Janitor Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

Last updated: August 22, 2022

A Janitor, or Cleaner, is responsible for maintaining a cleanly facility by completing a variety of cleaning tasks. Their duties include mopping and vacuuming floors, cleaning surfaces with disinfectant and emptying trash cans or recycling bins.

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Janitor duties and responsibilities

A Janitor is in charge of keeping the workplace clean, organized and disinfected. They usually have the following responsibilities:

  • Clean the interior of buildings including floors, carpet, rugs, windows and walls
  • Disinfect commonly used items like desks, door handles, office tools and phones
  • Maintain cleaning inventory, placing orders for new products when needed
  • Maintain outdoor grounds, cut grass and trim bushes
  • Remove debris and snow from sidewalks
  • Replace air filters and maintain HVAC systems
  • Empty trash and recycling bins
  • Stock and maintain supply rooms
  • Perform minor repairs on machinery, equipment and tools
  • Vacuum, sweep and mop floors
  • Clean and maintain restrooms
  • Washing and clean windows and mirrors
  • Notify supervisors of unsafe conditions
  • Operate floor scrubbers and other equipment
  • Dust furniture and fixtures
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What does a janitor do?

Janitors typically work for cleaning companies and  commercial buildings like office parks, shopping malls, hospitals and other properties to perform cleaning tasks that daily workers can’t. They usually work early in the morning or after business hours with a team of other maintenance personnel to perform maintenance chores throughout the building. Their job is to clean public restrooms, operate cleaning equipment like auto floor scrubbers and restock cleaning supplies as needed. They may also need to perform work to the exterior of the building, including washing windows, power washing walls or mowing lawns.

Janitor skills and qualifications

Janitors typically have certain prerequisite skills or qualifications that will assist them in their role, which include:

  • Good communication skills
  • Knowledge of various cleaning products and when to use them
  • Ability to clean and disinfect various surfaces
  • Ability to lift and move at least 50 pounds
  • Good organization skills
  • Knowledge of safety guidelines when working with chemical cleaners
  • Excellent time-management skills

Janitor salary expectations

 A Janitor makes an average of $11.59 per hour. Pay rate may depend on level of experience, education and the geographical location.

Janitor education and training requirements

While formal education is not often a requirement to work as a Janitor, some hiring managers may prefer a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Additionally, if a Janitor needs to make repairs or work with fragile equipment, they need additional training. Many Janitors will receive on-the-job training while working underneath a more experienced Janitor for a few months. Janitors can also earn several certifications specific to different areas, such as carpet cleaning or biohazard cleaning. Those working in a particular industry may need one or more of these credentials.

Janitor experience requirements

The experience level for Janitors depends on the role, employer and industry. Entry-level Janitors usually don’t need any experience, though some hiring managers may want someone with a few months of experience. Janitors who also maintain or repair equipment need at least one year of experience, while Janitors who work with biohazards may need several years of related experience. A Janitor supervising a team could need leadership experience. 

Job description samples for similar positions

If you are looking to hire a similar role, but not a Janitor, then you might find one of these related job description samples to be useful:

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Frequently asked questions about Janitors


What is the difference between a Janitor and a Custodian?

Although Janitors and Custodians have the same job responsibilities, they typically have different types of employment. The main difference between a Janitor and a Custodian is that Janitors typically work for external cleaning services and arrive at commercial properties in the morning or evening. In contrast, commercial Property Owners hire Custodians to remain onsite before, during and after business hours. They respond to cleanup needs during the day, like food and beverage spills. They may also greet and delegate tasks among Janitors from outsourced services unless they have their own custodial team to manage cleaning duties.


What are the daily duties of a Janitor?

On a typical day, a Janitor starts early in the morning or during the evening. They meet at their company location, collect equipment and supplies and travel with their team to a commercial property. Some Janitors clean multiple properties in one night, depending on the size of the facilities. Once at their job site, they unload materials and delegate tasks. They empty all trash and recycling bins in the building and place them in dumpsters. They wipe down tables and stack furniture to begin mopping or vacuuming floors. Janitors also sanitize bathrooms and check to replace toilet paper, paper towels and hand soap as needed. Before leaving, they review their list of priorities to make sure they completed all of their tasks.


What qualities make a good Janitor?

A good Janitor is someone who finds enjoyment in cleaning and working as part of a team. This enables them to divide tasks with other cleaning professionals and perform their job duties well. They need to have good time management to prioritize tasks and get several chores done before the end of their shift. Janitors should also be well-organized to ensure they have the right equipment when going to a job site. Being well organized also helps them maintain accurate inventory records of cleaning supplies to restock them as needed. 

Further, a good Janitor should prioritize safety when working with potentially harmful cleaning chemicals. They should also wear gloves and other protective gear to prevent illnesses when cleaning restroom facilities.


Who does a Janitor report to?

Janitors typically report to a Janitorial Manager or a Cleaning Services Supervisor. These individuals provide them with work assignments or delegate onsite tasks. They also assign them to work schedules and act as a point of communication for Janitors if they encounter issues once onsite, like needing an alarm code or additional supplies.

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