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Coronavirus cleaning checklist for commercial cleaning and sanitizing

COVID-19 Cleaning Checklist: What To Do So You Can Get Back To Work

This COVID-19 cleaning checklist is meant to help businesses get up and running again safely.

It would be an understatement to say that the COVID-19 virus has seriously disrupted businesses around the world.  Regardless of the actions we had to take to protect ourselves, we have to get back to business.

Our lives, the lives of our employees and in reality the country depends on us, the small businesses, to pick up the ball and get back in the game.

If you are reading this when “social distancing” is still recommended by the medical system, please follow their recommendations so we can somehow get a grip on this situation.

The intent of this article is to help you get back to business after the COVID-19 threat has subsided.

It is important to understand that the COVID-19 is just another virus.  We get these kinds of viruses throughout the year.  Although the COVID-19 has become a bigger problem than other viruses, the principles for being safe apply to all viruses and germs in the workplace.

Evergreen Building Maintenance has been cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting offices, shopping malls, government buildings, and more, for over 30 years.  We have proven systems to make any kind of business safe from the spread of diseases.

Give us a call for commercial cleaning advice or to get a quote for daily and weekly services.

The Nature Of Viruses And Other Diseases That Get Passed Around At Work

Generally speaking, viruses and germs can spread from person to person through the air or by touching things that have been infected.

Germs that are spread through the air are the most potent because they have just been launched from the person carrying the infection.

This is why personal contact with an infected person — such as a handshake or breathing in droplets from a cough or sneeze — is the most common way these viruses spread.

In many cases, germs are most infectious before the carrier even has any symptoms.  If symptoms are not present, respiratory droplets carrying the disease can fly through the air to about six feet and land on another person.

Coughing spreads infected respiratory droplets as far as six meters, and sneezing as much as eight meters. While these droplets stay suspended in the air for up to 10 minutes it is unknown how long the air inside a room occupied by someone with a virus remains potentially infectious.

If there is no one around to “catch” the germs, they land on the floor or on a nearby object.

Cold and flu virus-laden droplets may remain infectious for a  long time, depending on where they fall.

Germs and viruses generally remain active longer on stainless steel, plastic and similar hard surfaces than on fabric and other soft surfaces.

Other factors, such as the amount of virus deposited on a surface and the temperature and humidity of the environment, also determine how long cold and flu viruses stay active outside the body.

Viruses and germs may remain alive for hours to days.  This is why it is imperative that the office or other building be thoroughly cleaned, sanitized and disinfected on a daily or weekly basis.

What’s The Difference Between Cleaning, Disinfecting And Sanitizing?

Cleaning removes dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces.  The normal process of cleaning alone does not kill germs. However, when there are fewer germs the risk of spreading infection decreases.

Disinfecting is done by using chemicals to kill illness causing germs on surfaces.  The best way to reduce the spread of infection using disinfection techniques is to do it after a thorough cleaning.

Sanitizing is a term used by regulators.  When the number of germs on surfaces or objects is down to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements, your facility will be considered compliant.  A commercial cleaning company can achieve this result by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection

Choose The Right Method Of Cleaning And Disinfecting

It is important to match your cleaning and disinfecting activities to the types of germs you want to remove or kill.

Most studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being deposited on a surface.

It is not necessary to close your office building schools to clean or disinfect every surface in the building to slow the spread of a flu.

How To Clean And Disinfect Your Office

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) recommends the following:

Cleaning And Sanitizing Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces

If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.

For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.

A list of COVID-19 cleaning products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration, application method and contact time, etc.

Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.

Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

Virus Cleaning For Soft (Porous) Surfaces

For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:

If the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.

Otherwise, use products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 and that are suitable for porous surfaces

COVID-19 Cleaning For Electronics

For electronics such as tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines, remove visible contamination if present.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.

Consider the use of wipeable covers for electronics.

If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.

Eliminating Germs From Linens, Clothing, and Other Items That Go in the Laundry

In order to minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air, do not shake dirty laundry.

Wash items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.

Clean and disinfect hampers or other carts for transporting laundry according to guidance above for hard or soft surfaces.

BCCSA Recommendations For Virus Cleaning

The BC Construction Safety Alliance recommends that you clean and disinfect all frequently touched surfaces. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Table tops
  • Control panels
  • Computer/keyboard/mouse
  • Door knobs
  • Light switches
  • Handles
  • Bathrooms
  • Steering wheels
  • Eating areas
  • Pens
  • Hoist gates
  • Stair railings
  • First aid equipment

Cleaning and disinfection should be done as often as possible and at a minimum:

  • At the beginning of shift
  • Before eating
  • Between crew changes
  • End of shift.

Avoid sharing tools and pens. Disinfect any shared items before sharing.

Cleaning Needs Of Every Facility Are Different

These guidelines are focused on community, non-healthcare facilities such as schools, institutions of higher education, offices, daycare centers, businesses, and community centers that do, and do not, house persons overnight.

Facilities will need to consider factors such as the size of the room and the ventilation system design (including flowrate [air changes per hour] and location of supply and exhaust vents) when deciding how long to close off rooms or areas used by ill persons before beginning disinfection. Taking measures to improve ventilation in an area or room where someone was ill or suspected to be ill with COVID-19 will help shorten the time it takes respiratory droplets to be removed from the air.

Additional Guidelines To Prevent Illness

Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so standard cleaning and disinfecting practices are sufficient to remove or kill them in most cases.  However, if you feel the need or if someone has been seriously ill in your facility, special cleaning and disinfecting processes can include:

  • Closing off areas visited by the ill persons.
  • Open outside doors and windows
  • Use ventilating fans to increase air circulation in the area.
  • Wait 24 hours or as long as practical before beginning cleaning and disinfection.
  • Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas
  • Clean and disinfect shared electronic equipment like tablets, touch screens, keyboards, remote controls, and ATM machines used by the ill persons, focusing especially on frequently touched surfaces.
  • Wipe down walls
  • Clean and disinfect ceilings, especially those with a variable texture (like stipple or “popcorn”).
  • Use room air deodorizers
  • fumigation
  • Electrostatic cleaning to get into crevices and areas that cannot be reached easily by cleaning staff
  • Immediately clean surfaces and objects that are visibly soiled.
  • If surfaces or objects are soiled with body fluids or blood, use gloves and other standard precautions to avoid coming into contact with the fluid. Remove the spill, and then clean and disinfect the surface.

Insist On “Green Cleaning”

Using harsh chemical cleaners can create more problems.  Frequently using chemical based air deodorizers, and fumigating can irritate eyes, noses, throats, and skin; aggravate asthma, and cause other serious side effects.

According to Wikipedia, “Green Cleaning” refers to using cleaning methods and products with environmentally friendly ingredients and procedures which are designed to preserve human health and environmental quality.

Green cleaning techniques and products avoid the use of products that contain toxic chemicals, some of which emit volatile organic compounds causing respiratory, dermatological and other conditions.

Green cleaning can also describe the way residential and commercial cleaning products are manufactured, packaged and distributed. If the manufacturing process is environmentally friendly and the products are biodegradable, then the term “green” or “eco-friendly” may apply.

Professional Commercial Cleaning And Janitorial Services

We all want to be safe, keep our families safe, protect our staff and do our part in protecting our clients and the general public.

Evergreen Building Maintenance has been providing professional commercial cleaning services for a long time.  We have several well trained and experienced cleaning crews that provide consistent cleaning and disinfecting services.  Let us help you keep your facility clean and healthy.

We can provide dependable year round cleaning and disinfecting for your facility.

Call now for a quote on daily or weekly airport janitorial services for COVID-19 cleaning: 1-888-959-7304 or 250-800-3732.

 

 

Is Your Commercial Cleaning Company Poisoning The Air In Your Office Building?

So you hire a commercial cleaning company to keep your office building clean. The floors are shiny, the door handles have been sanitized, toilets are cleaned, dust on desks and equipment has been removed, cubicle walls are cleaned and the garbage is thrown out regularly.

That’s a pretty solid cleaning routine in an office environment. It would be fair for you to believe you have provided a clean and healthy environment for staff and clients… right?

Not quite…

In a first-of-its-kind study, Environmental Defence tested the impact of cleaning products on indoor air quality. In all 14 studied households, levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) went up during cleaning.

Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, are gases that are emitted into the air from products or processes. Some are harmful by themselves, including some that cause cancer. In addition, they can react with other gases and form other air pollutants after they are in the air.

Watch Out For Products Containing Prohibited Ingredients

Prohibited ingredients in cleaning products include:

  • Toxic Air Contaminants
  • Great Waters Pollutants of Concern
  • Hazardous Air Pollutants
  • Global Warming Compounds
  • Ozone Depleting Compounds
  • Alkylphenol ethoxylates
  • Dibutyl phthalates
  • Heavy Metals (including arsenic, lead, cadmium, cobalt, copper, chromium, mercury, nickel and zinc)
  • Carcinogens as listed by: International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), National Toxicology Program, USA EPA, Occupational Health and Safety Administration
  • Carcinogens and Reproductive Toxins as listed in Proposition 65

Health Effects Of VOC’s In Products Commonly Used By Commercial Cleaning Companies

As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Scientifically proven health effects of exposure to VOC’s include:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Headaches, loss of coordination and nausea
  • Damage to liver, kidney and central nervous system
  • Some organics can cause cancer in animals, some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans.

Key Signs Or Symptoms Associated With Exposure To VOCs:

  • conjunctival irritation
  • nose and throat discomfort
  • headache
  • allergic skin reaction
  • dyspnea
  • declines in serum cholinesterase levels
  • nausea
  • emesis
  • epistaxis
  • fatigue
  • dizziness

Common Sources of VOCs In An Office / Home Environment:

  • paints, paint strippers and other solvents
  • wood preservatives
  • aerosol sprays
  • cleansers and disinfectants
  • moth repellents and air fresheners
  • stored fuels and automotive products
  • hobby supplies
  • dry-cleaned clothing
  • pesticides
  • building materials and furnishings
  • office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper
  • graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers and photographic solutions.

Indoor air quality has always been a key component of effective green cleaning. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a major control point from cleaning and sanitation products.

Studies are now showing that VOCs from cleaning products are also a large contributor to outdoor air pollution.

Make sure your commercial cleaning uses Green Cleaning products and processes.

Evergreen Building Maintenance is committed to Green Cleaning.

Call Evergreen Building Maintenance for a free quote for daily or weekly office cleaning services: 1-888-559-6870 or 250-999-2796

What Makes Evergreen Different From Other Commercial Janitorial Companies

Clients are looking for commercial janitorial companies that can deliver consistently reliable cleaning.  But they also want to keep their costs down.

Commercial janitorial companies also have to manage their expenses.  If you want top of the line services but pay bottom of the barrel pricing, something is likely to go wrong.

How Much Do You Need To Compromise?

Having a clean facility does not seem to be directly related to a company’s profitability.  Indirectly, however, the cleanliness of your office or building determines how comfortable your staff is working there. It also determines how willing your clients are to do business with you.  Both of these factors are directly related to profitability.

Even though you may not want to spend money on commercial office cleaning, you know you have to do it.  You have to bite the bullet and hire the best company you can find for as little cost as possible…but not so low that you end up getting a low quality cleaning company.

Low-Ball Pricing

Unfortunately, there are commercial janitorial companies that are more than happy to give you low-ball pricing.  You get excited when they promise to deliver almost everything you want, but when you try them out, quite often you realize that maybe you cut corners in the wrong place.

How Evergreen Building Maintenance Does Things Differently

Some Things To Look Out For When Hiring A Commercial Janitorial Service:

  1. When you were getting quotes, you may have indicated that you want to see the lowest price possible. Based on this, the commercial cleaning company may decide to cut their costs by not using the best cleaning materials or they may use low quality cleaning equipment.

You won’t realize this until you see that your facility is just not as nice looking or smelling as you would like it to be.  The cleaning staff may be doing all the right things but the results are not there.

Evergreen Building Maintenance has been in the business for over 30 years.  They know short-term thinking is not good for business.  We will never compromise the cleaning quality in order to provide bottom of the barrel pricing…but you’ll find our pricing to be very attractive!

We know that regardless of what you “appear” to be saying, if the cleaning company is not able to clean your office satisfactorily, you are not going to keep them around.  From experience, we know that, so we are not even going to try to give you unrealistic expectations.

Evergreen Building Maintenance spends a lot of time training cleaning staff so we can get your building cleaner at a lower cost.

We will never use inferior products or low quality cleaning equipment. 

  1. Another way to cut costs is to skip on using “green”, “eco-friendly” cleaning practices. “Green” or “eco-friendly” cleaning practices will prevent your staff and clients from having allergic reactions or getting sick from cleaning chemicals.  They will often also do a better job of eliminating viruses and bacteria from spreading.

However, for some companies, this is an “optional” service.   Eco-friendly cleaning “chemicals” and equipment can be more expensive.  If they know your main criteria for hiring a commercial janitorial company is to keep costs down, they just won’t offer you the “option”.

Evergreen Building Maintenance includes “green cleaning” as a standard part of their service.  We realize it is better for the health of your employees and clients, so unless you specify otherwise, “eco-friendly” cleaning is the service we will provide while still keeping your costs low.

  1. Sometimes a cleaning company can cut costs by hiring low-cost, temporary workers. This is a bad strategy if you want consistently high cleaning standards.

Commercial cleaning is not as easy as it looks.  We have found that properly trained personnel get better and better at cleaning the longer they are with us.

In order to keep employees so they stick around long enough to provide superior cleaning results we provide a respectable wage, benefits, good quality equipment suitable for the job and opportunities to move up in the company.

When you see the same people coming to clean your building day after day or week after week you get to know them, and they get to know you and the “special” needs of your office.  They learn the “secret” spots where germs hang out and when you need extra cleaning from time to time.

Long-term, consistent employees are a big reason why we are able to provide a high standard of cleaning without fail.

  1. What happens if you get new equipment, new circumstances or have a big promotion coming up? Will your commercial cleaning company be able to respond to the changed situation?  On time?  Effectively?

Evergreen Building Maintenance has lots of people with a variety of skills and experience so we can respond quickly to any situation.

  1. Is The Management Of The Company Easily Accessible?

If you have a special situation coming up, just give the cleaning team manager a call or even just call up the president of the company.  The management of the company is always happy to hear from clients.  In fact, we look forward to it.  Our management does an “official” review of the cleaning team’s performance every three months.

While every company wants to keep their costs down, the lowest priced commercial cleaning companies are often not the way to go.

Take time to review the reputation of the company you are going to hire…get several references and call those references to see what their experience has been.

Make sure the cleaning company you hire uses “green”, “eco-friendly” cleaning materials and cleaning equipment.  There is no sense in having your employees or clients getting sick from harsh chemicals.

Evergreen Building Maintenance provides a high standard of cleaning without you having to compromise on price.

Give us a call today!  Call 1-888-559-6870 or 250-999-2796.