How to hire a cleaner

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The cleaning industry is growing at a steady pace: The market for contract cleaning services is estimated to reach $563 billion in 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 6%[1]. And it’s not just households that hire cleaners – many organizations do that, too. 

All kinds of companies hire cleaners, such as:

  • Healthcare organizations

  • Schools and educational institutions

  • Restaurants

  • Hotels

  • Government offices

  • Facility management companies

  • Retail stores

Although cleaners’ role is often underappreciated, they bear an important responsibility: A workplace’s tidiness can have a powerful effect on employees’ performance and satisfaction. A 2018 study reports that higher standards of cleanliness correlate significantly with increased productivity at the office[2]. 

Therefore, if you’re looking to hire cleaners, you need to make sure you’re able to find skilled workers who’ll be able to do an excellent job every day. 

But how do you know what to look for? How can you trust someone to meet your expectations? Being a good cleaner doesn’t involve simply knowing what products to use and how; there are many soft skills that are essential to the role, too. 

The hiring process can seem quite daunting but if you optimize it, you’ll be able to make the best choice for a cleaner confidently and with ease.

In our guide on how to hire a cleaner, you can read more about: 

  • The duties and responsibilities of cleaners

  • The top skills you should look for

  • How to evaluate candidates’ skills with pre-employment skills testing

  • How much you can expect to pay

  • Where to source the best cleaners

  • What interview questions to ask, and more.

Our guide can be useful for cleaning services organizations and facility management companies who are looking to hire more personnel, but it also provides valuable information for small businesses, households, and individuals who are looking to book a credible cleaner or a cleaning company.

What is a cleaner?

A cleaner is someone who maintains the cleanliness of a particular space. Some of the key responsibilities of cleaners are to:

  • Clean thoroughly all surfaces and areas of a residential or commercial space, including floors, windows, walls, restrooms, bathtubs, the interior and exterior of drawers, cupboards, sinks, countertops, the inside and outside of appliances, light switch covers, chairs, and tables

  • Sanitize and polish restrooms, bathrooms, drains, kitchen fixtures, and items made from stainless steel or chrome

  • Vacuum floors, carpets, and furniture

  • Sweep, mop, and seal floors

  • Dust doors, frames, furniture tops, light fittings, and any other items that may need dusting

  • Clean ceiling vents

  • Collect and dispose of trash

  • Inspect and maintain cleaning appliances, supplies, and tools 

The cleaner’s specific cleaning duties depend on the type of facility in which they’re working. 

Aside from keeping facilities and common areas clean and well-maintained, cleaners must also be able to cooperate with others and work well in a team, especially when the area that needs cleaning is larger or more demanding. In this case, everyone has specific tasks assigned to them, which helps make the cleaning process faster and more efficient. 

Cleaners sometimes work independently, but their role is also central for any cleaning-services agency. They represent the company before its clients, so they need to be friendly, professional, and polite – and be able to respond to any concerns that customers might have.

Cleaner hard skills

Cleaners need to know how to use different cleaning products and appliances and also be physically fit. Here are the most important practical skills that any cleaner should have:

Sanitation skills

Sanitation is the process of keeping things clean and germ-free. 

While it may sound like something that doesn’t require any specific skills because most people are doing it without training, professional cleaning is more thorough and requires practice and knowledge of various cleaning methods, tools, and equipment. 

Cleaners working in hospitals or at industrial sites that have extra sanitation requirements might require additional skills and training.

Cleaning hazards knowledge

Professional cleaning brings more risks than people usually think. The four most common cleaning hazards are:

  • Biological hazards

  • Chemical hazards

  • Physical hazards

  • High stress

Make sure your cleaner:

  • Has the necessary practical knowledge of how to use cleaning chemicals and equipment safely

  • Understands the related safety and health protocols they need to follow

Physical fitness

Physical fitness refers to the ability to be physically active for prolonged periods of time and have the endurance to clean without getting tired easily. Cleaning involves a lot of physical tasks, such as carrying heavy objects, moving equipment and cleaning products around, mopping floors, and scrubbing surfaces. 

Skills to look out for in a cleaner graphic

Cleaner soft skills

Soft skills are just as important when it comes to the role of a cleaner. Cleaners should be able to manage their time efficiently, work well with others, and be punctual and attentive to details. 

Here is a list of some of the essential soft skills a cleaner must have:

Time management

Cleaners have a certain amount of time to do their tasks, so it’s important for them to plan their time effectively and complete everything promptly. 

Look for a cleaner who knows how to: 

  • Give accurate time estimates

  • Plan effectively

  • Minimize distractions

  • Ask for help when needed

  • Prioritize efficiently


Communication is critical for any team to succeed. Cleaners should be able to listen attentively and express themselves clearly while following professional etiquette. 

A cleaner should be a good communicator in order to: 

  • Work efficiently within a team

  • Understand your clients’ concerns and requests

  • Report any problems on time

Following instructions

Following instructions is an important skill for many jobs, including that of a cleaner. Hiring a cleaner who can diligently follow instructions results in more satisfying results for your clients. 

Being able to follow instructions means they can:

  • Listen attentively

  • Understand what they hear (or read)

  • React appropriately

  • Ask questions if they need clarification

Attention to detail

Cleaners who go the extra mile to do their job – for example by making sure all surfaces are sparkling clean or soaking up stains that refuse to go away – provide the best service. 

To be so thorough in their job, they must be able to spot the tiniest details. This is why having strong attention to detail is important for a cleaner. This enables them to: 

  • Notice areas that need more cleaning

  • Be more attentive to persistent stains

  • Provide more effective results

Problem solving

Even if a whole team is working in one location, each cleaner has their own duties and has to work individually. 

That’s why it’s important to hire candidates who have strong problem-solving skills and are capable of addressing most issues that may arise during the cleaning process. This makes for a more time-efficient cleaning process. 

Look for cleaners who are:

  • Capable of identifying problems

  • Solution- and client-oriented

  • Able to make a smart decision and act on it


Cleaners often have to juggle multiple tasks at a time, so being able to do more than one thing at a time helps them to be more efficient in their work. 

For example, while they’re waiting to fill a bathtub with water, they can work on cleaning the floor tiles and do their work faster.

Organizational skills

Strong organizational skills can help your cleaner: 

  • Keep their working area neat and tidy, enabling them to find things quickly and do their jobs faster

  • Plan their workday and tasks and be more efficient

Customer-service skills 

Communicating with clients is a part of a cleaner’s job, so it’s important to look for someone who has good customer-service skills. After all, they will represent you in front of clients, so your company’s reputation will depend on their behavior. 

Good customer service skills include:

  • Active listening

  • Empathy

  • Patience

  • The ability to address issues constructively

  • Strong communication skills

  • A focus on customer satisfaction


Your clients are entrusting you with their homes or offices, and we all know that allowing strangers to enter and maintain those spaces requires a high level of trust.

Make sure you’re hiring someone trustworthy who won’t steal, misplace, or damage your clients’ belongings. 

How to test cleaner skills

Ideally, you want to hire a cleaner who already has some experience working for cleaning agencies. However, everyone needs to start somewhere – plus, having worked for someone else doesn’t necessarily mean they’d possess the essential skills to do the job well.

Pre-employment skills testing can aid you in your quest to hire the right cleaner for your business or your household. While it can’t test their practical skills with cleaning and sanitation, it can help you identify a candidate with the essential soft skills for the job. 

Combine up to five relevant skills tests in a skills assessment to streamline your hiring process and make informed decisions. 

Recommended tests for cleaners

Here are our top recommendations for the tests you can use to evaluate your candidates:

  • Time management: Find candidates who can organize their tasks well and work quickly and efficiently. 

  • Communication: This test assesses your candidate’s ability to communicate clearly and concisely. 

  • Attention to detail (visual): This test identifies candidates who’re able to pay close attention to visual cues. 

  • Problem solving: Candidates who score high on this test can use their analytical skills to find solutions to complex problems. 

  • Understanding instructions: This test will help you filter candidates who can understand and follow instructions correctly.

  • Customer service: Find candidates who can communicate with clients appropriately to improve customer satisfaction.

Cleaner interview questions

Once you evaluate candidates’ skills with skills tests, you can invite the best ones to an interview to gain a more in-depth understanding of their experience and suitability for the role. 

Here are some interview questions you can ask applicants: 

  1. Can you tell me about your previous experience as a cleaner?

  2. How do you clean delicate or valuable items?

  3. Can you describe your cleaning routine and process, from start to finish?

  4. How do you prioritize your tasks and how do you know how much each task will take you?

  5. Are you comfortable with pets in the home? Do you have any allergies or concerns?

  6. How do you maintain cleaning appliances to ensure they are in good working order?

  7. Do you have any knowledge of or experience with mold or stains?

  8. How do you handle special cleaning requests or preferences?

  9. How do you know what products to use on different surfaces?

  10. Do you have any experience cleaning antique furniture?

  11. How do you make sure you haven't missed any stains or dust?

  12. A client says they're unhappy with your work. What do you do?

Where to find a cleaner

So, now that you know how to streamline your hiring process and what questions to ask, you’re probably wondering where to source candidates. 

Here are some of the places where you can look for your next cleaner: 

  • An employee referral program: If you already have a team of skilled cleaners, you can harness your employees’ personal networks to recruit diverse and qualified candidates. 

  • Craigslist: Craigslist is completely free to use and you can find a variety of candidates in most US locations. 

  • Nextdoor: Here you can find people for hire in your neighborhood and get real feedback about them. 

  • Indeed: Indeed is a large platform where you can find diverse candidates. 

  • ZipRecruiter: This platform automatically posts your job ad on over 100 different sites with one click.

How much does a cleaner cost?

According to Glassdoor, the average salary of a full-time cleaner in the US is $37,250 in 2023. However, the salary may vary, depending on: 

  • The type of work

  • The level of expertise you’re looking for

  • The person’s experience in the field

  • The cost of living in your area

Make sure to offer a reasonable salary and benefits: Your business relies on its employees. 

Cleaner job description

Position: Cleaner

Location: [Your location or area; mention whether you expect the cleaner to travel to client sites]

Type of contract: [Full-time/part-time]

[Your company name] is a professional cleaning company committed to delivering outstanding services to our clients. We pride ourselves on our employees' attention to detail, reliability, and excellent cleaning skills. 

We are looking for a skilled and experienced cleaner to join our team.


In this role, you will: 

  • Perform various cleaning tasks, such as sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, and dusting

  • Clean floors, windows, doors, walls, and all other surfaces

  • Clean and sanitize restrooms

  • Operate cleaning equipment such as vacuum cleaners, vapor steam cleaners, and more

  • Handle and dispose of waste responsibly, following established recycling rules

  • Adhere to all health and safety protocols

  • Provide excellent customer service to clients and respond to feedback professionally

  • Report to management any damages or repairs needed

  • Manage an inventory of cleaning supplies and reorder as necessary


We're looking for a reliable and trustworthy person who has: 

  • Good knowledge of cleaning products and their appropriate uses

  • The ability to work independently with minimal supervision

  • The ability to work in a team in larger areas

  • Good physical fitness and the ability to lift and carry objects and stand for extended periods

  • A strong attention to detail and a commitment to high-quality work

  • A customer-centric approach to their duties

  • Effective communication skills and the ability to follow instructions

  • [A reliable method of transportation, if the cleaner will travel between sites]

Previous cleaning experience is preferred but not essential.


With us, you'll get: 

  • A competitive hourly wage

  • Flexible scheduling

  • [Any other benefits your company offers, such as health insurance, employee discounts, etc.]

Finding a trustworthy cleaner is easier with pre-employment skills testing

There are always risks and challenges when you’re hiring a housekeeper or cleaner – but you can minimize them by streamlining your hiring process and using a skills-based hiring approach. 

It’s hard to know who will be good at cleaning if you use skills tests alone, but they enable you to identify reliable and motivated candidates who pay close attention to details and manage their time efficiently. Then, you can invite candidates to an interview, ask them for references, or offer a paid trial to find the best fit for the role. 

This is your best bet for recruiting skilled professionals consistently and without bias, especially if you’re hiring at scale. 

Sign up for a free demo today to streamline your cleaner hiring process. 


  1. GlobeNewswire: Growing at More Than 6% CAGR, Contract Cleaning Services Market Size Will Expand to USD 563 Billion by 2030 Exclusive Report by Acumen Research and Consulting. Last accessed on September 12, 2023

  2. ResearchGate: Impact of cleanliness on the productivity of employees. Last accessed on September 12, 2023

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