Custodian Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

 

A Custodian, or Caretaker, is responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of a building and the surrounding grounds. Their duties include vacuuming floors, sanitizing restroom facilities and collecting trash to ensure the building’s occupants have a clean space.

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Custodian duties and responsibilities

A Custodian’s main responsibility is to clean a workspace, warehouse or similar space. This task is broken down into several duties performed throughout the day or at other regular intervals, such as:

  • Cleaning wood, linoleum, tile and other floors
  • Shampooing rugs and carpets
  • Emptying trash cans
  • Changing air filters and cleaning vents
  • Dusting all surfaces
  • Waxing floors
  • Ordering new cleaning supplies as needed
  • Washing windows
  • Maintaining a thorough inventory
  • Using equipment, commercial vacuums, floor buffers and carpet cleaners
  • Collecting and taking out trash and recycling
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What does a Custodian do?

Custodians are typically employed by office parks, schools and any other facilities that need frequent maintenance and upkeep. They clean up spills caused by food or beverages, wash windows, mop floors, wipe tables, replace air filters and maintain a trash and recycling removal schedule in accordance with local pickup times. Their job is to uphold the health and safety of a building’s occupants by ensuring proper sanitation and completing chores. They may also complete outdoor chores including mowing green spaces, trimming bushes and power-washing walls, windows and sidewalks.

Custodian skills and qualifications

Custodians need a wide range of skills and qualifications, including:

  • Ability to stand and walk for long periods
  • Ability to lift and move over 50 pounds
  • Knowledge of different cleaning products and tools
  • Time-management and multitasking abilities
  • Physical strength and stamina
  • Organization skills
  • Good verbal communication and interpersonal skills
  • Ability to work with minimal supervision

Custodian salary expectations

 A Custodian makes an average of $11.95 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Custodian education and training requirements

Entry-level custodians should have a high school diploma or GED, and there are no prior training requirements. However, most new employees complete short-term, on-the-job training to learn about things like handling chemicals safely and how to properly clean. Jobs that require using machinery or special equipment, like floor buffers, may require additional training. Those working with biohazards or hazardous chemicals may need to earn and maintain certifications.

Custodian experience requirements

Custodians can start with little to no experience. Entry-level Custodians typically learn from more experienced cleaning professionals until they can work independently. Many new Custodians start with basic tasks, then quickly learn how to complete all cleaning duties. Custodians working with complex equipment or hazardous chemicals usually need at least one to three years of related experience. Senior-level Custodians or those leading a team usually need at least three to five years of experience, with some management experience preferred.

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Frequently asked questions about Custodians

 

Is there a difference between a Custodian and a Janitor?

Although sometimes used interchangeably, the titles Custodian and Janitor differ in meaning. Typically when someone says Custodian, they are referring to a longtime caretaker of a facility. Further, Custodians are usually employed by the building owner to work for them. In contrast, the title Janitor usually refers to an individual who holds the same types of responsibilities as Custodians, but they are not employed by the building owner. Instead, they work often work for a cleaning company that sends them to specific locations that need cleaning.

 

What makes a good Custodian?

A good Custodian is someone who is dedicated to maintaining the cleanliness and organization of a building and its grounds. They should find enjoyment in the work that they do as it allows them to be of service to others and find fulfillment in cleaning. A good Custodian should also be a trustworthy, loyal individual because they will most likely be working without direct supervision later in the day or even at night when daytime office workers aren’t present. 

They may have access to private offices or rooms that contain important information, so they should be able to be trusted in those environments. Further, a Good Custodian should understand how to operate certain cleaning and maintenance equipment. This may include the use of floor scrubbers or snow blowers.

 

What are the daily duties of a Custodian?

A Custodian’s job may start early in the morning before people start arriving to the building to work or attend school. If working in a school setting, they may be responsible for reassembling lunch tables after a previous night of mopping the floors. Regardless of their place of work, they may also do a check around the facility to restock the bathrooms with toilet paper, soap and paper towels.

Throughout the workday, they typically stay on-call in a location within the building in case there’s a spill or leak of some kind. As they wait, they may organize their cleaning supply closet, take inventory and order more cleaning products as needed. After daytime operations have ceased for the day, they work with members of their team to perform duties like vacuuming, collecting trash and recycling or tidying hallway spaces.

 

Who does a Custodian report to?

Custodians typically complete their duties unsupervised, but there may be a Head Custodian who delegates tasks, depending on the size of a facility or business that needs cleaning. Otherwise, a Custodian most likely reports to a building’s owner.

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