Alternative titles for this job include Cleaning services operative

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

Average salary (a year)

£17,000 Starter


£24,000 Experienced

Typical hours (a week)

32 to 43 variable

You could work

evenings / weekends on split shifts

Meet Elliot

Elliot is a cleaner at a primary school.

A man stood outside a building and smiling.
BBC Bitesize logo

Elliot is autistic and has dyspraxia. He enjoys being part of a team and finds it useful to be given clear tasks.

Watch Elliot’s story on BBC Bitesize Careers

How to become

Explore the different ways to get into this role.

How to become Cleaner

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly


You could do a college course in Cleaning or Cleaning Principles to get some of the skills and knowledge you'll need in this job.

Entry requirements

There are no set entry requirements for this route.

More Information


You could do a Healthcare Cleaning Operative Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship.

This is useful if you want to work in hospitals, care homes or other places that need to clean to a high standard.

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 that you're reliable and able to do the job.

If you're looking for specialised cleaning work such as in a medical setting, it can help to have some experience.

More information

You can find out more about careers in cleaning from the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc).

What it takes

Find out what skills you’ll use in this role.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • the ability to work on your own
  • customer service skills
  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of public safety and security
  • physical fitness and endurance
  • the ability to organise your time and workload
  • a desire to help people
  • 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

Discover the day to day tasks you’ll do in this role.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your tasks will depend on where you are working.

As a cleaner you could:

  • clean business settings, houses or vehicles
  • clean at heights using ladders or mobile access equipment
  • follow infection control procedures in hospital wards and operating theatres
  • maintain stock levels of cleaning products
  • follow health and safety guidelines and food and hygiene regulations

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

Look at progression in this role and similar opportunities.

Career path and progression

With experience you could:

  • move into specialist cleaning
  • progress to a supervisor or manager
  • start your own business

Current opportunities

Find apprenticeships, courses and jobs available near you.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

We can't find any apprenticeship vacancies in England for a Cleaner right now.

The Find an apprenticeship service can help you with your search, send alerts when new apprenticeships become available and has advice on how to apply.

Courses In England

Certificate in Cleaning and Support Services Skills

  • Start date: 01 June 2025
  • Location: PLYMOUTH

Certificate in Cleaning and Support Services Skills

  • Start date: 01 March 2025
  • Location: PLYMOUTH

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