Businesses around the United States are grappling with when and how their facilities should reopen as states lift restrictions despite the lingering presence of COVID-19 cases. Cleaning and disinfecting thoroughly will play a key role in showing staff and customers that the business prioritizes health and safety. However, there are numerous misconceptions about cleaning that have been passed down to industry professionals over the years. Understanding the truth behind these myths can help businesses mitigate risks and clean more effectively.
Cleaning Process Misconceptions
Cleaning professionals sometimes follow incorrect principles about how to clean, including:
Misconception: To achieve a better clean, use more product.
The facts: Using more cleaner or disinfectant than necessary can end up wasting in-demand cleaning solutions, result in surface damage and even cause skin and eye irritation, as well as other adverse health effects. Encourage employees to use the right amount of solution to avoid these risks.
Misconception: Spraying and wiping is sufficient.
The facts: Disinfectants are designed to work best when they sit on a surface for the dwell time listed on the packaging. Quick spray and wipe sequences could leave behind potentially harmful pathogens. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and keep surfaces wet for the allotted dwell time and then wipe surfaces.
Misconception: Cleaning is the same as disinfecting.
The facts: The process of cleaning removes soil from a surface. Disinfecting makes specific claims regarding the reduction of pathogens, kills bacteria and fungi and inactivates viruses on surfaces. Employing a clear two-step process by using an effective all-purpose cleaner first and disinfecting second can help ensure surfaces are free of visible soil before disinfecting takes place.
Misconception: Increased cleaning and disinfecting is unnecessary if COVID-19 is not prevalent in my area.
The facts: Businesses should understand that COVID-19 anxiety is everywhere, and it is likely some of their customers have been affected, directly or indirectly. Accordingly, all U.S. businesses, regardless of locale, should step their up cleaning and disinfecting frequency, thoroughness and visibility to help slow the spread of infection and put facility occupants at ease.
Cleaning Product Misconceptions
There are also myths about what to use in order to clean and disinfect effectively, such as:
Misconception: Disinfectants can’t be harmful to human health.
The facts: Bleach-based solutions and other conventional disinfectants can be harsh on skin and eyes and very dangerous if mixed with the wrong substances. There are sanitizers and disinfectants on the market that kill and inactivate germs effectively while being gentle on skin and eyes. Make sure the disinfectant has also demonstrated efficacy against human coronavirus and other viruses more resilient to disinfection.
Misconception: Either a cleaner or a disinfectant will get the job done.
The facts: You will need both. Cleaners and disinfectants do not accomplish the same tasks. Effective surface cleaning removes soils, while effective disinfection attacks microorganisms. To ensure consistent cleaning and disinfecting across different surfaces, seek out an all-purpose cleaner/degreaser and a versatile sanitizer/disinfectant that work on multiple surfaces, from glass to metal to wood. Using two trusted products can also simplify training and your cleaning program by cutting down excess chemical shipments and overall inventory.
Misconception: The next best product will suffice.
The facts: The pandemic has resulted in product shortages and shipment delays, causing many businesses to stock up on chemicals with which their employees are unfamiliar. When workers aren’t familiar with the products they use, there may be a greater chance of improper use or wasted product. To avoid these issues, and to avoid running out of solution, facilities can install an on-site generation (OSG) system that creates and disinfecting solutions using water, salt and electricity. Having this system inside the facility allows businesses to meet increased cleaning demands and eliminate dreaded product outages.
The Future of Clean
The novel coronavirus pandemic has created a new standard of clean. As businesses consider reopening, partially or fully, they should prioritize enhancing their cleaning programs to meet the higher expectations. As part of this process, they should address the cleaning misconceptions above so that managers purchase the right products and employees know how to properly use them. Well-informed businesses can put their cleaning knowledge to work and create a consistently clean facility that promotes the health and safety of customers and employees.