Office cleaning is relatively similar. Most companies require cleaning services to empty the trash, vacuum, dust, sweep, mop, clean the restrooms and breakrooms, and lock the door behind them. The costs of office cleaning can vary greatly. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cleaning companies are expected to clean more often and more thoroughly. But how should they be cleaning? Here are some tips on how to clean an office for COVID-19 and variants.
What is cleaning? “Cleaning is a process of removing dirt and unwanted soil from a surface.” What is sanitizing? “Sanitizing is a process of removing some, but not all, germs from a surface.” Cleaning is generally a pre-requisite for sanitizing a surface. What is disinfecting? “Disinfecting is a process to eliminate a specific pathogen.” “For COVID-19, disinfecting involves removing the dirt and unwanted soil from a surface and applying an EPA registered disinfectant to the surface, allowing that disinfectant to stay wet for the duration of the dwell time, generally 10 minutes or more.”
High touch areas are priority for cleaning for COVID-19, but what are some of the main high touch areas? Areas that multiple people touch throughout the day are considered high touch areas. Therefore, entry doors (not just the handle), counters, chairs and the arms on chairs, tables and under the lip of the tables, light switches, refrigerator and freezer handles, copying machine buttons, elevator buttons, receptionist glass and countertops, pens, magazines, trash can lids, hand sanitizer knobs, dish washer controls, bathroom partition locks, toilet paper and paper towel holders, bathroom flush valves and filing cabinet pulls should all be routinely cleaned. However, simply wiping these areas off isn’t truly disinfecting these areas. These areas should be wiped off, then a disinfectant should be applied that has been proven to deactivate COVID-19 for the entire dwell time. Imagine spraying a vertical door handle for 10 minutes so the disinfectant can properly work. Most cleaning companies simply either don’t know how to disinfect, are in too much of a hurry to disinfect or are not being paid to disinfect, as disinfecting surfaces is generally not in most cleaning service Scope of Work (SOW).
Wear gloves while you clean. Follow the same cleaning tasks as you normally do. However, you may need to change the order. For instance, when you clean a lobby, instead of dusting first, clean the high touch areas first. Then, apply disinfectant to those areas. While the disinfectant is wet, clean the other areas, including dusting, cleaning glass, emptying trash, vacuuming, sweeping and mopping. Check every couple of minutes to make sure the areas to disinfect are still wet with disinfectant. If they dry before the dwell time is up, you will need to re-apply the disinfectant and make sure it stays wet for the entire dwell time. If it dries in 5 minutes and the dwell time is 10 minutes, you will need to start over instead of applying new disinfect for an additional 5 minutes. For more information, click here to see CDC recommendations.
Mike Young is the CEO of Palmetto Commercial Services in Columbia, SC. Mike has working in the janitorial industry for 28+ years and previously managed a large commercial cleaning service before opening PCS. Mike has obtained all 3 IICRC master certifications, ABRA CBRT certification, multiple meth lab cleaning certifications, environmental disinfection certification and multiple crime scene cleanup certifications. Palmetto Commercial Services has won multiple cleaning awards, including Best of the State Cleaning Service 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, Post and Courier/Free Times Best Cleaning Company 2019, 2020 and 2021, Lexington Life Magazine Best Restoration Service 2021 and 2022, BBB Torch Award for Business Ethics 2017, Columbia Metropolitan Magazine Best commercial cleaning Service 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 and SC Best in Business 2021 Best Janitorial Service in South Carolina, Best Floor Cleaning Service and runner up for Company of the Year. Mike has taught multiple cleaning companies how to clean an office for the COVID-19 virus. Mike helps smaller cleaning companies by writing cleaning service SEO blogs.