colour coded buckets cropped

Use the Colour Code System to avoid cross-contamination in your facility

What is the Colour Code System?

The concept of the colour code system was devised in the 1990’s to be implemented in hospitals with the hope to avoid cross-contamination between varying areas of the hospital. Cleaning staff use a specific colour of mop, handle,  cloth & bucket depending on the area of the hospital that is being cleaned.

Micro-cloths in the Colour Code System

The 4 main colours of the colour code system are blue, green, yellow, red and sometimes white depending on the venue and location.

How the system works

The 4 main colours are applied to specific areas of the venue, which in turn reduces the potential spread of germs & bacteria throughout the business. The areas of the business are broken down to public areas, kitchen & food prep, sinks & bedrooms, and high risk areas like washrooms.

This system is practiced in many countries and although the initial concept was to have a universal system where certain colours represent specific areas, the colour applied to these areas does vary from region to region.

Regardless of which colour is applied to which risk level, it’s important to be consistent and clearly communicate the applicable colour to cleaning staff.

Common Colour Code System

Each area of the venue is broken down based on risk level.

Avoiding Cross-contamination through colour

The most commonly used colour code is as follows:

  • BLUE  – Public areas – such as lobbies, receptions and hallways – Low Risk 
  • YELLOW – Washroom surfaces, basins, bedrooms, Low to Moderate Risk
  • GREEN – General food surface prep, bar use, food service 
  • RED – Washroom toilets, floors, can include showers – High Risk

In order for this system to be effective each colour should have at least a mop, handle, sweeper and bucket that are easily identified. Cloths, aprons and gloves can also be included if the appropriate colour is available.

Colour coded buckets

What industries benefit from the colour coded system?

Now more than ever it’s important to focus on avoiding cross-contamination in various areas of your establishment. This system can be applied in any sector over a variety of industries. Although red and white are the most commonly used for high risk areas, any colour can be applied to any area of your business as long as it has been clearly communicated to the cleaning staff. Hospitals, however, have specific guidelines outlined for the colour code system.

This system takes the guess work out of where a cleaning item had been last used which aids in the health and safety of guests and staff alike.