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Colour Coded Cleaning Etiquette – Reducing Cross Contamination


It’s not a legal requirement to operate a colour-coded cleaning regime but a plethora of legislation and guidelines leaves you with a responsibility to protect your staff, customers and anyone visiting your business. So, if you task your cleaner to clean all areas of your premises, including kitchens and washrooms armed with a single J-cloth and a mop, you could find yourself in deep water, and not necessarily clean water!

Joking aside, when the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) first began to develop a universal colour code which would be recommended for use in the cleaning industry in the late 1990s, it was the start of an industry revolution to minimise contamination and prevent the spread of infection. In 2006, the UK applied new food and hygiene legislation, and as good practice, the Food Standards Agency suggested that separate cleaning equipment such as cloths, sponges and mops, should be used in areas where ready-to-eat foods are stored, handled and prepared. COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) legislation demands risk assessment and prevention or control of exposure to harmful microorganisms in the workplace. Colour coding cleaning equipment is an auditable way of demonstrating that you do this.

Colour-coded cleaning is the process of designating colours to clean equipment in specific areas of a building, reducing the spread of germs and increasing hygiene. Primarily designed for use in high-risk industries and trades, such as catering, hospitality and healthcare (which has its own strict requirements), it is now recognised that every premise presents a risk and that is why Monthind always adopts and applies a colour code for its cleaning equipment.

Many cleaning colour codes use four colours: red for washrooms and toilets, blue for general areas, green for kitchens, and yellow for clinical/lab. We use five and have added pink for cleaning toilets and urinals. Every item of cleaning equipment including mops, buckets, brushes, cloths and gloves are coloured to make them easily identifiable and every cleaning operative’s training includes the system’s management. Printed instructions are clearly visible in relevant areas if anyone ever needs to check, and supervisors are eagle-eyed when it comes to spotting a green mop heading in the direction of the toilets!

We welcome any initiative that ensures our cleaning contributes to the safety and wellbeing of your stakeholders and embrace colour-coded cleaning for its simplistic effectiveness to ensure your business remains compliant with Health and Safety requirement and a pleasant environment for you, your staff and your customers to work and do business.

For find out more about our cleaning services and for a no-obligation quotation, please call 01206 215300.

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