Complete Guide on Commercial Cleaning Procedures – Everything a Cleaner Should Know

Complete Guide on Commercial Cleaning Procedures – Everything a Cleaner Should Know

There are many different areas in a commercial building, and each one has specific ways to clean it. Some spaces tend to have more regulations than others, such as those in kitchens and hospitals. With that, different surfaces may accumulate dust more frequently.

Overall, a cleaner isn’t likely to wipe down toilets and then use the same cloth to wipe down a microwave. It’s considered unsanitary.

Therefore, it’s crucial to understand the proper commercial cleaning procedures. That way, cleaners know when to use a high-speed burnisher and when they need different cleaning products, such as dust, toilets, and scuff marks.

Definition of Terms

Though the terms disinfecting, sanitization and cleaning appear similar, there are minor differences between them. Basic commercial cleaning differs, but here are the definitions:

  • Cleaning – This is where a person removes dirt or might wipe surfaces to appear clean.
  • Sanitizing – This process uses strong chemicals to reduce bacteria and is a better form of cleaning surfaces.
  • Disinfecting – Disinfectants kill most microorganisms, such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria.

Here are the cleaning procedures used for most spaces and how to handle them efficiently:

The Seven Basic Commercial Cleaning Steps for Cleaning Services

The industry standard for cleaning procedures follows seven basic steps when approaching a room to clean. Generally, commercial cleaning focuses on them, and each one must be completed before the next step is performed.

Before cleaning takes place, it’s a good idea to gather together the mops and buckets, as well as other cleaning gear. Plus, the professional needs to wear appropriate personal protective equipment, especially when using chemicals for long periods.

Dispose of Trash

Each time the cleaner is in the building, they should gather together the trash bin bags and liners. Most people empty them into a large bin and throw them away.

From that, the trash cans may require cleaning if they are soiled or otherwise dirty. Even if the outsides look good, the inside should be sanitized. Once that’s finished, it’s time to replace the liners.

Dust High Areas First

Cleaning means putting more dust in the air. It’s best not to wipe down surfaces first because the dust collects on them, and the process must be repeated.

If it’s over shoulder level, work in a counter-clockwise or clockwise motion to get rid of all the dust. That way, it all collects on the floor, which can be swept. When it comes time to mop floors, there should be no bits of rubbish.

It’s important to use a damp cloth with a bit of disinfectant spray on it to wipe down high-touch surfaces. However, it’s best not to use those cleaning chemicals on glass surfaces. An appropriate glass cleaner should be used to ensure that there are no streaks on the surface.

Common high-touch surfaces to consider for office cleaning include phones, light switches, doorknobs, and desks. This is a crucial step because bacteria are sure to be found on such surfaces.

Those who require further information may want to look into cleaning each surface and when to use glass cleaner.

Restock Products Like Paper Towels and Toilet Paper

After the high-touch surfaces are cleaned, it’s time for remediation. For bathrooms, it’s crucial to restock paper towels, toilet paper, soaps, and more. There are two purposes for doing this. One is that if the cleaning items are publicly available, it reduces the spread of illness and bacteria. The second is to help maintain social standards.

Most people use hand towels after cleaning their hands, and they need to be available and ready to use. If the cleaner requires further information about the products to choose from, it’s best to talk with the client.

Clean/Dust Mop Floor Level

With all of the high and shoulder-level surfaces cleaned, it’s time to move to the lower areas, such as the floor. Usually, the cleaner requires a dry or dust mop first to get rid of the dust floating around. That way, when they mop floors later, it’s much easier. Dust tends to stick to wet floors, and that’s never a good thing.

Typically, the floors are sure to have objects that must be navigated around. Every single part of the floor must be cleaned to avoid uncollected dirt or dust. After cleaning, the moved objects should be put back where they were. Now, the cleaner is ready for a wet floor!

Inspect the Area for Missed Steps

Before going to the next stage, it’s important to walk around the premises, inspecting the floors and surface areas thoroughly. There may be times where additional cleaning is necessary, especially in traffic pattern areas. Sometimes, things are damaged and should be picked up from the floor.

Though commercial cleaners don’t have to repair damaged items, they should report them to the appropriate people. Finding damage early while removing dirt doesn’t interfere with the mopping process. With that, waiting could lead to extra cleaning time because more dirt might get tracked across the floors.

Damp-Mop Floor Surfaces

The final step for cleaning a room is the wet mop process. This adds a beautiful finish to the floor and can be disrupted easily.

Generally, a cleaning bucket gets filled with neutral detergent or diluted cleaner. The person should mop around the edges of the floor as best as they can, and then move to the center. Overall, it’s best to work in the shape of an eight-sided star to reduce the risk of stepping on the newly wet floor. When this step is complete, the floors are left to air dry on their own.

Add a Wet Floor Sign

After cleaning, there is a wet floor, and this could be a danger. The surface is likely slick, so don’t forget to put out a wet floor sign. If that doesn’t happen and someone falls, the cleaners or business might be held liable.

Application Differences

The seven-step cleaning process mentioned earlier is just a guideline. Each commercial building is different, so there could be carpets to deal with or other things to wipe down. As an industry standard, it follows the basics, and the cleaner must understand that each situation is different and requires a unique approach.

Cleaning a Bathroom

Bathrooms rarely have carpets, so the cleaning procedures use the same process as listed above. The standard initial steps include stocking, removing trash, and all the rest. The cleaner should also replace liners. Then, the cleaner can wipe the glass surfaces with the appropriate cleaning materials.

From there, the cleaner must wipe down paper towel dispensers to get rid of dust. In the same way that they dust other areas, they must take care to get each surface cleaned thoroughly.

However, there are various surfaces in the bathroom, such as the toilets and urinals. Don’t use the same cloth for those as on other items in the bathroom. It’s best to choose a disposable towel or single-use cloth for the toilet surface areas. Plus, proper disinfectant is necessary to kill germs where people sit or press the handle/button to flush.

Follow the directions and wipe off the excess disinfectant. Don’t forget to scrub the toilet bowl. Cleaners might consider using blue toilet bowl fresheners to make the place look friendlier and more welcoming.

How to Clean a Commercial Kitchen

Cleanliness is part of any business, but commercial cleaning of kitchens is crucial. It’s best to follow the right cleaning procedures to maintain a higher level of hygiene.

In a commercial kitchen or catering environment, dirt and grease build-up naturally with time. They can cover every surface and piece of equipment. This presents health risks and is also a fire hazard.

It’s best to save time and effort by using the right cleaning supplies. Then, divide large cleaning tasks into smaller and more manageable ones.

Color-Coded Cleaning

Color-coded cleaning is crucial for kitchens. This means that the cleaner uses a separate towel or cloth for chopping boards, stainless steel equipment, appliances, and all the rest. The goal here is to reduce the risk of cross-contamination in each area of the kitchen to prevent the spread of disease.

For example, commercial cleaning professionals must know which items are used to prepare raw food and handle cooked food. That way, they don’t risk spreading salmonella and other harmful bacteria.

How Often to Clean Kitchen Items

It’s important to understand when to dust. Some things require monthly cleaning procedures, while others need to be cleaned every day (or multiple times a day.) The amount of time a person can wait to wipe down paper towel dispensers may be different than wiping preparation surfaces.

  • Utensils and Every Surface – After each use
  • Ovens – Weekly
  • Freezers and Refrigerators – Monthly
  • Sinks – Between uses and throughout the day
  • Bins – Each week
  • Ventilation Systems – Once a year or every three months (depending on usage)

These are only guidelines, so there could be times where areas or appliances must be cleaned more frequently than listed here.

How Kitchen Items Are Defined in the Catering Industry

Moveable equipment includes items that directly contact food. Examples can include trays, chopping boards, spatulas, containers, and utensils used for cooking.

Non-food items include washbasins, taps, door handles, work surfaces, and walls. These areas are prone to getting dust, so cleaning them periodically is crucial, too.

Cleaning a Kitchen Sink

A kitchen requires a clean sink at all times. Though it doesn’t seem that hard to do, cleaning it incorrectly could lead to a hotbed of germs. The sink is always exposed to dirt and kitchen items, so it’s crucial to give it a regular cleaning.

Sinks can be sanitized with commercial cleaning supplies, like disinfectants and dual-purpose cleaners. It’s also best to wipe them down after each use for the best results.

Heavy grease or oil could clog kitchen sinks. The law now requires catering companies to control those deposits. It’s beneficial to keep the piping and drains smelling neutral and hygienically clean.

However, those aren’t the only benefits of using grease-fighting products. Beneficial bacteria in the dosage can improve water quality along the line, which breaks down the waste more effectively to keep the drains running smoothly.

Cleaning a Dishwasher

Dishwashers must provide sanitation qualities and have to reach temperatures of at least 82.2 degrees Celsius. It’s crucial to separate equipment in the appliance to provide the right amount of heat.

Most cleaning companies ask their kitchen clients to pre-wash dishes and utensils before putting them in the dishwasher. That gets rid of baked-on stains before they receive the disinfecting clean from the dishwasher.

Another issue with leftover food on the dish surface is that it can clog the filter and alter the dishwasher’s performance. This results in cloudy tableware. If the silverware comes out of the dishwasher with streaks or stains all the time, it might be time to clean the dishwasher itself.

Hard water tends to make it harder for the dishwasher to run properly. Consider asking the owner to add water softening salts to prevent the problem.

With that, a multi-purpose cleaner can be used to clean the surface and door seals. Use a non-abrasive tool to scrub everything and wipe each surface with a damp cloth.

Instruct the owner to tell their employees to open the door when the dishwasher finishes a load. That way, there’s less humidity inside for cleanliness.

Cleaning Hard Surfaces

Hard surfaces are the best place to find germs and bacteria. Cracks on the surface can trap water and food crumbs, which creates an environment where bacteria thrive. With that, cracks in utensils may collect extra moisture and food debris in the same way. It’s crucial to dry them properly before they are used again.

Use a sanitizing cleaning spray to clean the surfaces. For a streak-free finish, it’s best to let the surface naturally dry. Just make sure that dust can’t get on it and dirty it again.

There should be no need to spray buff or dry buff hard surfaces. However, if streaking happens, try using fewer products. This doesn’t apply to hard surface floors!

It’s best to remove loose debris and storage items to ensure that each surface area has been cleaned. Make sure to wash hands and wear gloves when the disinfection process is complete.

Hold the spray bottle about 8 inches away from the surface. That way, the cleaning agent doesn’t get overly used. For a deep clean, let the spray sit for 10 minutes.

If streaking happens, it might be wise to wipe the surface in smaller sections. Then, wipe extra moisture with blue rolls to achieve that streak-free shine.

When the kitchen surfaces are cleaned, the dishcloths must be laundered at temperatures of 60 degrees or more. If the cloth is used multiple times a day, it must be rinsed out in warm water and then stored in disinfectant between each use.

Kitchen staff can avoid huge messes if they clean as they go. Wiping up food stains immediately means less work later.

Cleaning an Oven

Oven cleaning doesn’t have to involve a lot of physical effort. There are many commercial cleaning chemicals and supplies that can be used. If the oven is smoking, don’t be surprised if there’s a call to the cleaning company. This indicates that it’s time for a thorough cleaning.

Always use the right cleaning solutions and follow the procedures listed by the chef or company. It’s best to wear gloves to protect the skin from any chemicals. Plus, PPE is crucial, and all safety precautions must be followed for the best results.

Oven cleaning products can speed up the process and breaks down baked-on and tough stains. After using it, the cleaning task is much easier to complete.

The first thing is to ensure proper ventilation by opening a window or turning on the extractor fan. Use paper towels to cover up the floor beneath the oven door. Once the cleaning solution is applied, the liquid might drip to the floor and create a big mess.

Remove the oven shelves and clean those separately. Soak them in a sink filled with warm water. It’s best to use industrial-strength detergent to loosen up all the dirt so that it can be scrubbed.

Inside the oven, it’s best to use a blunt instrument like a spoon to loosen tough stains and residue. That way, the chemicals can work effectively. Now, it’s time to apply the cleaning product to all surfaces except for the fan and heating elements. It’s often easier to get the formula into all the corners with a clean paintbrush to cover the area thoroughly.

Leave the cleaning solution on as long as is possible. Overnight is best, but at least wait an hour. Use a dishwasher brush or hard scrubbing sponge to get out the dirt and grease. Then, grab a microfiber cloth to wipe the oven clean and get rid of the rest of the residue.

The cloths are designed not to leave fibers behind that could burn at the oven’s next use. Just reassemble the shelves, and the place can start cooking again.

Cleaning a Refrigerator

Before cleaning the refrigerator and freezer, make sure that the company procedures are used.

  • Empty the fridge and check for debris or spills that must be removed with non-abrasive sponges.
  • Remove drawers and shelves, cleaning them in a sink full of soapy water. Rinse them off so that they can air dry.
  • Spray all surfaces of the fridge using a multi-purpose cleaner. Then, wipe the seams, walls, and door seals. To reduce the risk of spots, wipe the remaining solution from all areas.
  • If the fridge was turned off, turn it on again and wipe down the exterior using a damp cloth.
  • Disinfect and clean the refrigerator door handle with antibacterial wipes or disinfectant and let it dry.

Cleaning a Microwave

It’s sometimes easier to loosen microwave stains by filling a bowl (microwave safe) with about 2 cups of water. Run it for two to three minutes on full power, and then spray a multi-purpose cleaner inside, wiping it clean with a dry cloth.

Cleaning the Floor

Having a professional shine on the floor makes a lasting impression on the client and their visitors. Taking care of hard floors makes them stand apart from the crowd and improves air quality. There’s no need to mask unpleasant odors with air fresheners with the right cleaning operation in place.

A freshly cleaned floor smells neutral. Machines cut the time it takes to clean in half, but they may not be suitable for certain situations, such as hard-to-reach areas.

Using a multi-purpose cleaner gives instant results and ensures a high shine on the floor.

It’s best to use a mop to get in between appliances. For tricky corner spots, attach a cloth to the mop handle to cover every single space.

Bathroom floors are crucial to maintain. Concentrate on the cleanest parts first and finish with critical areas, such as those near the toilet. When cleaning that way, it’s easy to minimize the spread of germs and ensures that the toilet is the last thing to be cleaned so that the cleaning tool or cloth can be thrown away.

Whether hardwood or carpets, the best tip is to clean the floors last. That way, there’s no risk of having to repeat the work as debris comes off walls, ceilings, and other surfaces.

Removing Grease from the Kitchen Floor

The first step to removing grease from the floor of the breakroom or kitchen is to remove extra layers with paper towels. Then, use a kitchen degreaser on the area and let it sit for about 10 minutes (or more). Make sure that the solution isn’t mixed with bleach and other cleaning chemicals.

Overall, the formula breaks down the grease molecules, so it’s easily lifted from hard floors. Use disposable cloths to get up any residue, and then mop the floor using soapy water to ensure proper hygiene.

Carpet Cleaning

Carpeted floors require more power to lift up hidden dust and dirt. Debris tends to fall deep into the fibers and clings to them. With a vacuum cleaner, it’s easy to clean curtains, upholstery, and soft furnishings, too.

Carpet cleaning machines are sometimes called spot washers. They tend to cost less than vacuum cleaners and can deal with stubborn stains and dust. With that, they provide a deeper clean to the carpeted floors and keep allergens at bay.

Just remember that carpets need a thorough cleaning each week!

Common Areas Not to Forget

During cleaning times, these areas are sometimes forgotten:

  • Ventilation systems
  • Filters or plenum chambers
  • Fridge doors, shelves, seals
  • Underneath appliances
  • Space between equipment and walls
  • Drains or gullies
  • High shelves

Touch Points

Touch points are the areas that are touched frequently. They’re often under-emphasized cleaning areas around toilets and in restrooms. Whenever customers turn on the light or use a latch, there’s a risk of spreading germs. These areas might harbor more bacteria than just in the toilet bowl and might get ignored.

Some common touch points in restaurants include light switches, toilet flushes, hand dryer buttons, faucets, towel dispensers, soap dispensers, and similar surfaces. To clean the areas appropriately, one must:

  • Use disinfectant spray on all surfaces.
  • Leave chemicals long enough to work.
  • Wipe surfaces clean using a dry, clean cloth.

Consider Auto-dosing

It might be best for cleaning professionals to buy an auto-dose unit. It’s the best way to save on the cost of cleaning chemicals while increasing safety. Overall, it puts out a pre-measured amount of chemicals without any waste or fear of overdosing.

Plus, the container is inside a locked cabinet, so it can’t accidentally be misused. With that, the dispensing units come in three models to dispense mixtures into buckets, sinks, or spray bottles.

Essential Cleaning Equipment and Tools

For commercial cleaning purposes, here are the essential items required:

  • Mop buckets
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Brush and dustpan
  • Cleaning gloves
  • Sponge scourers
  • Multi-purpose cleaner
  • Janitorial cart to hold everything
  • Pelican pump (maintains the right dosage of cleaning products to save money and reduce waste)

Hospital Cleaning Standards

It’s crucial to clean hospital settings for infection control, particularly in all work areas. Overall, deposits of microbes, soil, and dust on surfaces could transmit infection. Contaminated areas, including insolation and operating rooms, should be cleaned after every session and spot-cleaned as needed.

Therefore, it’s crucial to have the right commercial cleaning procedures in place. Here are the basic principles to follow:

  • Provide written cleaning protocols, including frequency and methods of cleaning. They should include the policies for supplying the products and personal protective equipment.
  • Standard precautions should be implemented when cleaning the facility or any surface.
  • Cleaning methods shouldn’t use aerosols.
  • Cleaning items must be changed after every use and then cleaned/dried before using them again. They must immediately be changed after dealing with body fluids, substance spills, and blood. Single-use cleaning items are ideal, such as cleaning cloths that don’t produce lint.
  • Sprays shouldn’t be used because they are hard to clean and could get contaminated. With that, they aren’t effective because they don’t touch each part of the surface.
  • Detergents should never get mixed with other chemicals.
  • Cleaning solutions must be prepared fresh to use each time.

Specific Procedures

Here are the specific procedures to perform:

Surface Cleaning

Hospital floors or daycare facilities must be cleaned daily as needed. It’s best to use a vacuum cleaner on carpeted floors. Make sure it has a particulate-retaining filter. Then, change it based on the manufacture’s instructions. With that, the exhaust air must be directed away from the clean floor to avoid moving dust around. Daily cleaning is crucial here!

Damp dusting is best, and a lint-free cloth should be used. Brooms tend to push dust and bacteria into the air, so they shouldn’t be used in a clinical or patient area.

Mops that retain dust are often treated to handle the dirt particles and don’t increase airborne counts like ordinary brooms. Plus, they remove more debris from work surfaces. Still, they can’t be used in some areas if there’s a high risk of infection, such as in burn units.

If there are hard surface floors, the best way to get a deep clean is by using a low-speed floor buffer.

Here is the procedure for surface cleaning:
  • The cleaning solutions must be prepared right before use.
  • Work surfaces must be cleaned with warm water and a neutral detergent. Then, it must be rinsed and thoroughly dried after the session or whenever soiled. Spills have to be cleaned up as soon as possible.
  • When disinfectant is necessary, the cleaner must follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and the safety/health instructions of the workplace.
  • Buckets must be emptied after each use. Then, they need to be washed in warm water with detergent, rinsed in hot water, and dried thoroughly before being put in storage.
  • Mops need to be cleaned in detergent or laundered. Once dry, they can be stored in the appropriate place. Overall, the mop head needs to detach from the base and can be placed alongside the mop for easy grabbing.

Specialized Areas

  • En-suite bathrooms and isolation rooms require daily cleaning, and some facilities do so twice a day, depending on the microorganisms at play.
  • Day procedure and operating rooms must be cleaned after every operating session and whenever visibly soiled. After every delivery, obstetric areas must be cleaned, but they should be done once daily, too.
  • Sterilizing processing departments must be cleaned two times a day, too.
  • Generally, filing cabinets are often forgotten, but they should be dusted and wiped down.

Wet Areas

In most cases, the following things should receive a daily cleaning or may need more frequent attention:

  • Surrounding wall and floor areas
  • All fittings attached to basins, baths, and showers
  • Shower cubicles, baths, washbasins, sinks, toilets

Walls and Fittings

  • Typically, screens and walls need to be cleaned each quarter, but this may need to be done more often if they are visibly soiled. With that, curtains and blinds are the same way.
  • Carpets need to be vacuumed each day. Other floor surfaces require cleaning when soiled and once per day at the minimum.
  • Examination and bed screens can accumulate dirt and dust and should be changed weekly or whenever dirty.

Cleaning Infection Agents

Cerebrospinal fluid or central nervous system tissue must be absorbed with paper towels when it is spilled and then incinerated. The surface must then be soaked with an appropriate solution, left for an hour, and then wiped away.

Maintenance of the Cleaning Equipment

Cleaning items, such as water, solutions, cleaning cloths, mop heads, and buckets, must be changed after each use. It’s best to wash them in detergent, rinse them, and then dry them thoroughly before placing them back on the janitorial cart.

Spills of Human Pathogens from Laboratory Cultures

Laboratory culture spills need to be absorbed and then thrown away with other clinical waste. Cleaning requires the use of sodium hypochlorite, which must be left on the surface for one hour and then wiped away.

Waste Disposal

Healthcare facilities need procedures and policies in place to determine how waste is managed correctly. The EPA (Environmental Protection Authority) has specific guidelines on how trash is handled.

With that, the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council) has guidelines in place. Waste is typically classified into three groups: general, clinical, and pharmaceutical.

All waste needs to be stored in a secure area until it’s collected. Once that is done, the cleaner can replace liners and wait until the right waste disposal company (licensed through the EPA) collects the pharmaceutical and clinical waste. They must be disposed of in special facilities, which the EPA also licenses.

Overall, waste must be removed from the clinical areas three times a day or more frequently. The bags must be tied before taking them from the space.


Part of cleaning is to take out the trash. It’s possible to put general waste in the bin. Disinfectants can often be disposed of in the sewer system. Just run cold water in the sink and pour it down the drain. Leave the water running for a bit to dilute it.


Clinical waste must be put in biohazard bags immediately. They feature the biohazard symbol and are yellow. People using single-use sharps need to put them into the appropriate sharps container.


Generally, it’s best to return any medications and drugs to the pharmacy so that it can dispose of them correctly.

Office Cleaning

Office cleaning methods are similar to the seven steps listed much earlier. There are different styles, though, and there could be unique challenges. Generally, high-touch surfaces still use the seven rules and can include doorknobs, thermoses, filing cabinets, desks, computers, and phones.

Regular cleaning is required to remove dirt. Typically, vertical surfaces are wiped down weekly. Most of the time, office cleaning procedures focuses more on making the space look presentable, so it’s best to polish desks with furniture polish.


Each commercial building is different, and there are likely to be specific cleaning procedures in place. Learning about the seven basic steps of commercial cleaning is just the beginning. It is best to talk to the owners of the property to determine what they need and want.

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About the Author

Hi, you can call me Steve. I have been with Clean Group for almost four years now and work as a Regional Operations Manager in Sydney. I manage a team of 10 and am responsible for the day-to-day management of cleaning operations, planning, online assessment for clients, overseeing operations, collecting clients' feedback and ensuring proper & regular maintenance of cleaning equipment. Having more than 30 years of experience in the commercial cleaning industry, I am familiar with my clients’ needs and always able to meet their expectations. Do reach me for a quick chat about your cleaning needs.

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