This article is about the occupation. For the Scrubs character, see Janitor (Scrubs).

A janitor (American English, Scottish English), janitress (female), custodian, cleaner or caretaker is a person who cleans and maintains buildings such as hospitals, schools and residential accommodation. Janitors' primary responsibility is as a cleaner. In some cases, they will also carry out maintenance and security duties. A similar position, but usually with more managerial duties and not including cleaning, is occupied by building superintendents in the United States. Cleaning is one of the most commonly outsourced services.

Occupational tasks

Most of the work performed by janitors and building cleaners is indoors, sometimes it can be outdoors. Outdoors work mainly include sweeping walkways, mowing lawns, or shoveling snow. In some facilities or buildings, a separate company may be hired to do outdoor work. Office buildings are usually cleaned when they are vacant, so most of the office janitorial staff work during the evening. The work can be physically demanding and sometimes dirty and unpleasant.[1] General janitor duties often include the following tasks:

Pay scale

In 2010, the median pay of a janitor working in the US was $10.68 per hour. The yearly salary could grow by 11% according to the statistics of 2010.[1]

Office cleaning

Office cleaning staff perform many of the same duties as janitors. However the tasks are divided among different members. Additional tasks include:


Cleaning is one of the most commonly outsourced services.[4] Some of the reasons for this include:


Between 17% to 23% of the total undocumented immigrant population living in the United States work in the cleaning industry[5] (and growing at a rate of 1/2% to 1/3% percent per year). In addition to this population offering an abundant source of inexpensive labor,[6] janitorial work is mostly undertaken at night, making it an appealing option for janitorial companies to employ undocumented workers[7][8] seeking clandestine employment. Many such immigrants have even started their own janitorial companies using fictitious business licenses[9] and false identication[10] [11] information.
In the Netherlands, the number of cleaning companies grew from 5,000 in 2003 to 8,000 in 2008.[12]

The idea of the janitor, often as a figure of ridicule or pity, became a negatively stereotypical blue collar character in popular culture many times denoting ignorance, laziness, failure, exploitation[13] or even perversion[14][15] and have featured widely in film and television.[16] Not all the janitors listed below, however, share these traits. The following are listed in order of first appearance.

See also


  1. 1 2 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/building-and-grounds-cleaning/janitors-and-building-cleaners.htm
  2. Crime Scene Cleanup Certification Pays: Deverpost News by Don Morreale, July 6, 2012
  3. Facts about Crime Scene Cleaners! by Documents & Resources for Small Business Professionals DOCSTOC News Source, Fed 12, 2013
  4. {{url=https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=x8_C9NJHtYMC&pg=PA141&lpg=PA141&dq#v=onepage&q&f=false |title=Contracts, Contractors and Consultants}}
  5. Weltin, Dan (2010-05-21). "Immigration Reform: There's Always An Excuse". Cleanlink.com. Retrieved 2011-11-13.
  6. Mollenkamp, Becky (2011-04-11). "Illegal Subcontracting Bad Apples: Illegal subcontracting's continuing impact on the BSC industry". Cleanlink.com. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
  7. Ridgely, Lisa (2010-03-01). "Overdue Diligence: How BSCs can avoid hiring undocumented workers". Cleanlink.com. Retrieved 2010-04-01.
  8. Miriam, Jordan (2011-08-15). "Immigration Audits Drive Illegal Workers Underground: ABM Caught for Employing illegal immigrants". online.wsj.com. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  9. Mortensen, Ronald (June 2009). "Backgrounder: Illegal, but Not Undocumented Identity Theft, Document Fraud, and Illegal Employment" (PDF). cis.org. Retrieved June 2009. Check date values in: |access-date= (help)
  10. Mims, Brian (12/05/2006). "5 Illegal Immigrants Charged in Fake ID Scheme". wral.com. Retrieved 12/05/2006. Check date values in: |access-date=, |date= (help)
  11. Yost, Denise (2011-07-15). "Illegal Immigrant Arrested For Allegedly Making Fake IDs". nbc4i.com. Retrieved 2011-07-15.
  12. Data from the employers' organisation in The Netherlands provided by EU-OSHA's Focal Point Literature review - The occupational safety and health of cleaning workers EU-OSHA - European Agency for Safety and Health at Work
  13. Toms, Coons, Mulattoes, Mammies, and Bucks: An Interpretive History of Blacks in American Films. Donald Bogle. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2001
  14. Sociology. Richard T. Schaefer, Robert P. Lamm. McGraw-Hill, 1992
  15. The Psychology Of Stereotyping. David J. Schneider. Guilford Press, 7 Apr 2005
  16. Rebel Without a Cause: Approaches to a Maverick Masterwork. John David Slocum. SUNY Press, 29 Oct 2005
  17. Retro Gamer, page 35.
  18. 1 2 Blue-Collar Pop Culture: From NASCAR to Jersey Shore. M. Keith Booker. ABC-CLIO, 31 Mar 2012
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