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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A janitor or custodian (called caretaker in English English, see American and British English differences) is a person who takes care of a building, such as a school, office building, or apartment block. Janitors are responsible primarily for cleaning, and often (though not always) some maintenance and security. Similar but more managerial duties (and usually not including cleaning, for example) are performed by a superintendent, often called building superintendent.



Also referred to as a cleaning technician, they may also be required to receive training and licensing in various fields (e.g., Hazmat, CPR, Boiler Operations, etc.), depending on their employer and the specific nature of their job. In these respects a custodian may be considered to be different from a janitor.) In some settings janitors are called housekeepers or housekeeping staff and in others they are referred to as maintenance or maintenance staff. Institutions have also come up with a number of politically correct alternative job titles, including:

  • Custodial Services Supervisor
  • Custodial technician
  • Sanitation supervisor
  • Domestic engineer
  • Guest Service Associate (G.S.A.)
  • Environmental Services Associate
  • Environmental Superintendent

Occupational tasks

Typical janitor duties often consist of the following tasks:


Cleaning is one of the most commonly outsourced services. Some of the reasons for this include:

  • Basic cleaning tasks are standardised, with little variation among different enterprises.
  • The nature of the job and required standard of performance can be clearly defined and specified in a contract, unlike more technical or professional jobs for which such specification is harder to develop.
  • Many organizations which predominantly employ higher paid workers feel uncomfortable dealing with labour relations with low paid employees; by outsourcing, these labour relations issues are transferred to a contractor whose staff are comfortable and experienced in dealing with these issues, and their approach can benefit from economies of scale.
  • If a cleaner is unavailable due to sickness or leave, a contractor which employs many cleaners can easily assign a substitute. A small organisation which employs one or a few cleaners directly will have much more trouble with this.

See also


Simple English

A janitor is someone who takes away garbage and cleans surfaces. Janitors often repair things,and maintain their equipment in good working order, as well as dusting, washing, waxing and polishing. "Heavy" duty janitors often move furniture, large containers of recycled materials and waste, and other objects, and operate large buffers and other weighty equipment. "Light" duty janitors clean chalk boards, windows, shelves, desks, light fixtures, and ledges. Some duties, like using a vacuum cleaner, can be done by either "light" or "heavy" duty janitors. Janitors can clean offices, staircases, kitchens, washrooms, hallways, sidewalks, elevators, escalators, and other areas. Janitors can specialize by washing windows, or by cleaning carpets, hospitals, food processing plants, or construction sites. Janitors who discover seriously damaged surfaces and equipment on their sites can notify specialists, like plumbers and carpenters, about the need for professional repairs. Cleaners are also alert for security problems, like vandalism, signs of theft (forced windows or doors, missing computers or stock), blocked fire escape routes, malfunctioning lights or alarm systems, or trespassers. When these occur, the cleaners promptly notify their sites' Security Officers and Site Supervisors. Janitors know how to keep themselves and their sites safe, by immediately removing hazards like broken class, spilled fluids, and waste from kitchens and washrooms, and by checking hand rails, floor mats, stairs, automated doors, escalators, elevators, intercoms, and plumbing.

There are many functions that a janitor performs...,and many activities that they perform without being totally defined as the above definitions. This being the industry is not as well we might think. Several other occupations can also be intermingled with the industry, and functions/activities that they perform, including security, and small repairs...the training may include various other functions that do not seem to be part of the janitorial industry as well but they are in some small respect...they include a maintenance function.


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