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The Deep Cleaning Experts: Disinfecting Offices, Workspaces and Facilities

5/21/2020 (Permalink)

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. 

Reactive cleaning 

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.

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