Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing to reduce coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission

Removal of most coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions

This page is up to date following the removal of most restrictions in England. There are different regulations and guidance to follow for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The latest advice on keeping workplaces safe will help you assess the risks and continue to reduce COVID-19 transmission. This includes links to information on vaccination, as well as on testing, tracking and tracing (including where variants are spreading).

3. Cleaning the workplace

You may need to increase how often and how thoroughly you normally clean your workplace, as well as cleaning surfaces that you do not normally clean.

If you are cleaning because of a known or suspected case of COVID-19 in your workplace you should follow the GOV.UK guidance.

You should determine what cleaning regime is suitable for your business based on your risk assessment.

Your risk assessment will help you to identify what your cleaning regime will look like, but you should consider these examples:

  • keep surfaces clear so that cleaning can be carried out more effectively
  • clean areas regularly in line with your cleaning regime
  • set clear guidance for the use and cleaning of toilets, showers and changing facilities to make sure they are kept clean
  • clean work areas and equipment between uses
  • frequently clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • if equipment like tools or vehicles are shared, then clean them after each use

Identify frequently touched surfaces

Doors, bannisters, buttons and anything that is frequently touched, especially if it's touched by lots of people, may need more regular cleaning than normal. Examples of frequently touched objects include:

  • work surfaces like desks, platforms and workstations
  • handles on doors, windows, rails, dispensers and water coolers
  • common areas like toilets, reception, changing rooms, corridors and lifts 
  • vehicle handles, steering wheels, seat belts and internal surfaces
  • control panels for machinery, control pads and switches
  • computer keyboards, printers, touch screens, monitors and phones
  • taps, kettles, water heaters, fridges, microwaves and cupboards
  • shared equipment like tools, machines, vehicles, pallet trucks and delivery boxes
  • post and goods coming in or being shipped out

Consider putting in place measures to clean surfaces and objects after each use, for example phones and conferencing facilities in a meeting room. If it's not practical to clean after each use, such as lift buttons that are used continuously throughout the day, make sure they are cleaned often.

Cleaning regimes could involve deep and periodic cleaning.

Deep cleaning is a thorough clean of all frequently touched surfaces at least once a day.

Periodic cleaning is cleaning at different times throughout the day. It can include cleaning items immediately after use as well as cleaning surfaces on a regular basis throughout a single day.

Workstations

Workstations can be cleared at the end of the day or shift to make cleaning easier. Clean workstations in accordance with your cleaning regime.

Accommodation

As part of their COVID-19 risk assessment,employers who provide accommodation for their workers should determine a suitable cleaning regime. For example, considering:

  • accommodation units
  • shared communal areas
  • bathrooms, toilets and washing facilities

Reduce the need for cleaning

Reducing people's contact with surfaces and objects can reduce the amount of cleaning needed once contact has taken place.

Think about how you can change the way you work to reduce people's need to touch surfaces or objects, including:

  • allocating specific work areas or vehicles to specific people
  • creating small groups that can work independently on tasks
  • closing off spare workstations and putting away items that you don't need
  • propping open doors to avoid the need to touch handles (excluding fire doors or other doors that must be kept closed)
  • fitting automatic sensor operated doors or foot plates to doors so they can be opened with feet rather than hands
  • issuing door hooks to workers so they don't have to touch handles 
  • reducing equipment available to reduce the amount that needs to be cleaned

Find out more about what you can do to keep working safely to reduce the risk of transmission.

Cleaning products

Your usual cleaning products should be effective. If you change your usual regime then check that products are suitable for the surface and environment. Clean cloths and other reusable cleaning products in soap and water after use.

Store cleaning products safely and always use them at the concentration as recommended by the manufacturer.

Disinfecting premises using fog, mist, vapour or ultraviolet (UV) systems

Fog, mist, vapour or UV treatments may be suitable options to help control the spread of the virus, by cleaning and disinfecting a larger space or room.

We review and update this page regularly to reflect any changes in guidance.

Page last reviewed: 31 August 2021

Next review due: 30 September 2021

 
Updated 2021-09-01