Cleanliness Is Next To…. Excellence – Part One

Prior to starting my mortuary work I had no idea how much cleaning there would be. Nearly every task has some element of cleaning involved. We clean people, areas, tools, floors, if we use it then we clean it. I had a thought in the car the other week that even though it may seem boring, it’s an important aspect therefore certainly worth writing a blog post (or a few!) about.

Firstly, one thing I never realised and which took a lot of getting used to, is that the mortuary is divided into ‘clean’, ‘transition’ and ‘dirty’ areas. The clean areas are places like the office, the tea room and other areas you wouldn’t expect to come across body fluids or carry out tasks involving them. The transition areas are those that allow you to move between dirty and clean via a way of cleaning yourself. The dirty areas are places like the post mortem room. The fridge area is a little different in that it’s got designated clean areas which are defined with a line and a sort of mixed area in which dirty tasks take place.

Tea room is a clean area (if you don’t include the occasional mess in the microwave or spilt tea!)

The post mortem room is a dirty area

Transition areas include a swap of footwear

Just because an area is a designated dirty area does not mean it is constantly dirty. Tasks are carried out in these areas and then they are cleaned thoroughly. We provide tours for staff on occasion and take them through to these areas only when they are clean. We pride ourselves on how clean our mortuary is, and it is essential each area is cleaned well after each task.

One way I think of the clean/dirty split is where I wear my crocs and where I wear wellies. Wellies are fine for the post mortem room, and are cleaned after use each time but are a big no for the clean areas. We provide overshoe covers for anyone entering the room who does not use wellies. I do rather like the fact my whole day is just comfortable and practical footwear. Plus I love wellington boots.

Just so comfy, I have a real affinity for wellies.

As a final note of this first part, I’d like to ask you what you imagine a mortuary to smell like. There are unpleasant smells, of course there are but not all the time. In fact, rarely do we have to apologise for a smell in the mortuary. Largely a lot of people don’t like the smell because of their imagination telling them they won’t. Also largely, the overriding smell is the cleaning products we ,use including a really lovely cherry scented fluid. I wrote a post a while ago about the smells in the mortuary, and I can confirm that now the smell of refrigeration does just smell like death to me which is a totally incorrect but acquired thing. It’s odd how we make associations like that.

I have no idea currently how many parts to this there will be but if you’re interested in hearing about any cleaning related specifics then please get in touch!

MG x

2 thoughts on “Cleanliness Is Next To…. Excellence – Part One

Add yours

  1. Such an interesting blog, and cleaning isnt something you think about when you mention the mortuary. Keep the posts coming as your page is amazing! What ppe do you have to wear for cleaning in the dirty and clean areas? and do visitors to the mortuary have to wear ppe?


    1. Thank you so much for your kind words and your questions! The PPE for the dirty I’ve shown in the photo, for the clean areas it’s mainly gloves and an apron. Visitors can wear any of the same PPE as us if they choose and it’s available at the entrances. For example there’s a glove dispenser at every door so the funeral directors or hospital porters can put them on as they come in. Hope that answers your questions! Thank you again.


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