Cleaners kick ass. Give them a high five for me!

I'd like to call on a moment of respect for all the hardworking cleaners out there. 

My newfound appreciation stems from the experience I've had working as a cleaner in the past couple of months. My parents recently bought a cleaning business and I've had to kiss goodbye a fair few days in order to help them clean out entire houses, and to help maintain a contract with a huge three-part caravan park, cleaning three sets of bathrooms and 3-7 park homes everyday.

Today we worked on the latter, and let me tell you, I am knackered. 

Bleaching and scrubbing toilets, wiping filthy mirrors and sinks, and getting stubborn marks off walls are just a few examples of what these jobs involve.
The worst part is the unmentionable states of some of the toilets I come across - and not only in the men's toilets, interestingly enough. 

I have to admit, back before this business happened, I believed a cleaner was a lazy person who chose not to study and instead ended up scrubbing toilets for a living. I thought it was easy, simple, like a job at Maccas. Wrong. The jobs that we have to do actually require a whole lot of dedication. You can zone out a little and let your mind rest, but your body is constantly mopping, scrubbing, and sweeping, and your muscles soon cry out for a break! But you have to be time-efficient. In the caravan park, for example, each of the toilet blocks are scheduled at a specific time in which no one is allowed to shower, so you can't be late, or else people get grumpy. 

The other week... and I'm going to be real pleasant here... Tom and I were approached by the park owner who told us that there had been an outbreak of gastro in one of the park areas. He requested that we use a strong eucalyptus disinfectant and go over absolutely EVERYTHING, taking an extra two hours on top of the usual time the job takes. Needless to say, I barely let myself breathe in while dealing with those toilets.

I've helped work on public holidays - including Australia Day, and Easter - to save Mum having to pay other workers $50 an hour. While people are barbequing by day, I'm in there wiping away their greasy marks. When people spend their nights vomiting out all the celebratory alcohol.... yeah enough said hey.

It all sounds horrible, but actually, sometimes I have fun. On one occasion, my stepdad Ondy, made me laugh by casually stating something along the lines of, 'I feel really good about this. Here we are, on a public holiday, and we're wiping away diseases. People won't get aids and other things because of us. Cleaners! Saving the world, one toilet at a time!'
"Cleaners!", I yelled, punching my cleaning rag into the air.

So I just wanted to say, next time you see those daggy looking people wheeling a trolley full of cleaning gear, and you feel like ignoring them, don't. Smile, look them in the eyes, and don't hesitate to thank them for keeping the place clean. They work damn hard to keep your hygiene standards satisfied, and I think they deserve a good high five for their efforts. 
Go cleaners!



  1. Well said Zannia! It's been quite an eye-opener to work as a cleaner. All of a sudden our university degrees and years of experience in education, management and community/economic development mean nothing. We are now treated by some people as inferior and worthy of neither courtesy nor respect. It's interesting. Might write my thesis on the subject....

  2. Hi Zann,its your dad.
    M started this reply but had to run off to get across the bridge before they close it for the day.Does this mean that you,ll now clean your bathroom when you come back home? Hmmmm..I am also wondering if that is a brand new toiletbrush in your mouth???? I do believe that you will have an appreciative readership out there ,starting with those lovely people who have cleaned my art rooms over the past 35 years. I have always appreciated their hard work and often took the time to explain to students that it was not ok to be careless with their mess because " we have cleaners to do that ". Many of the cleaners that I have had, have been people who had rich life experiences and were always interesting to talk to. They had opinions, ideas and ambitions and I always looked foward to hearing their take on things. There were many nights where we would loose ourselves in a wonderfull exchange about all manner of subjects. Love, Art, Religion, Family, Wellfare.Immigration,Enviroment, Holidays,Distrbution of wealth, Racism, Sexism and every other ism you can think of. All this while they quietly went about their work,cleaning beig gratefull for small considerations which saved them time like finding that the students had put the stools up and picked up all their cuttings from their collage session etc. I know that all the pensioners who have returned to the workforce as cleaners ,and they are out there in the thousands will appreciate a young persons respect for the work that they do. You have a choice but in many situations they dont. If your blog helps to make users of 'clean facilities' appreciate that a fellow human being persevered to make it so, then you have contributed both to the cleaners who will feel apreciated and to the users who will now have a greater awareness and appreciation of their surroundings. Win,win, with the biggest gain having being made by you. I can feel a great literary work coming on. Carl Marx move over.. Love your work.

    1. Hey Dad!
      Thanks for your insightful comment showing that people like you do appreciate the cleaners, that's lovely to hear. :D I'm sure you brightened up their days by talking to them.
      I often think of Baba - one of the pensioners returning to the cleaning force - doing her hardwork in the cafés and such, so I think that image of a bubbly and intelligent person being responsible for clean environments will always stick with me.
      I'd love to think that I'm helping open people's eyes and hearts with my writing. Pretty much all I'll set out to achieve with my future career.
      Haha Carl Marx.
      Thanks :) xx


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