It's well known that cleaning the cabin of an airliner in the short time it is on the ground can be a challenging task for the cleaning crew.

Cleaning crew cleaning up an aircraft cabin

But what about the best seats in the plane, the cockpits? Are they cleaned on the same occasion? Is there a specially trained cleaning crew? Do pilots sneak in a damp microfiber cloth and wipe down the handles of the thrust levers, the switches and the displays? Do seats and the carpeting ever get treated with a Kaercher Carpet cleaner (or that of any other reputable manufacturer)?

Nozzle of a Kaercher Wet-and-dry cleaner on a black carpet

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ These anecdotes aren't authoritative enough to extract real answers from, but they sure hint at the wide range of attitudes about this topic! $\endgroup$ Commented May 24 at 21:39
  • $\begingroup$ Another anecdote, a friend of a friend worked for Delta maintenance in Atlanta and I got to tour a 777 that was in the hangar, including the cargo bay. Interestingly there was a computer terminal in the cargo bay used by maintenance people where they can log stuff or change settings similar to one that maintenance (and pilots) use in the cockpit. But anyway I got to sit in the captain's seat and I was surprised to see that there was grime on several of the flat surfaces, as if the cockpit had not been thoroughly cleaned in a while. Presumably pilots are used to it and are not bothered by it. $\endgroup$ Commented May 25 at 11:24

1 Answer 1


While this may not happen frequently for some operators, this is recommended by The WHO Guide to Hygiene and Sanitation in Aviation available at ICAO.

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This is part of ground handling. This includes seats, floor and windows, as well as stowage areas and racks. IATA, the operators syndicate, recommend to have cleaners entering the flight deck supervised by a person authorized by the operator (example). Cleaning hardware and products are selected in accordance with the manufacturer recommendations. The frequency is daily (✔), and when requested (+).

During COVID pandemic there was a special IATA/ICAO guidance for extended disinfection of the flight deck.

Panels (instruments, switches, lights, etc) and controls are not cleaned. Cleaners are not allowed to touch or move them, incidents must be reported to the operator.


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