Your Guide To Colour Coded Cleaning

The visible results of commercial cleaning are clear, fresh bathrooms, clean reception areas and immaculate kitchens are great but unless you have a strict system to tackle the invisible contaminants such as germs, bacteria and other biological agents, your cleaning may well be doing more harm than good.

Cross-contamination poses the biggest risk to the spread of infection and diseases,  and to most effectively reduce this risk you must adopt a strict colour coding system for your cleaning equipment.

Colourcoding can be a complex subject and with the exception of the healthcare sector, there are no national or international compulsory standards existing in the industry.

The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) developed and refined their Recommended Colour Chart for the Cleaning Industry in a bid to standardise standards. Particular colours are designated to cleaning areas in which certain risks have been identified. These colours can then be transferred as colour coding on cleaning equipment and products which are to be used in these areas only (see below). This will help to set apart these cleaning items so helping to prevent the transfer of bacteria through cross-contamination to other areas.  The need for colour coding is particularly significant in hospitals and other healthcare sites where it is especially important to promote thorough hygiene standards but this is of course good practice in any setting.


Blue has been coded for general low-risk areas. These include areas such as office and classroom desktops, window ledges, hallways, and general dusting and polishing.


Green equipment should assigned to food preparation areas. These areas include kitchens and bars, but also other areas such as office kitchens.  Exposure of uncooked meat and fish to surfaces and utensils poses a particularly high risk in terms of cross-contamination. It is therefore vital to have a system in place to regulate the use of cleaning equipment and products in these areas.


Red is a colour that is universally associated with general washrooms and is arguably the most important in the colour coding systems.  Red has been assigned to areas such as sink basins, surfaces and washroom floors. The reason for this is that these areas are regarded as posing a high risk of bacterial contamination. By using only red-coded cleaning products such as cloths, mops, buckets and gloves to clean them, the risk of spreading bacteria outside of these areas is minimised.


Yellow is associated with clinical and healthcare use which is why it is only found in clinical areas such as doctor surgeries.  In terms of cleaning it has been assigned for use on all other washroom surfaces, including sinks, mirrors, cubicles, tiled walls, glass and metal. Two different colour codes for high-risk areas such as washrooms ensures that the same cleaning products are not used, for example, on toilet seats and bowls as on sinks and taps so helping to further prevent the spread of infection. Yellow equipment should also only be one-use.


White can also be used within your colour coding system. Often white cleaning equipment and products are site-specific and used for a bespoke requirement. Site-specific colours do not have to be white but must be a colour different from those mentioned above. Sometimes, when a site-specific colour is not needed, white can still be introduced to serve as isolation incident equipment. Each site should have isolation equipment no matter what, however the typical colour for isolation equipment is purple.

For more information on the BICSc Colour Coding recommended procedures click here. Additionally, if you would like to hear more about how we operate and regulate our colour coding policy at GJ Commercial Cleaning then get in contact with us today and someone on our team will get back to you as soon as possible.

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