Skin symptoms on the hands were studied in questionnaire-based studies conducted in 1989 and 1991 among female cleaners employed at Danish nursing homes, schools and offices. A total of 1166 participated in 1989, and 1011 of them participated in 1991. The average age was 45 years and the average of seniority was 10 years. 1/5 of the cleaners reported problems with cleaning agents. A total of 81% had wet hands more than 1/4 of their working hours. A total of 43% reported having at least 1 out of 4 skin symptoms during a 1-year period. Among them, 70% reported improvement during weekends and holidays. A positive correlation was found between hours per week spent with wet hands and skin symptoms. During the 2-year follow-up period, the risk of developing skin symptoms was higher in the group that remained cleaners than in the group that left their cleaning jobs. Accordingly, the prognosis was better in the group that left their cleaning jobs compared to the group that remained cleaners. Retirement occurred more often among cleaners with skin symptoms than among the others. There is a future need to develop and implement new work organisation and cleaning methods to reduce the time spent with wet hands.