We’re going to continue building on last month’s article “Get Ahead of Flu Season: Cleaning as Prevention” by addressing the next logical step: disinfection. Any cleaning program that hopes to reduce a facility’s vulnerability to the flu at a minimum must use disinfection as part of its regiment. It’s essential.
Which raises the question — what is disinfection, exactly? Very simply, a disinfectant is designed to kill germs, bacteria, etc with the special ingredients it contains. A disinfectant doesn’t clean and a cleaner doesn’t disinfect — they’re meant to be used together. Used alone, cleaning product will not effectively kill germs and a disinfectant will not remove dirt or make a surface shiny. Again, these products are intended to be used together!
So let’s get down to it:
Where should I be looking for infection?
High-trafficked areas are hot spots. Also areas where luggage, bags, or wheel-chairs are visited can be important places to target. But generally, you can use common sense and some basic testing to determine which areas might require your immediate attention when you’re disinfecting your floors.
What should I use for disinfectants?
If you’re in a healthcare setting, you’re going to want to use low-level, hospital-grade disinfectants that are designed for these specific settings. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates and registers all low-level disinfectants, so check with them first.
Clean First, Disinfect Second
This is a critical reminder — one that we addressed earlier in the article. You need to clean the surface first — penetrating dirt and grime — before you can effectively disinfect the floor itself. One of the most important things to remember during this phase is to choose a cleaner that doesn’t just disperse or move dirt/dust to a different area. The cleaning product should trap and eliminate dust/grime completely, so that the disinfectant has the best chance possible!
Disinfection Time — Making Your Floors Ready for Flu Season
So you’ve done the prep work, now it’s time to get down to business. CMMOnline has some great best practices that everyone should follow:
- Make sure you’re directing the chemical disinfectant in the most accurate way possible. Sometimes this means using a mopping system with a chemical dispenser, so that the right amount of disinfectant, in the right place, is always dispensed.
- Try to cut down your total contact time. Get familiar with the ‘dwell time’ of your chemical disinfectant, which means the time the disinfectant needs to do its job. Especially for high-traffic areas, you want to choose a disinfectant that will minimize time needed to clear the area.
- Disposable options can be effective, in certain situations. Although not always practical, sometimes a disposable option is the way to go. It will help cut down on cross-contamination on facility floors.
- Take steps to rest your cleaning staff. Disinfection and flu-season cleaning can be taxing. Use a mopping system with user-friendly features that will maximize the efforts of your custodial team.
Remember that during these critical months, cleaning & disinfection will remain your two best defenses against flu and other infectious disease. Whether you’re cleaning an academic facility, a healthcare facility, or something else — these essentials will stay the same!