COVID: Lift Cleaning - a Step by Step Guide

In light of recent news, lift cleaning is now a hot topic, this blog is a helpful guide...

In view of recent events and the spread of COVID-19, effective cleaning and disinfection on a lift are now more important than ever. Bacteria and dirt can hide and be invisible. Shoes can transfer dirt on the lift’s flooring. Lift users’ hands can leave marks on the handrails and grime can hide on the surface of the buttons. 

In urban environments, the lift is one of the first places someone’s likely to enter. It’s important to be mindful of the surfaces we all touch, not only for our personal safety but for others around us as well.

For every lift owner, building owner and facility manager, lift cleaning should be regular activity but it sometimes can be overlooked. To help you, we have created a helpful checklist for a clean lift environment where every passenger feels safe to operate it and travel amongst floors. 

Step 0 - Preparation

In the current climate, we’d recommend using a cloth with sanitiser. Use the damp cloth with circular movements to clean surrounding glass, colour coated and stainless steel surfaces. You can use cleaning products that are safe for domestic and commercial use to clean the mirrors. We would advise avoiding sponges as extensive moisture can damage electrical parts such as push buttons. 

What you need to know

  • Cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected coronavirus (COVID-19) has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people

  • Wherever possible, wear disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons for cleaning. These should be double-bagged, then stored securely for 72 hours then thrown away in the regular rubbish after cleaning is finished

  • If an area has been heavily contaminated, such as with visible bodily fluids, from a person with coronavirus (COVID-19), consider using protection for the eyes, mouth and nose, as well as wearing gloves and an apron

Step 1 - Isolate the lift doors - switch the power off    


First and foremost before proceeding to any actions, ensure that: 

  • For home lifts - the lift’s electrical power has been switched off 

  • For passenger and platform lifts - doors have been isolated

Now you can safely manoeuvre in and out of the lift, without worrying about lift doors closing or obstruction. We would advise using relevant signage to notify potential lift users that they cannot use the equipment while you are cleaning.  Once you have ensured all precautions have been put in place, you are now ready to clean. 

Step 2 - Clean from top to bottom

It is really useful to clean the lift starting from the inside going outside and from top to bottom as this prevents already clean surfaces from being contaminated by dirt and bacteria. It’s always best to use non-corrosive cleaners - no one enjoys a lift ride with lingering smells! 

Using a disposable cloth, first clean hard surfaces with warm soapy water. Then disinfect these surfaces with the cleaning products you normally use. Pay particular attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as grab-rails, buttons and door handles.

Step 3 - Cleaning lift buttons and handrails   landing buttons

Use an antibacterial cleaning product to wipe handrails and keypads. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe these areas and remove stacked dirt, dust and hair. Clean the buttons first with smooth delicate strokes. 

Avoid spraying directly at the control panel surfaces as there is a high risk of damaging the electrical components inside the keypad. You don’t want the cleaning liquid to seep inside the control operating panel. 

Step 4 - Cleaning the elevator car & doors Passenger Lifts-1

Use a damp cloth to clean the lift doors and any steel surface. Alternatively, you can use a non-abrasive cleaner - remember dust and dirt can fall from the ceiling. 

You may need a step ladder depending on the height of the elevator to help you reach the ceiling safely. This would allow you to safely clean the ceiling and the high parts of the lift doors and walls.  

We would advise you not to use harsh cleaning chemical to clean stainless steel and colour-coated surfaces. Those surfaces are sensitive to various cleaning products and you might damage them. To give a shiny result to any stainless steel surface, use a few drops of baby oil and a cloth to wipe and polish them.

Tip: Shoes, trolleys and wheelchairs can transfer all sorts of dirt to your lift car floor, therefore we recommend floor cleaning. There are different flooring types so we recommend brushing and vacuuming carpeted floors and polish and clean tiles and steel floors. 

Don’t skip vacuuming the gaps and tracks between the doors at each landing level. Once all large scraps and dirt have been removed, wipe the stainless steel surfaces with a clean damp cloth or by using a non-abrasive cleaner. Remember, these particles can easily be transferred into the office or house space. And we certainly don’t want that to happen! 

Once cleaning is complete wash hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, and after removing gloves, aprons and other protection used while cleaning.

Step 5 - Professional Maintenance - Cleaning lift shaft 

Following the above steps will ensure that your lift car is clean. However, the cleaning of the pit area is just as important as the interior of the lift car. Only competent and certified engineers have access to clean the lift pit. During regular maintenance, your lift service provider should proceed with removing dirt, trash and debris. 

Just think of the accidental drop of small items through the gaps between the doors, such as keys, cards, mobile phones even food! And that’s not all, regular cleaning will prevent moving parts of the lift from rusting and limit pest infections.

Coronavirus lift & escalator upgrade solutions by Stannah


As one of the leading lift companies in the UK providing lift maintenance services, we know how to take care of your lifting equipment. During all our regular maintenance visit, our service engineers will give your lift a general clean and wipe over any lift surfaces. We can also advise on covid upgrades to make cleaning of your lift easier and provide reassurance to passengers.

There's also Government guidance on COVID cleaning in non-healthcare settings here: covid-19-decontamination-in-non-healthcare-settings.

We hope the blog on lift cleaning was helpful we've also got one on escalators and moving walkways. Or why not take a look at Lifts Your Questions Answered - COVID Edition which gives helpful advice for building owners and facilities managers on lift use and maintenance during lockdown.

We wish you all the best during this unsettled period and trust by coming together we can quickly limit the impact of this virus. You can find out more about our support for our customers during the nationwide COVID lockdown here

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