There are numerous ways to improve efficiency of custodial inspections — whether it is part of a university, school district, healthcare center, office complex, airport, or any other industry, every building has its own unique layout.

It all comes down to this: creating an inspection program that works for you.

It is important to keep the goals of your inspections in mind. Are you inspecting for employee accountability? Do you need to report the inspection results to a director or another administrator? Or are you simply checking on the cleaning quality your team is providing? Your goals for your cleaning program will determine how your checklist should look. It is up to you to make sure the results of your inspections put you in a better position to achieve those goals.

Generally, we define “quality” as the extent to which cleanable “items” meet customer expectations.

In cleaning inspections, these items would be free from defects or deficiencies. Depending on the style of inspection and the goals you wish to achieve, the first step in setting up an effective cleaning inspection system is to build your checklist.

The checklist can be built in a variety of ways, but it is essentially a list of all the checkpoints your inspection will require. Some choose to keep inspections focused around cleaning tasks, and they build their checklists to reflect those expectations. Below is an example of an office reception area with a cleaning task checklist:

  • Vacuuming daily debris from all floor areas (including tile)
  • Disinfectant mopping of all hard floor and tiled areas
  • Empty waste bins, wash as needed and add new liners
  • Standard glass cleaner to wipe down all glass areas
  • Damp-wipe hard surfaces with mild disinfectant
  • Polish brass and bright work
  • Clean walls and painted surfaces as needed
  • Wipe down door handles, light switches and baseboards



Another checklist approach is item-based. This style is more widely used because of its versatility in terms of reporting. It has a cleaner look in the list, and many managers find that it is easier to filter and customize item-based data. Below is an example of an item-based checklist used in an office reception area:

  • Air Vent
  • Baseboard
  • Container, Trash
  • Door
  • Floor, Carpet
  • Furniture
  • Glass, Interior
  • Hanging, Wall
  • Lighting
  • Liner, Can
  • Shelving
  • Wall
  • Window Sill


The checklist style selected will help determine overall quality, consistency and efficiency.

Once a checklist style is selected, a scoring system is necessary for your inspections.

The scoring system will determine how each point on your checklist is evaluated, and what type of information you will be able to obtain from that evaluation.

As noted above, there are multiple effective ways to inspect.

Therefore, you will need to choose the scoring system that works for your unique cleaning operation, your goals for the program, and your desired outcome.

To learn more about scoring systems and their respective benefits, see the following article: Scoring Your Quality Inspection