A clean workplace greatly contributes to employee productivity. Everyone appreciates a tidy workplace. If you keep your surroundings clean, you prevent colleagues from getting sick. Regular sweeping and mopping of floors slows or eliminates the growth of bacteria brought indoors by shoes. Dusting and wiping furniture reduces allergens like dirt and pollen. Finally, keeping sinks and pantry countertops clean helps prevent gastrointestinal diseases.
With the rapidly-evolving situation with the novel coronavirus or COVID-19, however, office managers need to adapt and include more protective measures to reduce their team’s risk of exposure. Because the virus had just been identified months ago, health professionals did not know much about it, including how to contain its transmission.
As scientists learn more about COVID-19, they also find out how to mitigate the virus’s spread. Among the most notable things about this virus is how easily it spreads. It is not enough to wipe surfaces with a damp cloth or to use alcohol on your hands every day. The novel coronavirus can live for days on surfaces. If you come in contact with a contaminated surface and touch your mouth, eyes, or nose, you have a high possibility of being infected by COVID-19.
What can you do to prevent infection?
According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control or CDC, handwashing with soap and water is the most effective way of protecting yourself from this virus. They have a guide on how to wash your hands properly, which includes multilingual, multimedia resources for parents. The CDC recommends that you wash your hands after being outdoors or in the presence of someone who is coughing or sneezing.
When it comes to cleaning indoors, the CDC has also released guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting for people practicing social distancing. According to them, people should routinely remove germs from frequently touched surfaces. That includes tables, switches, handles, doorknobs, and buttons. Sinks and toilets are also included.
What cleaning products are effective against COVID-19?
The Environmental Protection Agency advises the use of disinfectants to slow the spread of the virus. According to them, 70 percent alcohol, diluted household bleach, and a three percent hydrogen peroxide solution are effective in disinfecting surfaces from viruses. They also recommend a list of commercially-available disinfectants. The American Chemistry Council’s Center for Biocide Chemistries has a regularly-updated list of these products.
Some products include the Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® 4-in-One Disinfectant & Sanitizer, Clorox Commercial Solutions® Clorox® Disinfecting Spray, Lysol® Disinfectant Spray, Professional Lysol® Disinfectant Spray, Purell Foodservice Surface Sanitizer, Purell Healthcare Surface Disinfectant, and similar items. Each product is for different surfaces and must be used as the label specifies.
General guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting
No matter what products you are using, you need to follow some common guidelines to maximize the effectiveness of these solutions. In addition to their pages on the background and situation summary for COVID-19, the CDC also released recommendations on how to clean and disinfect places in a way that limits the virus’s survival. The CDC’s guide includes the following.
Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. If you have reusable ones, make sure you do not use it for other purposes. Furthermore, most of these products irritate and dehydrate the skin, so using gloves is necessary. After using the gloves, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water.
The CDC differentiates between these activities. Cleaning means physically removing dirt, stains, and impurities. When a surface is cleaned, it lowers the number of germs in the area. Disinfection, meanwhile, refers to the use of chemicals for killing bacteria and/or viruses.
Cleaning before disinfecting is more effective. That is because disinfectants are not as effective on soil and dirt. Furthermore, different disinfectants have different dwell time. It is the duration you need to keep the surface wet with disinfectant so that it kills the organisms on the surface. If you don’t clean before disinfecting, the dwell time will allow bacteria to reproduce on the surface, which defeats the purpose.
Fabric is a highly porous material and should be dealt with using a different set of guidelines. If you are cleaning cloth surfaces, check the CDC’s guidelines on how to go about this properly. Note that you must also clean and disinfect anything the cloth comes in contact with before the laundry, such as hampers or bins.
Keeping an office clean is more important now than ever. To prevent the pandemic from getting worse, everyone must do their part in handwashing, cleaning, and disinfecting their surroundings. It will help the virus’s spread to peter out and hasten the return to normal. Consider hiring cleaning companies to supplement your routines at work.
For more information on how to keep your workplace safe during this COVID-19 outbreak, contact us. We provide flexible and commercial cleaning services in Medicine Hat, AB. Browse our site and get in touch with us today to see how we can help.