Is Cleaning a Skill? Here’s The Truth

Cleaning is not an activity that many people enjoy but, for some, it’s a practical pastime and stress reliever. If you have even given your home a thorough clean, you’ll know that cleaning involves more than what meets the eye. So, is cleaning a skill?

Cleaning is a skill that requires an in-depth understanding of chemistry, mechanics, and time management. To be skilled at cleaning, you also need to have a basic level of physical fitness. 

In this article, you’ll learn why cleaning is a skill, how to compose a cleaner’s resume, and what skills employers look for in cleaners. I’ll also explore what makes cleaning a skill rather than a talent. Let’s dive right in! 

Is Cleaning a Skill?

Cleaning is widely considered to be a menial job, and many people assume that it requires little to no mastery. However, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth because effective cleaning requires the person to master various skills

Below are some of the key competencies proving that cleaning is a skill


Efficient cleaning requires an intimate knowledge of various cleaning equipment, mainly detergents and chemical cleaning agents.

Cleaners mix and match detergents regularly based on the desired effect, and understanding the necessary quantities is paramount to the job. To use cleaning chemicals effectively, cleaners must have a deep understanding of the qualities of the various detergents and what they mean for the current task.

For example, the chemical cocktail you would need to clean a hardwood floor varies from the one you’d need to get its marble counterpart spick and span. Stains also differ and call upon different chemical interventions to remove them successfully.

Having chemistry competencies isn’t just vital to make rooms look spotlessly clean, it is also crucial for environmental conservation and safety. If an incorrectly-mixed concoction of chemicals is used to clean, and then flushed down the drain, it can have a harmful effect on the environment. Cleaners are also responsible for disposing of water marred with grime and cleaning products in an environmentally-friendly way.

Furthermore, understanding the effect cleaning products leave contributes to the safety of the people using those spaces. For instance, leaving potent bleach fumes lingering in the air can lead to vulnerable people developing various respiratory and cardiac complications.

A Basic Knowledge of Mechanical Engineering and Physics

Cleaning is one of those skills that has numerous others under its umbrella. Professional cleaning requires a basic knowledge of mechanical engineering and physics. 

An example of how this applies practically to cleaning is understanding how to apply the correct pressure to surfaces. Skilled cleaners know that different cleaning products have various levels of abrasiveness and that care should be taken when using abrasive products on certain surfaces. 

Having an understanding of physics would apply to a cleaner understanding which vacuum attachment to use for hard-to-reach places. Check out this article which explains more about this topic.

Time Management

It can be challenging to imagine the high-intensity environment that cleaners often find themselves in, but I’ll try to paint you a picture.

You’re a janitor at a school. As you mop the hallway, you get a call from a teacher in an upstairs classroom asking for help moving files to the library. The kids are just about to start streaming through the doors. What should you do?

Being a cleaner involves having many tasks to complete within a narrow timeframe. To be effective at completing your work while not inconveniencing other cleaners on your team, you need great time management skills.

Unlike the previous skills we explored, this skill can’t be taught in educational settings; you have to have a knack for it and fine-tune it on the job.

Effective time management involves taking stock of all the activities that need your attention during your shift. Which are the most urgent? Which ones require the most from you in terms of time and attention? What’s the best order in which to complete them?

Developing this plan may seem like second nature, but it requires intentional practice and forethought.

Physical Fitness

Cleaning keeps you on your feet for long periods. This undervalued aspect of a cleaner’s job can be easy to overlook until you do a deep clean of your home. 

If a cleaner is physically fit, they’ll have more stamina, and be able to perform their tasks efficiently and within an acceptable time frame.

Is Cleaning a Talent or Skill? 

If you love cleaning, you’d be well within your rights to wonder if it’s a talent or a skill.

Cleaning is a skill and not a talent. We infer this from the definitions of the two words. Talent is an inborn aptitude to do something excellently, whereas skill is a competency learned with consistent practice. The only way to become good at cleaning is to work at it, which makes it a skill. 

How Do You List Cleaning Skills on a Resume?

An impressive resume is your best chance at standing out from the sea of other cleaners in the job market. You should know which skills to list to highlight your strengths.

To list cleaning skills on a resume, start with your most significant achievements at previous jobs. Think about which cleaning skills you excel at, and then list them in order of importance.

Cleaning skills for a resume could include the following: 

  • In-depth knowledge of cleaning materials
  • Well-versed in various cleaning techniques
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Loyal and reliable

Formatting a resume can be an intimidating task, particularly for first-timers. Fortunately, Zety offers a practical guide on writing a resume for cleaner roles.

What Skills Are Required When Applying for a Cleaning Job?

A cleaner’s job demands a wide array of skills to ensure they perform at a high level throughout their shifts.

The skills that are required when applying for a cleaning job include attention to detail, familiarity with various cleaning products, and the ability to handle cleaning equipment like vacuum cleaners. Numeracy skills are vital so cleaners can accurately measure the cleaning products.  


I hope you’ve gained a new-found appreciation for cleaners because of the skills they use to keep our spaces tidy. And if you’re a cleaner looking to advance your career, I’ve listed some relevant skills employers find attractive. If you hone them and get meaningful experience, you’ll be a shoo-in for the cleaning job of your dreams.