As COVID-19 has swept the nation, keeping schools and most businesses closed indefinitely, many Americans have rediscovered (or discovered for the first time) the importance of hygiene and cleanliness. What used to be commonplace – people keeping themselves and their environments tidy and clean – seemed to have fallen by the wayside in recent times as we rush to get things done faster and cut costs wherever possible. But with the rise of our first pandemic in over 100 years, we have once again had to shift our focus to taking care of ourselves, our environments, and giving cleanliness the time and attention it needs to be effective.
As someone who has been in the cleaning business for over three decades and the Founder & President of Team Clean, it is heartening to see almost everyone taking cleanliness so seriously and taking many extra precautions to protect themselves and others. But, we have to remember that following these precautions year-round is crucial. Cleanliness is not only a matter of public health, but also one of economics. It will be one of the most important keys to our comfort and success as a nation from here on out.
As we begin to see the curve flatten and people return to work, school, and other normal activities, we have to consider how we are going to continue keeping everything sanitary and free of germs and bacteria. A lot of this work will be done by cleaning companies, and we have to make sure that those cleaners are trained properly and certified to the highest standards. Would you hire someone untrained to work on your home? Fix your car? Provide you with medical advice? Probably not. And we must consider cleaners in this same category, from the largest corporate office cleaner down to the small mom-and-pop shop that cleans houses in the neighborhood.
Proper cleaning is also an economic investment for the future. If businesses do not invest in proper cleaning services in the future, germs and diseases are likely to return more frequently and affect not only the health and safety of customers and employees, but also the bottom line when they have to close for cleaning over and over again. Not to mention the reputation that a business can get as a place that doesn’t take its cleaning and disinfecting seriously.
So, what does it mean to have the proper training and certifications? When companies are looking for cleaners to keep their buildings and offices sanitary, they should look for proper certifications and seek out companies that are trained to deal with bio-hazardous environments. Some cleaning companies will go to a general store and purchase detergents not understanding that they don’t kill germs and in essence they are spreading germs and cross contaminating. The certification process enables the cleaners to be educated in infectious disease cleaning including COVID. MRSA, Shigella and other staff infections. For reference, Team Clean is certified with the American Bio Recovery Association, FEMA, and OSHA 300.
In addition to other diseases, such as the common cold, influenza, or pneumonia, we now have to take precautions to avoid new and unexpected health threats. We have to expect that even if COVID-19 it goes away, it will return. In order to mitigate the impact of future outbreaks, we absolutely must be vigilant and diligent in our efforts to maintain high standards of personal and professional hygiene and cleanliness. If social distancing is going to become a standard part of our society moving forward, proper cleaning procedures must follow along.
One of the proactive steps you can take is to create a facility cleaning & disinfecting checklist. Use a neutral detergent and disinfectant solution to clean and disinfect all hard surfaces. Provide sanitizing solution or wipes to all departments and encourage all employees to sanitize surfaces that employees touch frequently, such as:
Copier/printer/fax control buttons
Cabinet and file drawer knobs/handles
When it is time to purchase or replace existing bathroom fixtures, consider installing hands-free devices, such as:
Paper towel dispensers
While in these times there is no way to 100% guarantee protection from contracting COVID-19 in shared spaces, there are actions we can take like washing your hands often, staying at home, and property cleaning and disinfecting your surroundings to help lessen the likelihood of transmission.
These are matters of life and death. Maintaining a safe environment through proper cleaning is more important than ever before. Proper procedures will save lives, and we must start today.