Cleaning and disinfecting is should be part of a broad approach to preventing the spread of bacteria and viruses in your school. To help slow the spread of the flu and other illnesses one of the first lines of defense is to get vaccinated each year.
Other great measures of staying healthy and preventing the spread are: stay home when you are sick, cover your coughs and sneezes and most importantly wash your hands often.
Know The Difference
Do you really know the difference between disinfecting, cleaning and sanitizing? They all sound very similar and often get confused easily unless you work in the cleaning industry.
Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and other impurities from surfaces. Cleaning is typically done with common cleaners like soaps, detergents and water. The goal is to remove the contaminants from the surface making the surface look better. This process doesn’t kill germs, it only removes some of them, which does lower the number of germs.
Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces that you disinfect. Disinfecting works because it uses chemicals that kill germs, unlike soaps. This process doesn’t always clean the surface but it does kill all germs living on the surface you spray or wipe down with a disinfectant. This dramatically reduces germs and the spread of illnesses.
Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on a surface or object to safer levels, but by itself, it doesn’t remove all germs. Often this method is used in conjunction with disinfecting to reduce or remove all germs from a surface.
What Should You Clean?
The first place that you should clean are surfaces that are touched often. These are called hotspots. For schools, you should daily sanitize surfaces and objects that are touched often. These surfaces are:
- computer keyboards
Many schools today requite disinfecting these surfaces. Any surface that is visibly soiled with bodily fluids you should use gloves and use other standard precautions to protect yourself when handling bodily fluids.
Get in the routine
It is important to pick a routine and stick to it when cleaning a school. There is a high traffic flow that routinely contaminates surfaces and when cleaning routines don’t stay consistent, illnesses can spread easily. Studies have shown that disinfecting and cleaning together kill more germs and reduce the spread of germs like the flu.
The flu can live on a surface for approximately 48 hours after that surface has been contaminated. The next person that comes along and touches that doorknob with the flu virus on it will become infected.
Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so regular cleaning and disinfecting can kill them. When you are cleaning don’t use extra chemicals like deodorizers or fumigating chemicals. These irritate the eyes, nose and throat and skin of many people today. In some people, it can seriously aggravate asthma and have serious side effects.
What should you do?
The first step in getting on the road to disinfecting is to sit down with your cleaning staff and make a list of all the high traffic areas and hot spots that people touch daily. Make those areas top priority in your daily cleaning.
After that, assign dedicated areas to personnel. This will help to reduce mistakes and help them to get better at cleaning certain areas in your building and routines develop.
If you’re just not sure, give us a call. We are experts at cleaning and disinfecting surfaces for many types of commercial, industrial and residential buildings.