Cleaning and Disinfecting- Preventative Measures During a Pandemic
When COVID-19 hit British Columbia in the spring of 2020, those who couldn’t get disinfectant wipes or bleach (or toilet paper!) stocked up on hydrogen peroxide to wipe down their doorknobs, groceries, and even their shoes. Cleaning became paramount and we questioned the safety of everything around us.
Now, as the pandemic wears on, it’s become commonplace to see a bottle of sanitizer or a wash station near the entrances of every commercial and retail building. Consumers are urged to wear masks, and stick to social distancing and other measures of prevention.
These measures help, but cleaning and disinfecting commercial buildings goes far beyond ensuring everyone who enters has a mask and clean hands. This is where Mayfair Building Services comes in.
Effective cleaning, disinfecting, proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), using approved products, and following stringent procedures are key in the fight against the virus.
Cleaning Services Workers are Key
Cleaning services workers are now classified as front-line employees. Our experienced cleaning staff are working more diligently than ever to keep you and your staff safe and healthy.
We highly recommend that you hire a professional cleaner for your commercial space for regular deep cleaning and disinfecting. This will make it easier for you and your staff to focus on the business without worrying about reducing business hours to spend more time cleaning.
In the meantime, this guide to cleaning and disinfecting during the pandemic will help to safeguard your workplace.
Cleaning refers to the cleaning of dust, dirt and debris from hard and soft surfaces. Vacuuming, sweeping and mopping will clean a floor, but only a proper disinfectant will eliminate harmful microbes.
According to CTV news, Health Canada has approved 222 cleaning products that are effective against COVID-19. If you absolutely cannot find cleaning products, you can make your own. The most basic cleaning product out there is a mixture of two parts water with one-part dish soap, and an antibacterial oil, such as tea tree oil.
Cleaning soft surfaces can be a little more challenging. Communal couches, carpeting and padded task chairs all need to be regularly cleaned and disinfected. Refer to the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions or use a gentle soap and water solution on soiled areas. Removable textiles like cushion covers or cleaning cloths can easily be washed in a hot water cycle with regular detergent or bleach.
Cleaning reduces germs and disinfecting takes care of the remainder of germs by using chemicals.
Disinfecting and cleaning go hand-in-hand. You can’t really clean without disinfecting nor disinfect without cleaning first. In fact, spraying a disinfectant on a messy surface can deactivate the disinfectant and actually spread more bacteria around. And cleaning without disinfecting can encourage the spread of bacteria.
Accepted disinfectants include bleach, hydrogen peroxide, isopropyl alcohol and store-bought disinfectant solutions. Note that things like lemon juice or vinegar do not work to stop COVID-19 and are not approved by Health Canada, the EPA, or the CDC. A full list of EPA approved disinfectants can be found here.
Disinfectants are used after cleaning a surface and should be used frequently on high-touch surfaces like countertops, doorknobs, light switches, keyboards, and phones.
It’s important to ensure that the disinfectant is wet for the entire contact time listed on the product’s package. For instance, hydrogen peroxide should be left wet on the surface for 1 full minute before wiping with a clean paper towel.
Organizing Your Cleaning Efforts
For best results, time cleaning and disinfecting for less busy periods during the day, and after the store or business is closed for the night. Traditionally, this is when we come in to do a thorough clean.
It can also help to designate specific employees to take care of the cleaning during a shift. This lets them clean effectively while other employees take care of other aspects of the job, like serving customers. This reduces the risk of any cross-contamination, especially in the food service or hospitality industry. Always try to time cleaning to limit custom and staff exposure to cleaning products and potential fumes.
- For high-touch surfaces, regular cleaning and disinfecting at least twice a day is ideal.
- Frequently used items like debit machines should be cleaned and disinfected after every customer
- Doorknobs, counter-tops and any shared equipment (ie. Point of Sale systems) should be cleaned and disinfected as frequently as possible
- Washroom facilities should be cleaned more often
Important Safety Tips for Using Cleaning Products and Disinfectants
- Never mix your own disinfectants
- Never use high concentration alcohols near sources of ignition
- If using bleach, mix 3 Tablespoons of bleach with 1 Litre of water *Never mix bleach with another substance. This can create harmful fumes.
- Use all cleaning products and disinfectants in a well-ventilated area
- After cleaning, throw away any disposable items like gloves or masks
- Keep lids on containers closed to prevent spills
- Wash your hands after using cleaners and disinfectants
Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
The number one way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to practice good hygiene. Clean hands that touch surfaces have very few germs to spread around, and surfaces that are thoroughly and frequently cleaned and disinfected won’t support any germs that might have transferred.
- Clean your hands often. Use soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Maintain a safe distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Wear a mask when physical distancing is not possible.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Stay home if you feel unwell.
- If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
At Mayfair Building Services, we have a loyal client base throughout the Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Surrey and White Rock areas. We know these times can be challenging and overwhelming. When you book cleaning services with us, we take just one more task off your plate, providing peace of mind and the knowledge that your workplace is the healthiest it can be. Whether your business needs a deep clean or you’d like to explore a continual cleaning schedule, contact us today for a free service quote.