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Essential List of Hospital Housekeeping Materials - Unilever Professional India

Essential List of Hospital Housekeeping Materials

Successful hospital housekeeping requires organisation. Housekeepers are crucial in maintaining a clean, safe, and welcoming environment for patients, staff, and visitors. 

When you and your team understand the best tools for the job, it  boosts efficiency and helps ensure the highest standard of cleanliness and hygiene. 

We’ve broken down the various supplies and equipment housekeepers will encounter in their daily work, covering everything from floor cleaning to laundry to waste management and protective gear.  We've also provided a hospital housekeeping glossary.

General Housekeeping Supplies

Cleaning Agents

All-Purpose Cleaners: Versatile multi-surface cleaning agents that remove dirt and grime.

Disinfectants: Chemical agents designed to destroy or inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms. They are used on surfaces to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Examples include bleach and hydrogen peroxide.

Detergents: Cleaning agents that can break up and remove grease and dirt. They work by reducing the surface tension of water, making it easier to wet surfaces and loosen dirt.

Glass Cleaners: Specially formulated cleaners for glass surfaces that leave them clear and streak-free.

Floor Cleaners: Designed for use on specific types of flooring (such as tile, hardwood, or laminate) to clean and sometimes offer additional benefits such as shine or protection.

Bathroom Cleaners: Products specifically formulated to clean and disinfect bathroom surfaces, including toilets, sinks, bathtubs, and tiles.

Abrasive Cleaners: Cleaning agents containing small amounts of mineral particulates to help scrub tough stains and deposits. They come as either powders or creamy liquids and should be used carefully to avoid scratching surfaces. 

Sanitisers: Agents that reduce, but do not necessarily eliminate, bacteria from surfaces to levels considered safe.

Enzymatic Cleaners: These use enzymes or bacteria to break down dirt, bodily fluids, and other organic material. They are often used for cleaning surgical instruments but can also be used in housekeeping tasks.

Alcohol Solutions: Often used for disinfecting small areas such as thermometer probes and other medical instruments.

Cleaning Equipment

Mops: Tools with absorbent material at one end used for cleaning floors. They can be wet mops (for cleaning with water and detergent) or dry mops (for dusting).

Brooms: Tools with stiff bristles that sweep dirt and dust off floors.

Dustpans: Shallow containers used to collect and dispose of dirt and dust swept up with a broom.

Vacuum Cleaners: Electric appliances that use suction to pick up dirt and dust from floors and other surfaces.

Microfiber Cloths: Textiles made from microfiber that are effective at trapping and removing dirt, dust, and bacteria.

Scrub Brushes: Brushes with stiff bristles. They are used for heavy-duty cleaning tasks.

Carts: Wheeled vehicles used to transport cleaning supplies and waste materials. Some specialised carts are designed for specific tasks, such as linen or waste carts.

Bucket: Containers used for carrying water or cleaning solution. Some buckets are part of a mop bucket system, which includes a wringer for removing excess water from the mop.

Toilet Brushes: Brushes with stiff bristles designed to clean the inside of toilet bowls.

Squeegees: Tools with a flat, smooth rubber blade used to remove water from windows and other surfaces.

Spray Bottles: Containers with a nozzle that sprays cleaning solution onto surfaces.

Safety Signage: Signs to warn people about wet floors, cleaning in progress, or other potential hazards.


Paper Towels: Disposable towels used for wiping surfaces, drying hands, or absorbing liquid.

Trash Bags: Used for collecting waste. These include regular trash bags and specialised biohazard waste bags.

Disposable Gloves: Single-use gloves protect the hands from contact with harmful substances and cross-contamination.

Disposable Mop Heads: These are used for cleaning floors and are disposed of after use to prevent the spread of infection.

Disposable Dusters: Used for dusting surfaces, they're typically disposed of after each use.

Disposable Cleaning Cloths/Wipes: These can be pre-saturated with a cleaning or disinfectant solution and are thrown away after use.

Toilet Paper: A necessity in all hospital restrooms.

Hand Soap and Hand Sanitiser Refills: While not disposable themselves, they are constantly replaced.

Protective Wear: This includes disposable aprons, gowns, shoe covers, and caps that protect staff during cleaning.

Hospital-safe Air Fresheners: Used to keep hospital areas smelling fresh, these often have refills that are regularly replaced and disposed of.

Sharps Containers: Specialised containers for disposing of sharp objects like needles. When full, the entire container is disposed of according to safety regulations.

Specialist Supplies

Biohazard Clean-up Kits: These contain materials necessary for the safe and sanitary cleanup of bodily fluids, such as blood or vomit.

Ultraviolet (UV) Light Devices: Used as an adjunct to chemical disinfectants, these devices use UV-C light to kill or inactivate microorganisms.

Chemical Spill Kits: These contain materials and protective equipment necessary for safely cleaning and disposing of chemical spills.

Chemical Sterilants: High-level disinfectants used to sterilise surgical instruments and medical equipment.

HEPA Vacuum Cleaners: High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuums are used for cleaning up dust and other small particles without releasing them back into the air.

Fogging Machines: Used for disinfecting large or hard-to-reach areas, these devices release a fog of disinfectant that settles on surfaces and kills microbes.

Alcohol-based Hand Rubs: Located throughout the healthcare facility, these alcohol solutions are used to disinfect hands.

Protective Gear

Gloves: Essential for protecting hands from harmful chemicals and potential biological hazards.

Disposable Gowns/Aprons: These provide a barrier against spills and splashes of chemicals or biohazardous materials.

Face Masks: Protect against inhaling dust, aerosols, and potentially infectious particles.

Goggles or Safety Glasses: These protect the eyes from chemical splashes or potentially infectious droplets.

Shoe Covers: Disposable covers that protect shoes from contamination and can help prevent the spread of dust or microbes.

Respirators: May be required when dealing with airborne hazards, including certain chemicals or mould. Must be used under a proper respiratory protection program that includes fit testing and training.

Face Shields: Used in conjunction with masks and goggles for full face protection during tasks that risk splashing or spraying of hazardous substances.

Caps or Hair Covers: Used to prevent hair from contaminating the environment, especially in sterile areas like operating rooms.

Hearing Protection: In environments with high noise levels, such as around certain machinery, earplugs or earmuffs may be required.

It's essential that housekeeping staff are trained in the correct use of this equipment, including how to put it on and take it off safely, and the equipment’s limitations. The type of protective gear used may vary depending on the specific task or area of the hospital.

Floor Cleaning

Neutral pH Cleaners: These are gentle cleaners ideal for regular cleaning of floors without damaging the finish.

Alkaline Cleaners: These can remove grease, oil, and other organic material. They're often used in areas like kitchens or heavily soiled areas.

Acidic Cleaners: Typically used to remove mineral deposits, stains, or rust.

Disinfectant Cleaners: Used to kill pathogens on the floor, they're often applied after cleaning the floor with another agent.

Enzymatic Cleaners: These use enzymes or bacteria to break down organic material, like blood or body fluids.

Floor Strippers: Used to remove old wax or finish before a new layer is applied.

Floor Finishers/Waxes: Used to protect the floor and provide a clean, shiny surface.

Surface-specific cleaners: Cleaning agents specially formulated for a particular floor surface, such as tile, hardwood or carpet.


Mops: There are various types of mops, including wet mops, dust mops, and microfiber mops. Some hospitals use disposable mop heads to prevent cross-contamination.

Buckets with Wringer: Used in conjunction with mops for floor cleaning and applying disinfectants.

Floor Polishers/Buffers: These machines are used to polish hard floor surfaces, creating a high-gloss finish.

Carpet Cleaners: Also known as carpet extractors, these machines spray a solution into the carpet and then vacuum it up, along with dirt and grime.

Vacuum Cleaners: Used for cleaning carpeted areas, upholstered furniture, and for removing dust. Some vacuums are equipped with HEPA filters for better particle removal.

Floor Scrubbers: These are machines that can apply cleaning solutions, scrub, and then vacuum up the dirty water in one pass. There are walk-behind models and ride-on models for larger areas.

Wet/Dry Vacuums: These can pick up liquid spills as well as dry debris, making them versatile cleaning tools.

Steam Cleaners: These machines use high-temperature steam for deep cleaning and disinfecting.

Power Washers: Occasionally used to clean dirty, hard surfaces like those found in industrial kitchens or loading docks.

Protective Mats: While not strictly cleaning equipment, these mats help reduce dirt and moisture tracked into the building, making floor cleaning easier.


Laundry Detergent: Strong detergents that are used to remove stains and soil from fabrics.

Bleach: Chlorine bleach is often used to disinfect and whiten linens, but must be used carefully to avoid damaging certain fabrics. Oxygen bleach (peroxide-based) is an alternative that is safe for all colours and most fabrics.

Fabric Softener: Used to soften fabrics and reduce static cling. Note that some hospitals may avoid fabric softeners on certain items, as they can reduce the fabric's absorbency.

Fabric Conditioner: Fabric conditioners are used after washing to protect fibres from repeated wash cycles.

Stain Removers: These are used to pre-treat stubborn stains before washing.

Disinfectants: Certain laundry disinfectants can be added to the wash cycle to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

Laundry Sanitiser: An additive that eliminates bacteria from clothes.

Dryer Sheets: These are used to prevent static cling in the dryer and can also add a fresh scent to linens.

Laundry Bags: Soiled linens are typically collected in disposable or washable laundry bags for transport to the laundry facility.

Colour-Coded Bins or Hampers: These are used to separate linens based on their cleaning needs (for example, heavily soiled linens might be washed separately from lightly soiled ones).

Speciality Detergents: Some items may require special cleaning agents, such as mild detergents for delicate fabrics.

Waste Management

Medical Waste Bins: These are specially designed bins for disposing of medical waste, often color-coded based on the type of waste they hold (e.g., sharps, biohazardous waste, general waste).

Biohazard Bags: These are special bags for biohazardous waste, identifiable by their red color and biohazard symbol.

Medical Waste Carts: These are wheeled carts used to transport medical waste from wards to disposal areas.

Compactors: These machines compress waste to reduce its volume before it's transported for disposal.

Incinerators: Some hospitals have onsite incinerators for burning medical waste, though use and regulations vary by location.

Waste Segregation Stations: These stations have multiple bins for segregating waste based on type at the point of disposal.

Recycling Containers: Hospitals generate significant amounts of recyclable waste, including cardboard, paper, and certain types of plastic.

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