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Need an office cleaning checklist to have a clean and organised work space?

In this article, you will find a foolproof, step-by-step guide to maintaining a productive, safe and healthy office and workforce, all through an organised office cleaning checklist.

Having a clean and healthy office is a major cornerstone when it comes to running a successful business.

However, most business owners take notice of such things only when they get completely out of hand.

Business and other organisations are often understandably preoccupied with their daily operations.

Between the demands of sales, customer service, production and other areas of operations, it is difficult for many businesses to invest time and resources in office management.

One of the most basic aspect of office administration — organised cleaning — is a secret to overall increased productivity.

Messy spaces create a drag in office and workplace culture.

The mantra in a professional building and custodial maintenance is, “when the job is done correctly, cleaning staff is invisible.”

What this means is, people only notice messes and disorder.

The job of an office cleaner is to seamlessly maintain a tidy environment.

This way, workers and guests do not complain about messes, as everything looks perfect all of the time.

Sounds good? Let’s dive right in and explore the world of office cleaning.

Understanding the Importance of Office Cleanliness

There are many reasons to ensure that an office environment is properly cleaned.

Office cleaning requires scheduled tasks to ensure that messes and stains do not accumulate.

Regular cleaning — such as that provided by a professional cleaning services company — can also help reduce airborne allergens and keep surfaces sanitised.

When your office is clean and uncluttered, workers are more productive and healthier.

The first step in creating an ideal office environment is to assess the level of cleanliness and organisation in your office.

Ideally, you would be undertaking organised cleaning plan development early on in an office’s existence, but it’s much more likely that you are dealing with some chaos and trying to get your hands around a bigger problem.

Investing the time, effort and resources today to identify problem areas and focus on a solution will help you get to a clean slate.

Once you have a clean and decluttered office environment with established rules and organised cleaning checklist, you can more efficiently and effectively adopt a regular office cleaning regimen.

Office cleaning checklist at Southern Cross Cleaning

Office cleaning requires scheduled tasks to ensure that messes and stains do not accumulate. When your office is clean and uncluttered, workers are more productive and healthier

Southern Cross Cleaning

Take a 30,000-foot view

When assessing your problems with clutter or messes, remember to take a wide-angle view of your organisation’s physical presence.

A 30,000-foot view is common business lingo for trying to view a problem as completely and objectively as possible.

Managers adopt this view all the time when dealing with their day to day operations, but often neglect to do so for internal issues.

Step back and think about places that are dirty and are difficult to maintain. Certain high-traffic areas are prone to wear and tear. An employee entrance, for example, is going to show signs of dirt from foot traffic. Maybe the glass entrance doors become mottled with fingerprints throughout the day.

Office kitchens and break rooms can become a hot zone for uncleanliness as well.

Stains and spills can attract insects and other pests, so these areas should always be considered in a cleaning plan.

Often, office workers abuse their work kitchens, believing that cleaning up is someone else’s problem.

Shouldn’t employees all just pitch-in?

Addressing this situation depends on the culture at your workplace.

You can change policy and try to enforce employees cleaning up after themselves, but ultimately this transforms a custodial maintenance task into a personnel management problem and doesn’t remove the need for good cleaning procedures.

Does this process sound familiar? Well, of course, it does because asking people to clean up after themselves seems like a no-brainer basic solution to the problem.

Does your business model, however, depend on hiring employees that are good at office cleaning checklist?

Making suggestions and requests about employee pitching-in for overall office cleanliness can lead to an unfocused and ineffective cleaning policy.

Encourage cleanliness, but prepare for messes and your office will always be neat and tidy.

Before we dive into the specifics of establishing an office cleaning checklist, let’s understand why a clean office is important in the first place.

It’s about more than just appearances.

The Problems with Messes in an Office Environment


Why is a clean office environment a crucial component to success?

The answer lies in the same reasons why decluttering, cleaning and organisation are beneficial for us personally.

When an office is dirty, it suffers from disorganisation; workers are apt to be less comfortable, illness can spread throughout your workforce, and, possibly most importantly, you will project an unprofessional image to the public.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these problems.


Organisation may seem to have less to do with dirt and dust and more with clutter, but these areas are all connected.

When items do not have designated homes, they end up scattered throughout multiple areas.

Imagine the typical office mail and copy centre.

Optimally, you would have a specific spot for all supplies.

When a paper delivery comes in, you’d have it put away in its place as soon as possible.

There are several benefits here for organising supplies.

First is having an accurate count of current inventory levels.

If you had to prepare hundreds of copies of documents for a sales presentation only to find out that you are down to the last ream of paper, you could suffer serious business consequences.

In addition to inventory control, organising supplies can reduce dirt and messes.

If the paper supplies are neatly stacked in a paper cabinet, surfaces are easier to clean.

Contrast this with just keeping a paper delivery piled on the office floor — that area would be difficult to vacuum and would contribute to an overall disheveled office appearance

Office cleaning at Southern Cross Cleaning
Productive at Southern Cross Cleaning


When an office is dirty or cluttered, employees and guests will be uncomfortable.

Dusty-covered work surfaces such as desks and conference tables discourage productiveness.

There are other areas where the lack of cleanliness can take away from work product.

Your employee break room is a convenience for your workers, but it also encourages more efficient work breaks.

Rather than leaving the office to get a coffee down the street, your employees can take a few minutes to have a snack or beverage at work.

Companies with generous break rooms understand that employees will be happier and more productive if these conveniences are available.

Do you want to invest in break room facilities only to have your workers step out because the kitchen is a mess, yet again?


One of the worst productivity killers is time out of the office due to illness.

Beyond clutter and uncomfortable workstations covered in dust, germs, bacteria, and viruses can spread like wildfire through a workplace.

Proper office cleaning checklist is your best weapon against excessive employee sick time.

When your workers are home sick, your business suffers.

In fact, the actual cost of sick time to businesses is staggering.

An average of seven sick days per employee costs companies upwards of 300 billion AU$ globally in lost revenue.

Think about that for a second.

While you may never be able to eliminate sick days, and it is important for employees to stay at home when sick so they avoid further spreading illnesses, imagine if you could reduce that figure by just ten percent.

Office healthy at Southern Cross Cleaning
Office cleaning checklist at Southern Cross Cleaning

A less-than-professional image

A dirty office looks unprofessional, especially when a mess or clutter is in an area where customers or clients may meet.

Your customers judge you based on your appearance.

People place more trust in organised professionals.

Would you hire a lawyer or financial advisor who had papers piled everywhere and coffee stains on guest chairs and carpets?

These messes would reflect poorly on the business’ professionalism.

These are serious problems, ones that can make the difference between a successful business and one that fails to meet its potential.

Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining an office isn’t that hard.

For insight on how to efficiently make your office shine — and your employees healthy and happy — look at these professional cleaning tips.

How Professional Cleaners Structure Cleaning Jobs

Professional cleaners must work efficiently, otherwise, they devalue their work per unit of time.

For these professionals, the goal is not to simply speed up jobs, but to do so without ever cutting corners or negatively affecting the end cleaning result.

Working smarter, not harder, is the goal.

The importance of an organised workflow

Make sure your office cleaning occurs regularly and completely by adopting a plan and following a simple office cleaning checklist.

Then, your employees such as office managers, administrators and cleaners will have a clear understanding of what cleaning jobs need to be done.

A workflow also ensures maximum efficiency because it can be tailored over time your specific needs.

If, for example, your conference room is only used a few times a month, your daily cleaning will be minimal for this room, if anything.

Lesser-used rooms can, however, present a problem if they drop off of routine inspections.

For example, some companies have a persistent problem of leaving a conference room a mess after a weekly meeting.

Half-empty coffee cups and pastry crumbs can sit in garbage bins for several days until someone notices the mess if the room is omitted from a daily routine cleaning.

An organised workflow that incorporated visual, physical inspection to a cleaning routine avoids this problem.

Organised Cleaning with office cleaning checklist

Establish an optimal order and stick with it.

Most non-professional cleaners get too easily distracted, hopping from room to room without a plan.

Start with the entrance, such as the foyer or reception area.

Determine which areas are high-traffic and make sure to spend extra time there.

Your optimal cleaning workflow will see all areas of your business correctly cleaned, but a prioritised checklist of high-traffic and essential areas will ensure that necessary cleaning is taken care of right away.

If your cleaning crew has an emergency that takes them away from their full duties, you can make sure priority areas are clean and ready for workers and guests.

Other considerations when developing an organised cleaning order is what time the cleaning work is being handled.

Many offices have their cleaning crews work in the early evening hours to avoid disrupting workers during the day.

Other offices have their custodial staff working alongside other employees during regular business hours.

Depending on your model, you may need to adjust cleaning based on projected traffic flow.

One example would see cleaners vacuuming office carpets and mopping bathroom and kitchen floors when other employees are not present.

Custodial staff can work on administrative tasks, ordering and restocking supplies and outdoor maintenance items when workers are at their busiest.

Once you have established a routine order that works best for your office environment, it’s time to structure each organised cleaning task for optimal efficiency.

Office cleaning checklist at Southern Cross Cleaning

Make sure your office cleaning occurs regularly and completely by adopting a plan and following a simple checklist

Southern Cross Cleaning

Cleaning Efficiently

One solid piece of advice with any cleaning job is to begin at the top and work downwards.

Work with gravity, not against it, and you will shave minutes off of any cleaning task.

Professional cleaners take a top-down approach to cleaning as it is more efficient and eliminates having to re-clean an area.

Consider this common mistake: someone sweeps a break room floor because they see crumbs and dust at the base of some chairs.

Then they might see additional food bits and debris on the table or countertop.

So, they wipe these areas down.

Realising they just showered the kitchen floor with extra dust and debris, they grab the broom once again for a final sweep.

Although sweeping a floor twice may seem like trivial addition effort, when applied to large areas or multiple rooms, it’s easy to see how cleaning can quickly become highly-inefficient.

Sweep once, after dusting and cleaning from the top down.

Dust and wipe down surfaces before vacuuming carpets, too, as dust and debris will also likely fall to the floor, requiring repeated passes with the vacuum.

One speck of paper can make a room look like it was skipped with the vacuum, so this is one area where a comprehensive cleaning order is crucial.

Save time and money with the right tools

Efficient cleaning also means using the right equipment and cleaning supplies.

Most hard surfaces respond best to a sanitising cleaner.

Avoid spraying a glass or multipurpose cleaner on surfaces that you will later have to disinfect — get the job done right the first time.

Light duty vacuums are more suitable for home use, and cannot handle the rigors of office cleaning.

Commercial office carpet frequently has a tighter weave for increased durability and resistance to foot traffic, but the trade-off is that it can be more difficult to vacuum.

Invest in a hotel or commercial grade vacuum, and you will increase cleaning speed and effectiveness.

Proper cleaning tools are only helpful when they are well maintained.

Office cleaning novices will quickly complain that a vacuum no longer works.

This is usually because the inner workings of most commercial vacuums require frequent cleaning themselves. Including a periodic workflow for inspection and maintenance of cleaning equipment is a good idea.

When cleaning offices and desktops, be mindful of personal items

Move items to ensure a thorough dusting and surface cleaning, but be careful not to touch or disturb personal desk items or work papers.

Many offices avoid cleaning desktops due to the potential invasions of personal space.

Other offices take a more extreme route, requiring desks to be cleared off at the end of each day.

As a compromise, consider a monthly collaborative office deep clean.

Instruct all employees to clear their desktops so that the cleaning crew can sanitise and clean all areas, or if it won’t negatively affect productivity, ask employees to clean their own desktops.

Areas that need special attention

Pay particular attention to high traffic areas, such as bathrooms, staff kitchens, and areas where the public or large employee groups frequently meet.

Office cleaning checklist at Southern Cross Cleaning
Office cleaning checklist at Southern Cross Cleaning

Bathroom cleaning 101

Before starting cleaning bathrooms, take the time to refill any low supplies.

One helpful tip is to provide a rolling cleaning cart for your janitorial staff.

These carts can be loaded with essential supplies to reduce the need for running thru the building to grab toilet paper, towels and cleaning supplies.

Bathrooms are one of the faces of your company’s hospitality and a centre for employee comfort.

Make sure that no one has to ask for towels, soap or any other supplies that may be embarrassing.

When cleaning bathrooms, remember again to work from top to bottom.

Also dust dry debris, such as dust or hair, before using a liquid cleaner.

These items can get trapped in liquid detergent, getting pushed around on the floor only to reappear after the mopping dries.

It is also easier to remove dry material before it gets soaked.

After a quick dust, wipe up any visible stains on sinks, faucets, and dispensers.

Apply sanitising cleaner to a microfiber cloth, then wipe the surfaces.

Resist the temptation to spray the entire room down with cleaner — which is no more effective than a light spray and which is wasteful of expensive cleaning products.

Toilets and urinals should be cleaned second-to-last, and never using a rag that will touch any other surface in the room, such as doorknobs or sink areas.

Use an acid-based bowl cleaner to remove hard water build-up, but do not let this product touch toilet seats or the flooring, as it may corrode or damage certain materials.

Using a sanitising cleaner, or an all-in-one surface cleaner with disinfecting properties is ideal.

Alternatively, make a second pass of surfaces that people will touch with a disinfectant spray.

When washing bathroom floors, use a disinfectant solution with a clean mop and work backward out of the room.

If other employees are present during this cleaning, make sure to block off the restroom during the cleaning and place caution signs at the entrance when finished.

Cleanliness is essential, but not at the risk of a slip and fall injury.

One of the most critical aspects of restroom cleaning is to check for messes throughout the day periodically.

Place a clipboard on the back of the entrance door and have an employee monitor the room regularly, such as once an hour or a few times a day depending on foot traffic.

Office kitchen cleaning tips

One of the best ways to ensure a clean kitchen is to encourage responsible use by employees.

Post reminders for people to clean up after themselves, with particular attention to shared refrigerators.

Effective policy is to have janitorial staff empty the contents of refrigerators on a Friday afternoon or evening.

When cleaning kitchen areas, wipe down high shelves, cabinets, refrigerator and microwave doors.

Make sure to clean up food debris on counters and tables.

Move items on counter-tops to ensure complete cleaning of the area before you start on the floors.

Sweep and mop floors with an appropriate all-purpose cleaner.

While disinfecting is not crucial in a kitchen, a multi-purpose cleaner can save money and can help stave off the spread of illnesses.

Office cleaning checklist at Southern Cross Cleaning
Office cleaning at Southern Cross Cleaning

Dealing with stains

Your office likely will have run-ins with stains from time to time, with coffee and ink being the main culprits.

Coffee stains are insignificant on hard surfaces, and will easily wipe up, but carpets are a different story. Remember, though, that coffee is mostly water.

Dilute coffee-stained carpets heavily with clean water, then mop up with dry absorbent towels first before adding chemical cleaners.

Once the liquid is diluted and mopped up, use the gentlest cleanser recommended by your carpet manufacturer.

Blood and ink stains are more permanent and may require different cleaning solvents depending on where the stains are located.

Always try the least aggressive response first, such as blotting and wiping before bringing in harsh chemicals.

Health and productivity of your workers depend on a clean environment.

Follow these steps and tips to make sure your workers are happy, and your office exudes a professional appearance.

Make sure you know your particular needs — solicit your employees for input if necessary — and you will find that cleaning can be less of a chore and more an essential component of office management.

And in case you are in Perth, Western Australia and would like a hand with setting up your regular office cleaning schedule, Southern Cross Cleaning offers done-for-you office cleaning services at very affordable costs.