Cleaning, Sanitising & Disinfecting Under COVID-19: What Do Businesses Have to Do?

Regular cleaning measures and extra precautions businesses must take under COVID-19 circumstances.

In order to proceed with their operations, businesses have to implement health authorities’ recommendations like the ones highlighted by Safe Work Australia. It all starts with keeping the workplace clean and disinfected.

As a business owner, you have the responsibility to keep your workers and customers safe.
Depending on the nature of your business, there is a high risk of spreading the virus in high traffic areas. If your business includes lots of employees, visitors, or customers, you need to take right precautionary measures.

The surfaces that get frequently touched are a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Sanitising the workplace is your number one weapon in the battle against the virus.

However, it is imperative that you make the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. If you aren’t sure, this article is for you. We will discuss the difference, which things should be cleaned and disinfected, and how often. Make sure that you go through our guide to the end and don’t miss anything!

 

What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

You might have thought that these two are the same. But you are wrong with this one. There is a clear difference between cleaning and disinfecting.

 

Cleaning

Cleaning is referred to as the process of physically removing grime, dirt, and germs from the surfaces. A solution made of water and detergent is used during the process to remove the organic material from the surfaces. Otherwise, it would become a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses. A detergent is a surfactant-based product that breaks up oils. The cleaning agents can come in different forms, such as powders, granules, and liquids. Cleaning is done with tools such as scrubbers, mops, cloths, vacuum cleaners, and others.

 

Disinfection

Disinfection is the process of killing pathogenic microorganisms present on surfaces, using special agents. For this, you will need products that are marked as ‘disinfectant’ on the label. They should be diluted or prepared according to the instructions on the label. For hard surfaces, there is a specific list of agents that you can use:

  • 70% alcohol
  • Chlorine bleach (concentration of 1000 parts per million)
  • oxygen bleach
  • Products that contain quaternary ammonium compounds

Which one goes first, cleaning or disinfecting? You are advised to clean before disinfection. Cleaning will remove the dust and grease, which can reduce the effectiveness of the disinfectant. When the grime is removed, the disinfectant will have its full potential for killing the germs.

 

What surfaces should be cleaned/disinfected?

Once a day:

The surfaces should be cleaned once a day in the workplace. This is referred to the ones that are frequently touched by people, such as kitchen surfaces, tabletop, counters, desks, phones, toilets, elevator buttons and others.

 

Several times a day

Things and surfaces should be cleaned a few times a day if they get in touch with a large number of people. EFTPOS machines, counters and trolleys would fall in this category.

If you run a retail business and have a high number of visitors, you are advised to disinfect the surfaces a few times a day. Also, visible dirt and spills should be cleaned right away. If the nature of your business includes a small number of people with minimum interaction, you may not need disinfection.

 

How often should a business be routinely cleaned?

Cleaning should be done at least once per day. This includes the surfaces that are frequently touched by people. However, cleaning should be done if a surface is dirty or has spills. No matter when was the last cleaning, the visible dirt should be solved immediately.

If your business includes high traffic of visitors, customers, and staff, clean the most frequently touched surfaces a few times per day. This consists of the handles, elevator buttons, light switches, toilets, taps, kitchens surfaces, TV remotes, and other surfaces depending on your business operations.

Does your business operate in shifts? If yes, get your commercial cleaners to operate between the changes. If the working process includes sharing equipment between the workers, it should be cleaned between each use if possible.

Cleaning and disinfecting are mandatory if there was confirmed COVID-19 case present at your workplace. This will prevent the spread of the virus and keep the workers safe.

 

How often should a business be disinfected?

For frequently touched surfaces, the minimum is once per day. An often touched surface is a surface that is handled frequently during the day. It doesn’t matter if multiple people or the same person touches it.

The infrequently touched surface is a surface that gets touched once per day. If you are not sure on how to classify a particular surface, treat it like it is frequently handled.

Before the disinfection, you are required to clean the surfaces first. Some may use a 2-in-1 product that does the cleaning and disinfection at the same time.

 

How often should a business be sanitised?

You don’t need to sanitise daily when no one enters a particular area or uses the equipment. Surfaces that haven’t been touched for a few days arent considered as a source of infection. Consider the frequency of touching to know how frequently should each surface be cleaned.

Frequently touched surfaces such as phones and handles should be sanitised at least once per day. However, it is recommended to professionally sanitise the business more regularly if there is a high frequency of workers and customers.

If your business doesn’t include interaction with people, you need to clean once per day, additional disinfection isn’t required. Same goes for companies that operate with small teams.

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