With the COVID-19 pandemic, keeping offices clean is a bigger priority. Here is how professional disinfecting regularly will be the new normal for businesses.
- When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, our entire world went into a tailspin.
- Sporting events were canceled. Schools were closed. Businesses the world over shut down their offices and sent employees home to work.
- The initial closings have done their job, and we’re beginning to see the first wave of the coronavirus subside.
- But as businesses slowly start reopening, many are left with the question of how to keep their employees and customers safe from future infections. Professional disinfecting will need to become a part of our new normal if we want to stay safe and healthy. Read on to learn more about why professional disinfecting will be so important and what it will look like for your business.
How COVID-19 Spreads
Before we dive into how disinfecting will become the new normal, let’s take a moment to talk about the COVID-19 virus and how it spreads. COVID-19 is a respiratory virus that passes through respiratory droplets. Any time an infected person sneezes, coughs, speaks, or even breathes, they expel these droplets onto surfaces around them.
Wearing a mask can be a very helpful way to limit the spread of COVID-19. Instead of flying onto nearby surfaces, any particles you expel are trapped inside your mask. However, some businesses such as restaurants may not be able to require universal mask use inside.
How Long the Virus Lingers
Once the coronavirus has made contact with a surface, it can survive there for quite a while. Anyone who comes into contact with the surface can be infected, especially if they touch the surface and then touch their face. How long the virus lingers on a surface varies depending on the surface material.
Scientists believe the coronavirus can survive on plastic and stainless steel surfaces for up to a week. On copper, it only lasts four hours, but it can survive on paper and glass for as long as four days. Cardboard can harbor coronavirus for as long as a day, and it can live on wood for up to two days.
How It’s Removed
So if every surface you’ve breathed on in the last four days is potentially infected, the question becomes how to get rid of the coronavirus. For hard surfaces, most commercially available cleaning products will kill the virus. A diluted bleach solution can also be used, though it should never be mixed with any cleaning products that contain ammonia.
Soft surfaces may be a little harder to tackle since you can’t exactly dunk your files in bleach. Washable items like rugs and carpets should be laundered or shampooed to remove the virus. For items like paper and cardboard, the best practice may simply be to wait out the virus’s lifespan.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
If your business already employs a cleaning service, you may be wondering why you need to worry about disinfecting. Isn’t the point of cleaning to remove germs? In fact, these two processes are very different, and simple cleaning may not be enough to battle COVID-19 in your office.
When you clean a surface, you’re focused on removing any signs of soiling and making the object look nice. But this process may not necessarily involve any chemicals that kill germs. Disinfecting focuses on using substances that kill viruses and leave your surfaces sanitized.
Disinfecting Before Reopening
Many businesses have had to temporarily close in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that the initial wave has started to subside, these businesses are exploring options for reopening safely. For many, this involves having their building disinfected to remove any lingering virus particles.
Since the coronavirus lives in the body for two weeks before any symptoms start to show, this initial disinfection is crucial. Employees who you may not have known had the virus could have been shedding it all over your workplace. Without preliminary disinfection, your entire staff could be exposed as soon as you reopen.
Disinfecting During Routine Operations
Once everyone comes back to work, however, your building will be exposed to coronavirus particles all over again. Even if you’re requiring employees to wear masks and performing temperature screenings at the door, that may not be 100 percent effective. Performing daily disinfections during your routine operations is going to be crucial.
Any objects that large numbers of people touch on a routine basis should be disinfected between each use. This may include point of sale keypads, shopping carts, water coolers, and door handles. Your employees should also disinfect surfaces like tables, light switches, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets, and faucets several times throughout the day.
Regular Professional Disinfecting
Even with your staff disinfecting surfaces throughout the workday, items are going to get missed. Someone may forget to wipe down the faucets in the bathroom or miss a spot on the break room table. And statistically speaking, if just twenty people in your company catch the virus, one of them will die.
A professional disinfecting service will be trained to make sure your building is virus-free. They can use safe and effective disinfecting methods. They will also take care of potential infection spots that you and your staff may never have thought of.
These teams will have the tools and training to keep themselves safe during the disinfection process.
How Often an Office Should Be Disinfected
The question of how often your building should be disinfected will depend on a few factors. Your business may be able to take maximum precautions (everyone wears a mask over their nose and mouth at all times, all staff wash their hands with soap and water regularly, everyone maintains social distancing). If this is the case, weekly disinfections should be sufficient.
But some businesses, especially those open to the public, may be at much higher risk. If you have a lot of people moving through your building on a daily basis, limited or poor mask use, or inadequate social distancing, you’ll need to disinfect more often. Daily disinfection would be the best policy in these situations.
What Disinfecting Will Cover
When you call in an initial disinfecting team, they will begin by removing any trash that may harbor virus particles. This can include scraps of paper, paper dishes, soda bottles, and other regular garbage. When the New York Stock Exchange was disinfected, they threw away every scrap of paper they came across.
Disinfecting crews will then begin wiping down every surface in your building with disinfectant spray. This will include tables and counters, desks, chair legs, handrails, shelves, doors, windows, keyboards, floors, and more. They may also use special disinfectants and probiotic sprays that will help slow virus accumulation.
Different Recommendations for Different Industries
The CDC has also issued different disinfection recommendations for different industries. For instance, businesses that host customers overnight need to work to isolate ill people. This may include providing temporary housing for them while they’re quarantined.
Special disinfecting measures will also need to be taken in any areas the sick person visited.
If your business does not house people overnight, standard disinfection procedures should be fine. If someone in your building is confirmed to have COVID-19, it’s important that you immediately shut down the areas where they were. Wait twenty-four hours and then have the area fully disinfected.
One of the best precautions your business can take to keep your building sanitary is to require everyone inside to wear a mask at all times. Masks should be thick enough that you can’t blow out a candle through them, and they should always cover the wearer’s nose and mouth. Some studies have suggested that if everyone wears a mask, COVID-19 transmission rates could drop by as much as 80 percent.
You should also encourage all your employees to wash their hands on a regular basis. They need to wash using soap and water for at least twenty seconds. It’s a good idea to wash your hands when you arrive, before and after eating, before and after using the bathroom, and after any contact with a high-touch surface.
Get Your Office Disinfected
The coronavirus pandemic has turned our world upside down and transformed how we approach nearly every part of our lives. Our new normal is going to look very different. Routine professional disinfecting will be an essential safety precaution for businesses.
If you’d like to get your business disinfected, get in touch with us at Pro Cleanings. We can provide full COVID-19 disinfection services, as well as routine cleaning services. Contact us today and start working safer and cleaner today.