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Cleaners carry out general cleaning of offices, shops and homes, or more specialised cleaning like upholstery or the outsides of buildings.

Salary range: £12,000 to £18,000

How to become a cleaner

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could get into this job through an intermediate apprenticeship in cleaning and support services.

You could do a specialist healthcare cleaning operative intermediate apprenticeship if you want to work in hospitals.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You can apply for jobs with cleaning companies or any organisation that employs their own cleaners. There are no set entry requirements, but you’ll need to show employers that you’re reliable and able to do the job.

Experience can help, particularly if you’re looking for specialised cleaning work.

More information

Further information

You can find out more about careers in cleaning from The British Institute of Cleaning Science.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • customer service skills
  • a desire to help people
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You’ll need to:

What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on what type of building or site you’re cleaning. You may:

  • follow procedures to control infection in hospital wards and operating theatres
  • shampoo or vacuum carpets and upholstery
  • follow food safety and hygiene regulations in food premises
  • do general cleaning in industrial buildings or offices
  • clear up houses and squats
  • clean passenger vehicles
  • clean at heights, using ladders or mobile access equipment
  • clear up at crime scenes, or after fires or floods
  • maintain stock levels of cleaning products
  • simple maintenance of cleaning equipment
  • follow Health and Safety (HSE) guidelines on use of chemicals for each task

Working environment

You could work at a client’s home or at a client’s business.

Your working environment may be dirty.

You may need to wear a uniform.

Career path and progression

You could move into specialist cleaning, or a more senior managerial or supervisory role.

You could also start your own business.

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