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Don't Clear Your Schedule - Keep Sanitation on Task
Don't Clear Your Schedule - Keep Sanitation on Task

Master cleaning schedules are the main record in most sanitation programs. These schedules are designed to track required and completed cleaning that occurs less often than daily. It includes cleaning of equipment tools, containers, structures, and grounds. A master cleaning schedule includes the area or equipment to be cleaned, required frequency, and responsible person(s).

Example Master Cleaning Schedule

Sign off must be provided for each completed task. The signature or initials provided may be that of the person completing the task or by a person who has confirmed that the task was completed, such as a supervisor or lead person. If the sign-off is not provided by the person completing the task, some other means of linking completed cleaning to a specific individual is needed for important tracking purposes.


Common frequencies for the tasks in the Master Cleaning Schedule are:

  • Semi-weekly (which is twice per week)
  • Weekly
  • Bi-weekly (which is every other week)
  • Semi-monthly (twice per month)
  • Monthly
  • Bi-Monthly (every over month)
  • Quarterly
  • Semi-Annually
  • Annually

In some instances the cleaning frequency may depend on hours of run-time or use. Some tasks may need to be done more frequently seasonally, such as increased cleaning frequencies during hot and humid months.

"As Needed"

“As needed” is not a valid frequency. In these instances, the frequency at which the area or equipment will be inspected for need of cleaning should be listed. If the area is checked and cleaning is not required, a notation to this effect can be made on the schedule.

Dividing up Tasks

A common pitfall in the development of master cleaning schedules is to list too large of an area as a single task. For example, in most facilities it would be impractical to expect all warehouse racking to be cleaned at one time. Therefore, warehouse racking should not be listed as a single task. A more manageable approach would be to divide the racking into zones and assign each zone as an individual task.
When identifying equipment or areas to be cleaned, it may need to be listed on the schedule at two different frequencies. A general cleaning may take place rather frequently, with a deep cleaning taking place less often. The deep cleaning often involves greater disassembly, such as into the housing itself. For example, grounds around the exterior eating area may be swept weekly and power-washed annually.

Example Cleaning List

Everything in the plant must be listed. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Ceilings
  • Piping
  • Drains
  • Doors
  • Sinks
  • Hoses
  • Food processing equipment
  • Tables
  • Forklifts
  • Light fixtures
  • Containers
  • Tools and utensils

Daily Cleaning Schedules

Daily cleaning schedules are designed to track required cleaning that happens daily or more often, such as each shift. Because these tasks are completed daily, they are not required to have a sign-off for them. Rather, they can simply be included as part of one’s job description. They do, however, require a written cleaning procedure. If it is a specialty cleaning event (such as allergen changeover) rather than a housekeeping type activity, documentation of completion may be appropriate.
The daily cleaning schedule may include some of the same areas or equipment that appear on the master cleaning schedule. However, the periodic cleaning is likely to be a more in depth cleaning. For example, trash cans may be emptied daily, while they are scrubbed monthly.

Get Some Extra Help

Need more help developing your master cleaning program and procedures? AIB's 4-day Food Safety and Sanitation for Food Plants course provides a practical approach to the development, implementation and management of a food plant sanitation program. Enroll today!

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