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Janitors keep office buildings, schools, hospitals, retail stores, hotels, and other places clean, sanitary, and in good condition. Some do only cleaning, while others have a variety of duties. In addition to keeping the inside of buildings clean and orderly, some janitors work outdoors, mowing lawns, sweeping walkways, or shovelling snow. Some janitors may also monitor the heating and cooling systems, ensuring that they function properly.
Janitors typically do the following:
Janitors use a variety of tools and equipment. Simple cleaning tools may include mops, brooms, rakes, and shovels. Other tools may include snow blowers and floor buffers. Some janitors may be responsible for small electrical or plumbing repairs, for example, repairing a leaky faucet.
Most janitors work in servicing buildings and dwellings. Many are also employed in servicing elementary and secondary schools.
Most janitors and building cleaners work indoors, but some do work outdoors part of the time, sweeping walkways, mowing lawns, or shovelling snow. They spend most of the day standing, sometimes moving or lifting heavy supplies or equipment. As a result, the work may be strenuous on the back, arms, and legs. Some tasks, such as cleaning bathrooms and trash rooms, can be dirty and unpleasant.
Most janitors work full time, but some can work part time. Because office buildings are usually cleaned while they are empty, many cleaning workers work evening hours. Janitors in schools, however, usually work during the day. When there is a need for 24-hour maintenance, janitors may work in shifts. This is particularly true in hospitals and hotels.
A high school diploma is generally requested by employers, and high school shop courses are helpful to have. Most janitors learn on the job, and beginners typically work with a more experienced janitor to start, learning the scheduled routine and the various tasks involved.
Good communication skills are needed to interact with people, and an ability to understand machinery and use it safely is also important. Basic arithmetic skills and an ability to read and write well will be required for carrying out light administrative work.