What is Colour Coded Cleaning & Why use it?

by Ken Buckley on 05-10-2016


The basic thinking behind Colour Coded cleaning is; you use colours to segregate the different types of areas you have to clean, Washrooms, Kitchens and General Areas and you then have colour coded cleaning equipment that only gets used in one area type.

Obviously if you have different colour cloths cleaning the toilet to the ones cleaning a food table, this reduces the likelihood that bacterial from the toilet will find its way to the table.

  Never before has it been so important to stop cross infection during cleaning, with COVID-19 ripping it's brutal way across the world. Here are some links that may be of current interest;

Contact time kills

Returning to work after COVID-19 Lock-down

COVID-19 cleaning products 



What colours should you use?

No point choosing colours that you can’t get cleaning equipment for.  These are the colours that equipment is readily available in:



 Red, Green, Yellow & Blue



   What colour should you use for which area?

Nothing written in stone here and there are many variations used. The old BICSc universal colour code is the most popular and this is the one we would recommend.

              It is..




  NHS colour Code

In 2007 the NHS revised the colour coding that they use and they now use the same colour cloth for toilets and for hand wash basins in the toilet.

The cleaners are supposed to use different disposable cloths for the toilet and the sinks.


If you are not cleaning in an NHS organisation, we would NOT recommend this colour code system. Potentially you could end up using the same cloth for cleaning the toilets and the sinks, spreading the bateria from one to the other.


  What equipment should you colour code?

The common sense answer is whatever equipment that you can easily find in the four cleaning colours. However you should at least colour code the following:-

1.       Mops & Buckets

2.       Cloths

3.       Dust pan & Brushes

4.       Trigger Spray bottles

Whether you need to colour code gloves is a bit questionable and you certainly don’t need to have colour coded vacuum cleaners!


  Staff training

Whatever colour code you settle for, the most important thing is that your staff  know what colours are for which areas.

Best thing is to give them training and have a clearly marked poster up at eye level in the cleaning cupboard.

The bit that some struggle with is the washroom colours and segregation.

To make it clear, the actual Toilet bowl and the toilet floor should be one colour (Red preferably) and then all the other surfaces in the washroom  (the sinks, the partitions and the doors) should be another colour (Yellow in our recommended system)

Download our free  Colour Coded Cleaning Chart 


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