Word from the Expert: Why leisure centres’ floors are almost always dirty

Although it’s clear that member satisfaction, therefore sales, and cleanliness standards are closely correlated, almost all of the leisure centres I have visited over the last ten years, struggle with floor cleanliness. Why is that?

Problems that leisure centres face when it comes to floorcare:

  • Typically you have textured surfaces (due to slip resistance) which are harder to maintain than smoother ones
  • Often floors are so old that dirt is heavily ingrained and / or there is damage
  • There are large areas to clean
  • Normally cleaning relies on lifeguards or similar, i.e. not dedicated cleaning staff
  • From a H&S perspective, you cannot use particularly strong chemicals on a day-to-day basis
  • Centres don’t have the right equipment
  • Staff don’t have the knowledge and experience to do thorough deep cleaning in-house
  • Sites have limited time to clean, and cleaning is often not anyone in particular’s top priority

It’s also worth noting that in the local authority sector specifically, operators are often inheriting issues when they take over contracts.

So, if you are a leisure operator, how can you solve the challenges above, many of which are endemic for the business model you operate?


Outsource deep cleaning to a specialist

Note that we say deep cleaning and not daily cleaning. Day-to-day cleaning, whether outsourced or done in-house, does not seem to make a massive difference in this sector because the challenges are too great and the investment is not made day-in, day-out to solve them.

Getting the standard up as high as possible periodically lessens the requirement on daily excellence in cleaning. Deep cleaning out of hours means that specialist equipment and chemicals can be used, and time pressure is minimised so the most effective methodology can be employed.


Utilise pre-planned maintenance packages

We recommend a twice-pear-year (as a rule of thumb though some sites may benefit from more or less frequent visits), e.g. December and June, specialist deep cleaning service in the changing rooms and poolside, to include pendulum test and swab test to quantify the results. This has a few benefits:

  • Provide risk management evidence
  • Reduce slip risk
  • Raise standards of cleanliness
  • Reduce the requirement for excellence in centres’ day-to-day cleaning regime (getting the standard up to 10 it is easier to keep it at 8-9; whereas trying to improve it from a 6 in-house is almost impossible)
  • Reduce the need for in-house (or external) less specialist deep cleaning that may currently be occurring, which in my experience is often ineffective

Slip Safety Services support many leisure centres on this basis and we’d be delighted to assist yours too. Please contact us on 0203 355 5018 to discuss your specific requirements.


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