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What Does a Janitor Do?

Janitors perform common maintenance and cleaning duties at a business or institution.
Janitorial staff may maintain boilers and plumbing systems.
General groundskeeping tasks are often performed by janitors.
Janitors are charged with cleaning a property.
Janitors perform tasks including vacuuming carpets and sweeping floors.
Janitors clean toilets, and sometimes be able to repair or replace broken ones.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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Janitors are individuals who manage the cleaning process in private businesses and public buildings. One may find work with a private company, as part of the support team of an office building, or as an employee of a public service system. While the work does not generally require any level of higher education, it is not unusual to find people who occupy supervisory roles within the janitorial profession to have at least some college experience.

The general responsibilities of most janitor positions involve routine cleaning tasks, like removing trash from waste cans in offices, vacuuming carpets, sweeping floors, and in general keeping the space in an orderly fashion. In many cases, this person may also handle climate control functions with the building as well. This may include keeping a furnace in proper working order, handling the function of thermostats, or keeping a boiler system in proper repair. Some are also troubleshoots plumbing issues, handling maintenance tasks with hot and cold running water, replacing leaky pipes and faucets, and even replacing sinks and toilets when necessary.

A janitor who works within a school or a government-owned public building is often referred to as a custodian. Along with basic cleaning responsibilities, custodians may handle other responsibilities, such as seeing that doors are locked after hours and that any electronic alarm systems are properly set before the building is closed for the evening. The head custodian may also oversee a cleaning crew, depending on the size of the facility.

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While this person may work during the daylight hours, it is not unusual for many cleaning professionals to work during the evening. This is especially true with office buildings, where the cleaning staff is usually expected to do the job without disturbing people who would prefer to work without a vacuum cleaner running or someone mopping or emptying trash receptacles.

A janitor may work for a specific company or be the employee of a cleaning service that is contracted to handle cleaning and maintenance functions. Many enjoy employment benefits with a full range of benefits, while others may work with minimal benefits and a relatively small amount of pay.

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Discuss this Article

anon246717
Post 5

What does a janitor do for work in malls or other places?

Bakersdozen
Post 4

My uncle runs a janitor supply company, which is part of a larger commercial cleaning enterprise.

A full time janitor's salary can be quite high, which I think is fair enough as they have to be Jack or Jill of all trades, plus there's a lot of responsibility if you are a key holder.

CaithnessCC
Post 3

Whenever I start a new job I make a point of seeking out and befriending the janitor! They really are the people who know everything that's going on in a business, and they can make your life so much easier.

anon153347
Post 2

Very good and informative!

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