January 3, 2023

What Is Colour Coded Cleaning and Why Is It So Important?

Colour coding your cleaning equipment for separate areas is an effective way to prevent cross contamination and the risk of infection.

For environments, including catering and healthcare, colour coded cleaning can be extremely beneficial in maintaining a high standard of hygiene for staff and visitors’ health and wellbeing.

 In this blog, we’ll define colour coded cleaning, provide reasons why it is so beneficial, and how to implement it in your facility

What is colour coded cleaning?

In the cleaning industry, colour coded cleaning is a system of organization that assigns specific colours to individual pieces of equipment and cleaning supplies. 

As no compulsory standards exist in the cleaning industry, the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICs) introduced guidelines called colour coded cleaning to prevent cross contamination through different types of areas within a facility.

These guidelines implement the basic colours; red, blue, green, and yellow, which are assigned to a specific area within your facility. All cleaning equipment can be colour coded to which area it is to be used in and cannot be outside of that area which helps to prevent bacteria and viruses from specific areas spreading into other areas.


Why is colour coded cleaning important?

Cross contamination occurs when germs and bacteria are transported from one cleaning area to another, which can be extremely hazardous to health. Colour coding is applied to prevent that cross contamination and infection from spreading to different areas.
An example of  how this is preventing cross contamination would be where red cloths are used in the washroom environment. These would be used to wipe round toilet areas where there is high levels of bacteria, so to the use this same cloth in another area, e.g. a kitchen, you are effectively taking toilet bacteria and placing it into an area where food is being prepared. This could cause serious illness if the correct cleaning procedure is not adhered too and the toilet bacteria ends up in food prepared by the kitchen. 

What is the recommended colour-code?

Benefits of colour coded cleaning
Colour coded cleaning has many benefits in professional cleaning environments. First, it reduces the risk of cross-contamination by making sure that each task is performed with separate equipment and supplies designated for that purpose. 
For example, red microfiber cloths can be used only for bathroom surfaces while green microfiber cloths are used only for kitchen surfaces. This way, cleaners won’t use the same cloth on both surfaces which could spread bacteria from one area to another. 
Colour coding also makes it easier to identify different types of items quickly so that they can be properly stored when not in use. For instance, if all buckets for general areas are labelled with blue tags and all mops for washroom areas are labelled with red tags, then a cleaner can easily distinguish between them without having to check labels or ask questions. 
This increases efficiency by eliminating the time needed to search through numerous items during a shift change or when stocking up on supplies before use. Finally, colour coded cleaning ensures consistency in cleanliness across multiple locations since each type of item is clearly marked as belonging to a certain task or area.

Tips for colour coded cleaning

  • Make colour coding part of your employee induction training and continuous training programme
  • On an ongoing basis you should monitor the colour coding system to ensure it remains effective
  • Always start your cleaning routine in the least contaminated, cleanest areas & finish in the washrooms or higher risk areas
  • Products that are colour coded mostly include: mops, buckets, cloths, brushes, squeegees, dustpans, gloves, aprons, bins, micro-fibre cloths & cleaning trolleys.

How to implement colour coded cleaning?

The first step in implementing colour coded cleaning is to clearly define the colour categories that will be used and assign colours accordingly. Common categories include bathrooms/toilets, kitchens/food areas, general areas (such as hallways or lobbies), and clinical/biohazard areas (such as hospital wards & science labs). Once the categories have been established and clearly set out to the team, then assign a specific set of equipment for each one which should follow: red for bathrooms/toilets, green for kitchens/food areas, blue for general cleaning areas and yellow for clinical & biohazard areas.

Finally make sure employees understand which colours represent which tasks so they can easily identify what needs to be done at any given time without confusion or delays.

For the system to be truly effective, staff must become familiar with it and learn it off by heart. This is best achieved through active visual training that is carried out regularly and with colour-coded cleaning posters placed at eye-level within the cleaning cupboards to serve as a reminder. It is vital that colour-coded cleaning forms part of an employee induction for any member of a cleaning or facilities team and ensure that it is regularly implemented.


Visualising colour coded areas within a facility


In conclusion, colour coded cleaning is an effective system that helps increase efficiency while reducing the risk of cross-contamination in professional facilities management environments. By assigning the right colours to the right areas, the system also helps to ensure proper usage while saving time when organising items of equipment during shift changes or stock ups prior to beginning work duties.

However for it to be effective, all new employees must be trained and current members of staff to be familiarised with regular training and reminders.

Be sure to implement the system in your facility to ensure a happy, healthy and safe environment for staff and visitors.

For more tips and advice on cleaning, check out our other blogs in the knowledge base.

What Is Colour Coded Cleaning and Why Is It So Important?