Janitorial Services: Debunking Misconceptions

Janitorial Services: Debunking Misconceptions

Like any other professionally offered service, cleaning comes in many different shapes and forms, each catering to a different clientele or setting. Well and good as it may be to have so many options, there are some downsides to variety.  Services

One of those downsides comes in the form of confusion. Cleaning services bear obvious similarities but subtle differences which makes it easy to mistake one for another, like identifying janitorial with cleaning, custodian, or even housekeeping.

Today, we’ll be debunking several of the most common misconceptions about professional cleaning and janitorial services, with the help of expert commercial cleaning services in Washington, DC, so you can always be confident that you’re hiring the right person for the job.

What is the difference between a janitor and a cleaner?

Misconception: Janitorial and cleaning services are one and the same.

Today, the terms “janitor” and “cleaner” are often used interchangeably. However, there are clear distinctions between them, namely in the scope of responsibilities, operating settings, and the duration of employment:

  • Responsibilities:
    • Janitors are often entrusted with a broader variety of responsibilities that include cleaning but, also, a variety of other maintenance and management tasks related to building upkeep (e.g. minor repairs, managing other cleaning teams, reporting maintenance issues, restocking cleaning and hygiene supplies, etc.).
    • Cleaners typically focus exclusively on cleaning tasks, such as dusting, mopping, vacuuming, sanitizing, and disinfection, without added maintenance or management responsibilities.
  • Operating settings:
    • Janitors most commonly work in commercial and industrial environments, such as offices, schools, hospitals, warehouses, factories, etc.
    • Cleaners can operate in virtually every setting, from residential to commercial to industrial and more.
  • Duration of employment:
    • Janitors are typically hired on a long-term basis, such as several months or even years.
    • Cleaners are usually hired on a per-need basis, typically to do a specific job, such as regular or deep cleaning.

Is janitorial the same as housekeeping?

Misconception: Janitorial services and housekeeping are one and the same.

This is, without a doubt, one of the biggest misconceptions. While janitorial and housekeeping fall under the same umbrella of services, they widely differ in scope, setting, and service time:

  • Janitorial services, as mentioned above, mostly focus on commercial and industrial settings, often working during off-hours to minimize disruptions to daily operations. Their main focus is to create a healthy, comfortable, and presentable work environment that boosts productivity and makes a good impression on clients/visitors.
  • Housekeeping is generally reserved for residential settings (e.g. private homes), with a few exceptions (e.g. hotels, offices, hospitals) that could be referred to as “commercial housekeeping”, although that designation can be misleading. Housekeepers almost exclusively work during the day and are responsible for creating a healthy and comfortable living environment.

It should be noted that both janitorial and housekeeping can be hired on an ongoing basis. However, in the case of the latter, the long(er)-term employment typically comes down to a recurring arrangement with a service provider.

What is the difference between a janitor and a custodian?

Misconception: Janitor and custodian are one and the same.

Mixing up janitorial and custodial services is incredibly common, mainly because the differences between them are all about nuance:

  • Responsibilities:
    • Janitors are mainly responsible for routine cleaning and basic maintenance;
    • Custodians are often responsible for maintaining the building’s overall condition (in addition to cleaning).
  • Focus:
    • Janitors focus primarily on maintaining high levels of cleanliness and hygiene in the building or facility.
    • Custodians can be responsible for the upkeep of both the building and the surrounding grounds.

Finally, custodial services can go beyond routine upkeep altogether to include supervisory duties, such as overseeing the security of the facility or ensuring that repairs are completed in a timely manner and in compliance with safety regulations. However, at that point, custodial services transition into a category of their own, making them (almost) incomparable with janitorial or cleaning services in general.

That being said, with all the information listed here, you should have everything you need to make an informed decision on which kind of specialist you should hire to ensure that your facility receives the care it needs and deserves.