Janitors and building cleaners keep many types of buildings clean, orderly, and in good condition.
Janitors and building cleaners typically do the following:
- Gather and empty trash
- Sweep, mop, or vacuum building floors
- Clean restrooms and stock them with supplies
- Lock doors to secure buildings
- Clean spills and other hazards with appropriate equipment
- Wash windows, walls, and glass
- Order cleaning supplies
- Make minor building repairs
- Notify managers when a building needs major repairs
Janitors and building cleaners keep office buildings, schools, hospitals, retail stores, hotels, and other places clean, sanitary, and in good condition. Some only clean, while others have a wide range of duties.
In addition to keeping the inside of buildings clean and orderly, some janitors and building cleaners work outdoors, mowing lawns, sweeping walkways, and removing snow. Some workers also monitor the building’s heating and cooling system, ensuring that it functions properly.
Janitors and building cleaners use many tools and equipment. Simple cleaning tools may include mops, brooms, rakes, and shovels. Other tools may include snowblowers, floor buffers, and carpet extraction equipment.
Some janitors are responsible for repairing minor electrical or plumbing problems, such as leaky faucets.
The following are examples of types of janitors and building cleaners:
Building superintendents are responsible for maintaining residential buildings, such as apartments and condominiums. Although their duties are similar to those of other janitors, some building superintendents also help collect rent and show vacancies to potential tenants.
Custodians are janitors or cleaning workers who typically maintain institutional facilities, such as public schools and hospitals.
Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Formal education is not required.
Janitors and building cleaners do not need any formal educational credential. However, high school courses in shop can be helpful for jobs involving repair work.
Most janitors and building cleaners learn on the job. Beginners typically work with a more experienced janitor, learning how to use and maintain equipment such as vacuums, floor buffers, and other tools. On the job, they also learn how to repair minor electrical and plumbing problems.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Although not required, certification is available through the Building Service Contractors Association International, the International Executive Housekeepers Association, and ISSA—The International Sanitary Supply Association. Certification can demonstrate competence and may make applicants more appealing to employers.
Interpersonal skills. Janitors and building cleaners should get along well with their supervisors, other cleaners, and the people who live or work in the buildings they clean.
Mechanical skills. Janitors and building cleaners should understand general building operations. They should be able to make routine repairs, such as repairing leaky faucets.
Physical stamina. Janitors and building cleaners spend most of their workday on their feet, operating cleaning equipment and lifting and moving supplies or tools. As a result, they should have good physical stamina.
Physical strength. Janitors and building cleaners often must lift and move cleaning materials and heavy equipment. Cases of liquid cleaner and trash receptacles, for example, can be very heavy, so workers should be strong enough to lift them without injuring their back.
Time-management skills. Janitors and building cleaners should be able to plan and complete tasks in a timely manner.