How often have you heard the phrase ‘unprecedented times’ in the past few weeks? Probably enough times for the reality to sink in: Covid19 has changed the landscape for the foreseeable future. Most experts agree that a return to normalcy will require a transition period of some kind, although how long such a transition might last, and what it might look like, are matters still up for debate.
One thing is for certain: no longer is your custodial / janitorial team an afterthought in your business plan, but rather — dare we say it — an essential partner in how your business will move forward in the coming months. First on everyone’s minds is safety — both for the employees returning to work, and for the custodial staff tasked with cleaning the office to impeccable standards.
Remember, the fundamentals haven’t changed — this blog has covered this topic in the past from various angles, whether it’s how to clean for Covid-19 or how to clean your floors for general flu-season preparation, which of course applies now more than ever. That being said, the CDC has released a set of specific guidelines on how you should clean after a confirmed case of Covid-19 in your office — but truthfully, these best practices could be applied to any janitorial team at a facility near you.
How to Clean After a Confirmed Covid-19 Case
The CDC has a number of recommendations, including:
- Close off areas visited by ill person(s). Open the outside doors and windows and use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area. Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
- Custodial staff should clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, commons areas, shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
- Clean and disinfect hard surfaces. For dirty surfaces, use a detergent or soap and water, prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
- A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes Covid-19 is available by clicking here. Follow the manufacturer instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time.
- You can also prepare a bleach solution, taking care to follow the correct ratio specifications — 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water.
- Clean and disinfect soft (porous) surfaces — such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes. Remove visible contamination first, cleaning as you normally would, then get busy disinfecting.
- For items that can be laundered, go ahead and launder them in accordance with manufacturer instructions using the warmest appropriate water settings for the items and then dry them complete.
- If you can’t launder it, see above for the list of Covid-19 EPA-approved products that are effective against the virus.
For next month, we’ll continue this series of articles on effective Janitorial / Custodial best practices for protecting your facility from Covid-19 — focusing on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and hand hygiene. We’ll also take a look at other ways you can help protect your staff and custodial team — from the employer’s perspective.
All the best to you — be safe and we wish you good health!