Industrial cleaners provide a cleaning service for organisations such as manufacturing companies, service companies, local authorities or government departments.
The methods and equipment that they use depend on the cleaning task. In some cases they use familiar domestic equipment such as brushes, mops, etc; in others, pressure washers, steam and sandblasting equipment, wire brushes, solvents and other chemicals are used. There is an increasing use of powered equipment for particular tasks, such as electrically powered machines for cleaning and polishing large floor areas.
They may have to carry out some simple maintenance of the equipment they use and check the stock levels of cleaning materials.
Industrial cleaners have to follow appropriate safety procedures, for instance when using potentially hazardous solvents to remove graffiti, oils, etc. Some specialise in cleaning delicate equipment or in particular cleaning tasks such as clearing up after fires, floods or building work.
Full-time cleaners work 35 to 40 hours per week. Many cleaners work part-time hours. Cleaning is often carried out when buildings are closed for normal activities, for example, in the evenings, early morning, or at weekends. Overtime may be available.
Much of the time is spent standing, walking, bending, lifting and handling equipment. Conditions vary, and can be noisy, dirty and dusty, or in cramped spaces. They wear protective clothing from overalls and gloves for simple tasks, to fuller protection such as facemasks and special footwear and harnesses for potentially hazardous work.
Where they work depends on employers and may include working in a hospital, factory, shopping centre or in smaller premises. Some may work outdoors, such as those who specialise in cleaning building exteriors.
To be an industrial cleaner you should:
Industrial cleaners may work for an organisation that directly employs its own cleaners, or they may be employed by a contracting company. Public organisations and large companies increasingly use contractors to provide cleaning services. Industrial cleaning companies are located throughout the country. Cleaners work on a variety of contracts in industry and commerce.
Some companies provide a range of cleaning services while others specialise, eg providing emergency cover, cleaning building exteriors or cleaning equipment.
With the appropriate experience and skills, it may be possible to gain promotion to supervisor.