Developing a housekeeping plan

This online fact sheet identifies key tasks for day-to-day care of a heritage place. The information is particularly applicable for large or complex buildings and those open to the public.

Wear and tear

  • Protect old fabric, finishes and delicate surfaces from daily wear and tear with replaceable surfaces.
  • Use runners, mats or rugs (if cleaned regularly) to protect floors.
  • Compile a checklist of existing wear and tear and vandalism.


  • Properly ventilate rooms.
  • Report signs of dampness, cracking, stains and need for repainting.
  • Monitor humidity levels, particularly if heating systems are in use, to avoid damage to the building fabric and finishes such as timber and wallpaper
  • Climate-control systems such as screens and blinds may help keep a building in good condition.
  • Be aware of the potential damage to old buildings caused by poorly designed air conditioning systems.


  • Regularly clean areas where dirt can enter the building.
  • Use good matting outside the building to minimise tracked-in dirt.
  • Keep doormats clean to maximise their effectiveness as a barrier to tracked-in dirt.
  • Clean carpets and finishes such as masonry or stained glass under the supervision of an expert.
  • Be careful with cleaning techniques and products as mistakes can cause irreparable damage.
  • Only use neutral pH cleaners in historic buildings.
  • Dispose of rubbish/waste promptly and in a way that avoids a fire hazard.


  • Waxing protects against abrasion and wetting. Use waxes that can be removed with water or turpentine.
  • Consult an expert prior to waxing as wax is not recommended for some materials.


  • Keep storage space for maintenance materials and work areas separate from the historical building to minimise fire hazards, pollution and noise.
  • Use the housekeeping schedule (Word - 6.1kb) to plan and record required housekeeping tasks.

More information 

View other Council fact sheets:

For more information, contact Council.

Last updated:

Brisbane City Council acknowledges this Country and its Traditional Custodians. We pay our respects to the Elders, those who have passed into the dreaming; those here today; those of tomorrow.