In case you missed it, we’ve been living through a pandemic for several months now. Whether you’re reopening after a shut-down period or looking to stave off rising infection rates, these workplace cleaning and disinfecting tips can help you keep workers, customers, and visitors safe. We’ve tapped CDC, OSHA, and EPA guidelines, compiling expert safety guidance into one blog.
Cleaning: it’s not just for janitors. To fight germs and prevent transmission, you need to empower staff and encourage workplace cleaning and disinfecting in common areas. In addition to providing gloves, cleansing wipes, disinfecting sprays and soaps, and hand sanitizer. You may want to consider adding no-touch dispensers and trash cans to reduce the number of high-touch areas in your facilities.
Regular housekeeping practices should include cleaning and disinfecting equipment, surfaces, and other high-traffic, high-touch elements in the workplace. The cleaning chemicals you select should be EPA-approved for emerging viral pathogens, including SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). And you should always follow manufacturer instructions when using these products.
When selecting workplace cleaning and disinfecting products, keep the following in mind:
Hand sanitizers should be at least 60% alcohol to be effective
- Employees should be trained on the appropriate use of chemicals
- Disposable gloves should be used during the cleaning process as well as during trash removal
- Employees should wash their hands frequently and for at least 20 seconds at a time
When working with List N Disinfectants for use against SARs-CoV-2, be sure to think beyond workplace cleaning and disinfecting to safety. Some cleaning chemicals can be harsh on skin and/or require ventilation. Here are some safety tips for working with cleansing products:
-To ensure effective use, read and follow the directions on the label
- Use PPE as necessary to protect skin contact and prevent eye splashes
- Ensure there is adequate ventilation
- Avoid using more or less of the product than recommended
- Follow instructions for water temperature (if not specified, use room temperature)
- Avoid mixing chemical products
- Label any pre-mixed/diluted cleaning solutions
For more tips, check out the EPA’s six Steps for Safe and Effective Disinfectant Use.
If you can’t get your hands on List N disinfectants, there are other effective workplace cleaning and disinfecting options.
Diluted Bleach: When properly diluted, household bleach is effective against coronaviruses. You should use bleach containing 5.25% - 8.25% sodium hypochlorite. Use five tablespoons (1/3 cup) of unexpired bleach per gallon of water or four teaspoons per quart of water. Leave this solution on surfaces for at least one minute, and it will be effective for up to 24 hours.
Alcohol Solutions: To be effective, your solution must be at least 70% alcohol.
Make High-Touch Surfaces is a Priority
The more a surface is touched or used, the more contaminated it is. Workplace cleaning and disinfecting procedures should specify frequent cleaning intervals for these areas to reduce the number of germs on surfaces and protect workers from contagions. High-touch surfaces include:
- Tables, countertops, and desks
- Phones, keyboards, and mouses
- Doorknobs, handles, and latches
- Light switches and thermostats
- Coffeemakers, water coolers, toasters, microwaves, and dishwashers
- Buttons, levers, and keys
- Sinks, faucets, and toilets
This is a great general list, but don’t forget to think about your facility and how workers interact and cross paths in your workplace.
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