While isolation measures have proven successful in the fight against COVID-19, not all people have the opportunity to work from home. Companies that perform essential functions need to keep their offices working.
Since the virus is highly resilient to a variety of preventive measures, it's essential to adjust your office cleaning strategy. To keep your employees safe and prevent the disease from spreading, you can take advantage of the following tips.
COVID-19 Viability, Cleaning and Disinfecting Guide
According to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, COVID-19 can live in the air and on the surfaces between two and 72 hours. It stays viable on plastics for up to 72 hours, on stainless steel – up to 48 hours, on cardboard – 24 hours, on copper – 4 hours. The virus stays detectable in the air for three hours.
To make sure you are taking all the necessary measures to prevent the disease from spreading, you need to know the terminology:
- Cleaning – removes dirt, germs, and visible contamination from the surfaces.
- Disinfecting – kills germs on surfaces.
When it comes to COVID-19, you should do both.
1. Pay Special Attention to Routine Cleaning
Before you proceed to disinfect surfaces in your office, it's important to wash them using regular cleaning products. Any visible dirt must be removed. When vacuuming floors, it's important to pay special attention to the corners. You can also vacuum upholstery and skirting boards.
You can maintain your regular cleaning practices while preparing for serious disinfection measures.
2. Use Special Products for Disinfection
Not all off-the-shelf cleaning products can kill the virus. You should either opt for chemicals that say they kill more than 99% germs or consider making your own disinfecting solutions:
Mix 250 ml of bleach with four litres of cold water to get a virus-killing mix. However, you need to be careful not to damage certain surfaces. The label of the bleach bottle should list of surfaces, which it may ruin. The solution must be used within 24 hours since its efficiency decreases with time.
Alcohol is a highly efficient weapon against COVID-19. Your cleaning solution must have at least 70% of alcohol for the disinfection to work. A 70% alcohol solution should be left on the surface for at least 30 seconds. Once you make the 70% alcohol disinfectant, keep it sealed. Otherwise, the alcohol will evaporate, making the mix weaker.
A 3% hydrogen peroxide is effective against coronaviruses. However, to be effective, it needs to sit on the surface for at least one minute.
3. Take Advantage of Disposable Materials
Since COVID-19 is highly resilient, it can easily stay on rags, mops, sponges, cleaning cloths, and other materials you use for cleaning. Consider investing in paper napkins, paper towels, and other disposable options to ensure the virus stays contained. Throw these materials out as soon as you are done.
If you want to take advantage of reusable rags, don't use the same one on different surfaces. Once you are done cleaning, wash all rags and cloths with special cleaning solutions in hot water.
4. Pay Special Attention to the Waste
Since you don't know if any of the people in your office are virus carriers, you need to pay special attention to the waste. Put all waste (including all disposable items you use for cleaning and disinfection) in plastic bags and tie them well. Then you should put it in a second bin bag and tie it one more time.
Wait 72 hours until throwing the waste out. This way you can minimize the chances of other people contracting the virus.
5. Acquire Personal Protective Equipment
While cleaning your office during the Coronavirus outbreak, it's especially important for the cleaning staff to wear personal protective equipment.
Gloves and masks can save these people from contracting the virus if it's sitting on the surfaces they contact while cleaning.
6. Focus on Surfaces People Touch the Most
The biggest cleaning and disinfecting effort should be aimed at frequently touched surfaces, such as light switches, doorknobs, toilet handles, sinks, all kitchen surfaces, equipment, and utensils. It's also important to clean keyboards, computer mice, and desks.
7. Remove Decorative Rugs
If you have any decorative rugs in the office, remove them. Rugs and carpets are tougher to clean than hard surfaces. The chances of the virus staying in the fibres is high.
If you have textile floors, you need deep clean them using a steam cleaner or special carpet shampoo products.
8. Keep Windows Open
Just like most viruses, COVID-19 thrives in dry and stale air. That's why it's important to open windows while you are cleaning the office and throughout the day. According to a study conducted by the World Health Organization, proper ventilation can prevent the spread of infections.
9. Inspire Common Sense
All your cleaning and disinfection efforts are only as good as the common sense of your employees. No matter how often you clean the office, it's up to them to prevent the virus from spreading. Remind them to:
- Avoid handshakes
- Keep the distance when possible
- Wash hands for 20 seconds or longer
- Stay at home if they experience symptoms of ANY illness
Preparing the Office to Welcome Employees After the Pandemic is Over
The easiest way to make sure your office is Coronavirus-free is to close it for 72 hours. If such an option isn't available, follow the above steps to clean and disinfect all surfaces properly.
It's worth noting that once the pandemic subsides, some people will still contract the virus. That's why it's important to continue taking preventive measures for at least a month after the quarantine is officially over.
At Green Facilities, we focus on keeping your office clean during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our staff has received special training to adjust its cleaning strategy to the current situation. If you have any questions about office cleaning during or after the Coronavirus outbreak, please contact us today.
Introducing the Nordic Chem® by Green Facilities Management
Green FM is now offering next-generation COVID-19 preventive cleaning services to various business sectors. Our product Nordic Chem is a revolutionary water-based, long-term antimicrobial coating, designed to inhibit the growth of microorganisms for up to 90 days after application. Once the coating has dried, it forms an invisible layer of “nano spikes” that penetrates the cell membrane and destroys them.
Due to these “nano spikes”, the process of elimination is mechanical and not chemical in comparison with other long-term solutions such as silver, zinc and copper. It is tested to be effective against a wide range of viruses and bacteria including Coronavirus, creating an inhospitable surface for these dangerous microorganisms, keeping your facility safer for everyone.
Get your business ready for Re-Opening with our preventive deep cleaning services and ensure a hygienic & safe workplace for your employees and clients. Please call us at 0800 044 5795 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org today.