How to Clean an Airplane Restroom Quickly and Thoroughly

By Anne Baley

How to Clean an Airplane Restroom Quickly and Thoroughly

Time is money, and in the airline industry, even a short delay can cost hundreds of dollars—Airlines for America estimates that an airline's operating costs are upward of $81 per block minute. However, cleanliness is also important on planes, and every airplane restroom must be cleaned between flights, leaving your crew with just a few short minutes to do a thorough job.

The key to timely and efficient cleaning? Using the right tools and having a game plan in place.

Trash Receptacles

Each airplane restroom has a trash can and a container to hold feminine waste. These both have to be emptied, and the liners must be replaced every time the room is cleaned. Not only is this an aesthetic issue, but leftover paper in a trash container could be a fire hazard if someone breaks the law and lights up in the restroom.


The proximity of passengers on planes makes it easy for germs to spread. Add dirty restroom surfaces to the mix, and it's the perfect storm for passing colds, the flu, and other viruses. Restroom surfaces like sinks, counters, faucets, and walls are all areas where people rest their hands during a flight, so they need to be thoroughly cleaned.

To clean these areas quickly and thoroughly, you need a better method than simply wiping them down with a rag and cleaning solution. You may have to clean odd-shaped surfaces with disposable wipes, but for quicker cleaning on flat surfaces, use a high-quality squeegee to remove the moisture, dirt, and germs.


Restroom floors need to be thoroughly cleaned as often as possible, but the short turnaround time between flights might prevent this during the day. It's important to remove as much dirt as possible, though, to help prevent buildup of stains. A portable wet/dry vacuum usually does the job in the tight, enclosed area—the long wand will reach the floor without much bending, and it will make quick work of loose soil or paper that's on the floor.

Safety First

The final task when you're cleaning an airplane restroom should always be a safety check. Make sure there are no wet surfaces on the floor that could pose a slipping hazard when the plane is in motion. Also, some people are determined to smoke during a flight, no matter the penalties. To reduce the odds of getting caught, people have been known to remove the batteries from the smoke alarm or otherwise disable it. Your team's last task should always be to test the alarm to make sure it's still active.

For more information on cleanliness on airplanes, click here.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

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