Overall employment of cleaning workers is expected to grow as fast as average
for all occupations, as more office complexes, apartment houses, schools,
factories, hospitals, and other buildings requiring cleaning are built to
accommodate a growing population and economy.
As many firms reduce costs by contracting out the cleaning and maintenance of
buildings, businesses providing cleaning services on a contract basis are
expected to have the greatest number of new jobs in this field. Although there
have been some improvements in productivity in the way buildings are cleaned and
maintained--using teams of cleaners, for example, and better cleaning supplies -
cleaning still is very much a labor-intensive job.
Much of the growth in these occupations will come from cleaning residential
properties. As families become more pressed for time, they increasingly are
hiring cleaning and handyman services to perform a variety of tasks in their
homes. Also, as the population ages, older people will need to hire cleaners to
help maintain their houses.
In addition, housekeeping cleaners will be needed to clean the growing number of
residential care facilities for the elderly. These facilities, including assisted-living
residences, generally provide housekeeping services as part of the rent.
Housekeeping cleaners perform any combination of light cleaning duties to
keep private households or commercial establishments such as hotels,
restaurants, hospitals, and nursing homes clean and orderly. In hotels, aside
from cleaning and maintaining the premises, maids and housekeeping cleaners may
deliver ironing boards, cribs, and rollaway beds to guests' rooms. In hospitals,
they also may wash bed frames, brush mattresses, make beds, and disinfect and
sterilize equipment and supplies with germicides and sterilizing equipment.
Cleaners use many kinds of equipment, tools, and cleaning materials. For one
job they may need standard cleaning implements; another may require a special
cleaning solution. Improved building materials, chemical cleaners, and power
equipment have made many tasks easier and less time consuming, but cleaning
workers must learn the proper use of equipment and cleaners to avoid harming
floors, fixtures, and themselves.
Cleaners and servants in private households dust and polish furniture;
sweep, mop, and wax floors; vacuum; and clean ovens, refrigerators, and
bathrooms. They also may wash dishes, polish silver, and change and make beds.
Some wash, fold, and iron clothes; a few wash windows. General house workers
also may take clothes and laundry to the cleaners, buys groceries, and performs
many other errands.
Building cleaning workers in large office and residential buildings, and more
recently in large hotels, often work in teams consisting of workers who specialize
in vacuuming, picking up trash, and cleaning restrooms, among other things.
Supervisors conduct inspections to ensure that the building is cleaned properly
and the team is functioning efficiently. In hotels, one member of the team is
responsible for reporting electronically to the supervisor when rooms are cleaned.