The latest pandemic has changed the world we know and how to run a business in the St. Louis Metro East region. It will never be the same. Even though we are half way through 2021, many businesses are still easing back into regular business before the pandemic. It’s important more than ever for business owners to protect the health and safety of their customers, clients and employees.
Here are some steps any business owner can take today to develop a cleaning and disinfecting plan that can be implemented, maintained as you continue to reopen your business.
Facility Cleaning and Planning Guide For Disinfecting Your Facility.
One: Identify your buildings high traffic area touchpoints
Last year was a reminder of how fast viruses can spread throughout communities and the world. Viruses can easily spread from contact with infected surfaces and people. For example: The person that touched the door handle before you had COVID-19 and not that you touch that surface, you are not contaminated. Door handles are just one of many high touch points in a facility. Look throughout your facility to find all the high touch points.
Suggested Touch Points:
- light switches
- photocopy machines
- stair handles
- bio-metric machines
- time clocks
High traffic areas such as the entrance and exit of a building should be cleaned more often than the rest of the building. Visitors and employees will pass through these areas. No matter how much you focus on good hygiene, you won’t be able to control the people that enter and exit your building. That is why you should focus on the surfaces that people touch to control the hygiene in your building.
Two: Identify non-porous surfaces (smooth surfaces) within high traffic areas
Dr. Vincent Munster of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and other researchers conducted a study to determine how long the virus remains infectious in the air and on surfaces. In this NIH article, that discuss the results of the study, we have learned that the exposure of the virus depends on the surface and may vary depending on the conditions within the facility. The study shows that the virus remains infectious for up 72 hours or 3 days on non-porous surfaces (i.e. steele, plastic, etc.), and up to 24 hours on porous surfaces (i.e. paper, wood, cardboard, etc.). Given this information you should also identify your porous and non-porous surfaces and touch points, as that will provide a better indication on how often each area should be cleaned and disinfected within your facility.
Three: Create Cleaning Schedules That Keep Your Facility Clean and Safe
By now your should be able to identify the touch points and high traffic areas in your facility. Now it’s time to create your cleaning schedule to prepare your facility for heavier traffic. This schedule should include the frequency by area and surface type. Some areas may only require cleaning and disinfection once a day, but there are areas that will require more than that, perhaps even two or three times per day depending on traffic and surface type in that area. The cleaning frequencies will ultimately depend on the building type, traffic, soil levels, and surface types.
Four: Identify What Equipment You Will Need
Whether you are a professional cleaning company or the business owner or manager of a facility, you should have the appropriate (PPE) Personal Protective Equipment, supplies, cleaners, and disinfectants that are critical for keeping your facility clean and disinfected for your employees.
- Identify appropriate PPE. Disposable gloves and eye protection are a must when handling disinfectants.
- Face masks may be appropriate in areas where social distancing is not possible [this could be mandated in some areas]. We recommend wearing one wherever social distancing in not possible. For more information on when, how, and some reminders on wearing a facial mask, you can refer to this article.
- Use an EPA-approved disinfectant chemical against the virus. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has listed approved products that should be used against viruses. Depending on the kind of surface, the most appropriate disinfectant can be verified from this list. Be sure to note the required dwell time of the disinfectant. Dwell time is the amount of time that a sanitizer or disinfectant must be in contact with the surface, and remain wet, in order to achieve the product’s advertised kill rate.
- Use appropriate detergent cleaner. Disinfection is a process that begins with a clean surface. Clean surfaces and touch points with a detergent or soap/water before disinfection.
- Use microfiber cleaning cloths. This type of cloth is preferable in cleaning since fibers absorb more dirt, grease, and bacteria compared to other cloth; nevertheless, it must be changed often. When using cleaning cloths, it is advisable to have a color-coded system to differentiate between high and low-risk areas to avoid cross-contamination.
When it's time to look for a new cleaning service it may seem like a daunting task. Our FREE pricing guide will help you to determine what a cleaning service should cost for your facility. Here's what's in our guide:
- What factors determine costs
- How to request a fair cleaning quote
- How to compare hidden cost in cleaning
- Rooms and Square footage for cleaning