Skip to main content
Cleaning cart of janitorial supplies behind cleaning sign

What should go in a janitor’s closet?

Janitorial closets house lots of different things that are used in many cleaning situations around the facility or building. Cleaning products, cleaning accessories, safety equipment supplies, protective gear, and first aid supplies are all typical items that are found in a janitor’s closet. There are certain things that should be in a utility closet which include:

  • All-purpose cleaners
  • Broom and a dustpan
  • Cloths and wipes
  • Disinfectants
  • Duct tape and electrical tape
  • First-Aid supplies
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ladders and step stools
  • Light bulbs
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Mops and buckets
  • Paper towels and bath tissue
  • Restroom supplies
  • Rubber gloves
  • Soap and floor cleaner
  • Trash bins and bags
  • Vacuum

How to set up a janitorial closet?

Utility closet organization is key to reduce health and safety risks and is important for overall cleanliness. It’s essential to have a system in place for your janitorial closet in order to keep everything organized and safely put away. Having shelves and storage is a great start so that everything has a home and a place to return to after its been used. Shelves are also a great way to keep toxic items like cleaners up higher for safety reasons.

Use Labels

Labels are also a great way to make sure you are putting things back in their correct spots, and to be aware of what each item contains. Using labels can reduce the risk of confusion when taking out a spray bottle or a container of rubber gloves. By using bold letters, you can indicate the type of product, the uses, as well as the size if that is applicable. Labeling can save time when something is needed very quickly or in an emergency situation.

Avoid Stacking Items

Another strategy in setting up your janitorial closet would be to avoid stacking larger items on top of one another. This can cause things to fall, become damaged, or can hurt someone. In order to prevent this from happening, consider putting larger and heavier items on the bottom shelf or on the floor. This can reduce the risk of getting hurt or damaging other items inside the closet. Keeping the floors and walkways clear provides safe routes around the closet or room. Try to avoid leaving the closet a mess so that no one trips or is injured walking around to get what they need.

Well-Lit & Ventilation

Make sure that the room or closet has proper lighting. This is very important because workers should be able to clearly see everything in the closet and choose the right items for the job. Having improper lighting can cause mistakes to be made when using harsh chemicals and cleaning equipment. Ventilation is also important to help prevent the growth of mold or mildew and to provide proper airflow throughout the closet. Chemicals and cleaners can have a harsh smell and negative effects on some people, so making sure the ventilation is working well can help custodians and janitors breathe clean air.

Restrict Access

Limit the access of individuals going into the closet. A closet for cleaning supplies should not be open for anyone to access within the building. Whether it’s in a school, an office, a hospital, retail store, or other facilities, properly trained custodians or janitors should be the only people to have access to the closet. This is important for safety reasons, so be sure to have either a lock on the door or a code system so that only qualified people can get in.

What are the best practices in how to organize a janitor’s closet?

Organizing your custodial closet can seem like a daunting task, but with these tips it won’t feel as much of a chore. Knowing how to organize a utility closet makes it easier to locate things, stock supplies, and reduces the risks for injury in the long run. Implementing these practices can help your janitorial staff stay organized and efficient while at work.

How to organize cleaning supplies and accessories:

Cleaning accessories such as mops, brooms, vacuums, paper towels and other supplies should be strategically placed in certain areas of the closet to keep it organized. Here are ways that could be successful for your closet:

  • Hanging brooms and mops on the wall can help them stay off the floor and out of the way.
  • Group items together. Organizing supplies like paper products all together can be helpful when you are stocking restrooms.
  • Keep any harsh chemicals high up just in case. If the utility closet is in a building where children can be present, making sure the toxic items are out of reach is very important.

How to label items:

Labeling your cleaning supplies, especially the toxic ones that can cause harm if ingested is so important. Here are some tips in making sure your labels are clear and straightforward:

  • Use Avery labels or make your own labels with masking tape and paper.
  • Write in big, bold letters what the product is, whether it is toxic, and what it’s mainly used for. You can use the word ‘toxic’ or get creative and print out the danger symbol to indicate that this product can be dangerous if mishandled.
  • Stick these labels on the shelves themselves so that you aren’t wasting labels when a bottle is empty. That way, you know where the product is supposed to go when you get a new shipment in.

How to stock items:

Stocking items and keeping up with inventory is very important for cleaning closet organization. Making sure you have the products you need at all times is essential for a janitor or a custodian:

  • Consider getting on a delivery schedule to help with restocking your items once you get low. W.B. Mason has a delivery schedule service where instead of leaving the supplies at the reception desk, we will bring the items directly into the closet and stock them for you.
  • Keep an inventory list on a clipboard or on a spreadsheet. This helps with tracking items that need replacements such as cleaning supplies, wipes, paper towels and other disposable items.
  • If there are items you don’t use a lot or don’t need to be restocked as often, make a note of that when doing inventory.

Who should have access to a janitor’s closet?

A janitorial closet is not the same thing as a general supply closet where you can go in a grab what you need. There are lots of dangerous items in a janitorial closet which only needs to be accessible for qualified individuals. Having limited access to the janitorial closets in a facility or building helps maintain safety throughout and limits accidents and mistakes from happening.

The only people that should be allowed inside a utility closet are custodians or janitors. Just like a teacher is trained to educate young minds, and an accountant is trained to do taxes, a janitor is trained to maintain the cleanliness of a facility using the things inside the utility closet. The utility closet is his/her workspace. It is similar to a doctor having their own office, and a teacher having their own classroom; the only difference is that no one else can access the janitorial closet except the janitor. This is due to safety reasons and is not to exclude people from getting something they might need. The janitorial closet is supposed to house all the necessary items needed to clean and upkeep the building, but most of those items can be available to others in other vicinities throughout the building such as paper towels, soap, and hand sanitizer.

How big should a custodian’s closet be?

In order to house all of the items a janitor needs, the size of the closet needs to reflect the size of the building or the floor in which this closet is responsible for cleaning. One of the only requirements is that the door to get into the closet needs to be wide enough to allow the equipment and the custodian to comfortably pass through. Depending on the size and the magnitude of the building, if there aren’t many other janitorial closets, the main closet should be bigger to accommodate the supplies and equipment that are needed.

The janitor closet layout can be more customizable depending on the floor plan. For instance, you can choose where to put items and shelves based on the design of the closet. Once you decide how to arrange the formation of the closet, you can begin to organize.

Supply Closet Organization 101

The best way to organize cleaning supplies in a utility closet is to think about the placement of each item carefully and strategically. Try to place cleaning accessories in reachable areas, clear the floor as much as possible, and use labels or other forms of identification on spray bottles and things that might be toxic. Keeping an organized and current inventory list either on paper or digitally can be very helpful, as well as using a delivery service to stock up when you need to. Janitors and custodians are the backbone of offices, schools, hospitals, and many other business buildings. Keeping their closets clean, organized, and stocked with all the necessary items is important to the daily lives of everyone who uses the building and its facilities.


Luce. Benefits of Having a Clean, Well-Organized Janitor’s Closet. ( November 29, 2022.

The Janitorial Store. Janitor Closets: Safe, Clean, Organized. ( November 30, 2022.

Tornado. Back to Basics: 10 Essentials of a Janitorial Closet. ( November 30, 2022.