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: 24 May 2019

Brisbane City Council acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and their unique relationship with their ancestral country. We pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders of Brisbane, and recognise their strength and wisdom.