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Having effective cleaning schedules are essential to ensure effective cleaning, especially in the food industry. Cleaning schedules must clearly and concisely, ensure that all staff can easily follow and understand them otherwise they will not work.

The main problem with many cleaning schedules is that, in many cases, responsibilities for various cleaning activities are not clearly defined, so no one knows exactly what is required of them. A cleaning schedule should clearly identify each work area, machinery that must be cleaned, a method of cleaning, materials and equipment needed to carry out the cleaning. Also, the schedule should cover the frequency of cleaning, necessary precautions that have to be taken, who is responsible for implementing each cleaning operation and how it should be established.  

The employee or the manager should have a defined responsibility for monitoring the cleaning schedule on a regular basis.

A schedule should include the ‘Area or item to be cleaned’. Each schedule should specify what needs to be cleaned. For example, the walls, surfaces and equipment should all be specified. It will also include the frequency of cleaning, which should include the duration and how frequent this cleaning should be. This may state to clean once a day or one week. For example, you might clean an oven after every use and then schedule a deep clean once a month;

Some cleaning schedules may be more particular to one job role, but may also include groups of people. If this schedule is for one person then you may include their individual responsibilities, either by name or job title to ensure cleaning takes place to appropriate cleaning and hygiene specifications.

There should be an emphasis on the use of mechanical cleaning equipment, such as industrial vacuum cleaners and floor scrubbers as opposed to brushes and mops. The method of cleaning should be clearly identified and should define any training where needed.

The schedule should include any special requirements or precautions. For example, clearly identifying the hazards of using certain cleaning compounds and any dangers included in the cleaning facility.

Finally, supervisors have a responsibility to ensure all items and cleaning sessions as specified in the cleaning schedule have been cleaned satisfactorily.