Career Development

What Does a Janitor Do?

Find out what a janitor does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a janitor.

Janitors are responsible for keeping our schools, businesses and other public spaces clean and tidy. They spend their days cleaning floors, emptying trash cans, washing windows, vacuuming carpets, etc. Their duties may also include maintaining the building’s HVAC system, handling minor repairs, and performing other miscellaneous tasks as needed.

Janitor Job Duties

Janitors have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Cleaning up spills or other accidents to prevent them from staining permanently
  • Vacuuming, sweeping, scrubbing, and mopping floors and other surfaces
  • Cleaning and maintaining restrooms, break rooms, locker rooms, cafeterias, and other common areas of an office building
  • Wiping down furniture surfaces, replacing light bulbs, dusting shelves, and other small tasks related to basic cleaning
  • Maintaining inventory of supplies and ordering new supplies as needed
  • Removing garbage from offices, meeting rooms, and other common areas in an office building or other facility
  • Cleaning windows, including interior windows and exterior windows on high floors
  • Cleaning and disinfecting restrooms, locker rooms, shower stalls, and other parts of a facility used by the public or employees
  • Performing other janitorial duties such as removing cobwebs and dusting shelves and bookcases
  • Cleaning floors, walls, ceilings, windows, doors, light fixtures, toilets, tubs, and other surfaces in a building using equipment such as mops, brooms, vacuum cleaners, scrub brushes, and buckets of water or other cleaning solutions

Janitor Salary & Outlook

Janitors’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. Some janitors are members of labor unions that negotiate wages on their behalf.

  • Median Annual Salary: $31,500 ($15.14/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $61,500 ($29.57/hour)

The employment of janitors is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Employment growth will be driven by population growth and the need to clean office buildings, schools, and retail establishments. However, automation may reduce the number of janitors needed in some buildings.

Janitor Job Requirements

A janitor may have the following qualifications:

Education: Janitors are typically required to have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may prefer an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a related field, such as business or health care. Those with a background in science, health care or business may find it easier to find a job in a different industry.

Training & Experience: Most employers will provide on-the-job training for new janitors. This training will teach you how to use the equipment and supplies you will need to clean and maintain the facility. You will also learn how to properly dispose of waste and how to handle hazardous materials.

Certifications & Licenses: Janitors don’t need to earn a certification or license to gain employment, but earning one or more could increase their earning potential.

Janitor Skills

Janitors need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: Janitors often have excellent attention to detail, as they must ensure their work is thorough and free of errors. This skill can help you complete your work efficiently and effectively. Attention to detail can also help you notice any spills or messes that may have occurred while you were cleaning.

Communication: Communication is another important skill for janitors. You may be required to communicate with other staff members, such as security guards, to alert them of any issues or changes in the building. You may also need to communicate with building management to alert them of any issues that need to be addressed.

Customer service: Customer service is the ability to interact with customers in a friendly and helpful manner. As a janitor, you may be the first person a customer sees when entering a building. This means you should be friendly and welcoming. You should also be able to answer questions about the building and its services.

Organization: Janitors often have to organize their work areas and the areas they clean. This includes keeping supplies in order and keeping the work area free of clutter. You can also use organization skills to keep your work area safe by keeping chemicals and other dangerous materials in their proper places.

Physical stamina: Janitors often have physical stamina, which means they can lift and move heavy objects. This is important because they often clean large spaces that require them to move furniture and other large objects. They also often clean staircases and other high places, so they need to have the physical stamina to do so.

Janitor Work Environment

Janitors typically work in the evenings or overnight, when most businesses are closed. They may work in office buildings, schools, hospitals, factories, or other types of commercial or industrial buildings. Janitors usually work alone, but they may work with other janitors in large buildings. Janitors typically work a 40-hour week, but they may work more hours if their building is open 24 hours a day or if they are responsible for cleaning more than one building. Some janitors may be required to work on weekends or holidays.

Janitor Trends

Here are three trends influencing how janitors work. Janitors will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Attention to Indoor Air Quality

As the public becomes more aware of the health risks associated with poor indoor air quality, janitors will need to focus on cleaning products that improve IAQ.

Janitors can capitalize on this trend by becoming familiar with products that improve IAQ and by learning how to use them effectively. They can also work with building owners to ensure that they are using the best products available. In addition, janitors can promote the benefits of good IAQ to tenants and employees in order to encourage them to support efforts to improve it.

More Focus on Green Cleaning Practices

Green cleaning practices are becoming increasingly popular among businesses as a way to reduce their environmental impact. This is because green cleaning practices can help businesses save money on energy costs while still providing the same level of cleanliness that customers expect.

As businesses begin to adopt green cleaning practices, janitors will need to learn new ways to clean without using chemicals or other materials that are harmful to the environment. This includes using environmentally-friendly cleaners and recycling waste materials.

A Greater Emphasis on Health and Safety

The health and safety of workers is becoming an increasingly important issue for employers across all industries. This is especially true in the janitorial industry, where the risk of injury is high due to the physical nature of the job.

To meet the demands of employers, janitors will need to be familiar with health and safety regulations and how to implement them in their workplace. They will also need to be able to identify potential hazards and take steps to mitigate them.

How to Become a Janitor

A janitor career can be a great way to get started in the cleaning industry. It’s a good idea to start by learning the basics of cleaning, including how to use different types of cleaning products and equipment. You should also learn about safety procedures and best practices for working with different types of flooring.

Once you have mastered the basics, it’s time to move on to more advanced techniques. This could include learning how to clean hard-to-reach areas, how to remove stains from different types of surfaces, and how to deep-clean carpets and upholstery.

Advancement Prospects

There are many ways that a janitor can advance his or her career. One way is to move up within the organization for which they work. For example, a janitor who works in an office building may be promoted to a position such as head janitor or custodial supervisor. Another way to advance is to move to a larger or more prestigious organization. For example, a janitor who works in a small office building may move to a larger one, or one that is in a more high-profile location. Finally, a janitor may also advance by obtaining additional education or training, which can make him or her more qualified for a higher-level position.

Janitor Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we believe first impressions matter. That’s why we’re looking for an experienced and professional janitor to join our team and help us maintain a clean and welcoming environment for our employees, customers, and clients. The ideal candidate will have experience cleaning large commercial spaces, and will be comfortable using a variety of cleaning equipment and products. He or she will be detail-oriented and take pride in their work, paying close attention to even the smallest details. The janitor will also be responsible for restocking supplies, such as paper towels and soap, and will be expected to report any maintenance issues to the Facilities Manager.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Perform general cleaning duties as assigned, such as sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, and restroom cleaning
  • Operate floor care equipment, such as buffers and shampooers
  • Empty wastebaskets and trash containers, and transport trash to designated areas
  • Clean windows, glass partitions, and mirrors using soapy water or other cleaners, sponges, and squeegees
  • Dust furniture, walls, machines, and equipment
  • Mix water and detergents or acids in containers to prepare cleaning solutions, according to specifications
  • Strip, seal, finish, and polish floors
  • Monitor building security and safety by performing such tasks as locking doors after operating hours and checking electrical appliance use to ensure that hazards are not created
  • Notify managers concerning the need for major repairs or additions to building operating systems
  • Set up, arrange, and remove decorations, tables, chairs, ladders, and scaffolding to prepare facilities for events such as banquets and conferences
  • Requisition supplies and equipment needed for cleaning and maintenance duties
  • Follow all health and safety regulations

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent preferred
  • 1 year of experience in a custodial or janitorial role
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds
  • Familiarity with cleaning chemicals and supplies
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Strong attention to detail

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • 2 years of experience in a custodial or janitorial role
  • Working knowledge of MSDS sheets
  • Ability to operate floor care equipment
  • CPR and first aid certification

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