When it comes to commercial cleaning standards, how clean is clean enough? Can you be too clean? As we aim to recover from the global pandemic, the answer to the second question is obviously, “No, you cannot be too clean.” The answer to the former question is a bit more complicated. According to Clean Freak, a cleaning service in Cache Valley, Utah, there really aren’t any general commercial cleaning standards that are used across all industries. They advise that it’s a good idea to have a plan for cleaning, but what should go in that plan? We decided to do a bit of research and see if we could find the best advice for commercial cleaning standards you should implement in your business.
Source on Commercial Cleaning Standards
Clean Freak was right about there being no general commercial cleaning standards. Every source we found on the subject had different opinions, but one thing they all had in common was that standards should be tighter under the outbreak. So, we’ve opted for the most complete and detailed source we could. You can read the source we primarily took from here, but as that’s super long and detailed, we’ll sum up what we feel are the most important points that we found in common with other industry sources.
In addition to this, the CDC also has an extensive list of guidelines they recommend. You can read them here.
1. Communication is Vital
First of all, Clean Freak recommended you have a plan, as do all the other industries, but it’s important that your employees know what that plan is. Communication is absolutely essential to keeping your business clean, as cleanliness is a matter for everyone, not just the janitors. You should have meetings with your employees to discuss the cleaning plans so everybody knows what parts they play in it.
2. Safety Standards
Part of what you discuss with your employees should be safety standards for cleaning. All the staff should be trained in the proper use of the tools and cleaning chemicals you rely on. Be especially clear on cleaning chemical safety, as some cleaning chemicals can be very dangerous if misused. Plan for and discuss any special procedures if your business puts you in contact with vulnerable people (elderly, people with strong allergies, etc). They should know what extra or alternative steps need to be taken for such individuals and what to do in case of an emergency that arises from an accident.
When it comes to using chemicals, your building should be well ventilated so that the residue and evaporation of chemicals is drawn out of the building, away from customers and employees. Where adequate ventilation is not possible, or where particularly dangerous chemicals must be used, be sure to clear the room before cleaning and wait the necessary time for it to become safe to use before letting people back in.
Don’t forget to remind people to wash their hands regularly.
Scheduling for cleaning should be determined based around the traffic. High traffic areas should be cleaned daily. In lighter traffic areas, weekly cleaning should be enough under normal circumstances. Special cleaning procedures unique to your business should be scheduled as needed.
For health and safety, as well as everybody’s convenience, it’s best to schedule cleaning to be done at times when the building or room is not in use whenever possible. This minimizes disruption to working hours.
4. Bathroom Cleaning
Bathrooms have a high risk of spreading infections, so these should have special cleaning procedures. Bathrooms should never be cleaned less than daily, but may require more frequent cleaning depending on circumstances. Trash should be emptied and disinfected daily, or possibly more as needed. Drain traps should be filled on a set schedule to prevent odors and sewer gas from backing up into the bathroom.
All cleaning supplies and tools used in the bathroom should be used only in the bathroom in order to prevent cross-contamination.
5. Food Prep
Food preparation areas are another place where there’s high risk of spreading infections. If your business has an area for food preparation, employees should be required to wash their hands before and after entering. Like bathrooms, they should never be cleaned less than daily, but will most likely need to be cleaned more often according to needs. Food waste containers should be emptied and sanitized as needed, again never less than daily. Tools and cleaning supplies should also be specific to this area to avoid cross contamination. As food has such a high potential to spread disease if mishandled, take every precaution you can. You cannot be too careful.
Entryways can be designed in a way that will reduce the amount of dirt and debris that people bring in with them. Walk-off matting should be placed at all areas where people enter from the outside. For the best effect, 6-10 feet of scraper matting, followed by 6-10 feet of wiper matting will clean most of the gunk off of people’s shoes as they enter. It’s not necessary, but it will help reduce the amount of cleaning you need to do on the inside.
Entryways should be cleaned daily.
7. Carpet Cleaning
Full carpet cleaning is a special procedure that you won’t need to do frequently. How frequently you need to clean it varies, but generally, you will need to do at least once a year. Twice a year is recommended to maximize your carpet’s longevity. For super heavy traffic areas, every 3 months might be necessary.
8. Air Duct Cleaning
Air duct cleaning and sanitization is another cleaning procedure you won’t need to do on a regular basis. You should still do it at least once every 3 years to get the best results.
9. Cleaning Cloths
When it comes to cleaning supplies, industry standards can vary, but cleaning cloths are a constant. Reusable cleaning cloths made from microfiber are better than paper products. They can be cleaned and therefore produce less waste. They are a bit more expensive than individual paper cleaning products, but you only have to buy them once, so it saves you money in the long run as well. They should be cleaned after use and, as mentioned above, there should be specific cleaning cloths reserved for bathrooms and food prep areas to help reduce the risk of cross-contamination.
The exception to this is unique chemical spills, or bodily fluids. Special cleaning supplies should be for these specific cases, as such supplies need to be properly disposed of after use. What supplies will be needed will be specific to each business.
Disinfection is more important than ever thanks to the outbreak. For the duration of the outbreak, you should disinfect your business weekly. Use chemicals approved by the CDC and EPA for this purpose to maximize everyone’s health and safety. Disinfect only when customers are not present.
As mentioned above, bathrooms should be disinfected daily to reduce risk of contamination, as should places where food is prepared.
Commercial Cleaning Is Important
There’s talk of the pandemic winding down, and it might be. This is all dependent on the work we put in. We all need to do our best to keep our businesses clean to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. Keeping up with our cleaning standards can protect us from the possible second wave that CDC experts are warning about. Now is the time to be tightening up our cleaning procedures rather than relaxing them. We all need to do our part to keep everybody healthy.