Difference Between Janitor & Custodian

Janitor vs Custodian

There are various terms used to describe individuals who are responsible for fixing problems and troubleshooting. In different countries, these individuals may be referred to as caretakers, custodians, janitors, or cleaners. Advertisements for positions often use the terms janitor and custodian interchangeably. This article aims to clarify the differences between a janitor and a custodian.


A janitor is someone who is responsible for the cleaning and maintenance of a building. However, when looking up synonyms for janitor in a dictionary, one might find terms like custodian, gatekeeper, caretaker, attendant, doorkeeper, and concierge. The general perception of a janitor is that of a person involved in cleaning public spaces such as schools, offices, hospitals, airports, etc. Common duties and responsibilities of a janitor include removing trash, vacuuming carpets, cleaning toilets, emptying garbage dumps, wiping windows, dusting furniture and appliances, and mopping and scrubbing floors. In some cases, a janitor employed in schools and other public institutions may also be referred to as a custodian when they are given tasks beyond just cleaning.


The word custodian often brings to mind someone who has custody of something or a child. In office and public spaces, a custodian is a person who performs a role similar to that of a janitor. A custodian is someone in charge of a property or a building and is expected to take good care of that property by cleaning and maintaining it. Custodians may look after buildings, grounds, or even animals.

A custodian is someone who performs custodial services, such as looking after the well-being of a child, estate, building, or animal. However, the definition of a custodian has broadened in recent times, and anyone who protects and maintains a property by doing jobs like cleaning, painting, fixing broken things like window glasses, and providing security can be called a custodian. Custodians typically have keys to the place or building they are responsible for and are on the premises most of the time.

Key Takeaways

  • A janitor traditionally performs cleaning jobs, while a custodian is a person in charge of looking after a property or a child.
  • Definitions of janitor and custodian have become somewhat blurred, with janitors often performing roles traditionally associated with custodians.
  • A custodian is generally on the premises of the property they maintain, whereas a janitor performs their duties in the mornings or evenings.
Dmitri Ivanov
Dmitri Ivanovhttps://whats-different.com
Dmitri Ivanov, a writer and managing editor, was educated in Canada and holds a BS in Science. Dmitri loves doing research, writing, and teaching various courses.


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