May 11, 2023

What Is the Semi-Clean Zone and Why Is It Important?

Area outside of facility building.

With 85% of all dirt in a building being tracked in by foot, many facilities have a battle keeping the floors within the building in tip top condition.

And whilst it’s not possible to keep a floor from getting a build-up of dirt, it is possible to reduce the amount of dirt being spread over the floors and becoming a high maintenance problem that your team don’t need.

In this blog, we will identify what the semi-clean zone is, why it is important to maintain it and how to do so effectively to increase the hygiene levels of your facility.

So, What is The Semi-Clean Zone?

The semi-clean zone refers to the areas outside of the entrances. E.g., the pavement passing the entrance, or a 10-metre radius outside of the entrance.

It is a crucial aspect of the management of clean facilities and affects the cleanliness of core rooms within the building.

The semi-clean zone is affected by external factors, like bad weather blowing dirt and debris, and high footfall of pedestrians and potential litter. If not regularly cleaned and maintained, this area will accumulate more dirt which will then be transferred to a facility.

To illustrate the point, if someone were to walk along the pavement just outside your facility which is wet and muddy from the rain. When they enter your facility, their shoes which are covered in soils, will cover the floors, and spread bacteria.

This will increase the amount of time needed for your teams to clean the floors and maintain them on a regular basis.

Some dirt, like grit and stones will cause damage to the floor with scratches. The ridges formed by these scratches then trap dirt and make it even more difficult to clean.

Person walking in boots leaving dirty footprint on carpet
How Can I Minimise Soil, Dirt & Bacteria from Coming into the Facility?

The key focus is to stop the soil at the point of entry. This is where the semi-clean zone comes in.

To stop the dirt at point of entry, you need to ensure an area outside of the point of entry is clean and maintained.

To do this, go beyond the first 2 metres and set a boundary either on a specific radius from the entrance, or utilise street furniture or landmarks to mark out an area that all of your cleaning team are aware of. We recommend looking up to 10 metres from your entrance and picking out key visible points that form an easy area that is required to be always kept in tip top condition.

Once you have agreed an area for your semi-clean zone, you should then analyse all of the elements within the area that could either cause or contribute to the dirt that may be entering a facility.

It could be a tree within the semi-clean zone which drops leaves and requires a leaf clearing every few days during certain times of the year; it could be a bench where people are known to drop litter or food; or maybe there is a block paving that regularly gets a build up of moss or soil.

It’s important to include all of the elements, even if you are unsure whether it will have much impact because it’s often the smallest things that can have the biggest impact when it comes to dirt and bacteria levels.

Do I Need to Invest in The Semi-Clean Zone?

Many facilities probably won’t want to spend budgets on a new area that they haven’t included. And that’s understandable, but what you do have to consider is that when the semi-clean zone is well maintained and kept in pristine condition, the costs for internal floor cleaning will reduce without any doubt.

A pound spent keeping the soil out of a building will save 10 pounds in removing the soil once it’s inside.

There may be initial investment required, maybe for commercial grade pressure washing equipment for washing hard surfaces, or more bins to make it convenient for people to dispose of their litter, or even a sweeper to keep it clean, safe and functional at all times.

It is also important to remember that when the semi-clean zone is kept in top condition for any facility, it improves the image of the building as a whole and the building or company’s reputation for cleanliness and care will increase massively.

Person in hi-vis clothing power washing concrete floor.
fallen leaves in autumn on pavement
How Often Should the Semi-Clean Zone Be Cleaned?

Every semi-clean zone will be different, and every zone will include different materials or factors that determine how often it needs to be cleaned.

For areas with more requirements and regular cleaning, we would recommend a set amount of time on it, 3-4 days per week.

In Conclusion

In summary, when the semi-clean zone is well maintained and regularly cleaned, it provides more protection and more control over the interior of a facility. This saves time and money in the cleaning processes internally, which in the long run, allows facilities teams to put more time and budget into other areas.

Remember these steps when assessing the semi-clean zone of your facility:

  1. Identify your area of semi-clean zone
  2. Analyse elements within the area which may contribute to dirt & bacteria entering the facility
  3. Utilise the latest innovative equipment and incorporate the cleaning of the semi-clean zone into your day-to-day cleaning processes for maximum effectiveness.

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What Is the Semi-Clean Zone and Why Is It Important?