How to Become a Domestic Cleaner in 6 Steps (Plus Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 19 June 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A domestic cleaner is an individual who cleans and tidies residential properties, such as houses and flats. The profession can be rewarding in terms of the variety of work settings and client relationships it provides. If you're interested in pursuing a career as a domestic cleaner, it's important to understand what the job entails and how to optimise your candidacy for available positions. In this article, we provide a step-by-step guide to becoming a domestic cleaner, examine common duties and work environments of the job, look at how much you could earn and discuss the job outlook for this profession.

How to become a domestic cleaner

Here's a guide showing you how to become a domestic cleaner:

1. Determine your requirements

Before you begin pursuing domestic cleaner positions, consider what conditions you'd require from your potential employer. For example, since most domestic cleaners work part-time, it would be advisable to calculate the minimum number of work hours necessary for you to sustain your lifestyle. You may also want to consider whether you'd be willing to provide some, or all, of your own cleaning supplies. Understanding your preferences on such matters can help you focus your job search when you start looking for available domestic cleaning positions.

Related: The Essential Guide to Working Part-Time Hours

2. Complete your education

Though there are usually no formal education requirements to become a domestic cleaner, it's important to complete at least your compulsory education. Doing so not only demonstrates that you have an adequate level of diligence but also prepares you to pursue VET qualifications. As you complete your education, you might also consider seeking or devising opportunities to gain cleaning experience, such as by offering your services to neighbours.

Related: Year 10 Work Experience Ideas (With Tips)

3. Obtain a relevant qualification

Obtaining a qualification can greatly improve your chances of getting a domestic cleaning job that pays well and ensures steady working hours. Consider the following certification options:

Certificate I and II in asset maintenance

A Certificate I in asset maintenance prepares you for work in the cleaning industry. The asset maintenance training package covers topics such as:

  • legislative and company requirements

  • industry information

  • future learning opportunities

  • adherence to work instructions

  • basic cleaning activities

  • selection of correct equipment, substances and techniques to perform cleaning activities safely and appropriately

  • application of company procedures and policies

  • verbal, nonverbal and written communication

Upon completion of the training package, you'd be capable of working effectively as a domestic cleaner under supervision and also of interacting appropriately with your clients and colleagues. The communication techniques the program introduces can also be useful when you work with, or for, individuals with different cultural backgrounds. Certificate II covers topics that train you to become a more independent domestic cleaner. In addition to units of competency concerning the maintenance and cleaning of various surfaces, the training package addresses areas such as first aid, infection control policies and the restoration of hard-floor surfaces.

Certificate III in cleaning operations

Certificate III equips you with knowledge to be a qualified operator in your field and to pursue higher-level skills. The training package covers much of the same material as Certificates I and II in asset maintenance while also delivering training in advanced topics. Some of the units of competency that relate to domestic cleaning are:

  • Working as part of a team: identifying individual tasks, contributing to team goals and working and communicating effectively with team members

  • Working with diverse groups of people: understanding the value of inclusiveness, promoting understanding and expressing respect for diversity in your communication

  • Restoring water-damaged components: assessing water damage, performing activities for water mitigation and gauging the outcomes of such activities

  • Cleaning and maintaining amenities: preparatory activities, cleaning fittings and surfaces, replenishing consumables, disposing of personal protective equipment and tidying your work area

  • Identifying and controlling hazardous chemicals: understanding laws concerning the handling and disposal of such chemicals, using identification techniques to identify hazards, conveying information about them and creating reports

  • Treating carpet stains: identifying cleaning requirements and pre-existing damage, recognising stain types, discussing the likelihood of successful stain removal with the client, performing a patch test, pre-cleaning, testing for the success of the stain removal method, finalising the stain removal and completing tidying and disposal activities

Related: What Does a Commercial Cleaner Do? (Duties And Skills)

4. Ensure you have a valid driver's licence

If you want to become a domestic cleaner, a driver's licence is essential. When an agency hires you, you may be responsible for getting yourself to the homes of your scheduled clients. It would be possible to keep to your schedule through public transport, but a personal vehicle ensures greater reliability, particularly if you live outside of the major urban centres. Moreover, most agencies that hire domestic cleaners require candidates to possess a valid driver's licence.

5. Search for positions that match your criteria

When you're ready to start applying for open positions, go online to find opportunities that meet the criteria you've set for yourself. Job search sites commonly allow you to filter your results by location, job type, salary estimates and education level. Use these filters to simplify the job search. Also, try to use various search terms to maximise the potential hits you get. 'House cleaner', for example, is synonymous with 'domestic cleaner'.

Related: 11 Steps for Applying for a Job Online Successfully

6. Complete a national police check

When an employer wants to hire you, they're likely to ask for the completion of a national police check. This is a common requirement for domestic cleaners. The Australian Federal Police have transitioned to digital police checks, whereby they deliver a PDF file of your check to a specified email address. Applicants requiring hard copies can opt to receive those as well. Consult the Australian Federal Police page on national police checks for more information.

Common duties of domestic cleaners

The chief objective of a domestic cleaner is to satisfy the specifications of individual clients regarding the cleanliness of their residence. To that end, domestic cleaners commonly perform some or all of the following duties:

  • brushing and vacuum-cleaning cloth-based surfaces, such as carpeted floors, curtains and upholstery

  • sweeping or vacuum-cleaning hard surfaces, including hardwood, concrete, tile and vinyl

  • mopping and waxing hardwood or tile floors

  • gathering and disposing of refuse

  • handling recyclables as specified

  • arranging cluttered rooms

  • scrubbing and disinfecting high-germ areas such as bathroom and kitchen surfaces

  • dusting and polishing household effects

  • cleaning glass surfaces

  • washing and putting away cookware, dishes and utensils

  • addressing pet waste areas, if applicable

Related: What Does a Cleaner Do? (Including Required Skills)

Work environments for domestic cleaners

Domestic cleaners primarily work in the homes of their various clients. Self-employed cleaners may operate their business from their home, while cleaners working for an agency may have cleaning schedules that their supervisor assigns to them. According to the National Skills Commission, the areas of the highest employment among domestic cleaners are New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.

In terms of work conditions, the National Skills Commission reports that about 16% of domestic cleaners work full-time, averaging 43 hours per week. The job requires long hours of standing and a significant amount of time bending the body and performing repetitive motions. Domestic cleaners commonly wear protective gear such as masks, gloves and aprons to keep chemical solutions away from the body.

Average salary for domestic cleaners

The national average salary for domestic cleaners is $59,632 per year. Various factors may influence your specific earning potential in this profession. One such factor is your location, as certain cleaners in certain cities command higher wages than those in others. For example, in Clayton, Victoria, domestic cleaners have an average salary of $74,498 per year, which is almost 25% higher than the national average. Your level of experience may also make a difference, as senior-level cleaners tend to earn more than their entry-level counterparts.

Job outlook for domestic cleaners

The National Skills Commission predicts a 6.3% growth in employment among domestic cleaners from 2022 to 2026. In terms of numbers, that means an additional 2,200 availabilities across five years. The Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business devised a five-point classification system that suggests the growth rate for domestic cleaners qualifies as stable.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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