During the beginning of the pandemic, businesses across the industry were forced to shut down to prevent the transmission of Covid-19. People across the world were told to quarantine inside their homes and stay away from public places. Businesses were reopened as we learned more about the virus and how to combat it. When businesses opened, their daily cleaning routines and the method they approached a typical day were changed. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has provided updated guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting your workplace. These updates are intended to keep yourself, your employees, and the public safe.
The primary areas of concern that the CDC touches on are as follows:
- Knowing the best times to clean and disinfect your workplace
- Creating cleaning routines in the workplace for staff to follow
- How to thoroughly clean and disinfect several types of surfaces
- How to clean and disinfect your workplace after someone has tested positive
When Should You Clean and Disinfect Your Workplace?
Cleaning and disinfecting your workplace depends on the amount of traffic moving through your business by customers and/or staff. Lower traffic areas of your business should only need to be cleaned and disinfected once a day. However, the higher traffic areas in your workplace should be cleaned more frequently. Suppose you have a suspected positive case or a positive case. In that case, you should be cleaning all areas, including low traffic areas, multiple times throughout the day to ensure the infection is eliminated. You should always be cleaning areas with soap and/or detergents because they reduce germs on the surface and prevent infection from lingering.
When cleaning and disinfecting your workplace, knowing the types of surfaces and how to clean them is particularly important. Employers should be developing cleaning routines for staff to follow that help prevent the transmission of the virus. Surfaces such as pens, counters, doorknobs, shopping carts, light switches, handles, and other high traffic surfaces should be cleaned at least once a day or more if needed. When teaching your staff the proper way to use cleaning products, remember to look at the label on the back of the bottle. This ensures the proper safety precautions are followed while using the product. Examples of safety precautions could include wearing goggles and gloves when handling the cleaning product. If regular disinfection is needed, the employer will need to make sure that they choose a product listed in the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) List N on the CDC website.
Properly Cleaning Different Types of Surfaces
There are four distinct types of surfaces that have separate requirements for cleaning and disinfecting. These four include:
- Surfaces such as Carpet, Rugs, and Drapes – These items should be cleaned with soap and/or detergent. You can launder these items if you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Just keep in mind that they need to be cleaned in warm water.
- Clothing, Towels, and Linens—When handling dirty items from a sick individual, you must wear gloves and a mask. It is okay to wash the dirty items of a sick individual with everyone else’s laundry if you are using warm water and a detergent. Wash your hands after handling dirty clothing and ensure you follow the proper guidelines to disinfect your baskets and hampers, depending on the surface type.
- Electronics such as Tablets, Keyboards, Phones, etc.—The best possible solution for electronics is placing wipeable covers on all screens to make them more convenient and efficient for disinfecting. When cleaning and disinfecting electronics, you want to make sure you are using a product from the EPA List N to ensure no damage is done to the electronics, and it gets meticulously cleaned.
- Outdoor Areas—When speaking of outdoor areas, the surfaces that are not required to be cleaned and disinfected are sidewalks, roads, or groundcover. However, outside playground equipment should be cleaned and disinfected after every use. Plastic and metal railings should also be cleaned daily.
Cleaning and Disinfecting After a Sick Individual
Before you start the process of cleaning and disinfecting the area, you should close off all access to these areas and wait if possible before you begin cleaning. When you start the cleaning process, open all windows, and use HVAC settings. This will increase airflow through the entire space. Make sure you are wearing a mask and gloves before you start this process. Use should be using products that have been approved by the CDC and focus on the most occupied places in the space where the sick person was present first.
All workplaces in all industries should be implementing daily cleaning routines and cleaning routines involving a sick individual. These guidelines are put into place to ensure the safety of everyone who enters and exits the workplace. All businesses should ensure their employees are trained in the proper ways of cleaning and disinfecting. If we all work together to follow the CDC’s proper guidelines, we can help lower the chances of transmitting the virus.