Clean, Sanitize, Or Disinfect

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soiled mop that was used a couple of days before still sitting in the bucket of dirty water? While this situation is not uncommon, cleaning professionals should nevertheless avoid it. That mop and bucket may be spreading more germs on floor surfaces than are being removed. 

Park and rec managers and cleaning professionals also need to be aware that floor care is an important concern for children because they play on floors, touch them, fall on them, drag shoelaces over them, etc. And every contact children have with a germ-ridden floor increases their chances of coming into contact with pathogens. Children frequently touch surfaces and then their mouths, eyes, and noses, which can lead to cross-contamination and potential illness. 

To avoid cross-contamination and protect the youngest visitors, many facilities have now eliminated the use of mops and buckets wherever possible. Instead, many managers are now choosing to use spray-and-vac cleaning systems instead. These machines apply cleaning chemicals to all surfaces (not just floors), rinse the areas cleaned, and then vacuum up the contaminants and cleaning solution. 

The Final Component For Cleaning Standards

While choosing the right chemicals and equipment is crucial in developing successful cleaning standards, one more component is necessary: proper training of custodial workers. The first step is simply communicating to employees that the facility will be initiating a new cleaning strategy to keep the facility clean and healthy. The workers must also become familiar with any new chemicals and equipment. Many facility managers ask the janitorial distributors to educate the employees in the proper use of products, including chemicals. The improper use of chemicals not only is costly, but can also defeat the entire goal of protecting the health of users and staff members. 

Finally, the success of a cleaning-standards program requires that everyone adhere to a strict sick policy. If employees are sick, they must stay home. A study by a major office supplier found that as many as 80 percent of workers report to work even when they know they are ill. They most likely would get better sooner if they stayed home for a few days, which would also prevent the spread of germs to other building users.**  

Dawn Shoemaker is a frequent writer for the professional building and cleaning industries.  She may be reached at (773) 525-3021. 

*No flu vaccine is 100-percent effective. At 60 percent, this vaccine was considered “moderately effective” by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

**A 2011 survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that 72 percent of people go to work sick. A survey in 2012 conducted by Staples found that that number might actually be closer to 80 percent.

 Sidebar:

What are cleaning standards?

Cleaning standards comprise the following: 

  • Taking steps to precisely identify what needs to be cleaned in a facility
  • Identifying how the area needs to be cleaned (the use of chemicals, tools, equipment, systems, or cleaning methods) so the process protects the health of building users first and foremost, and then the environment
  • Organizing the cleaning to improve worker productivity
  • Envisioning the final cleaning objective
  • Measuring the amount of contamination left on a surface after cleaning, by using a hygiene measurement device, such as a handheld ATP (adenosine triphosphate) meter. This molecule is found in all living organisms, and finding it on a surface in specific amounts can indicate the presence of bacteria or pathogens that may endanger human health.

 

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  4. The Future Of Cleaning
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