A reader recent wrote in saying: “In reading your articles I find that you tend to make emptying trash cans more complicated than it actually is. All a janitor does is pull trash, dust a little and goof off. Why make this something that it is not?”

Obviously you have never been just a janitor since you seem to miss the point of what we actually provide as a service to our end users: People who visit or occupy the buildings and homes we service. Yes, pulling trash is very important since it could get rather messy rather quickly if the janitor failed to show up for a few days. In fact, if you look back at recent history, when custodial services were curtailed or eliminated in major cities, there was a significant disruption in productivity. There was increased risk of contagion since food left in the trash cans began to smell, rest rooms and break rooms were unsanitary and unsafe to use.

I can assure you that if an entire level of middle managers disappeared tomorrow, others would step in to fill the gap and keep operations on track. Remove the custodian (yes, I prefer that term over just a janitor) and health as well as safety are at risk within a very short period of time. Today’s custodian does far more than just empty trash cans and keeps you and the public safe from contagions that seem to be more easily spread in areas that do not have the standards and professionalism that we have here.

I challenge you to take a few days off your job and work first as a front line custodian pulling trash, dusting, sweeping, vacuuming, damp mopping and performing many of the other labor intensive tasks that today’s custodian performs behind the scenes so that you and the public can be productive. Make sure your learn the importance of dwell/contact time, practical application of pH values, IAQ, green standards, recycling benefits and how to swap out a belt on a vacuum cleaner or bag from a back pack. You might find that there is more to custodial work than just pulling trash. You really do not understand today’s challenge to cleaning since it is a lot more than just pulling trash.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net