Difference Between Janitor and Custodian

Janitor vs Custodian

There are many different terms that are applied to persons who seem to be there to fix problems and trouble shoot. In different countries, they are referred to as caretaker, custodian, janitor, cleaner, and so on. One often finds advertisements for the posts of janitors and custodians and, in some cases, the post is labeled as janitor and custodian. This article attempts to highlight the differences between a janitor and a custodian for the benefit of the readers.


Janitor is a person who is entrusted with cleaning and maintenance of a building. However, if one looks up dictionary to find the synonyms, he is surprised to see terms such as custodian, gatekeeper, caretaker, attendant, doorkeeper, concierge etc. being given as synonyms of janitor. However, the general perception of a janitor is that of an individual who is involved with cleaning of public places such as schools, offices, hospitals, airports, and so on. Removing trash, vacuuming carpets, cleaning toilets, varying garbage dumps, wiping windows, dusting furniture and appliances, mopping and scrubbing of floors are some of the common duties and responsibilities of a janitor.

Sometimes, a janitor who is employed in schools and other public institutions is also referred to as a custodian when he is entrusted with other tasks apart from cleaning.


Custodian as a word reminds of someone who has custody of something or a child. However, in office and public places, a custodian is a person seen to be performing a role similar to that of a janitor. A custodian is an individual who is made in charge of a property or a building and is expected to take good care of that property by cleaning and maintaining it. There are custodians of buildings, but there are also custodians looking after grounds and even animals.

Anyone performing custodial service, looking after the wellbeing of a kid, an estate, a building or an animal is a custodian. However, this definition of a custodian has got broadened in recent times and anyone who protects and maintains a property by doing jobs like cleaning, painting, fixing broken things like window glasses, providing security etc. is called a custodian these days. Custodians have the keys of the place or the building and are there on the premises most of the time.

What is the difference between Janitor and Custodian?

• A janitor has traditionally been entrusted with cleaning jobs whereas custodian is a person in charge of looking after a property or a child

• However, the definitions have got somewhat blurred these days and often a janitor is seen performing many other roles that are traditionally considered fit for a custodian

• A custodian is there on the premises of the property he is entrusted to maintain whereas a janitor performs his duties in the mornings or in the evenings

• Normally, janitorial services evoke images of a person cleaning toilets and floors, whereas a custodian reminds us of a person looking after maintenance and security of a place.

  • Bill

    Your grammar is terrible. That is all.