Every Location Needs to Hit the Reset button on Cleaning and Sanitation.
As we watch the COVID numbers climb I cannot help to think there is a correlation in the approach to our collective effectiveness of disinfecting. We know that proximity of human to human contact accelerates the spread but most of us have been keeping our distance or interacting outside. With the colder months approaching and those of us living in the northern states, outside safe interaction will be very difficult and soon nearly impossible.
Cleaning and sanitizing are important factors to keeping illness at bay, but every location needs to hit the reset button. Cleaning and sanitizing are not enough. Customers ask regularly about our disinfection process and cost. How do we calculate the price? The simple answer, pricing is calculated by the square footage of the space by a monetary number to determine the cost of service. The truth of pricing is, it is far more difficult to quantify the area and objects within a room because depending on the type of business or concept, pricing is determined by the amount of space, walls, and objects along with the amount of chemistry used. For example: if we are servicing a 10’x10′ size room, the square footage would be 100 ft2. In reality, we are not disinfecting 100 ft2 because walls and objects in the room are being disinfected on top, sides, and underneath. The real amount of area being disinfected might be closer to 350′ – 400 ft2. The next question should be considered; how long does it take for you or your staff to disinfect this amount of space manually? Are the walls, tables, chairs, bookshelves, and other touchable objects being disinfected entirely? I think it is safe to say, “ NO!” Who has that type of time? How much labor would cleaning all areas take internally? How much would the labor cost? Most importantly, is the method working?
Imagine viruses being similar to pollen; these free-floating microscopic landmines can cling to various objects along with being placed and transferred by our touch of one object to another. Do you sit at a desk or table? Do you only touch the top surface or is your body touching the sides or bottom of the furniture? You may be surprised to recognize, more areas are being touched without even knowing it. We have customers that are on a preventive disinfection program with regularly scheduled service. We also have customers that call us only when someone within their operation has contracted COVID. We have seen the reactive emergency services increase whereas those who are proactively disinfecting have stayed the same. Please pause for a moment and reread the last sentence.
As we all work hard to do our part by cleaning and sanitizing, knowledge is the key. Does your team know and understand the chemistry they are using? Do your people know what chemicals are safe to use in conjunction with or around other chemistry? For example, multiple cleaning agents can and may be used in a kitchen or bathroom, mixing these easy to purchase cleaners can be lethal. Have your people read the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) and do they wear the correct PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)? Did you know using some simple cleaning chemicals require respirators?
Does your team understand how long it takes for the chemistry to work? One store manager I know has his staff using a product to disinfect carts each time they are touched by customers. How is the disinfecting being performed? The employee sprays the chemicals onto the handhold of the cart and wipes immediately after. Most of us would not see a problem with this method and agree the store is actively doing its part to make us safe. Unfortunately, we would also be wrong. This is a disinfection placebo. Because the staff does not understand the chemicals being used or the method of application, store staff are merely going through the motions of disinfecting, but germs are not being killed and viruses are not being eliminated. Why? The chemicals this store is using takes a dwell time of several minutes according to the EPA “N” List. Spraying and wiping causes the surface to dry within seconds, which is not long enough to eliminate germs. Ineffective disinfection is probably something we all see regularly but may not have recognized.
To summarize; all touchable surfaces must be addressed when killing and eliminating pathogens. Regular and ongoing cleaning and sanitizing is a must. Assure your people understand the chemistry they are using, and the application method works. Chemicals have a dwell time. Know how long the chemistry must sit on a surface to be effective. Observe the internal process, methods, and make the necessary improvements. Although cleaning and sanitizing may be considered a simple task, ignorance can impact not just a business but a community. The best example I can provide is the black light experiment. A study was done both in an elementary classroom and a cruise ship buffet. A cream was placed onto a couple of people’s hands. The cream is only visible when shown under a black light. After one hour of normal activity, the results were surprising and disgusting. The mock-infected surfaces touched, transferred from hands, to face, to other surfaces, and then other people. The invisible cream (mock virus) was everywhere. The experiment was intended to show us how easily and quickly germs can spread. Now imagine thinking we are safe because we watched the cleaning or sanitizing process performed and not realize the method or chemistry was wrong or even ineffective. This is not meant to scare us. This message is intended to educate us towards an effective means to eradicate the deadly disease!!
Like you, we are exhausted by the looming threat and increasing numbers of those contracting COVID-19. Because we have been providing Fire and Life Safety Services for over 33 years, adding disinfection (https://sanisolutionsinc.com) to our list of services just made sense. Honestly, we want this health and economic crisis to end now and just be Averus (https://www.averusfireservices.com), your Fire Safety Company. Please visit our websites to learn more. If you have questions about your methods of cleaning, sanitizing, or would like a FREE Quote for Professional Electro-Static Disinfection, call us. We are all in this together. It is not just about being safe, it’s about learning, and assuring the best methods of “being safe” are used.