aircraft cleaner

Is The Airplane I’m Traveling On Cleaned Regularly By An Aircraft Cleaner?

aircraft cleaner
Photo by Andrew Scofield on Unsplash

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How often does an airplane get cleaned by the aircraft cleaner?  Not as often as you’d like to hear. Of course, this post can’t speak for every single airport around the world. This is based on my 12 years of experience and the information I have gathered from other airport employee veterans working at airports around the globe.

Aircraft Cleaner Responsibilities

Airplanes can be given what is considered a thorough cleaning by the aircraft cleaner if the plane is a terminator. A terminator is an airplane that will stay the night at an airport and be flown the next morning, and the number of terminators depends entirely on each station. Some stations can have several, others only a few.

On those flights the following is normally considered to be part of the thorough cleaning done by an aircraft cleaner:

  • vacuuming
  • wiping down tray tables
  • cleaning out seat pockets
  • bathrooms
  • walls around windows

The bathrooms on a terminator are cleaned inside and out. What do I mean by inside and out? The pipes are emptied from the outside of the plane and the bathroom is cleaned inside of the plane.

When planes are not terminators they are normally not cleaned before the next set of passengers get on. However, depending on the airline, airplane cleaners are provided that come in and clean up the trash from the seat pockets.

When planes have a business and/or first class or the airline provides blankets, those blankets are rarely cleaned. They start off brand new but then are constantly reused, they are simply re-folded and used again. I suggest carrying your own travel blanket like this one

Aircraft Cabin Cleaner

Here are a few interesting tidbits for you about the job of an aircraft cabin cleaner:

  1. The vacuums that are used on most planes do not have attachments. This only allows the floors to be vacuumed.
  2. The tray tables may be wiped down at the end of the night and not between flights. It’s best to disinfect your tray yourself before you touch them. These trays for kids are perfect!
  3. The seat pockets are sometimes emptied out between flights. However, that isn’t  guaranteed.
  4. Airplane seats are almost never cleaned. This is why I always use Nice Seats. Use code TRAVELGURU for 20% off. 
  5. The inside of overhead compartments are rarely cleaned.

There are many planes that don’t get any type of cleaning at all throughout the day. This is not the fault of the aircraft cleaner. Ordinarily, if the flight is on a tight schedule, there are times when that plane will only be slightly tidied up.

The bathrooms are not always cleaned before or after every single flight. Have you been on a plane and the bathroom seemed unclean? Well, it’s because it was. Generally, each airline determines the appropriate time to clean their planes.

I am in no way speaking for all airports and airlines around the world as standards vary. There is no agency that governs how often a plane has to be cleaned. In other words, an airline basically has carte blanche over how the cleaning protocol is handled.

Think about that the next time you want to lay your head on the tray table or walk around the plane with no shoes on, ok?


Do you think about the cleanliness of a plane when you fly? 




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