Working Together to Stop the Spread of Disease

  • Working Together to Stop the Spread of Disease

A major professional cleaning-related organization conducted a study looking into the types of comments people leave on social media sites concerning the appearance of restrooms in facilities such as restaurants, retail stores, and public facilities. The study revealed that building users pay surprisingly close attention to how well maintained restrooms are and, in at least one case, the manner in which they are cleaned.

 

For instance, here are some excerpts from one comment:

 

"People [referring to a cleaning worker] use the same mops and wipes all over the building," reported an online reviewer, writing about a fitness center in Chicago. The writer went on to say that the cleaning worker used "the same rag starting with the toilet" that was used on counters, sinks, and likely faucet handles and other fixtures as well.

 

It is unfortunate to see that this incorrect cleaning procedure still occurs, because there is a considerable body of evidence indicating that using the same soiled cleaning tools, such as mops or "rags," can spread contaminants from one surface to another. But in fact it is still happening?and frequently, as noted in other posts. The person who must lead the way in correcting this, and in promoting proper hygienic cleaning, is the person most facility managers turn to when it comes to cleaning: their jansan distributor.

 

Getting Knowledge Under Your Belt

 

Before providing any instruction, distributors and managers should become aware of some of the studies available, published by some of the most credible of organizations, on how the tools we use to clean surfaces?specifically, cleaning cloths and mops?are sometimes the very culprits that spread disease and cause cross-contamination.

 

For instance, a study published in 2004, "Household Cleaning and Surface Disinfection: New Insights and Strategies" in the Journal of Hospital Infection, found that in situations where the cleaning procedure fails to thoroughly eliminate contamination from one surface and then the same cloth is used to wipe another surface, "the contamination is transferred to that [new] surface."1

 

And just to prove this is certainly not "new material," one of the first studies on how cleaning tools can spread contaminants from one surface to another dates back to 1971.2 This study investigated microbial contamination of cleaning cloths and their potential to spread contamination. Once again, the researchers reported that wiping surfaces with contaminated cloths can contaminate hands, equipment, and other surfaces.

 

As to the spread of contaminants using mops specifically, part of this 1971 study reads as follows:

 

Following the demonstration of massive spread of bacterial contamination throughout the hospital by the wet-mopping techniques in use, quantitative studies were undertaken to determine the source of contamination and to institute measures of control. It was found that mops, stored wet, supported bacterial growth to very high levels and could not be adequately decontaminated by chemical disinfection. Laundering and adequate drying provided effective decontamination, but build-up of bacterial counts occurred if mops were not changed daily or if disinfectant was omitted from the wash-water.

 

Steps You Can Take

 

These studies and numerous others are significant because they have been published and reported in prominent medical- and health-related journals in Canada, the U.S., and around the globe. It is clear that a problem does exist when cleaning cloths and mops are used and then reused.

 

Convincing your customers of this problem is the easy part. The studies speak for themselves, and most cleaning professionals realize their primary job is to clean for the health of building users. However, the harder part is offering alternatives.

 

One alternative is provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),3 which suggests contaminated, reusable cleaning cloths (and it is assumed mops) can often be effectively cleaned washing with detergents in hot water and drying for two hours at 176 degrees (F). This is about 40 degrees hotter than the drying temperature of most commercial and residential dryers. The CDC also mentions that some cleaning cloths may not hold up under this high heat setting.

 

Another option the CDC offers is to decontaminate cloths and mops during cleaning.

 

Facility managers know that cleaning professionals are unlikely to decontaminate cleaning cloths and mops while cleaning. They are obliged to clean a given square footage per hour, which essentially eliminates extra time for decontaminating during cleaning. Further, in many cases an industrial-type dryer would be necessary to dry these cleaning tools at a sufficiently high temperature, making both of these recommendations impractical.

 

What likely is the best suggestion is for distributors to urge clients to stop using mops and transfer to systems and equipment that do not spread contaminants from one surface to another. What ISSA refers to as spray-and-vac systems, trolley buckets that dispense cleaning solution directly to the floor and not with a mop, flat-surface cleaning systems, and even cleaning cloths that can be folded into quadrants either eliminate this problem altogether or can reduce it significantly.

 

Reusing mops and cleaning cloths is an old way to clean and one that has been only marginally effective. Distributors must help their customers become aware of this and suggest other modern ways to perform cleaning tasks and protect health.
1 Exner, M., Vacata, V., Hornei, B., Dietlein, E., Gebel, J. "Household Cleaning and Surface Disinfection: New Insights and Strategies," Journal of Hospital Infection, 56, Supp. 2 (2004): 70-75.

2 Westwood, J. C., Mitchell, M. A., Legacé, S. "Hospital Sanitation: The Massive Bacterial Contamination of the Wet Mop," Applied Microbiology, 21, no. 4 (1971): 693-7.

3 Rutala, W. A., Weber, D. J., and the Healthcare Infection Control Practices Advisory Committee (HICPAC). Guideline for Disinfection and Sterilization in Healthcare Facilities, 2008, CDC.

Related Topics

Related Products

  • Trash Compactor ManualOmniFlex™ Dispense-and-Vac Space Saver

    Kaivac offers a compact version of its multiple award-winning OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac system. Just like the original, this "no-mop" system offers a simple, fast approach to cleaner, safer floors. Plus, its compact size and extreme maneuverability make it ideal for congested areas with tight storage space. Like most Kaivac systems, it's up to 60 times better at removing soil and contaminants than mopping and significantly faster too. To operate, simply open the spigot and apply fresh cleaning solution to the floor, spread and lightly brush into grout lines. Then, just vacuum all soils and liquid away, leaving floors really clean and bone dry. It's perfect for daily cleaning and degreasing commercial floors. The process is radically better, faster and safer than mopping. Click here to see the original OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac system.

  • Trash Compactor ManualOmniFlex™ Dispense-and-Vac

    The OmniFlex Dispense-and-Vac system offers a simple, fast approach to cleaner, safer floors. Its extreme cleaning capabilities achieve hygienic results in even the heaviest soil and grease conditions. In fact, like most Kaivac systems, it's up to 60 times better at removing soil and contaminants than mopping. That makes the Dispense-and-Vac is perfect for food service establishments, industrial facilities, light duty public restrooms and much more. Just apply fresh cleaning solution to the floor, spread and lightly brush into grout lines, and then completely vacuum away all soils and liquid, leaving floors really clean and bone dry. It's perfect for daily cleaning and degreasing of commercial floors. It's also great for applying and removing stripper on finished floors. The process is radically better, faster and safer than cleaning with a mop.

    Click here to see the compact Space Saver Dispense-and-Vac model

  • Trash Compactor ManualOmniFlex™ Spray-and-Vac

    When it comes to cleaning restrooms and other heavily soiled areas, nothing beats Spray-and-Vac cleaning technology. And the OmniFlex approach offers a cost-effective and easy way to get there. Just purchase a preconfigured 500 psi Spray-and-Vac system, or combine the 500 psi OmniFlex Pump System with the Wet Vacuum and the Trolley-Bucket for the ultimate cleaning experience. Modeled after the original Spray-and-Vac system, Kaivac’s No-Touch Cleaning® machine, the OmniFlex system is built for extreme soil removal. It empowers workers to clean hygienically without touching contaminated surfaces. Plus, it helps cut labor, chemical and equipment costs.

  • Trash Compactor ManualKaiVac 1250 No-Touch Cleaning® System

    When it comes to restrooms and other heavily soiled areas, nothing beats Spray-and-Vac cleaning. Kaivac's No-Touch Cleaning systems are built for extreme soil removal, empowering workers to clean hygienically without touching contaminated surfaces. Plus, it cuts labor, chemical and equipment costs. Achieving great, consistent results is easy with these patented systems. Simply apply automatically diluted cleaning solution to fixtures and floors in a low pressure fan spray, and then rinse surfaces and floors with always-fresh, clean water. The built-in power of the indoor pressure washer flushes soils out of grout lines and tight places that mops can't reach. Finally, just vacuum the floor dry -- completely removing soils, moisture and contaminants from all surfaces, grout lines and crevices, leaving the floor virtually dry and soil free. The Kaivac 1250 is ideal for smaller areas. It boasts a 12 gallon fresh water and a 12 gallon recovery tank. The system is powered by a 500 p.s.i. pump and a powerful 3-stage wet/dry vacuum.

Privacy Policy Terms of Service Return Policy
© 2001 - 2018 Kaivac, Inc.
Close

Cart

Item removed. Undo