The ways of cleaning and disinfecting have taken a shift as businesses consider transitioning back to the workplace. It is no longer enough to just remove visible dirt by cleaning methods – facility managers have to think about removing pathogens – from surfaces, and airborne.
Area disinfection and sanitization are vital steps in the reopening of a workplace or any other commercial facility.
What Are Antimicrobial Agents?
The term antimicrobial indicates a function of a material or substance that effectively kills microorganisms. This includes all types of pathogens, such as viruses, fungi, and bacteria.
Antimicrobial agents can be in the form of chemical additives or physical substances. Generally, a particular group of antimicrobials can target only specific microorganisms. Examples include antifungal, antibacterial, or antiviral agents.
However, there are a few antimicrobials that may act more broadly.
You should work with a commercial cleaning and disinfecting service provider. They will have the needed expertise to know which type of solutions to use and in what mix, to properly protect you and your facility against threats such as the Coronavirus.
Whether you decide to use an antimicrobial agent or not, you must adopt safe practices in terms of personal hygiene, safe distancing, and disinfection for keeping your premises infection-free. It is best to follow CDC guidelines and recommendations.
While the majority of the population has recognized the importance of disinfection, there are still a few people that wonder why it is necessary.
Pathogens can persist or survive on surfaces for weeks and months. Regular cleaning or vacuuming will not kill them. Such methods effectively displace these pathogens causing the workplace to be a continuous source of transmission.
Only regular preventive surface and area disinfection effectively kills pathogens.
High-touch surfaces and high-traffic areas should be routinely disinfected. Depending on your particular facility, you may ask for specific surfaces to be disinfected multiple times a day. This is one of the reasons why businesses are increasingly working with commercial technicians, as they know which areas to target and are present whenever they’re needed.
Microorganisms and bacteria are everywhere. There are over 600,000 bacteria on a tiny square inch of human skin. However, most viruses are harmless to humans.
Still, several disease-causing organisms can be deadly or dangerous, such as SARS-CoV-2. Disinfection is important for disease control and the spread of pathogens in a facility.
There are many types of disinfectants available in the market. It is best to find an EPA-certified disinfectant.
You should also invest time in understanding how the disinfectants work, including their advantages and limitations.
Action Of Disinfectants
A major difference between disinfection and sanitization is that disinfectants are only used for nonliving or inanimate objects. You must make use of formulas that are registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Every disinfecting solution has an active agent that kills pathogens by damaging or disrupting their cells. Active ingredients in most cases are aided by other additives or ingredients.
How Can You Tell If a Disinfectant Is Working?
Are you concerned that you are not killing disease-causing germs and simply spreading them around?
This can be a major concern if you have your in-house cleaning disinfecting without proper training. There are several cleaning and disinfection products available now. However, every disinfectant does not work the same way.
Has your cleaning team read the instructions on the manufacturer label?
Do they know the appropriate time to leave the product on a surface for it to effectively kill pathogens?
It is not enough to simply apply the disinfectant and wipe it away. You need to leave the product on the surface for a few minutes for it to eliminate harmful bacteria. This is also called the ‘kill time’. You could be increasing the growth of harmful pathogens, such as Salmonella and E. Coli by misusing the products.
If you think your workers are alright by just using wipes, you could be placing them and yourself at heightened risk of infection.
Professional cleaning companies are aware of different kill times and methods to use with different types of solutions.
You cannot tell exactly whether disinfectants are working or not. However, you see the effectiveness through indirect ways, such as reduced absenteeism and sickness in the facility.
Difference Between Disinfection and Sterilization
Disinfection is the process of reducing or eliminating harmful microorganisms from inanimate surfaces and objects. Sterilization is a step further than decontamination.
It is effectively geared towards killing 100% microorganisms from a given object.
Sterilization destroys spores of pathogens present in liquids and surfaces as well. It is an ‘extreme’ form of decontamination that is required mainly in medical settings, such as surgery. It is useful in laboratories and hospitals as well.
Disinfection is more practical in everyday life. Chemicals are useful in destroying all forms of microbiologic life. Depending on your type of business, you can perform high-level disinfection using germicides.
Typically, sterilization falls into three categories – chemical, high temperature/pressure, and radiation sterilization.
Disinfection Fact Sheet
Here’s what you should look out for when starting a disinfection process:
- Before disinfection, all surfaces must be well cleaned.
- Hand sanitizers are only approved for use on hands and are not intended to be used as disinfectants.
- For proper results, 70% alcohol required a 10-minute contact period. Because alcohol evaporates quickly, it’s difficult to achieve the required contact time.
- When choosing a solution, make sure the label specifies that it is a “disinfectant.”
- Do not use disinfectants that have passed their expiration date because their efficacy cannot be guaranteed.
- For safe disinfection, always read and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations (e.g., wear gloves, use in a well-ventilated environment, etc.).
- After removing gloves, wash hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
How Disinfection Helps The Bottom Line
First impressions can make or break a deal. You don’t want your visitors or potential clients to walk into your facility and see dirt and sources of contagion.
Cleanliness plays a major role in building positive impressions. If an area does not appear disinfected, it can prove to be an immediate negative mark against the company.
This is how disinfection can help your business:
1. Changing perceptions
First impressions have gone to a whole next level with the advent of COVID-19. Unclean offices are an instant turn-off for visitors. Your employees will suffer as well, and if no measures are taken, you might see their resignation pretty soon.
Fear and concerns for health have attained unprecedented heights during these times.
2. Boosts Employee Productivity
A major role played by disinfection is in boosting employee productivity and satisfaction rates. Employees feel safer when they know the working environment has been disinfected properly. The same holds for retail malls and shopping centers among other commercial facilities. Employees might not return to a facility if they are worried about their health. This can cause a dip in productivity and financial loss.
3. Reducing Absenteeism
The spread of infection through a workplace can affect productivity and profits.
The importance of disinfection goes well beyond first impressions. You can reduce sick days and absenteeism by maintaining a healthier working environment.
People have already started taking measures, such as social distancing and PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Clean Is Good, But Disinfection Is Best
Cleaning using soap and detergent is recommended by all health advisory bodies, such as the CDC and WHO. However, you need to decrease the risk of infection from surfaces by effectively removing contaminants. Cleaning once a day is usually enough when nobody has been suspected of falling sick in a particular space.
Disinfection by using U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s List N disinfectants can effectively kill germs on a given surface.
You must call in the professionals for a thorough cleaning and disinfection if there have been reports of a sick person on the premises.
It is best when disinfection is performed as a 2-part procedure.
The first part should involve a thorough cleaning of all surfaces. This includes high-touch and traffic areas. The disinfection service provider should pay particular attention to common areas, such as phones, light switches, counters, skinks, chairs, tables, and door handles.
The second part should involve electrostatic spraying of a disinfectant. The process doesn’t require wiping down surfaces, which allows the fine mist to remain on the surface and objects for a long time. Electrostatic spraying fully envelops objects to ensure total disinfection.
Where Will Steam Disinfection Fit Into My Facility?
Steam sterilizers or autoclaves are typically used in medical, healthcare, and industrial applications. Autoclave uses steam under pressure for killing bacteria, fungi, viruses, and spores. The objects are placed inside a chamber or a pressure vessel and heated to high temperatures for an appropriate time.
Steam contains moisture that transfers heat to the items and destroys the protein structure of spores and bacteria. Autoclaves are not a practical solution for regular workplaces or commercial facilities. Time, temperature, and steam quality are critical to successful steam sterilization.
The Role of Disinfection In Infection Prevention
Surface disinfection can contain viral outbreaks. This is more important than ever now. The fundamental concept and importance of surface disinfection have not changed.
However, the impact of the pandemic on today’s world has made it vital to rethink disinfection as part of regular cleaning. Recent studies have shown that only 32% of surfaces in the average workplace are thoroughly clean and free of germs.
Keyboards, mouse, and communication devices have been known to be a key factor in the spread of germs within a premise.
Disinfection plays a major role in preventing the spread of potential pathogens that cause healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Proper disinfecting and cleaning have become a priority now.
Types Of Disinfection
Disinfectants used in industrial and commercial facility maintenance are of several broad categories. These are:
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (Quats)
- Chlorine compounds
- Phenolic compounds
You should understand that different types of disinfectants are useful for specific microbes, and they have particular characteristics as well.
For instance, phenolic compounds are effective against bacteria, fungi, and viruses. But, they are highly toxic and should not be used in an allergen-sensitive environment.
Likewise, iodophors are potent disinfectants and are used in medical settings. But, they are known to stain surfaces and have an unpleasant odor.
Aldehydes may be effective against bacteria, but they tend to leave a greasy residue behind. You should work with a professional disinfection provider to get the best results.
Disinfecting Before An Outbreak Is Best
Microbe transmission takes place without anyone realizing it. Most infections are spread because of indirect contact with germs on contaminated objects, such as phones, keyboards, doorknobs, railings, and others.
Hands are the primary vectors where the transfer of germs happens. This is why it is best to disinfect an area before there is an outbreak.
Disinfecting after an outbreak is only trying to contain the spread of infection. However, when you include sanitization services as part of routine cleaning, you essentially reduce the risk of an outbreak.
Facility managers can effectively lower the risk of infection by disinfecting high-touch surfaces in their homes regularly.
Several core practices are recommended by the CDC for environmental disinfection and cleaning. A few of these are:
- Routine and targeted cleaning of surfaces as indicated by the degree of use and traffic. Surfaces that are frequently touched by several people should be disinfected multiple times during the day.
- Facility managers should only use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered disinfectants that have proven microbiocidal activity against common pathogens.
- Manufacturer instructions on the label should be followed for proper cleaning and disinfection. You should consider the dilution guidelines, material compatibility, contact time, shelf-life, storage, disposal, and safe use.
The Disinfection Process
It is important to know the right methods of disinfection for optimal results. For instance, you need to clean a heavily soiled surface before you can disinfect it. The CDC recommends using soap and water or detergent for cleaning surfaces. The next step is to use a solution containing at least 70% alcohol.
Most disinfectant products, including sprays and wipes, are required to stay on a particular surface for a certain period to be effective. You should always read directions for ensuring the products are being used as intended.
Why Choose Professionals for Disinfecting Your Facility?
The primary reason why people choose professionals is for their knowledge, efficiency, and professionalism.
Do you want to know if it’s worth it to bring a specialized team to your premises?
Here are 7 reasons why you should choose a commercial disinfection service provider:
1. Create an Impression
The first thing anyone notices when they walk into an office is the surroundings. Professional cleaning and disinfection make a good first impression.
2. Curb Time and Expenses
Professional cleaners assess needs quickly. They can work during the night to ensure that your daily business activities are not disrupted.
Commercial cleaners have the experience to deliver what you need in a given time frame at a reasonable rate.
3. High Standards of Quality
You can be sure of the highest quality standards by working with an experienced and respected commercial cleaning firm.
Professional cleaners are more likely to provide the services you need at discounted rates because they know when to cut corners and when not, and you can discuss together on what is the best course of action for your needs and budget.
4. Use of Green Chemicals
Commercial organizations have increasingly become environmentally conscious. The majority of professional cleaners use safe green chemicals that are good for the environment and get the job done. Green chemicals will remove bacteria and germs without bringing any harm to humans and the environment.
5. Improved Employee Productivity
There is no denying the fact that your employees will work better in a clean and healthy atmosphere. Germs and bacteria can cause frequent sick days.
In the present times, employees are increasingly fearful of their health. By using a commercial service provider, you show your employees that you care about their health and wellbeing. This helps in instilling trust and confidence.
6. Zero Hassles
Professional disinfection service providers will know how to take care of your electronics. For instance, they would know not to use their electrostatic machine on files and paperwork on tabletops. If you hire them for cleaning along with disinfection, they will ensure that everything is left organized as per your expectations.
7. Custom Cleaning
You can choose customized plans based on your unique preferences and organizational needs.
You can ask the commercial cleaner to make a customized plan for you before you get into a contract with them. Another thing you should do is to ask for a free estimate. This way, you can test their skills and see if you are satisfied with the services and their price.
What To Look For In A Disinfection Facility Provider?
There are all kinds of disinfection service providers. You need to find a company that offers what you need.
These are a few factors you should look for in a commercial disinfection service:
1. Experience and Reputation
There are dozens of amateurs in the cleaning market. While it is not a given that a new company will offer substandard service, you should consider not taking the risk. There is a lot that can go wrong when it comes to cleaning, disinfection, and sanitization. It is a daunting effort to develop a disinfection program from scratch.
2. Variability and flexibility in the services provided
Having a single facilities services partner increases your program’s efficiency and effectiveness, simplifies your oversight, and can even save you money.
Here are several examples:
- Occupant signs, which promote healthy habits such as social distance and handwashing.
- Upgraded HVAC maintenance, which includes filtration that can eliminate viruses in the air as well as improved indoor air quality in general.
- Disinfection on a large scale (e.g., outdoor seating areas, playgrounds, trash cans, handrails)
3. Accredited and trained specialists
Look for a company that has invested time and money in the people who will be doing the task. Effective disinfection needs a thorough understanding of the science as well as practical knowledge of how to perform the process.
Ask about their training, including whether they have an accredited program, testing, and internal certifications that indicate the cleaner’s degree of knowledge.
Partner with the professionals you deserve
People are now guarding against any invisible and highly contagious virus. There is a significant emotional and mental load carried with the physical concern of Coronavirus.
This had made it necessary to work with commercial cleaning and disinfecting services that can ensure your facility remains infection-free.
We at Servi-Tek will ensure that the highest levels of cleanliness and disinfection are maintained regularly.
We have been on the market for over 15 years and we are backed up by our experience, technology, and skills.
To perform a remarkable job and ensure customer satisfaction, we use the most up-to-date methods and equipment.
To learn more and see how we can benefit you, contact us here.