It seems like the world is starting to see real progress against the COVID-19 pandemic. Pharmaceutical companies are reporting vaccines with high success rates. Some states are also easing restrictions. This means it won’t be long before you can let your employees back to the office. However, you should still practice proper social distancing. You should also have a good cleaning and disinfecting practices for your equipment.
The virus that causes COVID-19 can spread through respiratory droplets, which are then expelled when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. It can stay in the air for up to three hours. It can also survive on steel and plastic surfaces for up to three days. And when you touch these infected surfaces and touch any part of your face, you might inhale the virus. You can’t take any chances. As such, it’s important to keep every surface clean and sanitized.
But where should you start?
Get the Necessary Equipment
You and your cleaning staff are going to be exposed to potentially infected surfaces and chemicals like bleach and alcohol. It’s vital for you and your staff to use the right equipment for the job.
Here are the essentials.
- Protective equipment – Your staff should have at least a disposable mask to cover their mouth and nose. Disposable gloves are also essential to protect your employees’ hands from the virus and harsh chemicals.
- Cleaning and disinfecting solutions – Soap and water are more than enough to clean the dirt off most surfaces. For disinfecting, experts recommend using a 70 percent alcohol solution. If you want to use bleach, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends diluting five tablespoons per gallon of room temperature water.;
- Cleaning equipment – Each cleaning worker should have at least three clean pieces of cloth. One for cleaning, one for spreading the disinfectant, and one for wiping everything off after rinsing. Spray bottles are also recommended for your staff to easily disperse the soapy water and disinfectant on the surface.
Do Some Cleaning First
Experts recommend cleaning with soap and water first so that the disinfectant doesn’t have to go through dirt and grime to sanitize the surface.
Here’s how you and your staff should go about your cleaning routine.
- Open all doors and windows to encourage airflow. This way, the respiratory droplets in the room can circulate, decreasing the chances of infection.
- Spray soapy water or dip your cloth in a bucket of soapy water to clean the dirt and grime off the surface. If there are soft surfaces that you need to launder, follow the manufacturer’s cleaning instructions. Prioritize frequently-touched surfaces first like workstation desks, doorknobs, and stair railings. You can leave seldomly-used surfaces, like window security bars and ceilings, toward the end of your routine.
- For small, non-electronic equipment, like shears, you could soak them in soapy water for a few minutes and rinse them with clean water. Make sure to wipe them down dry afterward to prevent corrosion.
- You may also need to clean and disinfect commonly-used electronic equipment like computer peripherals, touch screens, and more. Soap and water may corrode their circuits.; Again, you should search for the manufacturers’ instructions in cleaning them. If there aren’t any, turn off and unplug the devices and use alcohol wipes to clean as much of the grime off as possible. This also disinfects the surface.
Once your staff has cleaned a surface, it’s time to disinfect it. Spray the alcohol or bleach solution on the surface. Spread it evenly throughout the rest of the surface using another clean cloth. Leave it for around 15 to 20 minutes before wiping the solution off. Your staff can also disinfect the most-used surfaces with alcohol throughout the day.
Remove Protective Equipment Properly
After a long day of cleaning and disinfecting, it can be tempting to just remove your protective equipment and go home. However, not putting in proper care when doing so could end up spreading the virus further.
- Start by removing gloves. Grasp the outside of one glove near your wrist and peel it away. Hold the one you just removed in your gloved hand. Take off the other glove from the top of your wrist, again turning it inside-out.
- Next, remove your gown. Untie everything and unsnap the buttons. Reach to your shoulders and pull down the gown away from your body.
- Before taking the next steps, wash your hands using soap and running water. If possible, use hand sanitizer afterward.
- Untie your face mask and take it off while pulling it away from your face. Do not touch the front of your mask.
- After taking off your mask or respirator, wash your hands with soap and water again.
It’s been more than half a year since the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the world. If you want to do your part in containing its spread, you should practice proper cleaning and sanitation in your office. Use these cleaning and disinfecting practices regularly and you’re sure to decrease the chances of contracting the disease in your workplace.