Infection prevention and control guidelines

9. Cleaning, laundry and waste management

Policy and responsibilities

      1. Policy and responsibilities

Last revised: 17 Jun 2024

Policy and responsibilities

Cleaning is fundamental to infection prevention and control. Routine cleaning of all surfaces and equipment reduces dust and dirt, which can harbour microorganisms. Prompt unscheduled cleaning and disinfection is required as part of standard precautions whenever blood or other body substances unintentionally contaminate surfaces that come into direct contact with skin.

All practices must have a cleaning policy that includes both routine and scheduled cleaning (Table 9.1. What to include in a practice cleaning policy). The cleaning policy could set out the roles and responsibilities of all staff.

Specific cleaning requirements will vary for each practice. Risk analysis must be undertaken to determine the methods, frequency and thoroughness of cleaning and the products and equipment used.

All staff members with responsibility for cleaning, including cleaners who are not part of the practice team, must adhere to the practice cleaning policy.

If cleaning activities are outsourced to cleaning service providers, document all cleaning delivery procedures , including minimum cleaning frequencies and methods, staffing, equipment (including chemicals for standard and transmission-based precautions, monitoring/auditing, and management of the cleaning service). Include the practice’s cleaning policy in any contract and conduct audits to ensure the policy is being adhered to.

Table 9.1. What to include in a practice cleaning policy

The name of the infection prevention and control coordinator and the staff member responsible for implementing cleaning policies (if different).

Work health and safety issues (use of standard precautions, use of transmission-based precautions where required, use of personal protective equipment, relevant immunity/immunisation, eg against hepatitis B virus (see 6. Staff screening, immunisation, and infection management), procedures for managing exposure to blood or other body substances, safe use of chemicals used, poisons information).

Scheduled cleaning details procedures: schedule and description (areas, surfaces and items to be cleaned at which intervals and with which products and equipment).

Safety data sheets for hazardous chemicals used in cleaning (more information available from Safe Work Australia).

Unscheduled cleaning procedures: method and products to be used in each likely scenario.

Monitoring process: when and how the effectiveness of cleaning will be checked.

Each practice must appoint a person responsible for ensuring implementation of practice cleaning policies, and ensure that all staff, including any contract cleaners, need to know who has this role.

All staff and contractors must report to this person if there are any problems with scheduled cleaning or if an event occurs that requires unscheduled cleaning (eg contamination of any surface or equipment with blood or body substances).