Custodians vs Janitors: Which One Do You Need?

In the commercial cleaning industry, the terms “custodians” and “janitors” are often used interchangeably. However, there are some key differences between the two roles. As a business owner or facility manager it’s important you know the difference so that you can hire the right kind of person for your needs. 


A custodian is a more general term for someone who is responsible for cleaning and maintaining a building. They may perform tasks such as sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, and taking out the trash. Custodians may also be responsible for light repairs and maintenance, such as changing light bulbs and fixing leaky faucets.

A janitor, on the other hand, is a more specialized role that focuses on cleaning and maintaining specific areas of a building, such as restrooms, kitchens, and break rooms. Janitors may also be responsible for cleaning and maintaining equipment, such as vacuums and floor scrubbers.

There are both benefits and disadvantages to each role. Custodians typically have more general duties, which can make their jobs more varied and interesting. However, they may also have less job security, as their duties can be easily outsourced to outside contractors. Janitors, on the other hand, have more specialized skills, which can make them more marketable and less likely to be replaced by automation.

Maintaining a clean and organized workspace is crucial for businesses. When seeking professional cleaning services, it’s important to understand the difference between custodians and janitors. While both roles contribute to the cleanliness of a facility, they have distinct responsibilities and advantages. In this article, we will delve into the dissimilarities between custodians and janitors, highlighting their unique benefits and disadvantages.

Custodians have a multifaceted role that encompasses not only cleaning but also maintaining and repairing buildings and grounds.

Here Are the Key Aspects of Custodial Positions:

  1. Cleaning and Maintenance: Custodians are responsible for performing both light and heavy cleaning tasks within a facility. They focus on ensuring overall cleanliness, including tasks such as mopping, vacuuming, window cleaning, trash disposal, and sanitization. Their broader responsibilities encompass the management of cleaning schedules and the upkeep of mechanical systems and infrastructure. Their comprehensive approach to maintenance helps preserve the functionality and aesthetics of the building.
  2. Versatility and Autonomy: Custodians often have more authority and autonomy in their roles compared to janitors. They may have the flexibility to set their work hours and handle a range of responsibilities beyond cleaning. In some cases, custodians may also fulfill additional roles such as security officers or maintenance workers, depending on the specific needs of the facility.
  3. Broader Skill Set: Due to their diverse responsibilities, custodians often possess a broader skill set. They may receive additional training in equipment usage, painting, minor repairs, and managing building infrastructure. Advanced skills may be necessary for handling complex repairs related to electrical or plumbing systems.

While custodians may be the right fit for some businesses, janitors may sometimes be the right option. Custodians typically come with higher costs compared to hiring janitors due to their broader responsibilities and skill set, and custodians may require more extensive training and experience for specialized repairs. Custodians are also more likely to require a higher level of supervision and may require more hands-on support from the facility manager. If you are managing your own facility, you likely don’t have the resources to provide additional training, supervision, or management support for custodians. 

Professional janitors primarily focus on cleaning tasks within a facility. Their main objective is to ensure cleanliness and hygiene.

Let’s Explore the Key Aspects of the Janitors Role:

  1. Cleaning Expertise: Professional janitors specialize in facility cleanliness and perform various cleaning tasks after business hours. Their responsibilities may include mopping floors, vacuuming carpets, dusting surfaces, cleaning restrooms, restocking supplies, and maintaining general tidiness. By concentrating solely on cleaning, janitors provide dedicated services in this area.
  2. Cost-Efficiency: Professional janitorial services can be cost-efficient, particularly when businesses already have property managers or individuals responsible for building maintenance. Janitors offer focused cleaning expertise at a lower cost compared to custodians, making them an attractive option for businesses seeking dedicated cleaning services.
  3. Task Focus: Janitors primarily concentrate on the interior cleaning of a facility. They ensure that the workspace is presentable, clean, and conducive to a healthy environment. Their specialization allows them to develop efficient cleaning routines and maintain high cleanliness standards.

Professional janitorial services are ideal for businesses that seek to maintain a clean and safe environment without having to invest in the equipment and training required for custodial services. Janitors are a cost-effective option for Denver businesses seeking dedicated cleaning services.

With a more limited scope of responsibilities and the ability to focus solely on cleaning tasks and maintain high cleanliness standards, professional janitorial services may match your needs more than custodians. This is not to say that custodians will not benefit you, but knowing the difference is the key to making the right choice.

At Legacy Construction Cleaning, our professional janitorial services are ideal for Denver businesses that seek to maintain a clean and safe environment without having to invest in the equipment and training required for custodial services. We serve a wide variety of commercial and industrial properties, including medical facilities, educational institutions, and office buildings. Our dedicated teams will work with you to form a cleaning plan that fits your needs and budget.

Please contact us today to learn more about our commercial cleaning services!