By now, most businesses understand that to safely reopen and provide the healthiest environment possible, their COVID cleaning services provider must thoroughly disinfect all surfaces with confirmed or probable COVID-19 contamination. Yet many commercial space owners remain unclear regarding what COVID disinfecting services should include.
As a result, we often see workers haphazardly spraying grocery carts and checkout terminals with what appears to be a disinfectant without allowing the dwell time necessary for it to disinfect. Similarly, as employees begin to filter back into offices, many remain dubious that the proper COVID disinfecting services are being performed, which can negatively impact everything from morale to productivity.
What is a business to do? The answer is to be sure the contractor you hire to perform your COVID cleaning services uses CDC-approved cleaning and disinfecting methods.
What You & Your COVID Cleaning Services Provider Need to Know
Below are the best practices recommended by the CDC to remove SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, from surfaces.
Routine cleaning using soap/detergent and water removes up to 90% of all dirt and debris. For surfaces without definite or probable exposure to COVID-19, thorough cleaning is enough to ensure a healthy environment.
With this in mind, reasons to clean all surfaces prior to disinfecting include:
- Unless the surface is cleaned first, dirt can shield SARS-CoV-2 and other pathogens from the disinfectant, allowing them to live and multiply.
- The SARS-CoV-2 virus can hide in surface cracks and crevices, especially those in porous surfaces, which could also result in it being missed by the disinfectant. For this reason, cleaning’s agitation, such as scrubbing, is important.
- Repeatedly spraying a disinfectant on an unclean surface creates a chemical build-up, or biofilm, that can protect and attract pathogens, including the CoV-2 virus. Cleaning removes the leftover residue, allowing the disinfectant to do its job.
- Disinfectants are chemicals. Using them unnecessarily can be detrimental to humans, pets, and the environment. In fact, COVID disinfecting services are not recommended for seldom-used areas or outdoor spaces, such as parks and playgrounds, where cleaning alone suffices.
Once the surface is clean, disinfect by applying the safest disinfectant on the EPA’s N List of formulas approved to be effective against SARS-CoV-2. The strains on the supply chain that led to product shortages at the start of the pandemic have mostly eased up, so your COVID cleaning services provider should have access to one or more of these disinfectants. If, however, none of these products are available, the CDC recommends a bleach solution containing 5% to 9% sodium hypochlorite; no other concentrations or types of bleach should be used. After the proper dwell time, the surface can be wiped or rinsed following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Other points to remember when it comes to COVID disinfecting services:
- No one disinfectant kills all pathogens. A disinfectant approved by the EPA to be effective against SARS-CoV-2 must be used; the product label must specifically list the virus.
- Disinfectants require a “dwell”—or contact—time to work, most often between 3 and 10 minutes. Without the proper dwell time, the surface will not be disinfected.
- The method of application must also be approved by the EPA and appear on the label. The composition of some disinfecting chemicals can be altered depending on the dispersion method( fogging vs. electrostatic spraying, for example).
COVID-19 Cleaning Services Near Me
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