Essential Cleaning Guideline To Help Stop The Spread of COVID-19
Whether you manage an office space or a retail store, a warehouse facility or a commercial business, or you just want to make sure your home is disinfected, here’s everything you need to know:
While the government guidelines seem harder to decipher than the clues in every National Treasure movie put together, there's one thing we know for sure: the UK is gearing up for a return to work, and that means making sure you working environment is safe from the spread of Coronavirus. Whether you're opening up your office for restricted hours, welcoming back a portion of your workforce, or just opening your doors to those heroes on the front lines of the COVID-19 response, it's so important to either a) hire a professional cleaning service with a specialised Covid-19 initiative or b) revisit your cleaning routine to make sure you’re doing absolutely everything you can to protect yourself, your employees and your customers.
And, yeah, we want to help, which is why we’ve put together some guidelines based on our own dealings with SARS, MARS and Coronavirus, and combined them with the latest Public Health England advice. If nothing else, it will help you stay safe and "stay alert" (whatever that means):
Why is cleaning more important than ever?
From improving productivity to improving sales to keeping you healthy, there's a hundred reasons why cleanliness has always been at the front of people's minds -- but it’s even more crucial these days as one of the most effective ways of halting the spread of infection and flattening the curve. According to the PHE, it’s possible for someone to contract COVID-19 by simply touching a contaminated surface, such as a toilet flusher, a light switch or the toaster in your shared kitchen. What's more, research suggests the coronavirus could survive on some surfaces for hours, possibly even days, which is why it’s absolutely essential to clean and disinfect any area that's frequently touched, especially at the start and end of each day.
Is there a difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
In a word: yes. 100% yes. But, right now, the best thing you can do is combine the two and reduce the chances of infection by cleaning and disinfecting. Of course, to do this effectively, it's good to know what the differences between the two are, so here it is:
Cleaning is the act of removing germs, dirt, and impurities, like when you wipe a visible dirty counter top with a soapy sponge.
Disinfecting requires the use of chemicals to kill germs.But, like we said, the best thing you can do to reduce the spread of the virus is clean first and follow this up by thoroughly disinfecting your space.
Our recommended cleaning guideline
To help you clean your space like one of our specialist Covid-19 cleaning professionals, here are some guidelines to follow when cleaning your office, store, warehouse or home, which is why it may be a good idea to share this guideline with others, from your site managers to other business owners preparing to open up again:
1. Always wear protective gear while you clean. There's a reason why they are called personal protective items, which is why we 100% recommend you wear everything from disposable gloves and aprons to safety masks, all of which are designed to protect you. You should also make sure you wash your hands with warm water and soap for 20 seconds immediately after removing your gloves.
2. Ventilate your rooms before you clean. Public Health England recommends you open any outside doors and windows, as well as ventilating fans, to increase the air circulation in your space before you start cleaning and disinfect.
3. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after you clean. Using soap and water, wash your hands for at least 20 seconds making sure you scrub every area of your hands and wrists. If you haven't got access to soap and water, however, make sure you use a hand sanitiser with no less than 60% alcohol.
4. Clean first, then disinfect. To remove dirt, grease, dust and germs, start by using either a cleaning detergent or soap and water. Then once you've cleaned the surface, spray the area with a disinfectant and let it stand for a few minutes before wiping. This will allow the disinfectant to work properly and not spread the germs. We also recommend using paper towels or disposable wipes, otherwise use a new cloth each time you clean.
5. Avoid touching your face while cleaning. To prevent the spread of germs and catching an infection, Public Health England has said it's crucial to avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, especially your nose, mouth and eyes.
6. Clean with the right disinfectant. When you're disinfecting a space, it's so important you use government-approved disinfectants, as well as cleaning solutions that have either been diluted with household bleach or a solution that is at least 70% alcohol, both of which are believed to be effective against the Coronavirus.
7. Focus on frequently touch points when cleaning. When cleaning, you need to pay special attention to any frequently touched surfaces, such as light switches, doorknobs, remote controls, office telephones, computer keyboards, taps, toilet flushers etc. To help you out on this, you can find our full list of surfaces to disinfect at the bottom of this guide.
8. Focus on sofas, rugs, drapes and other soft, porous surfaces too. When cleaning your soft furnishings, start by carefully remove any visible dirt and then clean with the appropriate cleaning products for that surface by reading the label, machine-washing any items you can according to the manufacturers instructions. 9. Wash any fabric linens on the highest heat setting as recommended by the manufacturer. Wether you're a hotel with bed sheets and towels, an office with hand and kitchen towels, or a retail store with drapes and blankets, machine washing needs to become part of your cleaning routine. Just remember to wear gloves when handling any and all dirty laundry, while being careful to avoid shaking the laundry as this could increase the spread of germs.
10. Empty the vacuum cleaner after every use. After carefully and safely emptying the contents of your vacuum after each use, make sure you wipe down the vacuum cleaner with a disinfectant, as well as any other appliances that may be on sire, such as dishwashers, washing machines, kettles, toasters, coffee machines and water coolers.
11. Check expiration dates when restocking supplies. And remember to follow storage instructions according to the labels on your bottles. For example, mixing household bleach with ammonia (or any other cleaning solution) could release a toxic gases that are incredibly dangerous to inhale, so please keep that in mind.
12. Line your rubbish bins. From waste paper baskets by the photocopier to the bins in your toilets, place bags into all bins to make dispose any waste a lot easier and safer.
13. Either correctly dispose of or wash your cleaning supplies. If you’re using paper towels, disinfectant wipes and other disposable cleaning supplies, make sure you throw them in a bin bag once you are done and then take those bags to the rubbish bins outside. If, however, you’re using cleaning cloths and other reusable equipment, make sure you machine-wash them at the highest heat setting allowed for that material to ensure any germs are gotten rid off before using them again.
14. Safely remove any cleaning gear. Immediately after you are done cleaning, make sure you remove any protective equipment you were wearing, such as aprons, masks and gloves, and either dispose of them or wash correctly - and then remember to wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds afterwards.
Help your employees protect themselves
Just like you, your employees will be eager to to take all the steps they can to reduce their chances of catching an infection. To do this, you need to encourage they stick to the current government guidelines, such as social distancing, no hot-desking and allowing people to work from home where possible. You can also minimise the chances of infection spreading by having a professional cleaning service disinfect your space at the end of each ay, when your premises is empty.
It is also up to you to help your employees maintain the highest standard of cleanliness and hygiene by making sure your work place is well-stocked with all the essential amenities possible, such as hand soap, hand sanitiser, paper towel, tissues, loo roll and possibly even gloves.
You could also encourage your employees to clean up after themselves during their shifts by placing disinfectants and other cleaning supplies in each area for them to use, along with instructions pinned to the walls. You may even want to print and share this cleaning guideline so that they know the best cleaning, disinfecting and hygiene practises according to Public Health England.
Inform your employees of your enhanced cleaning initiative
Everyone that enters your work environment will want to know what additional steps you’re taking to reduce the spread of infection and combat the virus -- from your employees to your customers -- so it’s a great idea to share your new and enhanced cleaning routine at the entrance of your premises, on your website, across your socials and through your email newsletter. Just be be careful about the words you choose because, while it’s okay to tell people you’re taking the highest level of care to disinfect your space due to the Coronavirus outbreak, you can’t make unsubstantiated claims and tell people your space “COVID-free.”
Your checklist of items to clean and disinfect
Fan and lamp chains
Window sills and window handles
Computers (focussing on each keyboard and mouse)
Rubbish and recycling bins
Sinks, taps and faucets
Cupboard and drawer handles
Appliances, such as ovens, toasters, coffee makers, water coolers etc.
Kitchenware that isn’t dishwasher safe: ceramic bowls, plasticware etc.
Sinks, taps and faucets
Toilets and flusher handles
Shower curtains and doors
Body wash and soap dispensers
Hangers and luggage racks
Mop and broom handles
And with all that said and done, hopefully this cleaning guideline will help you keep your space safe and clean during these uncertain times, restore some confidence in your team and help get your business back to normal, even if it's one day at a time. And, yes, we’ll continue to update our cleaning recommendations and guidelines with each evolution of the situation. In the meantime, though, please use the Public Health England website for all your Coronavirus updates and guidance -- and if you require a professional cleaning service to manage that side of your business, our specialist Covid-19 cleaning initiative can be tailored to your requirements.