The COVID-19 Pandemic Has Created a High Demand For Disinfection and Cleaning Services
Cleaning materials and products have become scarce due to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak. Now more than ever people are in need of cleaning services, disinfecting products, and information on how to protect themselves. Disinfecting chemicals have now become a global necessity and the front line weapon to stop the spread of the virus. Essential workers such as cleaners, housekeepers, and custodial workers have become the soldiers in combating an invisible enemy. In order to do so, essential employees need the right set-up such as the proper equipment, cleaning product and training to defeat the virus and create a safe environment once more.
The demand has escalated as hand sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, and bleach fly off the shelves within minutes of being stocked. Companies have stepped up to the urgency of the situation by creating their own sanitizing products. For instance, Southern Distilling Company in North Carolina started an FDA and WHO approved hand sanitizer instead of producing their usual bourbon. The facility has created practically 80,000 bottles.
In the course of the COVID-19 outbreak, it is imperative to gather and assess all of the information to provide clear understanding between the differences in cleaning techniques and services. At Pro Housekeepers, we recognize the responsibility as cleaners and the significance in having the proper guidance to achieve the goal of flattening the curve during this pandemic.
First, we need to understand the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, sterilizing, and sanitizing.
Cleaning: removes dirt, food soil, and germs with the use of detergent and water. It is used to remove bacteria that is present and kills any nutrients for any new bacteria to feed off of.
Disinfecting: the elimination of germs on surfaces or objects by chemical use.
Sterilizing: the complete destruction of all bacteria and living organisms.
Sanitizing: the depletion of microorganisms to a level that is seen as safe from a public health perspective.
There are various types of cleaning approaches and procedures involving products, and equipment that can be used for sterilization and disinfection. Depending first on the location, size, and level of approach is what categorizes a cleaning.
For a home/work disinfection, the CDC recommends the usual infection-control procedures of hand hygiene and using disinfectant products on commonly used objects with chemicals such as bleach, at least 70% isopropyl alcohol, and at least 3% hydrogen peroxide to prevent cross contamination.
In a medical setting, cleaning services become more detailed and in-depth. Reusable objects such as a tracheotomy tube, which is a tube that is used to bring air to the lungs from an opening in the neck must be soaked in a disinfectant for a period of time. The CDC advises that such items should be disinfected by immersion in 70% isopropyl alcohol for 5 minutes or an alternative option of 3% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. Non-critical items such as crutches are cleaned sufficiently with detergent. Non-critical medical equipment surfaces should be disinfected by an EPA approved disinfectant that is low or intermediate level. The CDC recommends the primary infection control procedures used at home/work to also be included in hospital settings before and after each patient. Medical staff proceed to a more rigorous routine with changes of uniforms, masks, and other protective gear (face-shields, body-suits, gloves, shoe coverage).
When it comes to disinfecting an area, there are different devices that are used to clean. The following are commonly used:
- Electrostatic cleaning machines: a process that applies liquid to a surface by use of electrical currents, coating all surfaces in minutes. The solution attaches to the surface giving it room to reach even the backs of the surface. This machine is perfect for high traffic work spaces (ex: gyms, restrooms, day cares, call centers, offices).
- Thermal Steam Sterilization: this is specifically important in order to re-use cloths, wipes, mops, and other tools. As long as those tools have been approved and authorized to endure chemicals and heat safely. The most dependable method to sterilize is traditionally with dry saturated steam and en-trained water. According to the CDC, the temperatures necessary to kill microorganisms are 121 degrees Celsius and 132 degrees Celsius. The times of sterilization depends on what the item is made off (rubber, copper, plastic).
- Disinfectant Fogger machines: provides chemical disinfectants to areas as fogs or mist. It is a procedure that lasts between 15-30 minutes. The fog is used to reduce the number of airborne microorganisms while it applies disinfectant to all surfaces immediately. This method is mostly used in factories, and big units.
- Floor Scrubber: A ride-on scrubber machine or a walk-behind scrubber machine can both be used in big offices, grocery stores, and hospitals. It is used by releasing water and cleaning solution, and electrical current scrubs the floor in circular motions lifting the residue off the floor cleaning away the germs.
- UV LED Lights: The UV light is a shorter wavelength that visible light, and it is used to eliminate viruses and bacteria from infectious areas. The UV sterilization is seen as effective in killing germs, and fungi in a short time span. It can disinfect the air, sterilize equipment, and it is more manageable to use as it requires less steps.
The most important step before considering a COVID-19 disinfection cleaning service is understanding the basic evaluations that need to be done in order to provide an efficient plan of action. One must consider the level of cleaning, the tools that need to be used, the safety procedures that need to be communicated and rehearsed, and the location and exposure risk. With the right information and help we can all keep our colleagues and loved ones safe from this current pandemic including SARS-CoV-2, COVID-19 and the Novel Coronavirus.
Learn more about COVID-19 disinfecting and cleaning with our in-depth pdf guide: The COVID-19 Cleaning Playbook
- CDC Healthcare Equipment Disinfection & Sterilization Guidelines
- Electrostatic Cleaning Helps Improve Business
- As demand spikes for disinfectant, cleaners take on COVID-19
- CDC Steam Sterilization Guidelines
- Basic Elements of Equipment Cleaning and Sanitizing
- Cleaning and Disinfection: Whole room fogging
- Killing The Coronavirus With Cleaning: How To Clean, Sanitize and Disinfect Your Workplace and Home