When creating a scope of work for warehouse cleaning, it’s best to begin at the beginning. That means taking an inventory of all the items and areas in your facility that must be cleaned and determining their needed frequency of cleaning.

Break the Job Into Smaller Sections

Cleaning a several thousand square foot warehouse can be a massive project to undertake. But you can make things easier on yourself by organizing the work into multiple smaller workspaces.

A warehouse will typically have a shipping and receiving area, a picking area, an area where excess stock is stored, and where equipment may be kept. There are also exterior areas to tend to like loading docks. There may be general office areas that need cleaning as well. And don’t forget the kitchen/breakroom and bathrooms.

Create Checklists for Each Area

For each area of work, ask yourself what needs to be done. Waste baskets and other trash will need to be disposed of. Liners will need to be replaced in each one. Floors may need sweeping, mopping, or vacuuming. Dirty walls will need cleaning. You can find a wide range of sample cleaning checklists online that can help you make those determinations and further organize your work – you can also ask a janitorial company to help you create the best cleaning routine if you decide to outsource.

Determine Frequency of Tasks

Shipping and receiving areas see a lot of action in an ordinary day. It can be easy for cardboard boxes to pile up or packing materials to spill over onto the floor. Dust and debris will blow in through open dock doors. Trash can pile up inside and outside around a dumpster. Picking up and sweeping up should be part of every daily cleaning routine.

Bathrooms are also areas that need daily attention, especially if you have a large workforce. Toilets, urinals, and sinks should be cleaned and sanitized daily. As should fixtures and countertops. Toilet paper, towel and soap dispensers should be checked and refilled if needed.

Other tasks may be done on a weekly or monthly basis. If it’s easier, you can even break down such tasks to a certain day of the week. Generally, overhead lights and light fixtures as well as ceiling fans should be dusted weekly. Baseboards, windows, doorframes and hardware should also get weekly attention.

Don’t Forget Common Areas

Often a warehouse will have common areas that don’t fall neatly into any one category. These may be hallways, corridors, and stairwells, as well as entrances and lobby areas where visitors may need to wait. You’ll want your areas open to the public to be especially neat and clean.

Figure Special and Major Projects Into Your Scope of Work

A stained carpet in the visitor waiting area doesn’t send a great message about your company. Tending to spills immediately and vacuuming regularly will help, but its good to budget in the occasional carpet shampooing and cleaning.

Wherever indoor machinery is used, one can expect a build up of soot on interior walls and ceilings. Thus, pressure washing the interior of a warehouse building is an occasional necessity. Ideally, this is a job that should be done when the business is closed, but in the case of a 24/7 warehouse operation, it can be scheduled piecemeal around work schedules.

Both small and large special cleaning jobs like the examples above are bound to crop up and should be worked as needed into any cleaning schedule.

Ensure Your Employees Are Properly Trained on Equipment

You wouldn’t send an employee off in a tractor trailer without proper training and licensing. Nor would you direct them to run a forklift or pallet jack without the proper certification. The same care and attention should go for operating any type of warehouse cleaning equipment like mechanical floor sweepers or pressure washers. Safety should always be at the forefront of any cleaning effort.

Leave Time In the Workday to Complete Cleaning Tasks

Some cleaning jobs can be done quickly, especially if you keep up with it throughout the day or week. Others can be time consuming. If you’re going to assign these tasks to employees, be sure to provide them adequate time during their work shift to complete the work.

Give Consideration to Who Should Handle Your Warehouse Cleaning

It’s not uncommon for some warehouse managers to add the responsibility of warehouse cleaning to their regular workforce. This approach to cleaning can work, but it can also sometimes lead to problems if a last minute order comes through that must be picked and shipped that day.

If an employee sets aside cleaning to take care of a more pressing work task, will they be penalized for not getting the cleaning up done? Will they be required to stay over and do it, or will it be passed to the next shift worker? Will they rush through the cleanup by doing a substandard job? These are some of the conundrums that convince managers to outsource warehouse cleaning. A professional cleaning company does not have to juggle these two competing interests.

Whether you choose to handle cleaning in-house or outsource it to a professional cleaning company, having an agreed upon scope of work for the job will make your cleaning a smoother operation all around.

NEXT: How much does it cost to clean a warehouse?

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