Whether you are an essential business, or a closed business looking forward to reopening, every business is trying to find the best way to keep its workplace clean and free of the coronavirus. That's why Janico Building Services offers COVID-19 cleaning guidance while working through this crisis. We are all in this together and we look forward getting back to business as safely as possible.
Staying on top of cleanliness during the outbreak, and after, can be overwhelming if you are doing it yourself but it helps to remember who you are doing it for; Your employees are going to be happy to do whatever they can to pitch in and clean and keep their work area safe, your customers and clients are going to be grateful that you're taking steps to prevent them from getting COVID-19. And you will probably find that your own nerves are steadied too, knowing that you are doing what you can to provide a healthier environment for your customers and employees.
Here are some critical steps that we recommend businesses take when cleaning for coronavirus to help keep your employees and customers safe:
If possible, wait 24 hours before cleaning. Not every business can be empty for 24 hours, but waiting 24 hours before a deep clean is ideal. If you manage an office building, office park, church, car dealership or any business that can be empty for 24 hours, and if it can be well ventilated in the meantime, you can ensure that the virus isn't lingering in the air before you and your staff, or any cleaning professional, comes into the building for a deep clean.
The virus may still be on countertops or the floor, but it won't be in the air so it can be properly cleaned and removed. But it can remain on high touch surfaces like countertops and doorknobs for hours - and even days. It depends on the type of surface the microscopic droplets land on.
Waiting 24 hours is recommended for suspected and confirmed virus exposure areas per the CDC, but even if the virus has never been at your business (as far as you are aware) it's still a good precautionary step to take to help ensure your business is in the clear. Also, ensuring you, your staff or cleaning service is wearing the correct personal protective equipment will not only protect yourself from potential infection but also limit any reintroduction of the virus during the disinfection.
Clean before disinfecting. Before you start disinfecting, you want to do general cleaning, and it can be with all-purpose cleaner. Why? You want to clean all visibly dirty surfaces in your facilities to remove dust and soils - and then disinfect the workspace. The disinfectant will be more effective on surfaces if the dirt, grime, and dust is removed.
Do a deep clean and disinfection. That means cleaning everything. You need to go beyond the important vacuuming and mopping of floors and throwing out trash.
Some of the typical areas or items in an office workspace you would want to pay attention to, include:
Those are just some of the areas you should be thinking about. It almost isn't possible to go overboard when doing a deep clean for the coronavirus.
Your disinfectant should be EPA Registered. Janico Building Services uses hospital-grade disinfectants rated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and listed on EPA's List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
You can use the same disinfectants. Here is the list of disinfectants that the EPA recommends. Ensuring you are utilizing one of these chemicals helps keep the virus from lingering in your building, there's a good chance whatever you are using won't get rid of it completely if not included in this extensive list.
Focus on areas with high traffic. While you should clean everything as reasonably possible, focus on areas that have the most people. For instance, pay attention to your entrances and exits.
If you own a doctor's or dental practice, or a business with a daycare center, you probably have an area or areas where children play. Every toy, and every inch of that play area, should be disinfected. Other areas are your restrooms and kitchen areas, locations where people more frequently touch their face. Germs can rapidly spread in these two areas, and so these are rooms that you absolutely should be conducting a deep clean.
Clean electronics. Printers, scanners, copiers, paper shredders, laptops, computers, cash registers - they all collect dust, and they all are used often by employees. We touch them. We breathe on them. We mingle around them or pass them around. They need to be unplugged and then cleaned carefully; of course, since liquid and electronics don't mix well, but they do need to be thoroughly sanitized, we recommend wiping with a cloth damp with disinfectant or using a UV-C sanitation wand.
Replace Your Air Filters. The coronavirus is known to be transferred between the exchange of water droplets coughed or breathed into the air. Increased ventilation is thought to be important for facilities to limit the spread of potentially infected droplets. While you may be running your air systems more, make sure your air filter is new so the system is able to run at its full capacity.
Personal Protection Procedures. Strategically place hand sanitizing stations and disinfecting wipes for you and your employees to readily clean surfaces throughout the workday. You'll also want to post hand-washing signs and restock with ample soap and towels. If not mandated by local governments, you also want to consider creating a mask policy for your business, and/or readily provide masks to your employees to help limit the possibility of virus spread between staff members and customers.
Clean Is Now A Necessity. In between your deep clean and when you reopen for business, you'll want to limit your traffic to hopefully no visitors, in order to not introduce new germs after cleaning. You'll still want to clean and disinfect on a regular basis, to reduce the odds of transference in your facility and thus reduce the odds of your employees, customers or clients from getting sick. Still, keep in mind that the next deep clean will be easier. Whether you're battling a virus or everyday germs, it's always easier to clean when you have already been maintaining a clean environment.
For even more information, you may want to check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for cleaning facilities.