By Grainger Editorial Staff 10/1/20
Your facility’s janitorial closet might not be a place you look into that often. Even if you are part of the custodial staff, you might only go in, grab your janitorial supplies and leave without ever taking a closer look. However, the way you are storing cleaning supplies may not be the best way you can. Just like every other part of your business, keeping your janitor’s closet clean, organized and safe is the surest way to boost efficiency.
It seems like the custodial closet would be the best place to store all your cleaning supplies. It is the central point where all cleaning personnel start and finish their day. However, keeping extra cleaners and other cleaning supplies takes up unnecessary space and creates clutter. Instead, the custodial closet should only hold as many supplies as needed for one week. Bulk boxes and containers of cleaning solutions, paper towels and other stocking materials should be kept in another location. Limiting the amount of stock in the custodial closet helps keep it tidy, which helps promote better safety and ergonomics.
This counts for hardware too. Specialty tools or other items that are only used on rare occasions take up valuable space and create clutter. When organizing your custodial closet, look at each item and decide how often it’s used. If it is used on a weekly basis, keep it in the closet. However, if it’s used less, move it somewhere else and only take it out when it’s time to use it.
Good ergonomics have become an essential part of business practice, and this extends to the janitor closet as well. Keeping items on the floor leads to excessive bending and lifting that can be prevented. If you are currently stocking items on the floor, rethink your shelving to find a better place for them that would require less strain.
Storing items on the floor also creates excess clutter. Floor clutter can be a hazard, both for tripping and for access. It is necessary to eliminate items from the floor and keep them on a designated shelf to ensure your custodial closet adheres to your highest safety standards.
Every item in your janitor’s closet should have its place. For most items, this means having proper shelving. The shelving in your closet should be strong enough to support the weight of all your supplies when fully stocked. When stocking the shelf, make sure to place the items that are used the most in spots that are easy to access. Shelves should also be stocked with an ergonomic design. This means placing items on shelves in such a way that limits awkward or strenuous movements when reaching for supplies.
Items that cannot be placed on shelves—like brooms, mops or tools—should be hung on the wall. Pegs and hangers can be installed for these bulkier items. Using shadow boards can help employees make sure everything is hung in its correct place. This promotes organization in the closet and helps keep everything in the most convenient place.
When storing cleaning supplies, there is a high potential for puddles and spills. Hangers for mops and other wet items should be placed over a sink or bucket to control the drainage. Some facilities choose wire or grated shelving so that liquid spills can drain to the floor where it is easier to clean.
It is not only wise to label everything in your closet; it is required by law. Make sure that all your chemicals are clearly labeled and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) are kept in an obvious and accessible place.
Good labeling doesn’t stop there. Each shelf should be labeled to designate what should go on it, as well as hangers and hooks. Some facilities use a color coding system to keep similar items together. For example, paper products might be labeled in white, placing white stickers on both the products and their shelving.
Cleaning out your janitor’s closet is part of any green cleaning program. Even if you aren’t changing out harsh cleansers for more environmentally friendly alternatives, starting a green initiative in your building means removing extra clutter and waste. It means keeping only what you need on hand to help reduce waste. The custodial closet is the base of operations for all your facility’s cleaning needs. Keeping it clean, tidy and wisely stocked can make the entire custodial process more manageable and efficient.
The information contained in this article is intended for general information purposes only and is based on information available as of the initial date of publication. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. This article is not a substitute for review of current applicable government regulations, industry standards, or other standards specific to your business and/or activities and should not be construed as legal advice or opinion. Readers with specific questions should refer to the applicable standards or consult with an attorney.