Micro-fiber Cloths can Kill Microbes
Regardless of the area that needs cleaning- whether that be commercial, or industrial- there are seven ‘laws’ that generally apply. This industry standard known as the 7-step cleaning process’ is a general strategy adopted by professionals to tackle various environments. Yet not all areas are made to be cleaned equally. Some spaces have far more regulations than others, despite having the ideal goal of eliminating all grime and bacteria. Take for example hospital guidelines of cleanliness vs a warehouse. There are also differing structures which may get in the way. Thus this article will explore process and how it applies to various spaces.
Cleaning, Sanitization and disinfecting-
While they may seem similar, there are actually minute differences between these terminologies. Basic commercial cleaning facts can differ, however this is some of the basic terminology.
Cleaning– Refers to the act of removing dirt/ wiping a surface to that it appears ‘clean’.
Sanitizing– Is the process of using chemicals that are strong enough to reduce/ kill some bacterium, but not all manners of microbe.
Disinfectant– Disinfectants are what actually ‘kill’ a large amount of microorganisms. This includes bacteria, viruses, and fungus.
Most commercial cleaners use a mixture of sanitizers and disinfectants while cleaning.
The 7-Commercial Cleaning Steps
The industry standard of commercial cleaning follows seven steps when approaching any room to clean. These tactics often involve tackling certain objects first before proceeding to the next steps. The following is a description of each step and why it is important to follow consecutively.
Dispose of Trash-
The first step to take before any actual cleaning occurs is waste removal. Garbage bags and liners first must be emptied and disposed of. Following this, the inner part of the bin must be thoroughly sanitized. Finally, replace the bin liner with a fresh bag.
The next step following this is dusting anything above shoulder level while working in either a clockwise or counter clockwise motion. This is done in order to make the latter cleanup of lower sections not wasted, since the additional dirt and dust that would be spilled would require extra cleanup. This also makes the damp mopping process much easier, much like sweeping a floor of debris before mopping.
The next step that follows is the use of a damp cloth mixed with a neutral disinfectant, which is applied to all high-touch surfaces except for glass surfaces. Common hi-touch surfaces include light switches, phones, door knobs, and desks in the case of an office. This is an extremely important step due to the threat of bacteria concentrated on these surfaces. Further information regarding the common places where bacteria gather can be found here
After cleaning the high touch surfaces, the next step requires remediation of some sort. Especially in the case of bathrooms products like toilet paper, paper towel, soaps, which aid in common cleanliness must be restocked for two purposes. One function is that if publicly available cleaning items are available, it will help reduce the spread of bacterium and other contagion. The second of course is to maintain social standards.
With all the shoulder level/ high surfaces cleaned, it is time to move to the lower areas including the floor. This step involves using a dust or ‘dry’ mop to collect floor dust in order to make the next step easier. Bulky items and obstructing objects must be navigated around, no corner must be left with uncollected dirt as this is also a health hazard.
Before proceeding to the last step, it is important to have a walk-around the premises and inspect the area for additional cleaning, or for anything broken/ out of the ordinary. It is not required of a janitor or commercial cleaner to repair any damaged items, however it is important that damages be reported to the owner. Finding damages early on in this step also does not interfere with the wet mopping process, which may cause extra cleaning time if dirt is tracked across the floor.
The final step to cleaning a room includes the wet mopping process, which adds a very delicate finish to the floor which can easily be disrupted. Fill a cleaning bucket with a neutral or diluted cleaner (like bleach and lots of water, but never mix bleach with other cleaners). Mop around the edges of the premises as best as possible, then pursue the centre by poking toward the middle in an eight-sided star shape to minimize the chances of stepping on the wet floor. Once this is complete, the floor must be left to air dry.
Wet Floor Sign- Never forget to openly display the wet floor sign, or else someone may be injured and incur legal penalties on yourself or organization.
Differences in Application-
The 7-step cleaning process is merely a guideline as mentioned before. As an industry standard, it follows that every situation may be different, or will require different approaches.
Use the Proper Disinfectants and Sanitizers for the Job
Clean Bathroom+Specific Steps-
Cleaning a bathroom generally follows the same process, however it is important to follow certain process regarding how to handle excretory facilities. The initial steps of the standard process including removing trash, stocking, and wiping mirrors still applies, however it is a good idea to allow urinal and toilet cleaners to soak while this happens. The longer the cleaning material can sit on a surface, the more efficient it will be at eating away at the grime/ killing microbes.
When wiping down the urinals, never use the same cloth on any other surface. Wipe inside and out of the structure using either disposable paper towel, or a single-use cloth specifically for that surface. Use a brush for the inside of a toilet to scrape away at stuck on debris, but still only use cloths specifically for the toilet surfaces. Proper disinfectant is key for bathroom surfaces, so professional cleaning products are recommended for this.
Cleaning in a healthcare setting is a rich topic that could feature its own book on proper procedures. In fact, there is a publicly available form known as ‘environmental cleaning’ which provides standards for institutions to use when deciding on a cleaning regimen. The same 7-step process is still applied, with minor changes due to the presence of patients, and highly infectious materials.
The main thing to focus on in a hospital setting is using proper disinfecting cleaning chemicals that are strong enough to kill all microbes (some are very resilient) while not disturbing or irritating patient health. Testing pH may be required to strike this balance and to make sure of consistency. Finally, it is very important to wipe down high-touch surfaces like beds, headboards, IV poles, buttons, remotes, rails, and floors.
Offices come in various styles, however there can be some unique challenges posed by these professional environments. Generally the 7-rules still applies disinfecting high-touch surfaces like phones, computers, desks, door knobs, thermos, ect. One obstacle may be the presence of carpet if that is the dominant flooring option in the space. Carpets can be vacuumed for regular cleaning, however other special tools and precautions may be accounted for to get rid of particularly spoiled parts of the carpet.
Following these standard protocols will ensure a properly cleaned space, and is a reflection of the dedicated effort that is followed world-wide by all cleaners.