COVID-19 is once again spreading rapidly across the United States. The Omicron variant has now surpassed the Delta variant as the easiest virus to transmit. Once again, cleaning service practices are being examined and tweaked to ensure buildings are as safe as they can be. If you haven’t met with your janitorial service provider, now is a great time to do so. Virus cleaning and disinfecting is likely not in the standard cleaning checklist and may need to be adjusted, as least until this wave of COVID-19 subsides. Here are some tips for cleaning for the omicron variant.
Although these areas are likely being cleaned more frequently than before the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to make sure that all high-touch areas are cleaned as often as possible. If an office cleaning service is providing a daytime porter, ask the cleaner to clean the door knobs, light switches, conference room tables, lobby chairs, telephones, shared cubicle spaces, copying machine, etc. at least once during their shift (more often if possible). Also, make sure they are using a microfiber rag or single-use disposable paper towels to ensure they are not spreading germs from one surface to another. Use a higher pH cleaning solution (+7.1 to 9.0) to wipe off the surface, allow the surface to dry, apply an EPA-registered disinfectant (List N) to the surface and allow it to sit for the duration of the dwell time, then wipe off the disinfectant after the observed dwell time (listed on the back of the bottle, usually at least 10 minutes). Cleaning and disinfecting are different steps and both are important to control the spread of germs. Both of these steps will work for the Delta variant, Omicron variant, and the stealth Omicron variant.
Bathrooms continue to be one of the most shared spaces in almost any office. Despite many having multiple stalls, most people tend to remove their masks when visiting the bathroom. The partitions, the casings for the toilet paper holder and toilet seat holder, the coat hook, the handicap rail, the flush valve, the partition door lock, and paper towel holder and the faucet valves should all be properly cleaned and disinfected often. Also, if there is an electric or battery operated hand dryer, the button or switch should also be cleaned and disinfected. The plunger to the hand soap should also be cleaned, as it is generally the last thing people touch before washing their hands. If there are boxes of tissues or sanitary bag canisters, those areas should also be cleaned, disinfected, and polished (if stainless steel).
Many office suites have a commercial kitchen or shared breakroom for their employees to take breaks. These areas may have coffee makers, vending machines for drinks and snacks, frozen areas for small meals, refrigerators, freezers, counter tops, tables, chairs, dishwashers, sinks, internet areas, etc. Although many of these areas are cleaned between each use, you can never be too careful and very few people actually use disinfectant as it is instructed. Be sure to clean each of these areas after each use AND properly disinfect these areas as much as possible. Many companies have started leaving disinfectant on the breakroom tables and countertops to encourage people to disinfect these areas more often.
If your offices has air purifiers or air scrubbers, make sure they are turned on during working hours. The sound may be a deterrent, but filtered air can aid in catching germs in the air and can prevent them from spreading to other areas. As the air in the room is collected by the air purifier, cleaning the intake of the air purifier and changing the filter often can reduce the threat of viruses, bacteria, mold and other germs.
Mike Young owns Palmetto Commercial Services, a full service cleaning and disinfection company located in Columbia, South Carolina. Mike has attained all 3 IICRC Master Certifications, American Bio Recovery Association CBRT certification, multiple crime scene cleanup certifications, multiple meth lab remediation certifications, multiple hoarding certifications, and environmental disinfection certification. PCS has won multiple cleaning awards, including Best of the State Best Cleaning Service 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, Post and Courier/Free Times Best Cleaning Service 2019, 2020 and 2021, Columbia Metropolitan Magazine Best commercial cleaning Service 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022, Lexington Life Magazine Best Restoration Service 2021 and 2022, BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics 2017, Top Rated Local Best Janitorial Service in South Carolina 2019, 2020 and 2021, and SC Best In Business Best Janitorial Service, Best Floor Cleaning Service and runner up for Company of the Year 2021. Mike helps other cleaning companies by writing cleaning service SEO blogs. PCS provides cleaning for the Omicron variant around Columbia, SC.