Being a Janitor may not seem like an inspiring career that tops the list of most school leavers; however, this career has gained a new respect since the Covid pandemic swept the world.
Janitors and other cleaning staff have enabled businesses to continue through and after lockdown, and the people in these roles have literally been at the frontline in the battle against Covid.
They deserve just as many accolades as those in medical fields, although the take home pay may not be at quite the same level.
Even before the pandemic, Janitors have always had a job with high responsibilities.
Whether an employee or contracted janitorial services, Janitors are usually the first person entering the business each day or the last person leaving the business each day, depending on whether cleaning duties are performed before or after business.
This means they have the keys to the business, and the responsibility for unlocking or locking up the business location each day.
They also bring with them cleaning chemicals which can be dangerous if used or stored incorrectly. Or alternatively, they may use eco-friendly cleaning products, though these may be more expensive.
Health and safety are an important aspect of the Janitors role. Having a range of safety signs to be used to advise others of slippery floors will warn people to take care when needed.
But most importantly, their cleaning duties help to maintain the health of every individual who enters that location each day.
To be able to complete those responsibilities and carry out their job, they will need to have suitable janitorial supplies equipment.
What Does a Janitor do?
They clean and maintain buildings like hospitals, schools, hotels, and residential accommodation. Most of the work in indoors, but it can include mowing lawns, sweeping footpaths, and emptying outdoor waste bins.
The work is usually before or after normal working hours, and their work description might include resupplying or restocking bathroom products like toilet paper, air freshener, towels, and soaps.
Jobs like waxing the floors, trimming shrubs/trees might be completed less regularly like monthly, while they also carry out seasonal inspections of items like smoke detectors, air conditioning units, fireplaces, etc.
Sometimes Janitors are expected to complete minor repairs like fixing leaky pipes, replacing bulbs, and possibly faulty doors and windows.
They must maintain a good knowledge of cleaning procedures and practice and keep an eye on their cleaning supplies/equipment are maintaining proper functionality, and also understand sound safety practices.
The job can be quite physical and can include lifting heavy objects, bending, and standing for extended periods whilst cleaning.
To be effective in this job you must have mechanical skills, good handling of tools, equipment and chemicals, and adherence to safety measures. Remember that many chemicals are flammable and depending how they’re being used it can cause a large fires, that’s why it’s important to have back up dry chemical extinguishers in case of any emergencies inside buildings that use chemicals like a school chemistry lab or any laboratories.
Lightweight equipment – the three pieces of essential equipment all janitors need is a broom, a mop, and a bucket with a wringer device that enables you to squeeze the water out of the mop.
A long-handled dustpan will make the sweeping easier and avoid too much bending over.
Larger janitorial businesses might invest in an auto scrubber which is a walk-behind or ride-on machine designed to clean larger areas by injecting water with cleaning solution, scrubbing, and lifting the residue off the floor.
However, there will always be areas where an auto scrubber can’t reach, and a mop is the only tool for the job.
Microfiber cleaning cloths are more expensive than cotton cloths but will do a much better job of cleaning and last longer.
Scrubbing brushes will also be needed to clean around areas like sinks and basins, and a quality domestic vacuum cleaner should be suitable for smallish areas like offices.
Cleaning toilets is usually one of the less savory parts of the Janitors role. A long-handled toilet brush will let you get the job done without having to get too close to the contents of the toilet.
A duster with an extendable handle will help you get into those difficult to reach areas, both high and low, to remove dust.
Cleaning supplies will of course be essential too. A good all-round multi-purpose cleaner along with a good glass cleaner and scraper, toilet bowl cleaner, and disinfectant.
Because these cleaning solutions will constantly need replacing, savings can be made by buying in bulk, and refilling handheld spray bottles and containers.
If the role requires some minor repairs, a Janitor should also have a plunger for blocked drains, as well as a screwdriver and a monkey wrench.
Heavyweight equipment – for bigger jobs you will need bigger equipment. This is where an auto scrubber may be needed, particularly if you are cleaning marble and linoleum surfaces.
A bigger commercial vacuum cleaner will be needed for larger areas like conference centers.
Transporting equipment – carts are useful to enable you to easily carry all your equipment with you throughout the entire location. This needs to be big enough to carry all your supplies plus broom, mop, and bucket. It should include shelves and hooks.
What to Look for in the Best Janitor Tools
Having the right equipment is important but having the best tool for each type of required equipment is even more important.
Unlike cleaning equipment, you might use in the home, for commercial purposes, you want quality and durability. That doesn’t mean it has to be an expensive quality brand, but it does have to be something that is built to last, because these tools will be used for several hours almost every day.
The tools and supplies both need to be industrial strength. The brands and cleaning supplies used in the home are made for home usage, but commercial cleaning supplies come with much greater strength. Even the mop and bucket need to be more hard-wearing and longer lasting.
A janitor may need to take all of their equipment to different locations so they must be easily portable. Carts need to have sturdy wheels, and $1 mop buckets just won’t cut it, but then again, you want to bucket that is not too heavy, because the Janitor needs to be taking that with them everywhere.
Larger, more expensive equipment like auto scrubbers, floor polishers, and carpet cleaners represent a significant investment. Ensure you get a warranty at the time of purchase that covers realistic issues. Make sure the most expensive tools are covered by insurance in the event of theft or intentional damage.
A broom, a mop, and a bucket might be the three most used items used by a Janitor, but the role requires a range of other tools and cleaning supplies, responsibility and understanding of health and safety issues.