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Color-Coded Cleaning Systems in 5 Easy Steps

Why Design Color-Coded Cleaning Systems?

One shouldn’t underestimate the importance of a color-coded cleaning system. When you institute this simple but effective strategy for housekeeping supplies, you can take some important steps to prevent cross-contamination, control infections, and make it easy for your employees to meet higher expectations for cleaning standards.

The basic theory is simple: use specific color microfiber cloths, mops, and pads for each type of surface area.

Does it sound too simple? Does it seem like something you may have trouble getting your crew to use?

Many companies have faced similar issues, but this is one of the most effective ways to ensure germs don’t spread around a facility and cause problems.

Get Started in Five Easy Steps

These five steps make it easy to implement a microfiber cleaning system and improve the conditions in the facility.

1. Define Color-Coded Cleaning Categories

The key to this step is to be very clear about your designated colors and categories so your staff can quickly adapt to this new process.

How, exactly, you categorize your cloths and mops is up to you. While there’s not an “official” way to color-code your housekeeping supplies, there is something like an industry standard. In general, it looks like:

  1. Blue for window, mirrors, door, hallways
  2. Green for food prep areas and general areas
  3. Red for bathroom and hazard areas (toilets, urinals, etc.)
  4. Yellow for wood and metal polishing

Microfiber mops should also be color-coded, though you likely won’t need as many categories. Most facilities get by with:

  1. Red for restrooms and hazard areas
  2. Green for food prep and general areas
  3. Blue for hallways and foyers

You are, of course, free to choose your categories and associated colors. Just make sure that your policies are clearly defined. Clear definitions will make it easy to remember which color of microfiber rags to use for each job.

Color-coded cleaning cloths
Color-coded mops

2. Convince the Entire Team to Get on Board

If your crew has been working together for a long time and are accustomed to the usual way of doing things just because that’s the way they’ve always done it, it may be a challenge to get them to adopt a new system. Be persistent. Routine is a difficult thing to overcome.

Your housekeeping staff may not feel like they have time to worry about things like the color of the towels, mops, and rags they’re using every day. They may feel like you’re overreacting to something that isn’t a huge deal.

The best way to get everyone on board and switch their routines is to carefully and clearly explain how people spread harmful germs from one area to another. Individual workers need to know how their actions will contribute to more than just the cleanliness of the area and the health of the facility.

Once they understand their role, it will be easier for housekeeping staff to break from their old routines and feel good about contributing to the facility’s environment.

The crew managers still must lead the charge into the new system and continually set the example by following through with the color-coded rules.

Group of people wearing PPE cleaning an office

3. Make it Easy to Understand

Create a chart with the new color-coded cleaning system and post it where everyone can see it. Posting it in multiple locations can be an even better visual reminder of the system.

A facility may also include reminders about why this system is so important to help motivate the staff to stick with it.

Managers can assign staff to specific areas to get accustomed to using only one color of microfiber cloth. Soon, they’ll automatically associate that color with that location.

4. Keep All Janitorial Supplies Contained

If you have bathroom rags and mops, try to keep them in that area. If you have to take them out of the bathroom to put them in storage, then make sure they never travel through areas where they could contaminate other things.

For example, one should never place a bathroom mop near a food service area.

If you must store all your housekeeping supplies together, though, organizational skills are necessary. Organizing diligently will minimize cross-contamination even while supplies share the same closet.

5. Color Code Everything for Color-Coded Cleaning Systems

Once you’ve put your code in place, standardize it across all your janitorial supplies. The microfiber cleaning system should include cloths, mops, terry cloths or towels, reclaimed rags, and more.

Avoiding cross-contamination means going beyond the microfiber rags and thinking about how every element of a facility’s janitorial service contributes to a healthier environment.

Focus on why it is so important, and then it will be easy to take your employees through each of these steps to make sure you are getting the most out of a color-coded cleaning system.

Red microfiber group

Got Color-Coded Cleaning Supplies?

Learn more about the benefits of color-coded janitorial supplies and cleaning systems. Read these articles written by the cleaning experts — your colleagues at Monarch Brands.


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