What is a cleaning operative?

A cleaning operative is a person who cleans and maintains buildings such as hospitals, schools, and residential accommodation. 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.

How to become a cleaning operative?

You may not need any formal qualifications to apply directly for work as a cleaning operative. Although some employers will prefer you to have a good general education, with GCSEs.

You may be able to take a Level 2 Certificate in cleaning principles. There are no set entry requirements for this route but it may help you to get in if you have GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths.

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 employers that you’re reliable and able to do the job. Experience can help, particularly if you’re looking for specialised cleaning work

Cleaning operative duties

There are many roles and responsibilities of a cleaning operative, including:

  • Clean all specified areas within the time allocated and to the standard required. Daily, Weekly and periodic tasks are carried out as required
  • Vacuums, empties trash, and replaces liners.
  • Sets up, stocks, and maintains cleaning equipment and supplies.
  • Carry out heavy cleansing tasks and special projects
  • Notify management of occurring deficiencies or needs for repairs
  • Making yourself familiar with and follow all company procedures and regulations
  • All offices, toilets, laboratories and amenity areas to be presented in a clean and tidy

Cleaning operative skills

To be an effective cleaning operative you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • Ability to work on your own
  • Thorough and pay attention to detail
  • Sensitivity and understanding
  • Strong interpersonal and problem-solving abilities
  • Highly responsible & reliable
  • Ability to work cohesively as part of a team

How to find a cleaning operative job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the cleaning operative jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for cleaning operative jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Cleaning Operative Job Titles

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the cleaning operative jobs near you, you need to:

  • Cleaner
  • Cleaning supervisor
  • Domestic cleaner
  • Janitor
  • Housekeeper
  • Housekeeping assistant
  • Porter
  • Residential Porter

What does a cleaning operative do?

The day-to-day tasks of a cleaning operative include;

  • Clean, following food safety and hygiene regulations in food premises
  • Do general cleaning in industrial buildings or offices to keep areas presentable and safe
  • Follow procedures to control infection in hospital wards and operating theatres
  • Clear up houses and squats
  • Clean passenger vehicles
  • Clean at heights, using ladders or mobile access equipment
  • Shampoo or vacuum carpets and upholstery
  • Maintain stock levels of cleaning products
  • Do minor repairs to cleaning equipment
  • Follow Health and Safety (HSE) guidelines on use of chemicals for each task