Cleaning and Disinfection – The correct approach to take in any scenario

15th April 2020

Experts in the cleaning sector agree that careful frequent cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces are essential elements of effective infection prevention.

Since COVID-19’s take-over in Europe, people have been bombarded with messages about how to improve levels of sanitisation in their places of work and homes.

Unfortunately, as it usually happens in situations when there is a lot of information out there but little clarity on the right way forward, companies and households are rushing into taking decisions that sometimes risk being futile, expensive and often ineffective in the long run.

Experts in the cleaning sector agree that careful frequent cleaning and disinfection of environmental surfaces are essential elements of effective infection prevention.

This has always been the case irrespective of the situation one faces, says a spokesperson for Bad Boy Cleaners Today, this topic has gained much more prominence because of the threat imposed by COVID-19.

So, what is the right approach one should take in these situations, should one resort to fumigation or one-off disinfection?

“The answer is clear in these cases and, contrary to what many may think, it is neither.. Why is this so? While fumigation and proper disinfection could be the answer to reduce the risk of infections or viral transmissions at a given point in time, the proper way to significantly reduce the risk is by frequent methodical cleaning.

“One must keep in mind that fumigation and disinfection are only effective until the very first person walks into the clean place as we all transport germs with us via shoes, clothes and anything we come in contact with. Hence if proper cleaning is not sustained, then the effect of these two methods is, at most very limited,” the spokesperson explained.

In a 2015 article by Dr. Michelle J Alfa, published in the American Journal of Infection Control, she demonstrated that best practice disinfection requires the right product and the right process.

So how should cleaning be done? The seasoned local experts in cleaning and sanitisation gave the below tips on general cleaning methods and what products to use:

General Cleaning in all types of premises 

• Start cleaning from cleaner areas and proceed towards dirtier areas. All surfaces that are frequently touched (e.g. door handles, armrests, tabletops, desks, reception area, light switches, water taps) need to be cleaned thoroughly and frequently. Hence If cleaning time is limited, it makes no sense to disinfect desk legs or windows when the pathogens are concentrated on frequently used items.

• Wear gloves to protect the hands when cleaning surfaces. If using bleach-based solutions make sure the area is well ventilated.

• Do not let waste bins get more than three-quarters full.  Waste bins should be emptied at least daily, especially in public premises. Bin bags should be closed tightly to avoid spillages and bins should be cleaned with disinfectant solutions. It is also recommended that during the pandemic, bin bags are sprayed with disinfectant to protect waste collectors.

• As much as possible avoid any use of fabric towels, even in kitchens. These should be replaced with paper towels.

• Carefully clean the equipment used in cleaning at the end of the cleaning process. Wash reusable cleaning cloths at a temperature of at least 60°C or with a good disinfectant.

Which product is right to use?

The disinfectant used should be one for which the manufacturer claims antiviral activity, meaning it can kill viruses. Chemicals which have been confirmed to be highly effective in killing viruses and have a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity include chlorine-based disinfectants (bleach), which are commonly found in stores. When using these products, one must make sure to follow the manufacturer instructions well as each product has different application instructions to ensure it is fully effective.

It is important to keep in mind that bleach might not always be the right product to use on all surfaces, especially on metals and fabrics. In these cases, it is important to check the manufacturer label before using the product to avoid damage to surfaces. If using wipes to disinfect any surface, remember that not all cleaning wishes have antibacterial properties, so be sure to use the right ones.

Finally, remember that prevention is best

It is important to remember that contact surfaces could help transmitting pathogens, so preventing them from becoming contaminated is as important as cleaning. These are some steps everyone should take to reduce the spread of germs:

• Cover your cough and sneezes, ideally with a single use tissue which is properly disposed of after use. Alternatively, use your elbow, to cover your month. In both cases, wash your hands immediately afterwards

• Wash your hands often, especially after going to the bathroom and before eating.

Will all sincerely hope that this will be over soon and that we don’t forget that good cleaning methods should not only be applied during flu seasons or pandemic outbreaks but should become a standard practise.

This article was put together by Claudine Sullivan on behalf of Bad Boy Cleaners

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Cleaning and Disinfection – The correct approach to take in any scenario