Keeping High-Touch Surfaces Clean
As the world continues to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important to customers than ever that organizations and businesses maintain clean and hygienic facilities. But not all common areas get the same level of contact or “touch traffic” as others, and some locations may have different exposure risks depending on the type of activities there. Even so, there are usually a few consistent areas, such as restrooms, that attract bacteria, soil, and viruses which increase the health risk for people nearby.
Disinfection is critical in reducing and preventing the spread of viruses and disease, and ensuring that customer and employee safety is a top priority. To keep high-traffic touch areas clean and safe for everyone, consider our recommendations below.
Determine the Surface Shape and Type
Cleaning high-touch areas for each cleaning service visit means using the right cleaning methods and tools. It’s crucial to remember that cleaning and disinfecting solutions are different, and many disinfectants are designed to target specific bacteria or viruses. To successfully perform most disinfecting jobs, it’s usually best to have a broad-spectrum disinfectant handy, but the shape and accessibility of a surface also factors into how difficult it is to clean.
For instance, a tabletop is typically flat and easy to clean, but surfaces like doorknobs have small grooves and crevices for dirt and bacteria to settle into. If left to grow, bacteria double their numbers every 20 minutes on average, and some bacteria can live 6 to 8 months on hard and dense surfaces such as phones and tables.
Frequently Used High Touch Surfaces
- Light Switches
- In many public restrooms, users have to manually turn the lights on and off, especially if it’s small with only one stall. With cleaning attention often focused on door handles, toilets, and floor tiles, something small like a light switch can be passed over when cleaning and disinfecting restroom surfaces.
- Grab Rails should be disinfected and cleaned frequently, preferably with a soft microfiber cloth to avoid more abrasive cleaning tools and chemicals. For example, if you use mineral acid cleaners or bleach on metal railings, it may cause them to rust. If you do use a disinfectant solution, carefully follow the label instructions for more information on which surfaces it’s designed to clean.
- Dispensers and Dryers
- Restrooms that include paper towel, soap, and toilet paper dispensers without touchless features may help generate more bacteria and viruses. If touchless installation isn’t possible, clean and disinfect “push” dispensers often. Research has shown that hot air dryers also contribute to the spread of germs throughout a restroom.
- Door Handles
- It’s virtually impossible to completely avoid touching door handles. With each building’s entry and exits, bacteria and viruses are often moved from restroom visitors’ hands to the handles. Disinfecting door handles regularly will help reduce and even prevent the spread of germs.
Guidance for Cleaning Specific Spaces
While your facilities may be generally clean and routinely disinfected, it’s important to look for any particular rooms or spaces that might have high-touch surfaces that are trickier to see. Any public or shared environments like conference rooms, public bathrooms, or classrooms should probably get extra attention on cleaning day.
- Shared Restrooms
- Clean and disinfect all restrooms surfaces, including high touch areas with door handles, flush levers, counters, and shower handles. Make certain exhaust ventilation systems are always running and as much fresh air is being introduced as much as
- Public Drinking Fountains
- Clean and use disinfectant on the button or lever, and do the same with all surfaces and buttons on the fountain. Consider posting warning signs that tell readers not to contact their mouth and the waterspout. Make the water flow for about 10 seconds to allow clean, fresh water to come out before drinking.
- Carefully clean and disinfect all surfaces that may contact skin. Surfaces (including floor mats) should stay intact, without abrasions or tears, to be truly cleanable. Buy separate cleaning brooms, mops, and water buckets for athletic areas where customers will perspire the most.
- Avoid spraying disinfectants at playgrounds that are outside. Ask children to clean their hands with soap and warm water when they return inside or before they eat or drink next. Watch for common touchpoints like bars and handles on the playground equipment and clean them if a child is going to play there.
Safety and Procedures
Since not all biomatter and soil responds to the same cleaning methods the same way, it’s important to prepare for the kind of cleaning you need to do to keep yourself and everyone safe and productive. Consider the following tips when planning your business’s next bout of cleaning for maximum effectiveness and trust-building with employees and customers.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water thoroughly for at least 15 seconds. Soap takes out the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Inspect your supplies and equipment
- Wear non-slip shoes
- Never mix chemicals and never use unauthorized chemicals
- Make sure you always have proper ventilation
- If cleaning professionally, inspect and clean your equipment and report safety hazards to a supervisor
- Wash your hands frequently and at the beginning and end of each shift with soap and warm water.
It’s a facility professional’s responsibility to maintain a clean and safe environment for everyone. Offering a well-cleaned, hygienic building is a benefit that protects the owner, employees, and those who visit the establishment while offering comfort with the certainty that their health-based preferences are being met. Following the above best practices will keep your facility’s high-touch points clean by limiting the spread of soil, viruses and bacteria throughout a building. As facility professionals work intensely to offer safe and hygienic spaces while the world grapples with COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to create and follow fundamental cleaning protocols for the health of everyone.