Colour Coding For Clinical Cleaning


With an understandable emphasis on hygiene and cleanliness in the clinical sector, many companies have started to look towards a better organised and more hygienic practice of janitorial work. This involves the division of cleaning by areas and separating the equipment used for each.

With a division of different zones of a clinical centre, or indeed any site for contract cleaning, this enables a reduction in cross contamination between different areas of a site. The British Institute of Cleaning Science devised the colour code used today in the 1990s, in order to standardise the division of materials by colour. Within specifically clinical areas of a site, the colour yellow is used for cleaning materials and equipment. Everything from mops and buckets, to the bottles used for cleaning and anti bacterial fluids and sprays can then be used in that colour.

Ideally this also means that the materials will also be stored separately so as not to spread infection or microbes between the cleaning tools and resources that are used for any individual area. It is also quite a common approach within hospitals and clinical sites to use white products for any cleaning items which are in need of immediate disposal rather than storage and re-use, although this isn’t a common addition to the colour code beyond the clinical sector.

For other areas, red is used for bathroom and wash room areas, blue for general use and low risk areas and green is used for food and beverage areas, although this doesn’t include the preparation areas, with a different more focused division of materials is needed.

In the same way that medical and clerical staff in a clinical environment such as a hospital will frequently use hand gel and sanitiser when leaving a ward or department and moving onto another to ensure that they don’t carry infection between areas, cleaning equipment needs to be controlled so as not to act as a transporter for bacteria and viruses. Although because of the level of contact which cleaning materials have with potentially infected surfaces, rather than attempting to disinfect before moving to a different zone, a safer and more effective option is to guarantee a different set of equipment is used altogether.

For more information about how colour coding can make a difference to the cleaning and janitorial work in your clinical site, visit