A Museum Cleaning Checklist: 8 Critical Areas That Need Attention

By: Diana Rodriguez-Zaba
Updated on: February 20, 2024

You develop strict protocols that help conserve and preserve the treasures in your museum. As the site’s facility manager, you make sure staff always follows these critical guidelines.

Have you recently reviewed housekeeping routines? Is it time to update your museum cleaning checklist?

You reassess the standards applied to caring for irreplaceable artifacts and documents on a regular basis. Your in-house cleaning practices can benefit from fresh analysis too. As the leader among Chicago’s historic building cleaning services, we offer this overview for upgrading your museum cleaning routines.

museum cleaning checklist

8 Museum Areas and Spaces That Always Need Attention

Our museum cleaning checklist covers critical building areas and spaces that need attention daily, weekly and monthly. It’s easily modified to streamline existing guidelines, and it can also serve as an outline for developing cleaning checklists for new museum facilities.

1. Inviting Entrances

These spaces make important first impressions on visitors and set the tone for their museum experience.

• Daily: Sweep front steps, sweep and vacuum interior floors.
• Weekly: Polish windows, glass doors and fixtures.
• Monthly: Replace any floor mats that show signs of wear.

Power Tip: Sparkling windows throughout your building maximize the benefits of natural light and help hold down lighting-related energy costs.

2. Common Areas

Keep foyers, lobbies and meeting rooms bright and welcoming for both visitors and staff.

• Daily: Vacuum carpets, sweep floors, empty trash cans.
• Weekly: Dust furnishings, clean windows and blinds.
• Monthly: Freshen upholstery and drapes, polish wood surfaces.

3. Galleries and Installations

High-traffic spaces need extra attention, so plan on discreet touch-ups during visitor hours.

• Daily: Sweep and vacuum, check and empty trash cans.
• Weekly: Dust and polish display cases and furnishings.
• Monthly: Clean carpets, dust light fixtures, buff hard floors.

Power Tip: Bring in a professional cleaning company several times a year to maintain special materials like marble, ceramic tile, travertine and hardwood floors.

4. Interactive Exhibits

Hands-on exhibits invite the kind of interaction that demands a clean, sanitary museum environment.

• Daily: Frequently wipe down and disinfect all touchpoints, sweep and vacuum.
• Weekly: Clean and disinfect all surfaces, dust furnishings.
• Monthly: Deep clean under and behind interactive exhibits.

5. Collection Storage Areas

These spaces aren’t always covered on museum cleaning checklists, but keeping them in top condition helps ensure the integrity of their important contents.

• Daily: Check for signs of insects, rodents or mold.
• Weekly: Dust stored items and shelving, sweep floors.
• Monthly: Clean areas above, behind and under storage systems.

6. Administrative Offices

Museum staff members enjoy clean work spaces that help maximize job performance and minimize sick days.

• Daily: Sanitize common touchpoints, check and empty trash.
• Weekly: Vacuum carpets, sweep floors, dust and polish surfaces.
• Monthly: Polish windows, dust fixtures, clean under and behind furnishings.

Power Tip: Install hand-washing stations in busy office areas to help staff maintain a healthy work environment.

7. Staff Break Rooms

staff break rooms

When the atmosphere in the break room is clean and inviting, it shows staff how much they’re really appreciated.

• Daily: Clean up food prep areas, sweep floors, empty trash.
• Weekly: Dust furnishings, mop floors, clean food prep equipment.
• Monthly: Clean out refrigerators, pantries and closets.

8. Facility Bathrooms

Perform restroom checks frequently throughout the day, and set up a system to address plumbing emergencies.

• Daily: Wipe down and disinfect all surfaces, sweep and mop floors, empty trash.
• Weekly: Polish windows and mirrors, clean fixtures, deep clean behind toilets
• Monthly: Check sinks, toilets and floor drains for signs of plumbing problems.

Be Prepared for Big Jobs

Keeping your historic building in top shape sometimes calls for more than in-house services can handle. Your museum cleaning checklist should include contact information for a commercial cleaning contractor with proven experience handling all types of properties.

By working with a reputable outside cleaning service, you always have qualified teams available for handling projects too big for in-house staff including:

• Mold removal and remediation.
• Air duct and furnace cleaning.
• Carpet and upholstery cleaning.
• All types of hard floor care.

You also have access to restoration services for storm, fire and water damage. The best commercial cleaning companies offer a full line of invaluable services provided by certified technicians who respond to most emergencies 24/7.

We Thank You

From the stately Clarke House Museum to our iconic Art Institute of Chicago, the city’s museums enrich our lives in so many ways. We thank you for your hard work taking care of our historic and cultural landmarks. If our checklist makes it a little easier, let us know through our Comments Section.

Whether you need industry certified teams for the big jobs or assistance with one-time projects, we can help. We provide expert cleaning services for museums, and we specialize in historic building water and fire damage mitigation.

When you want Chicago’s most trusted commercial cleaning services for your historic site, give us a call here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.