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Become A General Cleaner

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Working As A General Cleaner

  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Getting Information
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Outdoors/walking/standing

  • $23,440

    Average Salary

What Does A General Cleaner Do

Janitors and building cleaners keep many types of buildings clean, orderly, and in good condition.

Duties

Janitors and building cleaners typically do the following:

  • Gather and empty trash
  • Sweep, mop, or vacuum building floors
  • Clean restrooms and stock them with supplies
  • Lock doors to secure buildings
  • Clean spills and other hazards with appropriate equipment
  • Wash windows, walls, and glass
  • Order cleaning supplies
  • Make minor building repairs
  • Notify managers when a building needs major repairs

Janitors and building cleaners keep office buildings, schools, hospitals, retail stores, hotels, and other places clean, sanitary, and in good condition. Some only clean, while others have a wide range of duties.

In addition to keeping the inside of buildings clean and orderly, some janitors and building cleaners work outdoors, mowing lawns, sweeping walkways, and removing snow. Some workers also monitor the building’s heating and cooling system, ensuring that it functions properly.

Janitors and building cleaners use many tools and equipment. Simple cleaning tools may include mops, brooms, rakes, and shovels. Other tools may include snowblowers, floor buffers, and carpet extraction equipment.

Some janitors are responsible for repairing minor electrical or plumbing problems, such as leaky faucets.

The following are examples of types of janitors and building cleaners:

Building superintendents are responsible for maintaining residential buildings, such as apartments and condominiums. Although their duties are similar to those of other janitors, some building superintendents also help collect rent and show vacancies to potential tenants.

Custodians are janitors or cleaning workers who typically maintain institutional facilities, such as public schools and hospitals.

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How To Become A General Cleaner

Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Formal education is not required.

Education

Janitors and building cleaners do not need any formal educational credential. However, high school courses in shop can be helpful for jobs involving repair work.

Training

Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Beginners typically work with a more experienced janitor, learning how to use and maintain equipment such as vacuums, floor buffers, and other tools. On the job, they also learn how to repair minor electrical and plumbing problems.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Although not required, certification is available through the Building Service Contractors Association International, the International Executive Housekeepers Association, and ISSA—The International Sanitary Supply Association. Certification can demonstrate competence and may make applicants more appealing to employers.

Important Qualities

Interpersonal skills. Janitors and building cleaners should get along well with their supervisors, other cleaners, and the people who live or work in the buildings they clean.

Mechanical skills. Janitors and building cleaners should understand general building operations. They should be able to make routine repairs, such as repairing leaky faucets. 

Physical stamina. Janitors and building cleaners spend most of their workday on their feet, operating cleaning equipment and lifting and moving supplies or tools. As a result, they should have good physical stamina.

Physical strength. Janitors and building cleaners often must lift and move cleaning materials and heavy equipment. Cases of liquid cleaner and trash receptacles, for example, can be very heavy, so workers should be strong enough to lift them without injuring their back.

Time-management skills. Janitors and building cleaners should be able to plan and complete tasks in a timely manner.

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General Cleaner Typical Career Paths

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General Cleaner Demographics

Gender

Female

58.3%

Male

39.5%

Unknown

2.1%
Ethnicity

White

83.0%

Hispanic or Latino

8.7%

Asian

6.3%

Unknown

1.4%

Black or African American

0.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

77.8%

German

2.8%

Bosnian

2.8%

Somali

2.8%

French

2.8%

Amharic

2.8%

Carrier

2.8%

Hmong

2.8%

Italian

2.8%
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General Cleaner Education

Schools

Milwaukee Area Technical College

12.0%

University of Phoenix

9.4%

Saint Louis Community College

7.9%

Grand Rapids Community College

6.3%

University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee

6.3%

Fox Valley Technical College

5.8%

University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point

4.7%

Community College of Philadelphia

4.2%

Atlanta Technical College

4.2%

Columbus State Community College

4.2%

University of Missouri - Saint Louis

4.2%

Bryant and Stratton College

4.2%

Illinois Central College

4.2%

Everest Institute

3.7%

Madison Area Technical College

3.7%

Southwestern Illinois College

3.1%

Kirkwood Community College

3.1%

St. Louis College of Health Careers - Metro

3.1%

Empire Beauty School

3.1%

Vatterott College - Berkeley

2.6%
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Majors

Business

20.8%

General Studies

10.5%

Medical Assisting Services

8.6%

Criminal Justice

7.3%

Health Care Administration

7.3%

Nursing

6.6%

Nursing Assistants

4.4%

Accounting

4.1%

Cosmetology

3.2%

Pharmacy

3.2%

Computer Science

2.9%

Culinary Arts

2.7%

Psychology

2.7%

Early Childhood Education

2.4%

Education

2.4%

Graphic Design

2.4%

Liberal Arts

2.2%

Management

2.2%

Human Services

2.2%

Automotive Technology

2.0%
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Degrees

Other

49.7%

Associate

20.3%

Bachelors

13.7%

Certificate

8.7%

Diploma

5.9%

Masters

0.8%

License

0.8%
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How Would You Rate The Salary Of a General Cleaner?

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Top Skills for A General Cleaner

BuildingFloorsPublicRestroomsBathroomSuppliesOfficeBuildingsMopFloorsWindowSillsEmptyTrashGlassPartitionsJanitorialCleanBathroomsCleanWindowsSoapyWaterCustomerServiceCleanRestroomsTrashRemovalTrashCansChemicalCleanersCleanOfficesLockerRoomsCommonAreas

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  1. Building Floors
  2. Public Restrooms
  3. Bathroom Supplies
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Cleaned building floors by sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, and vacuuming them.
  • Cleaned public restrooms, including scrubbing sinks, toilets, counter tops, and mirrors.
  • Assisted in the general cleaning of various office buildings and operated a floor scrubber, buffer and carpet extractor.
  • Clean mirrors wipe down counter and disinfect toilet, mop floors, empty trash containers, and shine stainless steel.
  • Hand dust and clean all office furnishings, files, fixtures, paneling, window sills and all other flat surfaces.

How Would You Rate Working As a General Cleaner?

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Top General Cleaner Employers

General Cleaner Videos

Office Cleaning Training Video

Office Cleaning / Janitorial Training Video

Mini-Rooter Power Drain Cleaner - How To Video