A career in cleaning- your guide to becoming a cleaner

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Do you enjoy keeping places tidy and spotless? Could your cleaning skills give Mrs. Hinch a run for her money? Or do you just like to see everything spic and span? If so, a career in cleaning could be just the path for you!

Cleaning is a vital profession that ensures spaces are well-maintained, hygienic, and safe for people to live and work in. From homes to offices, hospitals to industrial buildings, cleaners play a crucial role in maintaining cleanliness and order. If you’re considering a career as a cleaner, this comprehensive guide will walk you through the various pathways, skills required, and opportunities available in this profession.

Pathways to Becoming a Cleaner

There are multiple pathways to becoming a cleaner, each offering different entry points based on your preferences and circumstances. Let’s explore these options:

  1. College Course

Enrolling in a college course is a great way to gain foundational skills and knowledge in cleaning. Relevant courses include:

Level 1 Award in Cleaning

Level 2 Certificate in Cleaning Principles

Entry requirements for these courses are flexible, making this option accessible to a wide range of individuals.

  1. Apprenticeship:

An intermediate apprenticeship, such as the Healthcare Cleaning Operative apprenticeship, can provide specialised training. This option is beneficial if you’re interested in working in settings like hospitals or care homes, where high standards of cleanliness are essential.

To qualify for an intermediate apprenticeship, you generally need a few GCSEs, including English and Maths, or equivalent qualifications.

  1. Direct Application:

You can apply directly to cleaning companies or organisations that hire their own cleaners. While there are no strict entry requirements, showcasing reliability and capability is crucial. Prior experience can be an advantage, especially for roles involving specialised cleaning tasks.

Skills and Qualities Required

To excel as a cleaner, you’ll need a combination of skills and qualities to ensure you’re effective and efficient in your role. These include:

  • Patience and composure in stressful situations
  • Ability to work independently
  • Strong customer service skills
  • Attention to detail and thoroughness
  • Knowledge of public safety and security
  • Physical fitness and endurance
  • Time management and organisational skills
  • Desire to assist and help people
  • Basic computer skills for recording tasks
  • Successful completion of enhanced background checks

 Tasks and Environments

Cleaners perform a wide range of tasks in various environments. Depending on where you work, your responsibilities may include:

  • Cleaning in compliance with food safety and hygiene regulations in food establishments
  • General cleaning in industrial buildings and offices for a presentable and safe environment
  • Implementing infection control procedures in Healthcare settings
  • Cleaning up residences, commercial spaces, or areas affected by disasters
  • Performing vehicle cleaning, including passenger vehicles and public transportation
  • Utilising equipment to clean at heights, such as ladders or mobile access devices
  • Post-disaster cleanup, including crime scenes, fire, or flood-affected areas
  • Carpet and upholstery cleaning using methods like shampooing and vacuuming
  • Managing cleaning product stock levels and performing minor equipment repairs
  • Following Health and Safety (HSE) guidelines for chemical usage

Work Environment and Attire

As a cleaner, you might find yourself working in various environments, from homes to businesses. Your work environment may sometimes be dirty, requiring you to wear a uniform for protection and identification.

Career Progression and Opportunities

A career in cleaning offers opportunities for progression and growth. Here are some potential pathways:

  • Specialising in a particular type of cleaning, such as healthcare or industrial cleaning
  • Transitioning into managerial or supervisory roles
  • Starting your own cleaning business and becoming an entrepreneur


Becoming a cleaner is a valuable career choice that requires a combination of skills, dedication, and a commitment to maintaining clean and safe environments. Whether you’re entering through a college course, an apprenticeship, or a direct application, the cleaning profession offers diverse tasks and opportunities for growth. So, if you’re looking for a fulfilling and essential role that contributes to the well-being of individuals and spaces, consider embarking on a journey to become a cleaner.  At ACME, we’re always looking for reliable staff to join our friendly team. If you think you’ve got what it takes to enjoy a rewarding career in the cleaning industry, you can apply directly to us here.