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Window Cleaner

Kaihoroi Matapihi

Alternative titles for this job

Window cleaners clean windows and other glass in shops, schools, offices, hospitals and homes.


New window cleaners usually earn

$23 per hour

Skilled and specialist window cleaners usually earn

$23-$35 per hour

Source: research, 2019.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a window cleaner are good due to a shortage of workers.


Pay for window cleaners varies depending on skills, experience and qualifications.

  • New window cleaners usually earn between minimum wage and a little more.
  • Skilled, experienced cleaners can earn up to $25 per hour.
  • Specialist window cleaners who use abseiling equipment on high-rise buildings usually earn between $25 and $35 an hour, or more for complex jobs.

Source: research, 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Window cleaners may do some or all of the following:

  • set up cleaning equipment
  • clean and dry windows and frames
  • look after cleaning equipment
  • record their work.

Window cleaners who clean windows on tall buildings also set up ropes, scaffolding or work platforms.

Some window cleaners also do general cleaning.

Skills and knowledge

Window cleaners need to have:

  • cleaning skills
  • knowledge of safety procedures.

Those who clean windows of tall buildings need skills in working with ropes and setting up scaffolding.

Depending where they work, window cleaners may also need to know how to use eco-friendly cleaning systems and products.

Working conditions

Window cleaners:

  • may work regular business hours, or evenings, nights or weekends 
  • work inside and outside buildings such as shops, offices, houses and hospitals
  • work in conditions that can be cold and wet. Some work high above the ground on tall buildings, using ropes or work platforms.

Entry requirements

There are no specific requirements to become a window cleaner as you gain skills on the job.

High-rise window cleaners often qualify while working

Employers of high-rise window cleaners often take on trainees who work while earning relevant qualifications such as:

  • the New Zealand Certificate in Industrial Rope Access (Level 3 or 4)
  • Industrial Rope Access Association of New Zealand courses (Levels 1, 2 and 3).

Depending where trainees work, they may also attend courses on working safely at heights or on elevated platforms.

 A Site Safe course, such as the Foundation Passport – Building Construction or the Passport Plus – Height, can also be helpful.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a window cleaner.

Personal requirements

Window cleaners need to be:

  • reliable and motivated
  • careful and accurate, with an eye for detail
  • quick and efficient
  • able to follow instructions.

Useful experience

Useful experience for window cleaners includes:

  • work as a cleaner, scaffolder or car groomer
  • work in construction
  • experience with heights, including abseiling, for window cleaners working at heights.

Physical requirements

Window cleaners need to be physically fit as they spend long periods on their feet.

Those who work on the outside of tall buildings need to be comfortable working at heights.

Find out more about training

Industrial Rope Access Association of New Zealand (IRAANZ)
04 5898081 - - 
Site Safe
0800 SITE SAFE (748 372) - -
Skills Industry Training Organisation
0508 754 557 -
Check out related courses

What are the chances of getting a job?

Strong demand for window cleaners

Demand for window cleaners is high due to a shortage of workers.

The shortage is caused by:

  • high staff turnover, especially in night-shift roles
  • low numbers of job applicants, partly due to the work being physically difficult.

According to the Census, 612 window cleaners worked in New Zealand in 2018.

High-rise window cleaners in particular demand

Companies specialising in high-rise buildings often struggle to find window cleaners with rigging qualifications or abseiling experience.

As a result, employers often need to take on trainee high-rise window cleaners and help them to gain relevant qualifications.

Opportunities are seasonal

Demand for window cleaners is usually higher in summer (when it’s dry) than in winter.

Most window cleaners work for cleaning companies

Window cleaners usually work for cleaning companies with five to 30 staff.

Some window cleaners are self-employed.


  • McBride, S, chief executive officer, Building Service Contractors of NZ Inc, interview, November 2019.
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Window cleaners may progress to run their own businesses, or work as managers.

Window cleaners may specialise in cleaning tall buildings, or in eco-friendly cleaning without chemicals.

A woman uses a blade to clean soap off a window in an office

Window cleaners may clean inside and outside windows

Last updated 4 January 2024