With businesses opening back up one by one, you might be thinking about doing the same. Of course, safety protocols like running at half capacity and implementing social distancing are important, but ensuring the cleanliness and safety of your business facility is just as important too. We’re here to give you a few tips that will help guide you in creating a clear cleanliness protocol for you and your staff to follow.
Step 1: Plan
The first step to doing anything is to plan. You’ll need to consider the type of surfaces in your area and how often these surfaces are touched because these are the areas you need to prioritize when disinfecting. They will need to be disinfected regularly as COVID-19 droplets can land on nearby surfaces if an infected person coughs, sneezes, or even exhales.
These areas include tables, doorknobs, light switches, tables, chairs, toilets, faucets, sinks, etc. For areas that don’t usually see a lot of traffic or outside areas, you can continue to maintain your existing cleaning practices. If you want to be thorough, it won’t hurt to disinfect these areas often either.
Another thing to keep in mind when planning your cleanliness protocol is the availability of cleaning materials like rags, sponges, or towels and EPA-registered disinfectants and personal protective equipment (PPE) that is appropriate for disinfection such as masks, goggles, aprons, gloves, shoe covers, and hair ties.
Step 2: Implement
The next step is to implement your cleanliness protocol by cleaning and disinfecting your surfaces to remove any dirt, grime, and germs that may be there. Cleaning and disinfecting are often interchanged but there is a difference between these two terms. The prior refers to removing dirt and other impurities while reducing the number of germs from surfaces. The latter, on the other hand, refers to killing any remaining germs that may still be present by using appropriate disinfectants.
Prepare all the cleaning materials and protective equipment you need and properly clean your surfaces. Use soap and water with a sponge or microfiber towel on surfaces like countertops, tables, chairs, toilets, etc, to clean any visible dirt. You may also choose to use detergent for hard-to-remove dirt. Afterward, use a new sponge or towel to rinse off the soapy residue and wipe down any remaining water or soap.
Once you’ve finished, leave your surfaces to dry for a few minutes to prepare them for the next step: disinfection.
For softer surfaces like carpets and drapes, you can also clean them with soap and water before laundering them or using a disinfectant. If you have any electronic systems in your facility like touchscreens, consider putting a wipeable cover on the touchable surfaces that you can wipe down with alcohol or a disinfectant every now and then.
Using appropriate disinfectants, preferably those that are Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved, can be effective against COVID-19 when used according to the manufacturer’s label. Follow the instructions about concentration, dilution, application method, contact time, and other details to help you apply the disinfectant. It’s also important to take precautions like wearing protective gloves and making sure there is proper ventilation in the area when you are disinfecting surfaces.
After disinfecting, it’s important to properly dispose of any disposable cleaning materials or protective gear like gloves, gowns, aprons, masks, etc. Remove these items carefully to avoid contaminating yourself or other surfaces. Make sure to wash your hands after removing and properly disposing of your gloves. If you are using reusable towels or cloths, it’s ideal to wash them in a washing machine on a very hot cycle. You can also hand wash them in hot, soapy water to remove any dirt followed by using boiling water or a disinfectant to get rid of any germs that remain.
Step 3: Maintain and Revise
With these steps in mind, you can maintain or revise your plan depending on the availability of appropriate disinfectants or protective gear.
While actively cleaning and disinfecting surfaces will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 particles, it’s also important to maintain the same safety measures like social distancing, frequent hand washing (or using at least 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available), proper mask-wearing, not coming into work if you’re not feeling well, and not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
By properly maintaining these safety practices, and routinely cleaning all frequently touched surfaces, you can defend yourself against COVID-19. You’ll be able to welcome back customers into your business all while keeping yourself, your staff, and your customers, safe.