Cleaning and Coronavirus: What to Know
Schools are closing, panic is rising and not a square of toilet paper can be found at any price.
Welcome to the COVID-19 pandemic.
No one can predict the future in this fast-moving situation. Daily updated numbers posted on the CDC.gov website give some clarity and as of this writing, a National State of Emergency has been declared. While discussions around testing, ICU beds and social distancing continue, there is one thing everyone can agree on: cleaning and proper hygiene are the first lines of defense against infectious disease, including coronavirus.
Here's a primer on why cleaning works, where to focus cleaning efforts and what to use when combating viruses.
Why Cleaning Works
This excellent article in The Guardian, by Pall Thordarson explains why good old soap and water is the best line of defense against most viruses, including corona. 'The…virus is a self-assembled nanoparticle in which the weakest link is the lipid (fatty) bilayer,' writes Thordarson. 'Soap dissolves the fat membrane and the virus falls apart like a house of cards and dies – or rather, we should say it becomes inactive as viruses aren't really alive.'
Thordarson was writing specifically about handwashing, but the same theory works for surface cleaning too.
The CDC recommends routine cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of surfaces to slow the spread of flu. The general recommendations for COVID-19 are the same. 'Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in households and community settings,' according to the website.
Where Cleaning Counts Most
Kaivac has advocated touchpoint cleaning for years. Now it seems like everyone else is obsessed as well. That's because these touchpoints are germ hotspots. Touch them and, if they are covered with live germs or viruses, your hand is now covered with live germs or viruses. Touch your eyes, nose or mouth, which is something we all do about 16 times an hour, before washing your hands and you've introduced that germ or virus into your system.
This is why touchpoint cleaning is so vital. Now, with maintenance staff strained to the limit, focusing on touchpoint cleaning is the best use of precious resources.
Touchpoint cleaning, sanitizing or disinfecting must include:
- Faucet Handles
- Toilet and urinal flushers
- Soap dispensers
- Hand rails
- Elevator buttons
The CDC advises that no additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time. They also suggest providing disposable wipes, so commonly used surfaces can be wiped down by individuals before each use.
One place the CDC overlooks is the floor, yet it is, in fact, a touchpoint. People touch the floor all the time, either directly by picking up dropped objects or indirectly when retrieving purses, backpacks, boxes, toys or coats that end up there.
This boosts the importance of floorcare in every environment.
What Products to Use
If you think toilet paper is hard to find, just try getting your hands on any household cleaning and disinfecting products. Even regular old soap, hand gels, disinfectant wipes and sprays have disappeared from the shelves. In answer, many groceries and other retail outlets are limiting purchases.
There's also a mad dash among manufacturers to prove that their products are effective against this particular strain of the coronavirus. Consumers already spent some $22 billion on surface cleaners globally and another $1.43 billion on cleaning wipes in 2019. Analysts expect a sharp spike in those numbers, and the company that can claim its products can specifically kill COVID-19 will surely have an advantage.
Commercial janitorial staff should continue to use the approved EPA-registered disinfectants, like KaiBosh (EPA REG. NO. 10324-93-71665). The formula for KaiBosh has been deemed effective against SARS-CoV-2, the cause of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Maquat PD-64 (EPA REG. NO. 10324-93), the KaiBosh formula, has been added to the list of disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2.
Training on correct use, including dwell time and appropriate dilution, should be re-emphasized. Be sure to stress that more product doesn't result in cleaner surfaces.
To fight inaccurate and wasteful practices, try using a pre-measured pack of cleaning chemical. Kaivac's KaiBosh Disinfectant Packet confidently delivers the right amount of no-rinse, Hospital Use cleaning chemical in any wet vacuum application, spray bottle and other applications. The packets save time, conserve chemical and deliver confidently clean surfaces.
For more information click here.
Now go wash your hands.
Get detailed information about how Kaivac helps you clean better and faster:
Amy Milshtein covers design, facility management and business topics for a variety of trade publications and consumer magazines.
Her work has won several awards, most recently a regional silver Azbee Award of Excellence.
She lives in Portland, OR with her family and Clyde, a 15-lb tabby cat. Once an avid hiker, these days she finds herself on the less-challenging -but-still-exciting 'creaky knees' trails.