Cleaning & Maintenance Management Online
September 2013 Tackling Trouble Areas

Steps to Make A Facility 'Insect Clean'

Small pests can damage structures, contaminate surfaces and contribute to illness and disease.

September 10, 2013

Micro managing often has a bad reputation, except when it comes to pest management and your facility.

When you are talking about small creatures that can literally subsist off tiny crumbs, what looks clean may not be what we like to call “insect clean.”

Insect clean means really clean, it means detail, it means ensuring you are micromanaging your sanitation environment.

Pests, such as insects and rodents, can present serious problems for any type of facility.

They can contaminate food supplies as well as damage structures.

They can also contribute to food-borne illness and other diseases.

Every commercial facility will have some type of pest control process in place and every facility will handle sanitation differently.

However, it is important to ensure you have included three specific points within your list of standards. 

Focus On The “Micro”

Practicing good sanitation is, of course, a critical part of prevention.

Focusing on the small things that you can do to keep your facility clean, sanitized and insect-free is one of the first steps to pest management.

For example, let’s take one easy task, cleaning the floors.

Many facilities will go to great lengths to keep the main floor areas clean, but often food or crumbs are pushed without notice into corners and along the edges of rooms.

Pests invade from the outside, so these areas in particular present the perfect lure to a pest when not properly cleaned.

Making the floor insect clean will often require a higher level of attention.

Mopping may be necessary, as using a vacuum or broom may not be enough.

It is also important to seal up cracks and put in door sweeps as additional preventative measures.

Create A Consistent Schedule

Ensuring your facility is insect clean will also require establishing a consistent maintenance schedule.

Regular maintenance and proper sanitation procedures ensure that your facility is proactive in effectively treating and preventing pest problems.

Of course, one type of business may be able to attend to its sanitation program monthly, while another type of business, such as those where food is present, needs daily attention.

There is no right or wrong answer as to the set amount of time between sanitation events.

What is important is that they are regularly scheduled and that practices and procedures are in place to ensure a clean, safe environment — in both the interior and exterior of the facility.

This includes not only physically cleaning the facility, but also putting training of employees into the schedule along with conducting regular inspections.

Keep Pests In Check

For any sanitation program to be effective, it is important to have an inspection plan.

Creating a checklist will help you thoroughly inspect your building and grounds for the presence of pests and conditions that provide them with food, water and shelter.

While the items on the list will depend on your type of business, every checklist should include the following.

Outdoor areas: Ensure that garbage cans and dumpsters are sealed properly to avoid providing access to food for rodents, birds, flies and other pests, and locate them away from doors.

Building exterior: The foundation of your building provides the perfect entrance points for pests.

Inspect thoroughly for holes or cracks, check vents or any other large openings for proper covering and make sure exterior doors have weather stripping or a similar barrier.

Bathrooms: Ensure all bathrooms are free of mold and that the walls, floors and tiles are in good condition.

This is also a good place to check that there are no gaps in vents or between pipes.

Additionally, inspect cracks and crevices around cabinets and mirrors for proper sealing.

Kitchens: Floors and molding must be kept free of food scraps, grease and other substances.

It is important that all who use the kitchen immediately wipe up any crumbs or spills from countertops, tables, floors and shelves.

Check that all food is stored in airtight containers and garbage is disposed of regularly in sealed receptacles.

Cardboard boxes and other packaging should be eliminated as they provide perfect hiding places for pests.

Maintenance Working With Sanitation

Every facility and maintenance manager knows that pest control is an ongoing process – and not always an easy one.

Good building maintenance goes hand-in-hand with sanitation.

By performing those two well, a company can reduce the amount of products and effort needed to mitigate pests.

Effective pest management requires experience and knowledge of pest habits along with the proper procedures to stay up to speed on methods of control.

To ensure that a facility is insect clean — and doing it safely — it is wise to be under the care of a trained professional.

That person can be part of your in-house maintenance team, or a contracted pest management professional whose knowledge and expertise in these areas can help you see where improvements can be made, and help you integrate an effective pest management program.


Gene White is technical director at Rentokil, one of the world’s largest pest control companies. J.C. Ehrlich Pest Control (, Western Exterminator (, and Presto-X Pest Control ( are all part of the Rentokil family of companies in North America. Headquartered in Reading, Pennsylvania, they provide commercial and residential pest control, bioremediation, bird control, vegetation management, deer repellent services, wild-animal trapping and termite control from more than 150 local offices. For more information, visit