How To Clean Offices & Workplaces

Learn how to keep your workplace safe, healthy and hygienic with a thorough and efficient cleaning routine.
26 March, 2023 by
How To Clean Offices & Workplaces
XO2® Pty Ltd, David Blamire

Are you starting a new business and want to make sure you have a great cleaning routine in place? Or responsible for cleaning an existing workplace and wanting to see things done right? Either way, you’re in the right place. Here at XO2, we’ve written this article to cover the most important factors to consider when cleaning a workplace, from cleaning products and supplies, to methods, to the people doing the work.

The importance of a clean workplace cannot be overstated, especially today with the risks from pandemics that are much more clearly understood. Not only do you protect your staff and customers from infectious disease and other nasties, but you potentially avoid shutdowns and lower productivity due to illness.

Plus, a bright and clean workplace fosters positivity, productivity, and gives off a good impression to customers.

List of cleaning tasks by area

See below for a quick list of tasks that need to be completed in different parts of the workplace. Okay maybe our definition of quick is a little different than yours but trust us, they’re all important – and it really won’t take as long as you think!

Front Office / Reception

Remember, this is what customers see first, so a visibly clean space is very important.

• Clean the front door on both sides. Make sure it is spotless!
• Wipe down and clean desks, tables and countertops.
• Clean commonly touched items like phones, keyboards, door handles and switches.
• Empty bins and replace the garbage bag. Wipe inside the bin if anything has made its way through the bag.
• Dust other items and surfaces such as lamps, windows, blinds and screens.
• Vacuum and mop floors.

Desks and other surfaces

The surfaces where people sit and work are the most likely to be contaminated, so a good disinfectant is key here. XO2’s Disso, 5 in 1 or Bobby Dazzler are perfect for this job.

• Clear away any rubbish or kitchen items like cups and plates first.
• Clean and wipe desks and cabinets.
• Clean keyboards, phones, drawer handles and anywhere hands touch.
• Dust any other surfaces, including windows and monitor screens.
• Empty bins and replace the garbage bag. Wipe inside the bin if anything has made its way through the bag. 

Kitchen /Lunchroom

Areas where food is prepared or eaten can harbour bacteria and pathogens that make people sick. General disinfectants may contain substances that are not safe to ingest so a food area-approved cleaner should be used. Our cleaner and sanitiser Cleansan is fragrance-free and approved for use in kitchens. It is excellent for cleaning tables, chairs, benches and floors in any workplace lunchroom.

• Clear away any rubbish or kitchen items like cups and plates first.
• Clean and disinfect all countertops and tables.
• Wash dishes and clean sinks.
• Empty bins and replace the garbage bag. Wipe inside the bin if anything has made its way through the bag.
• Consider implementing a schedule for cleaning out the refrigerator. This needs to be communicated clearly to those using it, along with any rules about labelling to ensure nothing still in use is thrown out. Once a week is usually sufficient.
• Vacuum and mop floors.

Bathrooms and Toilets

As the area is most likely to be contaminated with germs and bacteria, special attention should be paid to bathrooms. Cleaning should be meticulous, and a high-strength disinfectant should be used.

• Clean sinks and benches.
• Clean toilets and urinals, being sure to scrub inside the bowl and up inside the rim.
• Thoroughly clean any dispensers, flush buttons, hand dryers, and door handles.
• Clean mirrors with a professional glass cleaning solution like WOW Fast Dry.
• Refill toilet rolls, paper towels and hand soap where necessary.
• Empty bins and wipe them out
• Service the Sanitary Hygiene Bins on a scheduled basis but at a minimum once a month. However, the outside of the bin should be disinfectant wipes during regular cleaning service.


This is not only important for cleanliness, but allergy reduction as well. Allergies can be exacerbated by dust in carpets that are not regularly vacuumed.

• Vacuum floors - all floors should ideally be vacuumed, however sweeping may sometimes be better for tight spaces where a vacuum is not efficient.
• Mop all hard surface flooring – this should be done with the appropriate cleaner for the floor; a solution containing disinfectant should be used where possible. The best solution for this Bobby Dazzler.
• Carpets should be professionally cleaned every three to twelve months depending on usage.

Front door, building entrances and exterior areas

The way your building looks from the outside contributes to the all important first impression a customer gets. Keeping this area neat and clean ensures that the first impression is a good one.

• Clean the outside of the front windows.
• Clean the entrance floor matting.
• Sweep the area outside the door.
• Keep the carpark free of obstructions and rubbish.
• Wipe the front door down, especially if it is muddy or splattered from the weather.

Professional cleaning productivity tips

To get your cleaning and hygiene off to the right start, here's some professional tips that will make your cleaning more productive and successful.

1. Clean from the top down. Start your cleaning up high with tasks like dusting and finish down low by mopping your way out of the space. Work in a systematic way.

2. Declutter then clean. Make sure the areas to be cleaned have no obstacles before you start. Clutter and mess get in the way and slows you down.

3. Use a trolley or cleaning caddy to carry your supplies and reduce the time you spend going and getting what you need.

4. Focus. Cleaning takes so much longer when you are distracted and not present.

5. Clean during daylight hours or in well lit areas. It's much easier to see what you're doing and not miss anything.

6. Let cleaning products soak and dwell on surfaces before wiping or rinsing away. Cleaning solutions work better if given time and the task becomes much easier. A good example of this is to apply your toilet bowl cleaner or oven cleaner at the start of the clean, then go an do other tasks while the product does its magic. Much less scrubbing and much better results in less time.

7. Use microfibre cloths and microfibre mops instead of viscose, cotton and poly cotton blends.

8. Smile and pace yourself. Don't wear yourself out and rest when needed.

Touchpoints (Hot spots)

For all the above areas a focus on “touchpoints” is crucial. Touchpoints are places where hands regularly touch, which can then become contaminated with bacteria or viruses and pass those contaminants on the next time they are touched.

Touchpoints include countertops, cabinets, door handles, switches, stair rails, lift buttons, desks, phones, mouses, keyboards, tables, chairs, toilet flush buttons, soap dispensers and taps.

Touchpoints should be cleaned and disinfected daily. XO2’s Disso Wipes are a great choice here. Using wipes that are pre-loaded with disinfectant means you don’t have to mess around trying to spray light switches and phones but can simply wipe the surface and allow it to air dry.

Products and supplies required for workplace cleaning

Obviously, a good music sound system helps! Other than that, a wide range of products and supplies are needed to effectively clean all the areas in a workplace. These include:

1. A multi-purpose cleaner like our commercial grade Bobby Dazzler or 5 in 1, which cleans, disinfects, sanitises and deodorises.

2. Duster, microfibre cloths, scourers, sponges, and safety signs.

3. A high-strength cleaner for bathrooms. XO2 have a range of bathroom cleaners available including Wonder Gel, a thickened bleach-based solution, and Bravo, an eco-friendly bathroom cleaner.

4. A streak-free and time saving glass cleaner like WOW Fast Dry – it's great on shiny surfaces too.

5. Replacement cleaning supplies, such as garbage bin bags, toilet rolls, paper hand towels for dispensers, hand soap and hand sanitiser.

6. Floor cleaner suitable for the floor surfaces in the workplace. A disinfectant cleaner should be chosen for bathrooms and kitchen areas. Bobby Dazzler is a great choice for this product.

7. A commercial-grade vacuum cleaner for hard floors and carpets.

8. A mop and bucket.

9. Brooms and dustpan & brush sets.

10. Personal protective equipment for cleaners, such as gloves and eye protection.

Type of cleaning required

Routine cleaning

Routine cleaning is the regular and scheduled cleaning tasks that maintain the hygiene and cleanliness of a facility. These tasks include wiping surfaces, mopping floors, dusting and vacuuming. Routine cleaning is often done daily but in some less busy places, it is completed at other regular time intervals like weekly or fortnightly.

Deep cleaning

There is a difference between routine cleaning, intended to keep areas tidy and hygienic, and deep cleaning. Deep cleaning is required when a workplace is known to have been exposed to a harmful virus or pathogen, such as COVID-19. A gastro outbreak is another example of when deep cleaning may be required. It should also be completed periodically in every workplace to limit the chance of any viral or bacterial contamination and ensure that even little-used or hard-to-reach areas are cleaned and disinfected. 

Deep cleaning involves all the steps detailed above for routine cleaning, as well as some extra measures:

• Special attention should be paid to areas that don’t see regular cleaning and disinfecting, such as the insides of cupboards, bookshelf shelves, undersides of surfaces, windows, walls, air vents and cubicle dividers.
• Cleaning should include areas normally covered or inaccessible. Move keyboards to clean underneath them, reach behind computer screens and hard drives, move furniture if safe to do so and clean and vacuum behind and underneath where it was sitting.
• You may want to consider higher strength cleaning chemicals for deep cleaning. We recommend Disso, XO2’s hospital grade disinfectant. Disso is TGA listed, microbiologically tested, and proven to kill a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including Covid 19.
• A disinfectant fogger or electrostatic sprayer can also be useful for deep cleaning. A fogger sprays a fine mist of disinfectant that floats in the air and then settles on surfaces, killing germs, bacteria, and viruses. It penetrates hard-to-reach areas and is effective for vertical surfaces, as well as undersides of furniture.

Important: Disinfectants and probiotics work well together

It is important to follow a deep cleaning and disinfection treatment with regular cleaning using probiotic cleaners. Probiotics restore the beneficial bacteria on surfaces and improve the microbiome's natural balance to ensure you are not creating an environment where bad bacteria and viruses can thrive and build resistance.

Think of it like this. When a doctor prescribes a course of antibiotics for a bacterial infection, it is most often recommended to follow that treatment with regular probiotics to restore gut health and assist the immune system. Similarly, when you use a disinfectant, you kill both the good and bad bacteria. That's why replenishing the good and beneficial bacteria helps to stop the bad bacteria from immediately returning and building resistance that may prevent effective disinfection in the future when it may be most needed.

Specialty cleaning

Some workplaces have specific cleaning requirements due to the nature of the business. There are also specialised types of cleaning that may be applicable in any workplace.

Workplaces with special requirements include gyms, schools, restaurants, childcare centres, medical centres, bars and hotels.

XO2 have products specifically designed for certain industries, like Cleansan for food preparation areas, and Disso for hospitals and other high-risk settings. We also offer products for specific purposes such as odour control and carpet cleaning.

There may be times you want to bring specialist cleaners into your workplace for specific tasks. These could be carpet cleaning, waste management (such as for sanitary hygiene services), mould remediation in cases of mould or mildew in the workplace, and exterior cleaning. Some of these can be handled by your regular cleaners depending on your arrangement, while others like waste management are better left to professionals specialising in that field.

Should I clean in-house or outsource it?

At the end of the day, it all comes down to having the right cleaner/s on site. This can be in-house or outsourced but the focus needs to be on having the right people on site. The right choice will depend on your specific business and circumstances. Consider the below factors when making your decision.

a. The size of the workplace

If you have a small workplace, it may make sense for you to have existing staff take on cleaning duties or hire a cleaner directly. For larger workplaces, dedicated and trained cleaners are required.

b. Costs

It's important that you set a standard for your facility as far as the expectations you have for cleaning and hygiene. How much do you care? What does it mean to you? Do you want cheap cheap or do you want clean clean?

You have to be careful pushing too hard on costs. We see cleaners all day every day being told to cut costs, and because labour is the highest cost, it means they need to do less. This can mean not doing things that they were initially asked to do or ones that are really important for the safety and hygiene of the facility.

If you just focus on dollars, then you will be disappointed with the cleaning outcomes. If you and your people and the cleaners have the right mindset to always be looking for ways to improve and minimise any time and materials wastage, then you are on the right track. Controlling this culture is easier done in-house but if you can find the right contractor, they can join your team and do this too. Again, it keeps coming down to having the right people and also how they are managed. Watch out for cleaning contractors who offer you the same level of cleaning for 20% less!

c. Security

For some workplaces, security is very important and background checks need to be conducted for anyone who will be on the premises. This is the case for schools and childcare centres where workers are going to be in proximity to children. In these cases, hiring in-house makes sense so you can be sure anyone with access to the workplace has passed these checks and should be there.

d. Familiarity with the workplace

In-house cleaners have the advantage here, as the same people are always cleaning, and they do so repeatedly. This means they know all the workplace quirks and little areas that may be missed. They will also be well acquainted with your cleaning requirements and policies.

e. Reliability

If you hire in-house can you count on your cleaner/s to reliably show up, be on time, and work effectively? A professional cleaning company’s reputation and existence depend on this, so they will always strive to be as reliable as possible. Also, if you only have one cleaner, what are your options if they are unwell or call in sick? Does the workplace get cleaned that day?

f. Professional cleaning knowledge and access to products

Whilst it is always a bonus to have trained professional cleaners, it is also good to have people with an eye for detail and ones that are passionate and meticulous about cleaning. Again we keep coming back to having the right people on board. A cleaner who cares, is better than a cleaner who doesn't, regardless of training and experience. Facilities and cleaning are always changing. Cleaners should always be learning and improving.

Cleaners have access to so much support and training from supply partners like XO2. If they don't know something, we have the answers sitting there waiting on them.

g. Liability

If cleaners are employed in-house, any accidents or injuries occurring are your responsibility. Whereas professional cleaners take this on for their staff when they are working at your premises.

Should cleaning always be done after hours?

Deciding whether to clean after hours or during business hours relies partly on whether you have chosen in-house or outsourced cleaning. If a staff member cleans alongside other duties, then it makes sense for them to do this during business hours.

Traditionally workplaces are cleaned in the evening after daytime staff have left. Workplaces on a twenty-four hour schedule will obviously need to be cleaned while other staff are working, and cleaning during business hours can work well in some circumstances.

Cleaning during work hours allows the possibility of more frequent cleaning and disinfection, which may be necessary for high-traffic workplaces, or workplaces at high risk of contamination. It can be convenient to have cleaners on hand for any messes that need to be taken care of during the workday.

Observing cleaning in progress also reinforces the importance of cleanliness and hygiene to all staff, reminding workers to do everything they can to maintain this themselves.

Most places that operate during normal business hours will still choose to clean outside of those hours, and there are several benefits to doing so. Firstly, cleaning can be disruptive while staff are working, and cleaners often prefer to have the area to themselves while cleaning. It is also safer. Vacuum cords, wet floors, and possible exposure to cleaning chemicals during work hours are less than ideal in terms of risk management. Cleaners can also clean much faster in an empty workplace, where there is no need to navigate around other workers or return to areas that couldn’t be cleaned while in use.

You also have to factor in penalty rates and the security of your cleaners if they are working after hours.

Finding the right people

Have you heard the one about the cleaner called Jean? Everyone knew she was the best at her job – you could tell as they always greeted her with “Hi Jean”. (Sorry to all the Jeans out there, I couldn’t resist!)

Jokes aside, choosing the right people for the job is important whether you plan to keep your cleaning in-house or outsource. Below are a few of the characteristics that make a great cleaner.

1. Time management skills

Cleaning is done to a schedule with time allotted to each job. Cleaners need to be quick, but also thorough, and need to be able to get through all tasks in a reasonable amount of time.

2. Attention to detail

Ensuring nothing is missed, noting any spots that need extra attention, and completing tasks with thoroughness and care are necessary skills for any cleaner.

3. Communication skills

Communication is important, both between cleaners and workplace management, and within the cleaning team itself when coordinating cleaning across a workplace.

4. Reliability and honesty

Showing up on time, doing the job well, and honesty and respect for the workplace and any belongings within it are key attributes for cleaning staff.

5. A good level of health and fitness

Cleaning is quite physical so the ability to work energetically throughout the shift is important.

6. Good awareness of health and safety

Following proper health and safety protocols is imperative when working with strong cleaning chemicals and carrying out physical work. A good cleaner will always work smart and work safely.

Partner with XO2 for a happier and healthier facility

Whatever the cleaning needs of your workplace, XO2 can help. From disinfectants and probiotic cleaners to glass cleaners and odour control, we have the cleaning supplies you need, including eco-friendly and specialty options.

In addition to cleaning chemicals, XO2 supplies cleaning aids like mops, buckets, brooms and even personal protective equipment. We also stock replacements and refills such as bin bags, toilet rolls, paper towels for dispensers, hand soap, hand sanitiser and automatic touch-free dispensers.

Using XO2 products and following the guidelines in this article will ensure your workplace is kept clean and hygienic, protecting your staff and customers alike.

David Blamire, CEO at XO2

David is one of Australia's leading cleaning industry innovators. He's spent his entire working life solving cleaning challenges others thought were impossible. He's best known for his product creation and development skills along with a deep knowledge of business operations and all things ERP. In his spare time, David's a keen fisherman and adventurer. And he doesn't mind if you call him Davo.

Get in touch with David at He works from XO2's national headquarters and manufacturing centre in Queensland, Australia.

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