5 Practices to Incorporate Into Your Cleaning Program

There has been a strong focus on keeping facilities clean and safe because of viruses such as the flu and especially the coronavirus over the last 11 months. The COVID-19 pandemic in particular has shown a spotlight on the need for sound disinfection processes within a business’s facilities. With the continued cold weather this winter, there are many communicable diseases in addition to COVID-19 and the flu that will continue to spread.

The centers for Disease and Prevention have indicated that 11 percent of the United States becomes infected with the flu every year. More than 410,000 people with hospitalized just from the flu in 2019. And with the COVID-19 and the current pandemic, reducing the spread of viruses and other diseases is more important than ever.
 
Facilities managers and their cleaning teams have their hands full and must continue to keep their guards up. To be successful, there are a number of best practices that should be included in their cleaning program to ensure optimal results. Here are 5 suggestions that you can incorporate into your program:
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1) Maintain A Routine

The most important step in any cleaning program is to have a consistent and ongoing cleaning program that covers all of your facilities. Cleaning, disinfecting, sterilizing and sanitizing regularly is critical to keeping employees and guests safe. Additionally, it is a good practice to review your cleaning plan regularly with your team to ensure everyone is up to date with best practices and to ensure nothing is missed.

2) Pay Special Attention to Hot Spots

It is important to identify a facility’s hot spots or high-touch surfaces that are prime areas for germs to live and grow and can easily spread. The better you understand what your hot spots are, the better you will be in preventing the spread of viruses and germs. Typical hot spots for the flu and coronavirus include front desks, doorknobs, elevator buttons, computer keyboards, paper towel dispensers and faucets.
 
Research shows the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being spread to a surface. This makes daily cleaning critical. Ongoing cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting efforts will greatly increase the chances of preventing the spread of germs.
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3) Find the Right Product Solution

It is important to identify a facility’s hot spots or high-touch surfaces that are prime areas for germs to live and grow and can easily spread. The better you understand what your hot spots are, the better you will be in preventing the spread of viruses and germs. Typical hot spots for the flu and coronavirus include front desks, doorknobs, elevator buttons, computer keyboards, paper towel dispensers and faucets.
 
Research shows the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being spread to a surface. This makes daily cleaning critical. Ongoing cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting efforts will greatly increase the chances of preventing the spread of germs.

4) Understand Proper Product Usage

Once the right product is selected, the next step is to ensure that it’s being used correctly, paying special attention to mandatory dwell times and the dilution factors. Dwell time is important to understand because if the product is removed too soon, it might not kill the pathogen as indicated on the product label. Not abiding by the proper dwell time not only puts clients and staff at risk but also opens the facility up to liability issues for not disinfecting appropriately.
 
Chemical management and dilution are also key to accurate and effective cleaning. If the staff does not follow the recommended dilution, it can lead to too much of a chemical in a solution. This can lead to damaged surfaces and overexposure to your clients and staff to the chemical. Conversely, using too little product may not allow for the appropriate chemical ratio needed for proper disinfection per the product label, thus exposing guests and staff to harmful diseases such as COVID-19 or the flu. Utilizing a chemical management system can help simplify the process by ensuring proper dilution every time.
 
Safety also needs to be top of mind for cleaning staff when using cleaners, sanitizers and disinfectants. Most chemicals require the use of gloves and eye protection. For example, gloves should always be worn when using bleach solutions to protect your hands. Cleaners and disinfectants should never be mixed unless a label indicates that it’s safe to do so. Additionally, it’s important to ensure any staff members who use cleaners and disinfectants read all instruction labels to understand safe and appropriate use.

5) Educate and Spread Awareness

It is important that staff and guests are educated on ways to avoid the flu and other viruses. This can be accomplished by continuing to promote the importance of hygienic practices like wearing masks and proper handwashing. Additional efforts that can prove effective include displaying signs that promote virus safety throughout your facility, providing extra hand sanitizer in high-traffic areas and encouraging workers and guests to stay home when sick.
 
At the end of the day, the importance of implementing an effective cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting process during flu/virus season cannot be overstated. By identifying hot spots for the spread of microbes and mitigating them with the appropriate products, a healthier environment for all can be achieved.

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