A cleaner or a cleaning operative is a type of industrial or domestic worker who does the cleaning.
Cleaner in Cambridge English dictionary means: "a person whose job is to clean houses, offices, public places, etc.:", in Collins dictionary: "A cleaner is someone who is employed to clean the rooms and furniture inside a building." However, a cleaner does not always have to be employed and does not have to perform work for pay an example would be socially and charity cleaning for example free forest cleanup from garbage so the definitions of the cleaner word depend on the author. Word cleaner also means: "substance used for cleaning" e.g. oven cleaner and device used to clean e.g. an air cleaner.
To sum up, the simplest thing to say is that a cleaner is usually a person who does cleaning.
Cleaning operatives may specialize in cleaning particular things or places, such as window cleaners. Cleaning operatives often work when the people who otherwise occupy the space are not around. They may clean offices at night or houses during the workday.
Occupation classification: Types of cleaning operatives
The cleaning industry is quite big as different types of cleaning are required for different objects and different properties. For example, cleaning an office space requires the services of a commercial cleaner, whereas cleaning a house requires a residential cleaner or residential cleaning service. Depending on the task, even these categories can be subdivided into, for example, end-of-lease cleaning, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, window cleaning, car cleaning services etc. Cleaners specialize in a specific cleaning sector or even a specific task in a cleaning sector, and one cannot expect a window cleaner to be able or willing to clean a carpet.
For example according to International Standard Classification of Occupations and European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations, the profession of a cleaner can be divided into:
- 9112.6 - train cleaner: "Train cleaners keep the interiors of trains tidy and clean. They clean out the bins in the different compartments, and perform other cleaning activities such as hoovering, mopping and deep cleaning."
- 9123.1 - window cleaner: "Window cleaners use cleaning tools such as sponges and detergents to clean windows, mirrors and other glass surfaces of buildings, both on the interior and exterior. They use specific ladders to clean taller buildings, using safety belts for support."
- 9122.1 - vehicle cleaner: "Vehicle cleaners clean and polish surfaces of external parts and interiors of vehicles."
- 9111.1 - domestic cleaner: "Domestic cleaners perform all necessary cleaning activities in order to clean their clients' houses. They vacuum and sweep floors, wash dishes, launder clothes, dust, scrub and polish surfaces and disinfect equipment and materials."
- 9129.2 - sewerage cleaner: "Sewerage cleaners maintain and clean sewerage systems and their pipes within communities. They remove blockages that stop the sewerage flow to ensure the smooth running of the systems."
- 9112.2 - building cleaner: "Building cleaners maintain the cleanliness and overall functionality of various types of buildings such as offices, hospitals and public institutions. They perform cleaning duties like sweeping, vacuuming and mopping floors, empty trash and check security systems, locks and windows. Building cleaners check air conditioning systems and notify the appropriate persons in case of malfunctions or problems."
- 9112.3 - furniture cleaner: "Furniture cleaners maintain furniture items by removing dust, applying furniture polish, cleaning stains and maintaining colouring."
- 5153.1.1 - amusement park cleaner: "Amusement park cleaners work to keep the amusement park clean and take on small repairs. Amusement park cleaners usually work at night, when the park is closed, but urgent maintenance and cleaning is done during the day."
- 8160.10 - cacao beans cleaner: "Cacao beans cleaners operate machines for the removal of foreign materials such as stones, string and dirt from cacao beans. They operate silos as to move beans from there to hoppers. They direct the cleaned beans to specified silos. They operate air-cleaning system in order to remove further foreign materials."
- 7133.2 - building exterior cleaner: "Building exterior cleaners remove dirt and litter from a building's exterior, as well as perform restoration tasks. They ensure the cleaning methods are compliant with safety regulations, and monitor the exteriors to ensure they are in proper condition."
- 9129.1 - drapery and carpet cleaner: "Drapery and carpet cleaners clean draperies and carpets for their clients by removing stains, dust or odors. They do this by applying chemical and repellent solutions and with the use of brushes or mechanical equipment."
- 9112.5 - toilet attendant: "Toilet attendants clean and maintain toilet facilities in accordance with company standards and policies. They use cleaning equipment to clean mirrors, floors, toilets and sinks. They perform the cleaning activities before, during and after operational service hours. Toilet attendants refill the facility with supplies as needed and maintain records of their daily operations."
- 9129 - Other cleaning workers: cleaning workers not classified
- 9112.1 - aircraft groomer can clean in airplanes: "Aircraft groomers clean aircraft cabins and airplanes after usage. They vacuum or sweep the interior of cabin, brush debris from seats, and arrange seat belts. They clean trash and debris from seat pockets and arranged in-flight magazines, safety cards, and sickness bags. They also clean galleys and lavatories."
- 8157.1.1 - laundry ironer: can clean clothes: "Laundry ironers re-shape clothing items and linen and remove creases from them by using irons, presses and steamers. They clean and maintain the ironing and drying area and organise the items accordingly."
- 9129.3 - swimming facility attendant cleans around the swimming pool
- Waste collection and recycling
The cleaning person may receive waste and carry out activities related to its transport to the place of storage, segregation and recycling.
- Charity / free social cleaning
Cleaning can be done freely, free of charge and without employment e.g. social cleaning of the forest from garbage.
- Cleaning by convicts
Cleaning is sometimes done by convicts for rehabilitation or leniency purposes. Cleaning as a substitute punishment. However, in the other hand in some cases, cleaners are checked against criminal records.
A cleaner using a mechanical sweeper to clean the street
A cleaner shoveling snow off from the sidewalks.
A Worker is cleaning pool at Kowloon Park.jpg
Cleaner cleaning the floor in the bathroom.
Cleaning the sidewalk from fallen leaves.
Train window cleaning.
Typical cleaning equipment
The following are some items used by cleaning staff: However, the equipment depends on the situation and the type of cleaning.
- Cleaning agents
- Floor polisher
- Garbage bag
- Hand feather duster and/or microfiber floor duster
- Mop and mop bucket cart
- Vacuum cleaner
- Wet floor sign
Not always, but depending on the situation, (for example during cleaning dusty or dangerous substances or places, window cleaning at high heights, being on a busy street or in factories) items used by cleaning staff can include safety equipment such as:
Cleaning a building in mask, overalls and gloves to prevent exposure to dust.
The exposure of a cleaner to hazards depends on the activity performed and the situation for example: allergens, dust, biohazards, fall, possibility of contact with electric shock, slipping on a slippery surface, so safety equipment should be adapted to the situation.
In addition: On the whole it is not recommended to perform this work for a person with severe allergies.
The 2000 film Bread and Roses by British director Ken Loach depicted the struggle of cleaners in Los Angeles, California, for better pay and working conditions and for the right to join a union. In an interview with the BBC in 2001, Loach stated that thousands of cleaners from around 30 countries have since contacted him with tales similar to the one told in the film.
- Cleaning company
- Janitor (caretaker, custodian)
- Maid - In American English, the term "maid" is often used for any woman who cleans a home or hotel
- "Cambridge Dictionary - Cleaner". www.dictionary.cambridge.org. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
- "Collinsdictionary - cleaner". www.collinsdictionary.com/. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
- "Definition of cleaner | Dictionary.com". www.dictionary.com. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
- "Working at height whilst window cleaning". Health and Safety Executive. 9 May 2022.
- "European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations". European Union. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
- "Government of the United Kingdom" (PDF). Government of the United Kingdom. Retrieved 2023-04-14.
- "Definition of maid | Dictionary.com". www.dictionary.com. Retrieved 2023-04-14.