What Is Commercial Cleaning? - An insider's look (2023)

What Is Commercial Cleaning? - An insider's look (1)

What Does A Commercial Cleaner Do?

A commercial cleaner, clean, dust, scrub, wipe and polish floors, furniture, fixtures, machinery, and other everyday cleaning duties. They also remove any rubbish from the site. Work locations are typically commercial, industrial or residential properties, including schools, offices, hospitals, factories, industrial facilities and construction sites.


A professional cleaner may specialize in cleaning particular things or places, such as window cleaners. Cleaners often work when the people who otherwise occupy the space are not around. They may clean offices at night or houses during the workday.

Cleaning duties

Cleaners are responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of facilities. A professional cleaner performs tasks such as garbage removal, dusting and cleaning surfaces like floors or walls with a mop to keep them looking their best!
In summary: Cleaner performs various duties which include vacuuming carpets; mopping kitchen floor(s); wiping down exterior window sills – all part of keeping facilities clean and safe.

Background checks

A common procedure for commercial cleaning companies is to provide verification, in proposals, that their team of professional cleaners have been through a rigorous background check.

  • A background check most often includes
  • Employment verification.
  • Education verification.
  • Criminal history.
  • Driving and motor vehicle records.
  • Credit history.
  • Military background.
  • Verifying references.
  • Drug testing.


Professional cleaning companies hire both new as well as experienced cleaners and enroll them in onboarding training, on-the-job training. Larger cleaning companies may have their own dedicated trainers, who have completed various training and certification courses provided by cleaning organizations and equipment suppliers.


While becoming a professional cleaner does not require any exam or certification, there are opportunities for more formalized training that will lead to a certification. ISSA is one of the international cleaning organizations that offers their members (cleaning companies) certifications of their professional cleaners and trainers.

Salary of professional cleaners

The national average annual and hourly wage of commercial cleaners and housekeeping cleaners vary by state but in general the highest wages are found in New York and California.

CleanersMean hourly wageMean annual wage
Janitors and Commercial Cleaners$13.98$29,080
Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners$ 13.47$ 28,010

Commercial vs Residential Cleaning?

What is the difference between residential and commercial cleaning services?

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In commercial cleaning, there are two main different types; commercial cleaning and residential cleaning. The difference between them is the type of buildings they have specialized in, which includes the training, cleaning process, and cleaning equipment used.

Commercial Cleaning Services

Cleaning companies typically specialize in cleaning commercial facilities, such as offices, restaurants, industrial warehouses, production facilities and retail stores. Commercial facilities are bigger cleaning jobs and take longer to clean and disinfect compared to residential buildings. Therefore, the size and capacity of the cleaning machinery is larger and more expensive, and in most instances require training.
As commercial facilities are larger and frequented by a lot of people, they also need cleaning more often, which means more cleaners, time, training, and expensive equipment.

Commercial cleaning businesses in United States (2021)

In 2021 there were a total of 1.1 million commercial cleaning businesses in the United States, year-on-year growth of about 4.6%.

The states with the highest number of Janitorial Services businesses are:

  • California (5,730 businesses)
  • Florida (5,640 businesses)
  • New York (3,585 businesses)

In total these cleaning companies employed approximately 2.0 million janitors and cleaners, not including residential maids and housekeepers.

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Source: IBIS World

Residential Cleaning Service

A residential cleaning company, or house cleaning service, are typically specialized in cleaning private homes and multi unit housing properties. As a home is significantly smaller than a commercial facility, it can typically be handled by a single cleaner and only need basic cleaning equipment.
Houses and apartments are typically smaller in size than commercial facilities, and may only need cleaning on a weekly basis. This makes residential cleaning more simple, and less need for expensive equipment and training.

Residential cleaners in United States

In 2020, there was a total of approximately 800K residential maids and housekeepers working in the United States.

Source: Statistica

What Are Types Of Commercial Cleaning Services?

A cleaning company may offer a general or specialized type of janitorial services dependent on the type of commercial building, geography, and type of customers they serve. Some cleaning companies have specialized their cleaning services in segments like:

Types of janitorial services

  • Office buildingOffice cleaning, or commercial building cleaning and disinfecting provide specialized cleaning services to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers, and helps the business operate.
  • Retail StoreCleaning and disinfecting retail stores to keep staff and customers healthy which is critical for retail to keep operating and generate sales.
  • Medical Facility Cleaning Medical facility cleaning may require a special cleaning process if it includes areas that contain blood. The medical facility may provide the cleaning of surgery rooms themselves.
  • Gym & Fitness Center Cleaning Fitness center cleaning involves sanitizing fitness equipment, locker rooms, shower rooms, toilets, and floors.
  • School CleaningSchool janitorial services include cleaning of classrooms, canteen, break out rooms, common areas, gym facilities, toilets, and offices.
  • Industrial FacilityCleaning of industrial facilities range from floor cleaning, restroom cleaning, window cleaning and high dusting as production facilities and warehouses tend to have very high ceilings.
  • Commercial buildings – Includes any type of building similar to office building, industrial facilities, hotels, healthcare facilities, manufacturing facilities etc.
  • Construction Clean UpConstruction cleaning, or post-construction cleaning, involves removal and disposal of debris, before a cleaning and sanitizing process can begin.
  • Restaurant Cleaning Restaurant cleaning, and particularly cleaning of exhaust hoods in commercial kitchens are governed by rules and standards provided by National Fire Association, FDA, CDC, OSHA. Environmental laws may apply for the disposal of contaminated cleaning water and waste, which must be followed.
  • Property Management Cleaning Services – Cleaning for property management companies, who rent out residential or office units to tenants, involves maintenance and overall up keep of the buildings. Cleaning for property managers is focused around cleaning when occupants move in or move out, cleaning of common areas, cleaning up after renovation, and keeping common facilities like, gyms, restrooms, pool areas, etc. presentable and branding the property as a well kept and clean.
What Is Commercial Cleaning? - An insider's look (2)

What type of cleaning tasks are included?

The scope of cleaning, cleaning methods, and cleaning frequency, will depend on the type of facility and what it is used for. A facility with many employees and visitors will require daily cleaning, whereas offices may only require cleaning weekly, or monthly.

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General CleaningGeneral cleaning involves wiping down surfaces such as tables, chairs, computer keyboards, doors, doorknobs, glass doors, light switches, etc.
Restroom CleaningCleaning and sanitizing restrooms involve cleaning toilets, walls, sinks, mirrors, tile and grout, and replenishing soap dispensers, paper towels etc.
DustingDusting, high-dusting and low-dusting of high cabinets, ceiling lights, baseboards etc. High dusting may involve ladders and lifts which will require training in OSHA safety standards.
Floor CleaningFloor cleaning covers cleaning of all soft and hard surface floors like wood floors, vinyl floors, tile floors, carpet cleaning and vacuuming.
Deep CleaningDeep cleaning is beyond the scope of a regular cleaning and involves moving furniture, carpets, etc. in order to thoroughly clean hard-to-reach areas. Deep cleaning may be done once or twice a year.
Window CleaningWindow Cleaning – Depending on the type of facility, the commercial cleaning company may include window cleaning as a service.
Disinfection ServicesDisinfection involves the use of equipment and disinfection chemicals that kill germs. The frequency of disinfection will vary based on type of facility, foot traffic, and any confirmed or suspected case of e.g. COVID.
Power washing The cleaning of facades, on commercial property, are often done using high-pressure water, or power washing.
What Is Commercial Cleaning? - An insider's look (3)

Who sets the standards for commercial cleaning?

There are various government institutions and private organizations that help provide guidelines and standards for the cleaning industry. These guidelines are created in an effort to guard the general health and safety of the community. The guidelines and standards also help raise the image and reputation of cleaning companies. The main government agencies and organizations setting the standards and guidelines are:

  • CDC – The Centers For Disease Control & Prevention
  • EPA – The Environmental Protection Agency
  • OSHA – Occupational Safety & Health Administration
  • ISSA – International Sanitary Supply Association

CDC (The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention)

For both the prevention and the protection of health and safety, CDC provides a range of guidelines for home and commercial cleaning. The guidelines are based on research and science and seek to help increase awareness and procedures for continuous improvement of health and safety standards.

Guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting facilities

OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration)

OSHA is the public institution that helps ensure the health and safety of professionals such as janitors and commercial cleaners. This involves guidelines for safe use of equipment, and cleaning products.

OSHA guide for commercial cleaning

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)

EPA is an executive agency of the United States federal government tasked with environmental protection matters. EPA provides a range of guidelines that pertain the commercial cleaning industry in relation to environmentally safe and effective cleaning, sanitizing and disinfection chemicals.

EPA List N – Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Safer Choice

ISSA (International Sanitary Supply Association)

ISSA is a private and international organization that provides standards for commercial cleaning. The standards aim to continuously raise the quality of the indoor environment for commercial facilities and schools.

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Through membership, commercial cleaning companies can get access to training, quality control, and other standards that help with increased efficiency and higher levels of cleaning quality.

ISSA Clean Standards

GBAC Service Accreditation

Why hire a commercial cleaning company?

There are many reasons why a business might choose to hire a commercial cleaning company. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that it can be very difficult, if not impossible, for employees to take time out of their day to clean the office. Cleaning companies have the expertise and equipment necessary to get the job done quickly and efficiently. They can also be relied on to provide consistent quality service.

Health & Safety Guidelines Are Changing Frequently

Health and safety is critical to your business uninterrupted operation, in pursuit of your revenue growth.

Commercial cleaning standards keep changing, CDC continuously update guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting, suppliers develop new cleaning and disinfectants, which EPA frequently evaluates and approves. OSHA provides guidelines and training related to occupational safety. Therefore there is a continuous need for staying abreast of updates to guidelines, time and cost of training the cleaning staff. By hiring a commercial company the update, time and cost is no longer on your books.

Higher Efficiency & Lower Cost Of Cleaning

Business owners and employees are not trained in process and efficiency of cleaning, in-fact it’s a drag, undesirable, zero motivation, and so the cleaning quality will reflect that.

Commercial cleaners have chosen the job and completed the training of professional cleaning. They have undergone training that provides them with knowledge of the most efficient cleaning process, the correct use of cleaning product and equipment, they are bound to be far more efficient and provide a better result.

Less Management Time, Payroll & Cleaner Scheduling

Achieving the desired level of quality cleaning requires management time, assessment of the need for training, necessary changes to the cleaning process, procurement of cleaning products, supplies, and equipment. Cleaners call in sick and a replacement needs to be found, and new cleaners needs to be interviewed and hired. A commercial cleaning company will handle all these processes and cost as a part of their core service.

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Disinfection Is The New Normal & Requires Training

Regular disinfection has become the new normal, and understanding the correct use of disinfectant, equipment, and disinfection process, is necessary to achieve the health and safety of your organization, so they in turn can ensure your business uninterrupted operation and revenue growth. Find a motivated and reliable commercial cleaning company that can provide a systematic process of quality cleaning and quality control, so you can focus entirely on your business.

What Is Commercial Cleaning? - An insider's look (4)

Cleaning Equipment, Supplies & Consumables

As mentioned earlier, commercial facilities are larger and the need for efficiency to keep cleaning cost low, requires equipment and cleaning machines. The equipment helps increase efficiency of the cleaning team, so they can handle larger facilities in less time, and serve more customers.

The general equipment, supplies, and consumables used by a cleaning company is:

Cleaning Equipment

  • Brute / Dolly for garbage collection
  • Vacuum cleaner (backpack vacuum)
  • Carpet cleaning machines
  • Reach and wash window cleaning equipment
  • Rotary machines high/low speed
  • Wet/dry vacuums
  • Sweeping machines
  • Scrubber dryers
  • Steam machines
  • Pressure washers


  • Duster cloths
  • Mops, brooms

Supplies & Consumables

  • Antibacterial products
  • Glass cleaner
  • Paper products: Paper towels,
  • Hand Soap: refills
  • Black bags and bin liners
  • Dishwasher tablets
  • Deep cleaning products – Acids & degreasers
  • Chemicals for use with equipment – carpet extraction machines etc
  • Graffiti removal chemicals


How do you describe commercial cleaning? ›

Commercial cleaners clean, dust, scrub, wipe and polish floors, furniture, fixtures and machinery. The also remove any rubbish from the site. Work locations are commercial, industrial or residential properties, including schools, offices, hospitals, factories, industrial facilities and construction sites.

What are the 3 types of cleaning? ›

Three Types of Cleaning
  • Regular cleaning. This usually takes around two to three hours. ...
  • Deep cleaning. More comprehensive than a regular clean. ...
  • End of tenancy cleaning.
29 Mar 2019

What is the difference between commercial and domestic cleaning? ›

A domestic cleaner specialises in home cleaning, looking after things like bathrooms, kitchens and floors. A commercial cleaner, however, specialises in cleaning businesses and workplaces.

What makes a good commercial cleaner? ›

Be experienced, trained, and able to carry out a variety of cleaning methods (dusting, vacuuming, sweeping, etc.) Keep washrooms to a high standard and well-stocked! Keep cleaning products out of sight and out of reach if necessary. Be competent and safe when using a range of different chemicals and cleaning products.

What are the duties of a cleaning lady? ›

Housekeepers are responsible for cleaning and reporting any safety hazards to the homeowner or manager in charge. They must complete tasks like vacuuming, sweeping, emptying trash cans, dusting shelves, cleaning windows, and mopping floors. Some Housekeepers change linens, wash dishes, and do light ironing and laundry.

What skills should a cleaner have? ›

Cleaner Qualifications / Skills:

Excellent communication and organizational skills. Strong interpersonal and problem-solving abilities. Highly responsible & reliable. Ability to work cohesively as part of a team.

What are the 4 categories of cleaning? ›

There are so many cleaning supplies on the market, but all formulas ultimately fall into one of four distinct categories: detergents, degreasers, abrasives, and acids.

What is the highest level of cleaning? ›

The lower the score higher the level of cleanliness.
  1. Level 1—Orderly Spotlessness indicators.
  2. Level 2—Ordinary Tidiness indicators.
  3. Level 3—Casual Inattention indicators.
  4. Level 4—Moderate Dinginess indicators.
  5. Level 5—Unkempt Neglect indicators.

What are the two main cleaning methods? ›

Cleaning is broadly achieved through mechanical action and/or solvent action; many methods rely on both processes.

Is commercial cleaning hard? ›

While it doesn't require a formal education, commercial cleaning requires a lot of training and hard manual labor that can account for the industry's high turnover rate. A lot of this can be attributed to company's inability to grasp that their staff need to feel valued and treated as hard working employees.

What is a commercial housekeeper? ›

Overview. Commercial Housekeepers clean, vacuum and mop floors, make beds, and restock mini bars and bathroom supplies in hotel and motel rooms, and other commercial premises.

What is included in domestic cleaning? ›

Domestic cleaning is a popular clean of people's homes, often every week or fortnight. It includes basic dusting of all surfaces and items, including hidden parts like ceilings and skirting boards, and then floor cleaning through the vacuum cleaner or mopping.

How do you know if you have a good cleaner? ›

They are well equipped to do the job

It's essential that your cleaner has the right equipment and products to complete their job effectively. If you're inspecting the cleaning cupboard to make sure it is clean and tidy, have a look to see if they have a variety of products and equipment.

Who is a professional cleaner? ›

A cleaning professional provides a cleaning service for a client. Their duties may be to vacuum, mop, and sweep the floor. They may also be asked to do detail-oriented work, like cleaning or polishing delicate items. A cleaning professional may work on a janitorial staff of a building or for an on-call service.

What should a cleaner do in 2 hours? ›

In two hours, a cleaner should have enough time to:
  • Mop your kitchen floor quickly.
  • Wipe your kitchen counters down.
  • Clean a small number of dishes in the sink.
  • Hoover the main floors in a house – this does not mean moving furniture around.
  • Clean a toilet.
  • Wipe the sinks/taps around your home down.
5 Nov 2021

What qualifications do cleaners need? ›

There are no set qualifications or education subjects needed for this type of work. Your employer or line manager should provide all work-related training.

What is the job title for a cleaner? ›


Typically, housekeepers are responsible for tasks like vacuuming, dusting, cleaning bathrooms, washing dishes, changing bed linens and more.

Is cleaner a skilled job? ›

Here are some examples of unskilled jobs: parking lot attendant. cleaner or janitor.

Do you need experience to be a cleaner? ›

Are qualifications needed to become a cleaner? Fortunately, you do not need any set qualifications to become a cleaner, although experience in this job is always welcomed by prospective employers. Even if you've never worked as a cleaner before, that does not mean that you won't be able to find work.

What is Type A and Type B cleaning? ›

Mentioned the type of cleaning as: Type A: Product to Product change over. Type B: Batch to Batch change over. Type C: Shift end cleaning.

What are the 8 cleaning agents? ›

The principle classes are:
  • Water.
  • Detergents.
  • Abrasives.
  • Degreasers.
  • Acid cleaners.
  • Alkalis.
  • Organic Solvents.
  • Other cleaning agents.
29 Jul 2020

What is the strongest cleaning agent? ›

Acid cleaners are the most powerful type of cleaning agent and should be used with care. If they are not diluted correctly, acid cleaners can be very poisonous and corrosive.

What is the 3 step cleaning process? ›

Three-Step Cleaning and Disinfecting Method

Step 1: CLEAN: Use soap, water and a clean cloth/brush. Scrubbing to clean. Step 2: Rinse: Use clean water and a clean cloth or place under running water. Step 3: Disinfect: Apply chemical following provided directions (strength and contact time) to the surface.

What is standard cleaning vs deep cleaning? ›

While regular cleaning is for your cleanliness upkeep, deep cleaning is a lot more extensive than your standard weekly clean. Deep cleans involve a complete rubdown and giving attention to the often neglected and hard-to-reach spots. Anything inside your home that can be reached with a stool will be hand-wiped.

What is the difference between cleaning and janitorial? ›

The key difference between janitorial cleaning and daily office cleaning services is that janitorial cleaning services are provided during working hours, whilst daily office cleaning services are provided out of hours.

What are the 7 steps of cleaning? ›

7 Step Cleaning Process
  1. Knock on Door/ Place wet floor sign outside work area.
  2. Empty trash and clean waste receptacle inside and out. ...
  3. High dust – Work counterclockwise around the room. ...
  4. Damp wipe surfaces. ...
  5. Stock supplies – soap, paper towels, toilet tissue.

What are the 5 principles of cleaning? ›

  • Principles of Cleaning. ...
  • Wash hands thoroughly and always wear appropriate personal protective equipment. ...
  • Cleaning is required before any disinfection process because. ...
  • Always clean from the cleanest to the dirtiest areas. ...
  • Do not leave the room before the cleaning is complete unless.

How do I introduce my cleaning business? ›

A cleaning business introduction letter should start with a warm greeting and a thank you to the new client for trusting you with their cleaning needs. Mention how excited you are to work with them and how much you look forward to the business relationship between you. Next, provide a bit of your company history.

How do you describe cleaning? ›

Cleaning is the process of removing unwanted substances, such as dirt, infectious agents, and other impurities, from an object or environment. Cleaning is often performed for aesthetic, hygienic, functional, environmental, or safety purposes. Cleaning occurs in many different contexts, and uses many different methods.

How do you write a job description for a cleaner? ›

Cleaner responsibilities include:

Cleaning, stocking and supplying designated facility areas (dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, cleaning ceiling vents, restroom cleaning etc) Performing and documenting routine inspection and maintenance activities. Carry out heavy cleaning tasks and special projects.

What is another word for cleaning service? ›

What is another word for cleaning services?
cleaning womanhousemaidhousekeeper
housecleanercleaning ladyhousehold help
9 more rows

How do you get clients clean fast? ›

Before you get started, there are a few things you should know about how to get clients for a cleaning business.
  1. Developing a Marketing Plan. ...
  2. Customer Referrals. ...
  3. Coupons/Discounts. ...
  4. Recycling Marketing Campaigns. ...
  5. Optimize Your Website Content. ...
  6. Social Media. ...
  7. Building a Professional Network.

How do you estimate a cleaning job? ›

Include in your bid details of the job that factored into the bid amount (tasks, size/layout and circumstances), the estimated time it will take to complete the job and the hourly charge (if charging per hour), the cleaning schedule and the total amount you will charge the customer for the cleaning job.

What is a professional cleaner called? ›

janitor. nounperson who cleans and maintains. attendant. caretaker. cleaning person.

What does a cleaner do in 2 hours? ›

Generally, they should be able to do some basic hoovering, cleaning down worktops and cleaning a toilet in a two hour period, at a minimum. The important point to remember is that you should always try and make the most out of a two-hour-long cleaning session.

How can I make my cleaning business unique? ›

I will cover a variety of section, such as:
  1. Make your cleaning business stand out with great ideas and digital marketing.
  2. Get your cleaning business online.
  3. Optimize your website.
  4. Usage of software to stay organized.
  5. Form a professional staff.
  6. Locate an interesting & specific niche.
3 Aug 2020

What are duties of professional Cleaner? ›

The Cleaner will be responsible for keeping buildings in clean and orderly condition, and will perform heavy cleaning duties, such as cleaning floors, shampooing rugs, cleaning and stocking restrooms, washing walls, glass and upholstered furniture, and removing rubbish.

What's the difference between a Cleaner and a housekeeper? ›

Housekeeping and cleaning explained

The main distinction between housekeeping and cleaning is that cleaning services focus on just that: improving an area's cleanliness, whereas housekeeping also includes tidying up and making a space look inviting and 'on brand'.

What is a good cleaning slogan? ›

If you are also an owner of a home cleaning company, try using these slogans to get more attention from these people. Leave no mess behind. Your construction mess is our worry. Cleaning experts at your doorstep.

What do you call a cleaning lady? ›

A domestic or household servant. maid. housemaid. maidservant. chambermaid.

What are other names for a cleaning? ›

synonyms for cleaning
  • purification.
  • sanitation.
  • sterilization.
  • washing.
  • ablution.
  • antisepsis.
  • brushing.
  • catharsis.


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