Disinfection and Cleaning Strategies for Reopening Commercial Buildings
Cleaning and disinfecting surfaces have never been more important than amid the COVID-19 pandemic. And, with quarantine restrictions beginning to loosen, many businesses that were shuttered during lockdown will start resuming operations. As this happens, the biggest challenge for commercial building owners is being able and ready to return buildings to use swiftly and safely. Reducing the risk of exposure by cleaning and disinfecting is an integral part of reopening commercial buildings as the safety of occupants remains a key priority.
With this rising demand for clean environments, commercial buildings will have to come up with safe and effective cleaning strategies that will assure occupants of their safety even as the threat of the virus continues to linger in our minds. With so much uncertainty surrounding the spread of the coronavirus and how people can protect against it, it’s not worth it to take any risks. You can find professional cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting services at https://www.excelpestservices.com/disinfection-service/. Cleaning and disinfecting commercial buildings for reopening will involve developing a plan, implementing the plan, as well as maintaining and revising the plan.
Develop Your Disinfection Plan:
There’s no one-size-fits-all cleaning and disinfection plan as commercial buildings are structured differently and for different purposes. You will need to evaluate your building to determine the surfaces and materials that make up that area. This will guide you in choosing the appropriate cleaning and disinfection method suitable for each.
Implement Your Plan:
Once you have the right cleaning and disinfection plan for your building, it’s time to put it into action. We have mapped out a few key strategies that will help you navigate this issue and ensure optimal cleaning and disinfection service. Without further ado, let’s get started:
Wear appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment):
Whether you are contracting a cleaning service or using in-house janitorial staff, the cleaning crew must wear appropriate PPEs like gloves, masks, goggles, and so on. That’s because they are at a higher risk of being exposed to COVID-19 (given that it can stay on surfaces for days) and the toxicity of cleaning/disinfecting products. Not wearing PPEs also means asymptomatic carriers could spread pathogens to clean areas. It’s also important for the cleaning crew to receive training on the proper use of PPEs, cleaning equipment, and cleaning products to ensure efficiency.
Apply normal routine cleaning on visibly dirty surfaces:
It’s important to clean surfaces and objects with soap and water before disinfecting. And, be sure to clean soft and porous materials according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Determine what you need to disinfect:
While some surfaces and materials are cleaned with just soap and water, others must be disinfected. Scientists have proven that coronavirus can also live on various surfaces for up to a couple of days. People can contract it by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching their eyes, mouth, or nose.
Start by disinfecting high-touch surfaces as they are the main source of spreading pathogens. This includes doorknobs/handles, elevator buttons, restroom facilities, trash can lids, faucet handles, floor surfaces, light switches, tables/countertops/desks, handrails, and so on. Additionally, areas unique to your building may also require disinfecting. For instance, retail occupancy will require disinfecting shopping cart handles and payment touchpads while offices will need to disinfect computer monitors, keyboards, conference tables, etc.
Soft and porous materials in high-traffic areas like carpets, upholstery, and curtains can be germ reservoirs and will need to be disinfected as well.
Use EPA-Approved cleaning/disinfectant products:
Not all cleaning products are suitable for removing pathogens, particularly traces of COVID-19, from building surfaces. It’s important to look at EPA’s suggested products as they are both effective and non-toxic. If EPA-approved disinfectants are not available, you can use a diluted solution of household bleach or 70% Isopropyl Alcohol (IPA).
Use products effectively:
It’s important to follow the directions on the label with regards to the application method (concentration and dilution), contact time, as well as any other precautions to take when applying like good ventilation and appropriate PPE to wear. This will ensure the effective and safe use of cleaning and disinfecting products. Avoid mixing cleaning and disinfection products as this can result in very dangerous fumes that could cause serious injury or even death.
It is possible to over-disinfect surfaces while trying to ensure no pathogens are left behind. And although these products are great at removing pathogens, their overuse can have serious side effects in humans. Disinfectants can pose an immediate risk to some people, including those who are asthmatic or suffer from migraines, allergies, suppressed immune systems, or immune disorders. They may experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, and vomiting, irritability, difficulty breathing, mood swings, memory loss, seizures, etc.
Outdoor areas require normal routine cleaning:
Many outdoor surfaces will not be touched; as such, disinfecting them is a waste of supplies. However, some areas like bars and restaurants will require disinfecting. Pools and other water play areas must also be well-maintained, for example disinfecting with chlorine or bromine.
What about an unoccupied building?
Properties that have not been occupied for over 7 days will do with normal routine cleaning, meaning there’s no need for disinfecting. That’s because the coronavirus cannot survive on surfaces for longer than this time. But once you reopen, you will have to develop and implement a disinfection plan to keep everyone safe.
Work in zones:
It’s important to separate areas in the building by how likely they are to contain pathogens. Then start with low-risk zones moving into high-risk areas to help avoid cross-contamination.
Maintain and Revise the Plan:
Once you reopen, it’s important to maintain the above disinfection strategies to minimize the risk of contracting COVID-19 and other pathogens. This should be done in conjunction with other safe practices like social distancing, wearing masks, frequent hand washing, and more. Be sure to revise and update your cleaning and disinfection plan based on the current circumstances (level of COVID-19 exposure in your building) and updated guidance by the local and federal governments.
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