Lift Hygiene: The Ultimate Guide

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, lift hygiene has seen a renewed focus. Once among the list of duties that many businesses simply didn’t consider, Covid-19 has raised the standard – and responsibility – of maintaining robust hygiene levels in public spaces. 

Lifts are often used in public spaces to improve the flow of users and increase accessibility, meaning they often have very high footfall and qualify as high-usage areas. This, paired with the fact that they transport people within a confined and sometimes poorly ventilated space, makes lift hygiene especially important.

If you have an on-site lift and are looking to improve your lift hygiene levels, the good news is that there are additional features that lift providers can install. There are also several steps that building owners can take to keep their users and staff safe. 

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the features that lift service providers can offer, as well as offer our tips on how to keep your lifts as clean, safe and hygienic as possible!

Lift Hygiene and Why It Matters

The Covid-19 crisis prompted millions of people and businesses to re-evaluate their hygiene practices in order to keep staff, customers, patients and caregivers safe wherever possible. 

Lifts are usually small, enclosed areas with regular footfall and, while lift journeys are generally short, they are usually common spaces shared with other individuals in public buildings. This increases the risk of bacterial or viral transmission for airborne, direct contact and indirect contact-transmitted diseases and infections.

Lifts, then, are an easy place for bacteria and viruses to be transferred between individuals. Even pre-Covid, lift hygiene was incredibly important – however, post-pandemic, there are now many more safety measures that building managers and staff are acutely aware of in order to keep people safe.

Lift Hygiene Solutions

In recent years, there have been many technologies that have been developed or become more popular to help improve hygiene in public spaces, and lifts are no exception. 

At Sheridan Lifts, we work closely with all of our clients to create lift solutions that make sense for their needs, and there are some features we can incorporate in our lifts to improve lift hygiene if required. 

These include:

UV Lamps

Ultraviolet lamps have been used in all kinds of areas to disinfect surfaces without the need for harsh cleaning chemicals or household cleaning products. They also allow sanitising to be carried out automatically at regular intervals. 

UV lights can be installed in lifts to sanitise lift control panel surfaces and other high-traffic areas on a regular basis, without posing any risk to users! 

Touchless Buttons

Touchless buttons are a state-of-the-art development in lift technologies that can recognise hand movements from up to 10cm of distance. This reduces the need to use a button control panel, which is one of the areas in a lift that needs the most antimicrobial protection. 

Not only do touchless buttons improve lift hygiene, but they also contribute to a high-end feel for the lift, impressing users while also keeping them safe.

Air Purifiers

As a small enclosed space, the air circulation in lifts is not always the best. 

Even when the lift is in regular use and well-ventilated, organisations may wish to improve the quality of the air in these spaces, particularly as concerns around Covid-19 are still at the forefront of many people’s minds. 

Installing air purifiers in a lift can be done with minimal disruption and without taking up floor space in a lift.

Voice Recognition

Voice recognition technology in lifts – like touchless buttons – can be used to add value to a high-end lift. Rather than having to touch any buttons, passengers can instead operate the lift unassisted using voice controls.

Because of this, voice recognition technology has practical applications for improving lift hygiene. Without the need for every user to use the button control panel, the rate of bacteria transmission is dramatically reduced.

Lift Surfaces and Materials

Lifts can be designed with a range of different surfaces and materials, making them easy to clean and to apply antibacterial protection. Stainless steel is a popular option for this very reason – it also doesn’t stain and is very durable. 

Many lift interiors are also made using glass or colour-coated surfaces, which are hard-wearing and versatile.

Steel floors, tiled floors, linoleum floors and other easy-to-clean flooring surfaces can also be used to improve lift hygiene and longevity.

If you’re looking to upgrade your existing lift or install a new, hygienic lift that will work effectively and last for years to come, get in touch with the team at Sheridan Lifts today!

The Importance of Hygiene for Lifts in the Healthcare Sector

In the healthcare sector, ensuring all surfaces and facilities are kept as clean and hygienic as possible is of key importance.

The level of control over lift hygiene is more important in healthcare than in many other sectors (for example, shopping centres, residential buildings, corporate buildings, the hotel sector, industrial organisations, etc.) as harmful bacteria being spread in healthcare settings can have much more significant consequences. 

In the healthcare sector, lifts may be transporting immunocompromised users for whom common bacteria can be very dangerous. Hospitals in larger buildings or high-rise buildings also use their lifts for urgent care and patient transportation, making it more likely that biohazards or bodily fluids may be found in the lift. 

Assisted care environments can also benefit from the regular process of sanitising lifts. When working in facilities with elderly or disabled people, infections and bacteria can spread very rapidly. An antiviral cleaning service or routine helps reduce outbreaks wherever possible and improves caregiver safety too.

How You Can Improve Lift Hygiene through Regular Cleaning

Of course, if you already have an existing lift structure, you may not want to invest heavily in a new lift or lift upgrade and refurbishment immediately. 

Even in non-healthcare settings, regular cleaning and disinfecting of lift structures are affordable ways to ensure that your lifts are always clean and comfortable for users. Ultimately, maintaining clean surfaces in a lift reduces the risk of bacterial transmission and can prevent people from getting sick.

Lifts are thankfully significantly easier and less time consuming to clean than larger stairwells and railings. This means that keeping your lift hygiene standards high is not too taxing on time.

These are a few of our tips to help make sure your lift cleaning and hygiene processes are as comprehensive as possible.

General Lift Cleaning Tips

It is generally considered best practice to start from the bottom of a lift car when cleaning to prevent surfaces in lifts that have already been cleaned from becoming contaminated with other bacteria. 

Starting at the lift skirting, surfaces and lift walls can be cleaned with warm, soapy water (avoiding any electrical points or mechanisms) to remove dirt, grease and debris. Then, going over all surfaces (including lift doors) with a non-corrosive, antibacterial cleaning spray will help to kill any bacteria or viruses that remain. In lifts with windows or mirrors, specialist glass cleaners should also be used for a streak-free finish.

When cleaning a lift, you should take special care of areas like buttons and handrails where bacteria can spread much more quickly than in other areas (due to the high level of use they get). Cleaning in advance means your lifts will always have a baseline of cleanliness, and even if additional cleaning is needed after an incident, the number of germs on surfaces is significantly reduced.

Finally, the lift car floor should be cleaned last using warm soapy water and floor cleaner (make sure to let it dry as much as possible before putting the lift back into action to prevent any slips or falls!). By utilising a comprehensive cleaning process, you can ensure the safety of passengers is at the forefront.

Cleaning the Lift Buttons

Nearly all potential lift users will touch the control panel surfaces of a lift. This, combined with the fact that most lift panels will be close to wired electrical components, means that extra care needs to be taken when it comes to the standards of cleaning. 

Using a dry disposable cloth or microfiber cloth and disinfectant is the easiest way to effectively clean lift buttons and controls, removing substances on lift buttons and killing bacteria at the same time. 

Cleaning the Lift Shaft

The lift shaft and lift pit, while not accessed by the public, can also become dirty or messy. If you have a lift service provider who carries out regular lift maintenance like the team at Sheridan Lifts, they will always look to ensure the lift shaft and lift pit are clear of rubbish and that the lift is functioning properly. 

Regular maintenance will include the process of lift pit cleaning and canopy cleaning to ensure the best safety outcomes for the lift.

At Sheridan Lifts, we offer a range of lift maintenance packages to help our customers ensure their lifts are running as safely and efficiently as possible. 

Our team can offer recommendations on how to keep your lift users safe, both from potential complications with the lift structure and when it comes to lift interiors and lift hygiene.

All of these processes can – and should – be used not just in passenger lifts but also in cargo lifts, service lifts and platform lifts.

To learn more about the importance of lift hygiene, how you can improve hygiene in your lifts, or to get your next lift installation/refurbishment project started with Sheridan Lifts, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team!