The Deep Cleaning Experts: Disinfecting Offices, Workspaces and Facilities
During an unprecedented global public health issue, “disinfecting” means more than singing a 20-second tune in your head while washing your hands. With coronavirus and COVID-19 affecting our everyday lives in some way, deep cleaning is now incorporated into our routines as part of the new normal.
This especially holds true for corporate and commercial business owners and property managers who are stepping up their sanitizing game to institute and maintain healthy and safe work environments. Proper cleaning and disinfection routines can significantly reduce or eliminate coronavirus on surfaces and objects in workplaces, offices and facilities.
Commercial cleaning = Peace of mind
While the majority of Charlotte-area businesses haven’t been affected by coronavirus contamination, owners are using this time to stay proactive through commercial cleaning. With many employees now working from home and essential facilities operating with minimal staff, it’s a convenient opportunity for deep cleaning.
Knowing a workspace or business has followed COVID-19 exposure and cleaning procedure guidelines provides peace of mind for employers, employees, vendors, clients and customers. They can feel confident the environment was thoroughly and professionally cleaned according to Centers for Disease Controls (CDC) and local authorities.
Examples of high-touch surfaces
In the workplace, frequently touched surfaces are tables, hard-backed chairs, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, toilets, faucets, sinks, fixtures and electronics (phone receivers and keypads, computers, keyboards, tablets, touch screens, kiosks and remote controls).
Other commercial spaces may include sales counters, water fountains, soda and snack machines, kitchens, break rooms and food areas, bathrooms, meeting rooms and classrooms, shelving and racks, carpets, rugs and drapes, furnaces and air conditioners, stair and escalator handrails, elevators, and playground or fitness equipment.
How long does coronavirus stay on surfaces?
While the World Health Organization doesn’t know how long COVID-19 survives on surfaces as an infection threat, it appears to behave like other coronaviruses. Studies suggest coronaviruses may last on surfaces for a few hours or up to several days, depending on the surface type and the environment’s temperature and humidity level.
Products to eliminate germs and viruses
Several chemical germicides are effective when used in proper concentration for a sufficient length of time, including chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents (soap), iodine-based antiseptics and alcohols. The Environmental Protection Agency provides a helpful list of registered disinfectants and products for use against COVID-19.
If you don’t have access to a disinfectant product, you can clean with a chlorine bleach solution. For floors and more substantial surface cleaning, use five tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water. For spray bottle applications, mix four teaspoons of bleach per quart of water. You can also use any alcohol solution that has at least 70% alcohol.
Techniques for cleaning and disinfecting workplace surfaces
CDC offers these everyday steps for cleaning and disinfecting.
- Always wear gloves to protect your hands from harsh chemicals.
- Never mix cleaning products.
- Always clean with a detergent or soap and water solution before disinfecting. This removes COVID-19-carrying particles on surfaces, which reduces the viral load before disinfection begins. It allows the disinfectant to be more effective against the remaining virus.
- To properly disinfect using Clorox or Lysol wipes, be sure to clean only one item at a time. To sanitize the surface, let it remain visibly wet for 10 seconds. Sanitizing reduces germs to a generally safe level. To disinfect, use enough wipes to keep the surface wet for four minutes, which will kill all surface germs.
- Always follow the directions on disinfectant products by letting the liquid remain on the surface while it does its cleaning job. If you spray cleaner on a surface, then immediately wipe it off with a dry paper towel, it reduces its germ-killing effectiveness.
- For homemade chlorine bleach solutions, use a cloth to apply it to surfaces and let it stand for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing with clean water.
- When cleaning soft surfaces, such as carpet, rugs and drapes, use soap and water or safe-to-use cleaners. If possible, launder the items according to the manufacturer’s instructions (using the warmest appropriate water setting) and let the pieces dry completely.
Commercial cleaning levels
SERVPRO of Lincoln and Northeast Gaston Counties is a member of the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), the certifying body for the cleaning and restoration industry. We adhere to CDC and local authority guidelines related to COVID-19 exposure and cleaning procedures. Our primary cleaning technique includes hand wiping surfaces and fogging, a process that uses an ultra-low volume or electrostatic sprayer to apply disinfectant to surfaces.
We focus on three levels of disinfecting: proactive, high-touch and enhanced or reactive cleaning. Proactive cleaning measures, such as a single wipe of high-touch surfaces and fogging applications, are suitable for facilities without any known cases of COVID-19 exposure. A workplace or facility that may have been exposed through an employee or vendor will require multiple wipes of high-touch surface areas and fogging.
When someone known to have COVID-19 has been exposed to the workplace or facility, we recommend enhanced or reactive cleaning. In these cases, we customize services based on the specific needs of a facility. And, we may use a cleaning protocol developed by a third-party industrial hygienist.
Additionally, the CDC recommends opening windows and doors to increase air circulation and closing off all areas used by the infected person. Wait 24 hours (or as long as possible), then clean and disinfect offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment and any other areas the infected person may have used.
24/7 commercial cleaning assistance
Although SERVPRO of Lincoln and Northeast Gaston Counties is part of a national network of 1,700-plus franchises, we’re locally owned and operated and part of the community. Our deep cleaning experts are employees, not contractors, which means our team can respond very quickly and with more resources. For questions, contact us anytime at (704) 393-7890.
We are Deep Cleaning Experts
SERVPRO of Lincoln and Northeast Gaston is Here to Help during this time of need
During this unprecedented time caused by the global pandemic of coronavirus, this is a reminder to our customers that we are specialists in cleaning services, and we adhere to the highest cleaning and sanitation standards. We are local and serve the Charlotte NC area.
We are prepared to clean and apply disinfectant according to protocols set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We have years of experience in dealing with biological contaminants, and we will go beyond the scope of work that regular janitorial staff perform on a daily basis.
The CDC encourages cleaning of high-touch surfaces such as counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Other spaces mentioned in the CDC’s guidance for commercial spaces include:
- Retail Spaces
- Sales Counters
- Water Fountains
- Kitchen/Food Areas
- Carpets and Rugs
- Stair Handrails
- Elevator Cars
- Playground Equipment
- Fitness Equipment
The CDC recommends usage of a labeled hospital-grade disinfectant with claims against similar pathogens to the coronavirus. Multiple products in the SERVPRO product line carry the EPA-approved emerging pathogens claims. While there is currently no product tested against this particular strain of the coronavirus, we are following all guidelines as provided by the CDC and local authorities.
- AMRT - Applied Microbial Remediation Technician
- ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician
- CCT - Carpet Cleaning Technician
- ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program
- IICRC Certified Firm
- OCT - Odor Control Technician
- RCT - Rug Cleaning Technician
- UFT - Upholstery & Fabric Cleaning Technician
Call Today for a Proactive Cleaning
If your home or business needs deep cleaning services, call the experts today – SERVPRO of Lincoln and Northeast Gaston at (704) 393-7890.
Winter Storm Preparedness
Each year, hundreds of Americans are injured or killed by exposure to cold, vehicle accidents on wintry roads, and fires caused by the improper use of heaters. Learn what to do to keep your loved ones safe during blizzards and other winter storms!
Know the difference:
Winter Storm WARNING: Life-threatening, severe winter conditions have begun or will begin within 24 hours.
Blizzard WARNING: Sustained winds or frequent gusts of 35 miles per hour or greater, plus considerable falling or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than a quarter mile, expected to prevail for three hours or longer.
Storm Surge Hazard Maps
Introduction to the Hazard Maps
This national depiction of storm surge flooding vulnerability helps people living in hurricane-prone coastal areas along the U.S. East and Gulf Coasts, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI), Hawaii, and Hispaniola to evaluate their risk to the storm surge hazard. These maps make it clear that storm surge is not just a beachfront problem, with the risk of storm surge extending many miles inland from the immediate coastline in some areas. If you discover via these maps that you live in an area vulnerable to storm surge, find out today if you live in a hurricane storm surge evacuation zone as prescribed by your local emergency management agency. If you do live in such an evacuation zone, decide today where you will go and how you will get there, if and when you're instructed by your emergency manager to evacuate. If you don't live in one of those evacuation zones, then perhaps you can identify someone you care about who does live in an evacuation zone, and you could plan in advance to be their inland evacuation destination – if you live in a structure that is safe from the wind and outside of flood-prone areas.
Hold a Preparedness Discussion
One of the most effective ways to share information and motivate people to take steps for personal preparedness is to talk to your people. Add a preparedness discussion to the agenda of your next staff or organizational meeting or arrange a brown bag lunch session. Many individuals within an organization—including managers, employees, teachers, and volunteers—can lead a preparedness discussion. You can cover the basics in 15 minutes; 30 minutes provides time for more discussion. Get the conversation started!
PREPAREDNESS DISCUSSION GOALS
As you prepare for your talk, keep the following goals in mind to ensure you facilitate a productive and informative discussion.
• Share the potential impact of hurricanes—the majority of injuries and death are caused by people remaining in unsafe locations during a storm. Hurricanes bring high winds and flooding or storm surge, so you need to protect yourself from both the wind and the water.
• Know the National Weather Service (NWS) terms that are used to describe changing weather conditions. These terms—advisories, watches, and warnings— can be used to determine the timeline and severity of an approaching storm.
• Emphasize the importance of being prepared to evacuate by remembering the 5 Ps: People, Prescriptions, Papers, Personal Needs, and Priceless Items.
• Outline your organization’s emergency communications plans and policies.
• Sign up for community notifications
Hold a Tabletop Exercise
A tabletop exercise is a facilitated discussion about what your organization would do in response to a disaster. The exercise leads participants through a simulated disaster scenario and prompts them to examine their plans, policies, and procedures without disrupting the work environment. It allows for a facilitated discussion of roles, procedures, and responsibilities in the context of a simulated emergency scenario. The goals for the exercise are as follows:
1. To assess your organization’s ability to respond using your current plans, policies, capabilities, and resources; and
2. To help identify improvements that could make the difference in keeping your people safe and doors open after a disaster. For organizations that do not currently do this type of planning, conducting this exercise as part of your America’s PrepareAthon! Day of Action can be an important next step in improving your organization’s preparedness and resiliency. This Playbook provides guidance on how to hold a tabletop exercise to help your organization assess and improve its ability to maintain or reestablish operations when affected by a hurricane. Many individuals within your organization can lead this effort: a senior leader, an employee, a facility manager, a human resources manager, or a program manager.
TEST YOUR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PLANS
TEST YOUR EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS PLANS Consider testing your employee notification plan with employees and volunteers to ensure you will be able to communicate with them effectively in case of an emergency—both during and outside of business hours. This could be as simple as sending an email, a text alert, or testing a public address system to ensure leadership can provide critical emergency guidance when needed. Be sure to identify these communications by starting with “THIS IS A TEST” to avoid any confusion.