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Green Cleaning System

Long Bay Complex - including Long Bay Hospital and Metropolitan Special Programs Centre - Adult Correctional Centre
Project Added:
10 January 2012
Last updated:
30 September 2014

Green Cleaning System

By Long Bay Hospital - Malabar, Justice and Forensic Mental Health Network


A program to reduce infection, service cost, water and chemical usage.

Various cleaning systems are in place within the NSW Health system. In 2008, the Green Cleaning system, which is a hygienic and infection free cleaning system, was introduced in Long Bay Hospital (LBH).

The Green Cleaning system involves pre-soaking equipment with a solution of approximately 150% of the dry weight of the micro-fibre mop or cloth for 15 minutes, in order to ensure that moisture is absorbed evenly throughout mops and cloths.

This system has many advantages over conventional cleaning systems in that it is cost effective in chemicals, equipment and water use. All surfaces are cleaner and shinier, quick to dry and with no smear marks, resulting in improved staff efficiency.

As the micro-fibre mops are lighter than conventional mops, and the mop heads are changed after cleaning each patient room / bathroom, Work Health & Safety (WHS) related hazards such as heavy lifting, wringing of mops, bending and twisting are reduced.


Hospitals are a key source for transmission of infections. Currently there are no standardised or recommended cleaning systems in place that demonstrate cleaning can be cost effective as well as reducing Healthcare Associated Infections (HAI's). All systems must comply with the NSW Environmental Cleaning Standards (ECS).

Conventional loop mop and bucket cleaning systems have manual handling risks related to work practices such as changing the water after cleaning 3-4 rooms, as well as wasting litres of water and discarding chemicals in drains which may have a negative impact on the environment. WorkCover claims associated with staff injuries in the Cleaning Industry are second only to the constructions industry.


A multidisciplinary project team reviewed a range of systems, which included products, chemicals and equipment to determine which best met the ECS for cleaning in health facilities. The criteria used to compare these products included but were not limited to the following:

  • reduction of the risk of HAI's
  • cost effectiveness
  • risk of manual handling injuries
  • water usage.

The hospital was divided into clinical and non-clinical areas to determine the appropriate cleaning requirements. Clinical areas require a higher standard of cleaning due to the nature of their use and the risk of HAI transmission.

The project team developed a plan to pilot both the conventional and green cleaning systems. The plan included cleaning of critical areas of the hospital to compare the new system and with the existing system. This also included the identification of safe chemicals that were non-hazardous, easy to dispense, cost effective and could be safely used in the different areas.

Data was collected in relation to drying times, water usage, amount chemical use, microbial counts, staff feedback, ergonomics and equipment.

Staff were trained to use the new equipment and chemicals to ensure safe and effective cleaning as well as reducing the risk of staff bias/impact on the results.

A suite of manuals has been developed and implemented. These include:

  • staff training
  • quality control and risk assessments
  • detailed instructions with pictorial cues and colour coding to assist with identifying the appropriate use of equipment, chemicals and safety procedures.

A communication plan was implemented in order to ensure feedback was provided to the key stakeholders, acknowledge those staff involved and to celebrate the pilot success.

Download the Cleaning Operations Manual (PDF File pdf 1.9 MB)


The results showed that micro-fibre mops reduced the microbial level in clinical areas (96%) compared to the conventional system which increased the microbial count by 2% in the 4th room even though visually the area appeared to be clean. Therefore, it was determined the microfiber system is more effective in reducing the risk HAI's.

A cost benefit analysis of the Green Cleaning system revealed:

  • Staff costs - reduced the amount of repetitive tasks and workload resulting in a reduction by one Full Time Equivalent position with a saving of $45,000
  • Equipment - reduced purchasing costs by 50% which is $6,000 annually
  • Chemicals - a reduction in the costs associated with chemical replacement by 80% which is approximately $2,000 annually.

A staff ergonomics survey was completed to determine the impact of the new system. These results show 90% of the staff preferred micro-fibre mopping system as it reduces the risk of WHS related injuries such as those associated with:

  • frequent lifting and moving of buckets
  • wringing force required for loop mops
  • trunk flexion associated with blending and lifting
  • slip and trip hazards related to drying times for wet floors.

Environmental impact analysis was completed to compare water and chemical disposal risks. There has been a 75% reduction in the amount of water required to clean the hospital by the Green Cleaning which equates to an approximate 7,000 litre of water saving per 80 beds.

The Green Cleaning system has now been adopted throughout Long Bay Hospital and is being rolled out across other Justice Health sites.


  • Altaf Ahmad (Domestic Services Manager)
  • Ann Fisher (Operations Manager)
  • Gary Forrest (Service Director)
    Long Bay Hospital - Malabar


Domestic Services Manager
Long Bay Hospital - Malabar
Justice and Forensic Mental Health Network
Phone: 02 9700 3311

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