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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, a pound sign Salary: £12,000 to £18,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but you'll need to show employers that you're reliable and able to do the job.

Previous experience can help, particularly if you're looking for specialised cleaning work.

The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) has more information on standards and training.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

Depending on where you work, you may need to get clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

You may also need to prove that you are eligible to live and work in the UK.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • the ability to follow job and safety instructions
  • maths skills for measuring out cleaning fluids
  • customer service skills if working in areas used by the public
  • the ability to work alone without supervision

3. What you'll do

You could clean in many different buildings like colleges, offices, homes, restaurants or pubs.

You may also specialise in certain areas like:

  • hospital wards and operating theatres
  • carpets and upholstery
  • food premises
  • industrial buildings
  • house and squat clearance
  • passenger vehicles
  • cleaning at heights, using ladders or mobile access equipment
  • clearing up at crime scenes, or after fires or floods

You'd need to know which cleaning chemicals to use for each task. You'll follow safety procedures as set out by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) on the control of substances hazardous to health (COSHH).

You may have to carry out some simple maintenance of equipment and check the stock levels of cleaning materials.

4. Salary

Starter: £12,000

Experienced: £16,000

Highly Experienced: £18,000 (supervisor)

Part-time cleaners are usually paid by the hour. Rates are often in line with the national minimum wage.

If you're a live-in cleaner, your pay may be reduced to cover accommodation costs.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You may have to work when buildings are closed for normal activities. This could be in the evenings, early morning or at weekends.

In a full-time job you'd usually work 35 to 40 hours a week. You could also work part-time or on a casual basis.

In a private home, you may work during the day and be expected to do other tasks like ironing.

Depending on the job, you might clean the same area every day, or go to different sites. If you're a supervisor, you may visit teams of cleaners working in different locations.

You may need a full driving licence and use of a vehicle to travel between sites.

6. 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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Last updated: 13 September 2018