To protect your staff and to ensure that products are used effectively, cleaning professionals should be instructed on how to apply cleaning and disinfecting solutions. No matter which facility is being cleaned, whether it be a commercial or residential building, the EPA says that fighting COVID-19 requires a move forward together by practicing social distancing and other daily habits, such as cleaning and disinfecting high touch and high traffic areas. The virus that causes COVID-19 can be inactivated if the correct cleaning and disinfecting solutions are used. Fortunately, the EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19, this includes ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes.
Three General Framework for Cleaning and Disinfection
In a document titled “Guidance for Cleaning & Disinfecting Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes,” the EPA provides a general framework for cleaning and disinfecting practices. It begins with these three guides:
• Normal routine cleaning with soap and water will decrease how much of the virus is on surfaces and objects, resulting in a reduced risk of exposure.
• Disinfecting using EPA-approved disinfectants against COVID-19 can also help reduce the risk. Frequent disinfection of surfaces and objects touched by multiple people is very important for health & safety.
• If EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, alternate disinfection solutions can be used. For example, 1/3 cup of bleach added to 1 gallon of water, or 70% alcohol solutions. DO NOT MIX BLEACH OR OTHER CLEANING AND DISINFECTION PRODUCTS TOGETHER. This can cause fumes that may be very dangerous to breathe in.
Proper Cleaning and Disinfecting Protocols
Take steps to reduce your risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 during daily activities. Reducing exposure to yourself and others is a shared responsibility. To protect yourself, your staff, and your visitors, ensure that the products are used effectively and train staff on how to apply proper cleaning and disinfection solutions. Consider the following steps to help maintain health and safety:
• Clean visibly dirty surfaces with soap and water.
• Clean surfaces and objects using soap and water prior to disinfection. Always wear gloves that are appropriate for the chemicals being used for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Follow the directions on the disinfectant label for additional PPE needs. Remember to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for 20 seconds minimum.
• Clean or Launder soft and porous materials like seating in an office or coffee shop, area rugs, and carpets. Launder items according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the warmest temperature setting possible and dry items completely.
• Use the appropriate cleaning or disinfectant products. EPA approved disinfectants, when applied according to the manufacturer’s label, are effective for use against COVID-19. Always follow the instructions on the label for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, dilution, application method, contact time and any other special considerations when applying.
Surfaces frequently touched by multiple people, such as door handles, desks, phones, light switches, and faucets should be cleaned and disinfected at least daily. Frequent cleaning and disinfection may be required based on the level of use. To reduce exposure to the risk of spreading COVID-19 in your facility, a strategy for maintaining health and safety will be required. Whether cleaning in-house or partnering with a Building Service Contractor (BSC), a plan-of-action will be needed to maintain a safe and healthy environment for everyone.