A janitorial cart for janitors that get paid on a monthly basis, which is a fundamental difference between janitors and cleaners -- being that janitors are routine and facility-based unlike cleaners.

The Honest Difference Between Janitors and Cleaners

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Janitor vs Cleaner

When it comes to cleaning services, the terms janitor and cleaner are often used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle difference between the two. A janitor is typically responsible for maintaining the cleanliness of a facility or building on a regular basis, while a cleaner is usually hired for one-time or occasional deep cleaning tasks.

Janitors are often employed by larger organizations such as schools, hospitals, and office buildings to handle day-to-day cleaning duties like mopping floors, taking out the trash, and sanitizing restrooms. They may also be responsible for minor maintenance tasks like changing light bulbs or fixing leaky faucets.

Cleaners are generally hired on an as-needed basis to tackle more specialized jobs like carpet cleaning or window washing. They may work in residential settings or commercial spaces that require periodic deep cleanings beyond what a janitor can provide.

Overall, both janitors and cleaners play important roles in keeping buildings clean and maintained. While their job titles may differ slightly, their ultimate goal is always the same: providing high-quality cleaning services to ensure that spaces remain safe and sanitary for all who use them.

Definition: Janitor

A janitor is a person responsible for cleaning and maintaining buildings, such as offices, schools, hospitals, and other public areas. They are typically employed by companies that provide facility management services to ensure that the premises are kept clean and in good condition at all times.

A janitor’s duties may include sweeping floors, vacuuming carpets, emptying trash cans and recycling bins, dusting surfaces such as desks and shelves, disinfecting restrooms and break rooms, maintaining outdoor spaces like sidewalks or parking lots so they remain litter-free. They may also be responsible for minor repairs to keep the building infrastructure in working order.

It is important to note that while a janitor’s primary responsibility is cleaning facilities- they do not necessarily perform deep-cleaning tasks like carpet shampooing or window washing. This distinction should help differentiate between the role of a cleaner versus that of a janitor.

Definition: Cleaner

A cleaner is a professional who specializes in providing cleaning services to both residential and commercial properties. These professionals may work under a cleaning company or as independent contractors, and their main responsibility is to ensure that all surfaces, floors, carpets, and upholstery are spotless. Cleaners use various types of equipment such as vacuum cleaners, mops, brooms, dusters, and cleaning chemicals to remove dust and dirt from different surfaces.

The primary goal of a cleaner is to maintain cleanliness in living spaces or working environments. This includes disinfecting surfaces to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. A cleaner’s duties may vary depending on the client’s needs but typically include tasks such as dusting furniture and fixtures, washing windowsills and glass panels; sweeping floors; wiping down bathrooms; emptying trash cans; sanitizing kitchens; among others.

In contrast to janitors who focus on maintenance tasks like repairing broken items or maintaining building systems like HVAC systems or plumbing systems, cleaners concentrate mainly on keeping the property clean. It’s important for clients seeking out these services to understand the difference between janitorial work versus housekeeping operations so they can select appropriate service providers based on their specific needs.

Responsibilities: Janitor

A janitor is responsible for the overall maintenance and cleaning of a building, while a cleaner’s duties may be more focused on surface-level cleaning. Janitors typically work in larger commercial buildings or public spaces, while cleaners may work in smaller residential homes or businesses.

The responsibilities of a janitor can vary depending on the type of facility they are working in, but some common tasks include sweeping and mopping floors, cleaning restrooms and break rooms, emptying trash cans, and maintaining supply levels. They may also be responsible for minor repairs such as changing light bulbs or fixing leaky faucets. In addition to these daily tasks, janitors may need to handle special projects such as deep-cleaning carpets or preparing spaces for events.

The role of a janitor is critical to ensuring that buildings remain clean and safe for occupants. They play an important part in maintaining the appearance of a facility while also addressing any potential safety hazards that could arise from neglecting proper maintenance. Although their job may not always be glamorous or exciting, it is essential to create comfortable environments where people can live and work without worrying about cleanliness issues.

Responsibilities: Cleaner

A cleaner is responsible for the daily cleaning and maintenance of a building or facility. They are typically employed by commercial cleaning companies, schools, hospitals, and other organizations that require regular cleaning services. The responsibilities of a cleaner include dusting and disinfecting surfaces, vacuuming carpets and floors, emptying trash cans, stocking restrooms with supplies, mopping floors, and polishing furniture.

Cleaners also play an important role in maintaining the overall appearance and cleanliness of a building. They may be tasked with deep-cleaning tasks such as scrubbing floors or shampooing carpets. In addition to their daily duties, cleaners are also responsible for reporting any maintenance issues they notice while performing their tasks.

The responsibilities of a cleaner are vital to ensuring that buildings remain clean and well-maintained. Without their hard work and dedication to their craft, facilities would quickly become dirty and unsanitary which can lead to health hazards for those who occupy them.

Qualifications: Janitor

A janitor is must be qualified to maintain a building, including cleaning restrooms, floors, walls, windows, and doors. They may also handle minor repairs like changing light bulbs or fixing leaky faucets. To become a janitor, one must have basic reading and writing skills as well as experience in custodial work.

In addition to basic qualifications, some employers require that their janitors have certification or training in specific areas such as carpet cleaning or floor maintenance. Such certifications can be obtained through vocational schools or online courses. Depending on the company’s needs and the size of the property maintained, some janitors may need additional qualifications like knowledge of hazardous waste disposal or equipment operation.

While it’s possible to begin working as a janitor without formal education beyond a high school diploma or GED equivalent; having further education can boost your chances of getting hired by demonstrating your expertise in certain areas related to your job role.

Qualifications: Cleaner

One of the key qualifications for a cleaner is to have good time management skills. Cleaners are responsible for ensuring that assigned areas are cleaned thoroughly and in a timely manner. This means they must be adept at managing their time so that they can complete cleaning tasks within the allocated timeframe.

Another important qualification for cleaners is attention to detail. As a cleaner, you will need to spot areas that require cleaning and pay close attention to small details such as stains or debris on floors, walls, and surfaces. Attention to detail ensures that all areas are properly cleaned and maintained.

Cleaners should also possess effective communication skills. This is particularly important in instances where there may be special instructions or requests from clients regarding specific cleaning requirements or schedules. Effective communication helps ensure that all parties involved are on the same page and working towards achieving the desired results.

Cost Comparison

There are some key differences between janitors and cleaners that can impact the cost of hiring them for your business. Generally speaking, a janitor is responsible for maintaining the physical aspects of a building such as floors and walls, while a cleaner focuses on tasks like dusting and sanitizing surfaces.

In terms of cost comparison, janitors tend to be paid more than cleaners due to their higher level of responsibility. Additionally, janitors may require specialized equipment or training in order to perform their duties effectively. This can drive up the overall cost of hiring a janitor compared to a cleaner.

The decision between hiring a janitor or a cleaner will depend on your specific needs and budget constraints. It’s important to carefully evaluate each option before making a final decision in order to ensure that you’re getting the most value for your money.


Though the terms “janitor” and “cleaner” are often used interchangeably, there is a fundamental difference between the two. A janitor is responsible for taking care of a building’s overall maintenance, including tasks like repairing fixtures and equipment, performing minor renovations, and ensuring that the space remains functional. On the other hand, a cleaner is solely focused on keeping the space clean.

This distinction is important because it can affect the level of expertise required for each job. Janitors are typically skilled laborers who have experience with plumbing, electrical systems, carpentry work or painting. Cleaners do not need to have as many specialized skills but should have excellent attention to detail and knowledge of cleaning products and techniques.

Ultimately both jobs require hard work and dedication toward maintaining a safe and hygienic environment. By understanding these differences hiring managers will be able to make more informed decisions when filling these roles in their organizations.

Check out our last article, Game-Changing Tips for Cleaning Seatbelts, to learn more about commercial cleaning.