How to become a cleaner career guide?  Female cleaner cleaning a hospital bedside table

How to become a Cleaner?

Overview

Job Role Cleaner
Responsibilities Upkeep the cleanliness and tidiness of a given area, building or home.
Salary

£8.06 per hour / £16,781 per year

What do I need to do to become a Cleaner? 

If you love working independently and leaving things immaculate and gleaming, you should consider a job as a Cleaner. Your main responsibility is the cleanliness, tidiness and upkeep of a given area, building or home. This could be rooms in a hotel, a school, hospital, office space, airport, restaurant or anywhere large enough to need a dedicated cleaner or cleaning team. As a sector, it is worth over £24 billion a year to the country’s economy, and employs over 700,000 people, according to the British Cleaning Council. And the industry is set to keep growing, meaning there are more and more jobs out there.

The average pay for a cleaner in the UK is around £16,781 per year, according to glassdoor.co.uk. As a full-time employee you will usually work 38 to 40 hours a week. It’s also possible to be paid by the hour, or work part-time hours.

The shift times for this job can vary across the board, meaning it’s great if you need flexible hours or can’t work normal hours. So you could be working regular set shifts, night shifts, or shift patterns that change each week. It’s the sort of work that allows you to find something that fits around your family or other commitments. It’s also a good option if you need some temporary work, or to earn some cash while you’re studying.

Your daily duties will usually include sweeping and mopping floors, wiping, dusting and polishing surfaces, sanitising bathrooms and emptying bins. If you are cleaning hotel rooms you may also be changing bed sheets and towels, and replenishing items for customers. You will also be required to monitor quantities of cleaning products and equipment you need to do your job, and tell your manager when you’re running low. Try to keep your stock cupboard neat and organised so you and your colleagues can easily find what you need.

There are no set qualifications or education subjects needed for this type of work. Your employer or line manager should provide all work-related training. If you have any experience of working as a cleaner, or it was part of another job you’ve had, make sure you include this in your application.

A certificate in COSHH (control of substances hazardous to health) would be useful to include in your application if you have one. If you haven’t done this training, it would be beneficial to read about it here so you’re aware of the topic. This is because a cleaner it is important to understand what is in the products you are using, why they could be dangerous and how to use them safely. Things like bleach may be well known to you as hazardous but it’s important to always read the label before using new products. It’s an important responsibility to always report any accidents or injury immediately to your manager or supervisor while at work.

It’s not required but first aid training would also be useful to include on your CV. Your employer may require you to have a full UK driving licence, especially if you will be going to different locations during your shift. If you don’t have a UK-issued driving licence, you can read about how to get one in this step-by-step guide.

You’ll also need to be in reasonably good health for this type of role. It could involve lifting heavy boxes, climbing ladders, reaching and bending down and other movements. You will most likely be on your feet for the whole shift. It’s important to have a keen eye for detail and work methodically through your cleaning. Not everything you do will be checked by someone else so it will be up to you to make sure you don’t miss anything. If you work somewhere like a hospital, the sanitisation of areas is also crucial to patient safety.

To do well in this role you will need to work well in a team, but also be self-motivated and able to work without any supervision. This means getting your own tasks done, and also being willing to help others and work together to overcome difficulties. Good communication skills are also important, as well as being friendly, and able to interact with customers if you come across them.

There is great satisfaction to be had from turning a room around, or cleaning something that’s really dirty. If you enjoy working thoroughly and efficiently, this could be a suitable role for you. Being part of a large cleaning team can also be a good way to meet new people if you’re new to an area. Places like hotel chains or restaurants also normally offer employee benefits like staff discounts on food, free parking and performance bonuses. If you want the extra cash, you should also be able to do extra shifts or overtime, especially in busy periods like Christmas.

To progress in this career, you could apply to become a supervisor of a section, and work your way up to manager of the cleaning team. This would mean added responsibility of training staff, assigning shifts and ensuring health and hygiene standards are being met. You can expect a pay rise, and this may also mean that you are able to work more regular shifts. To get this sort of promotion you will need to show you have experience of the role, and good leadership and people management skills. Going to work with a positive, can-do attitude will help you stand out as a great employee, and will help when you apply for a promotion or need a reference.

Another option is to run your own cleaning business. There are lots of factors to consider before setting up a small business, so make sure you have all the tools you need. You will have to do everything from accounting and finances, to buying your equipment, marketing your services and dealing with all of your customers. A good place to start is cleaning for individuals or households, and building up from there.

One of the good things about this job is being able to jump straight in without needing any qualifications or specific training, and learning on the job from day one. It can feel isolating if you are working late at night or by yourself for most of the day, but this can suit some people. It means you’re not stuck at an office desk all day and don’t have to deal with office politics. 


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