since you can find it in pretty much any sector. To name but a few examples: you can apply for a cleaning job with schools and healthcare facilities, the hospitality sector, industrial companies, retail businesses, and office buildings. You can also work for a cleaning company like ISS Facility Services that functions as your employer.


You can become a cleaner by doing an appropriate college course or an apprenticeship. These approaches may require GCSEs, including maths and English. If you want to work as a cleaner, you can also take the direct approach by applying for a cleaning job.

We recommend that you check the required qualifications with the institution offering a college course or apprenticeship and your employer, respectively. Besides, you may benefit from knowing relevant time-management and cleaning management software, such as CleanPlan, CleanOpsStaff, Swept, and WorkWaveService.

The job as a cleaner could be suitable for you if you have one or more of the following qualifications:

Health and Safety Kit for UK Cleaners

You should always have your health and safety kit with you. This contains disposable gloves and face masks. It can also contain safety goggles, depending on the cleaning jobs you have to perform. You should also carry a first aid kit with you that has all the essentials needed for smaller and bigger emergencies, like tweezers, scissors, band-aids, and bandages.

You should be able to work both in a team and on your own if you think about becoming a cleaner. Also, you should have the ability to show initiative and make sensible decisions. Obviously, we can only guess that these competencies will also be valued by your employers which is why you always need to check the skills requirements in the job posts. Which other skills may be needed of you is what the following section is about.

Is the cleaner job a good fit for you? Typically, a cleaner should have or develop the following skills:

Dirt and Allergy Resistance

You are ideally resistant and resilient to dirt and allergies since cleaning, obviously, involves getting rid of dirt and dust. If you suffer from dust allergies, this job may prove to be a challenge. Also, you should be happy to get your hands dirty. If all this is not a biggie for you, the job of a cleaner will be a lot easier for you.


In the job of a cleaner, you are asked to do an outstanding job where even the tiniest speck of dust has not escaped your notice. Therefore, thoroughness is an important skill to have if you want to work in this profession. Ideally, you should combine this competency with strong attention to detail. This ensures that everything will be back in its place when you are done cleaning a property or room.

Wanting to Help People

If you want to work in this profession, you should also have the desire to help people. Cleaning is not everyone’s cup of tea and some people seriously struggle with housekeeping chores. Being a cleaner means that you sometimes can be a kind of saviour who helps others to find a way through a dirty or even messy house. This skill should be accompanied by a strong resilience to dirt, dust, and germs.

Career Path

Your first cleaning job is your entry-level position. Here, you gain your first work experience and ideally get valuable tips from your colleagues. With these competencies, you can think about specialising and move into environmental services, for example. You also have the option to progress to managerial positions, such as cleaning supervisor or manager. Also, you can start your own cleaning business. In this case, we recommend that you look into business-related further training.

Educational Background

There are no specific educational requirements needed for you to become a cleaner in the UK. You may, however, benefit from doing a college course or an apprenticeship. Viable options can be the following: college courses in cleaning and cleaning principles, or a Healthcare Cleaning Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship.

Entry Level

Your first cleaning job is not only your first chance to gain work experience, it is also your entry-level job. By literally getting your (gloved) hands dirty for the first time, you learn everything there is to learn and know about the job of a cleaner. In some cases, you may work with a cleaning team who can also give you important insights and tips for your daily cleaning duties.

Continuous Learning

Besides the mentioned qualifications, you can do further training. One option is the Cleaning and Support Services Skills qualification that you can earn from City & Guilds. Depending on your chosen or preferred specialisation, you can also look into a Level 3 Facilities Management Supervisor apprenticeship, or a Level 3 Safety, Health and Environment Technician apprenticeship. Even though not mandatory, you can even look into university courses, for example, a BSc (Hons) in Facilities Management.

A Day in the Life of a Cleaner

Your working day can start relatively early, depending on the shift you are working. After you have gotten ready for work, you will have several tasks that need doing. In this section, let’s take a look at some of the typical daily tasks you will perform (spoiler alarm: they include way more than “just” cleaning!). 

Assembling the Needed Equipment

Before you head out for your first cleaning job, you need to assemble the needed equipment. This can include buckets, mops, hoovers, and various cleaning products. Thus equipped, you can tackle your first cleaning job of the day.

Specific Room Cleaning

This may involve a specific room cleaning, depending on your day’s schedule and your overall job description of a cleaner. You may be tasked with deep-cleaning a bathroom, or a commercial/industrial kitchen, emptying the bins, and scrubbing floors. It can equally involve just giving a room a thorough dusting, hoovering, and mopping.

Restocking Supplies

After you have finished for the day, you may need to restock supplies. Naturally, this depends on whether you have used up certain cleaning products or not. Also, you should make sure that the hoovers, mops, and buckets you have used are clean (and sanitised) before you put them back in the storage area. This includes emptying or changing the vacuum cleaner bags and rinsing and drying the mops and buckets.

Tips for Thriving as a Cleaner

If you are passionate about the job you are doing, you should always invest time in improving, whether it is your personal or professional skills. When working as a cleaner, you have multiple options that help you thrive. Three of those we will look at in this section:

  • Quality service and products
  • Customer service
  • Clear cleaning policies

Quality Service and Products

If you want to stand out from your cleaning competition, you should provide quality service and quality products. Your clients need to know that you are the absolute best cleaner for the cleaning jobs at hand. To ensure the high quality of your service, you need to be reliable, thorough, and discreet. Your products bolster your excellence, especially when you use eco-friendly and sustainable produce that furthermore does not pose a health threat.

Customer Service

Your high-quality service also needs to focus on your customers. Therefore, you should invest time in further improving your customer service skills. You can achieve this by attending webinars and workshops or doing customer service-related training, for example, with City & Guilds.

Clear Cleaning Policies

Defining clear cleaning policies will also help you thrive. Here, you should set down guidelines for bookings and cancellations, payments, and the services you offer. This way, you not only come across as more professional (especially if you run your own cleaning business). You also ensure that your clients will not try (or be able to) fop you off.

Other jobs that are similar and might also interest you:

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a cleaner earn?

As a UK-based cleaner, you can expect to be paid between £17,000 and £25,000 annually. Note that £17,000 is your starting salary for this job. Besides your work experience, your overall annual wages can be affected by your employer/the company size and your employer’s location.

What qualifications do I need to become a cleaner?

There are no specific qualifications that are required of you if you want to become a cleaner in the UK. You can apply directly for a cleaning job, do a college course, or an apprenticeship, like Healthcare Cleaning Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship. For options 1 and 2, you may need some GCSEs, including maths and English. We recommend that you check the exact requirements with the institution offering a college course or apprenticeship and your employer, respectively. Moreover, you will benefit from knowing your way around time management and cleaning management software, such as CleanPlan, CleanOpsStaff, Swept, and WorkWaveService.

What is the job of a cleaner?

As a cleaner, one of your main daily jobs is to clean a property while always adhering to the implemented health and safety standards as well as the infection control procedures. This way, you ensure a safe working and living environment. Depending on your job description/specialisation, you may take on various cleaning tasks that can include sanitising kitchens and bathrooms and cleaning windows. It is also your job to restock supplies and report any maintenance issues that you encounter during your cleaning job.