What’s the Difference Between Commercial and Domestic Cleaning?

Cleanworks outlines the various differences between commercial and domestic cleaning.

First Published: February 15th, 2022 Updated: June 28th, 2023

Commercial and domestic cleaners are often lumped together in the same category, but the truth is that they have completely different job roles and areas of expertise.  

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. 

Three main areas differentiate a commercial cleaner from a domestic cleaner: Commercial cleaning equipment, industry specialisation and business experience.

Commercial cleaning equipment

Commercial cleaners often use specialist equipment that a domestic cleaner wouldnt generally use or supply.  This is because the size of most workplaces is much larger than a standard home, and most homes wouldnt warrant the use of commercial, industrial-sized equipment.

At Cleanworks, for example, the size and need of most homes wouldnt justify using the industrial-sized carpet cleaners or grout steam cleaners that we use for the large floor surfaces in many workplaces.  While some domestic cleaners might offer these as optional extras, commercial cleaners use these regularly and invest in the best quality machines that we rely heavily on. 

Cleaning the outsides of high windows is another example of this.  Outdoor window cleaning at heights is an area of cleaning that requires equipment and training that a domestic cleaner does not usually offer.  Not all commercial cleaners offer cleaning outdoor windows either – but a good commercial cleaner, like Cleanworks, will have the right cleaning options available.  The options we offer, for example, include:

  • Water-fed poles – this involves specialist equipment that, as the name suggests, uses a long pole with water and cleaning attachments that allow the cleaners to stay on the ground and clean windows up to 12m high.  
  • Abseiling – We can clean outdoor windows by abseiling from anchor points (that we can also install) from 5-100 storeys high, using qualified experts and equipment.
  • Elevated Work Platforms – using different equipment from abseiling, this is an alternate way of approaching windows at a great height, anywhere from 5-100 storeys high.
cleaner cleaning office

Industry Specialisation

When you hear that a commercial cleaner cleans businesses and workplaces, its very common for you to instantly think of an office or retail shop front.  While that is a large part of what commercial cleaners do, the main thing that makes them stand out from domestic cleaners is the way they specialise in various industries that have particular cleaning requirements and standards. 

Places like schools, childcare centres, health care settings, industrial warehouses, and aged care providers all have extremely different cleaning and safety needs that commercial cleaners specialise in, beyond the home cleaning services of a regular domestic cleaner. 

Here are just a few examples of some industries that commercial cleaners have specialist skills and equipment for:


  • Whether for storage or production, domestic cleaners do not usually have the understanding or equipment to clean these areas.  Large floor plans, high ceilings and often poor circulation can lead to tremendous amounts of dust, requiring both the understanding of how to tackle the cleaning process and the equipment to do so efficiently.
  • Warehouses can often be busy places too, and a commercial cleaner that is used to being flexible and working around business hours or operations will be much more adaptable and used to working in this kind of environment. Our Cleanworks cleaners, for example, have cleaned large businesses like BP, Bluescope Steel and Toll Group for years, and our cleaners know how to work safely in busy areas like warehouses with small vehicles in regular use or large safety-regulated operations underway. 


  • Schools are particularly unique in their cleaning needs as they have large and varied departments (eg. a library versus a science lab), with extremely high levels of use and traffic throughout the day. 
  • School cleaning involves lots of tasks a domestic cleaner would rarely if ever, face in a home setting.  This includes tasks like vinyl floor stripping and resealing, graffiti removal and cleaning windows at heights, that commercial school cleaners are accustomed to doing regularly.
  • Some commercial cleaners, like us, also offer auditing and accreditation through the 5-Star Healthy Schools Programme to ensure the safety standards for children are met.

Health care centres

  • Whether it’s a GP, physiotherapist or dentist, each healthcare facility has its own particular cleaning needs that go far beyond the scope of home cleaning by a domestic cleaner. A commercial cleaner with experience in healthcare settings will have specialist knowledge and equipment to clean areas properly following the right criteria and protocols.  Not only is it important for areas to be cleaned correctly due to germs and sickness that can easily spread in healthcare settings, but also for safety. Commercial cleaners use the right specialised cleaning chemicals and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to get the job done. 
cleaner cleaning a computer mouse

Business Experience

Commercial cleaners understand how businesses work and know how best to work around them.  Thats not to say that domestic cleaners arent flexible – but the needs of a homeowner and the needs of a business vary greatly.  

Commercial cleaners are used to cleaning at unconventional times to work outside of business hours; working around events and operations to ensure that the right processes happen at the right time, without getting in the way of business.  

An experienced commercial cleaner will also have an understanding of the various and competing needs and values of a business.  For example, at Cleanworks we understand that childcare centres require stringent cleaning protocols, but also often have limited budgets and require a thorough but frugal job to meet both their safety needs and budgetary limitations.  Schools similarly can struggle with the need to keep children safe, and appeasing parents that want to see their school looking presentable while having constant use of areas that can make it difficult to maintain cleanliness.  Effective commercial cleaners can be sympathetic to struggles like these and help find the best solutions for each business.  

At Cleanworks, we are commercial cleaners that uphold high standards of quality with many years of commercial cleaning experience.  For over 19 years we have serviced commercial businesses all over the country, in areas like Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Newcastle and Toowoomba. We know what businesses are looking for and what they are expecting from their commercial cleaners to get the job done.  We offer a reliable, award-winning commercial cleaning service and are passionate about providing cleaning solutions to businesses that are uncompromising in quality and are flexible and customisable around their unique needs.

Contact Cleanworks for reliable commercial cleaning services!​

If you need a reliable commercial cleaner or would like to know more about the services we offer, contact our friendly team today.
Call us on 1300 609 419 or send us an enquiry.


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