How to Clean an Operating Room

To prevent postoperative infections and diminish the number of nosocomial illnesses (those that originate in a hospital), an operating room must be kept terminally clean. Routines for maintaining the necessary level of cleanliness in a surgical situation must be developed and upheld without question.

This will lead to a safe and sanitary environment for the staff and provide a safe, protected atmosphere for the surgical patient. The guide below outlines the general procedures you should follow to keep the operating room clean.

  1. Wipe down all operating room fixtures, furnishings and equipment with a clean, sterilized cloth and a hospital approved antibacterial, germicidal cleaning agent prior to use each morning.

  2. Clean the room between each operation. Begin by bagging and removing all cloth items such as surgical drapes and hospital linens. Gather all gowns, shoe covers, masks, gloves and other disposable items and remove them from the operating area, then properly dispose them.

  3. Wash, sterilize and replace any items used during the surgical procedure, such as scalpels, forceps and clamps. Also, clean any large pieces of equipment that may have be physically handled by the surgical team, such as trays and light fixtures, with an antibacterial germicidal cleaning agent.

  4. Clean the floor using a shop vac or wet/dry vacuum, paying particular attention to the area where the surgical team works. Remove any furniture from the operating room and run a dust mop over the floor to collect any loose debris before vacuuming. Then pour a hospital-approved disinfectant solution on the floor and allow it to stand for approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

  5. Scrub the floor with an abrasive pad or stiff-bristled scrub brush to loosen any dried-on or clinging materials and then suck up the dirty water with the wet/dry vacuum.

  6. Cover the floor in clean water to rinse away any remaining disinfectant. Soak up rinse water with a clean mop head and allow the floor to dry.

  7. Return furniture to the room once the floor is completely dry.

  8. Apply an antibactarial germicidal solution to the following items at the end of each day: any equipment that is mounted on the walls or ceiling, low hanging light fixtures, sinks, all operating room furniture including the undersides and the wheels and any waste containers, buckets or scales, sterilizing as many of these items as possible.

  9. Tip

    Depending on budget, it may be easier to either designate separate tasks to each member of a surgical team or to hire someone specifically to keep the operating room clean.


    *Put on clean disposable gloves prior to cleaning.

    *If possible, use a clean mop head for each room. At the very least, you should use a clean mop head for the entire operating room each day, though this is only acceptable if you are using the mop exclusively for rinsing the floor, not if you are using it to remove debris or possible contaminants. In that case, use a new clean mop head.