Cleaning routines for commercial properties do not only involve wiping and dusting. For places where a large number of people gather, additional sanitizing and disinfecting are needed. These include restaurants, hotels, office buildings, apartments, and retirement homes. If you operate a school, hospital, or kennel, preventing the spread of infectious diseases is a high priority.
Below are some tips from the CDC to help sanitize and disinfect commercial facilities. We strongly encourage you to add these to your regular maintenance routine.
Clean, sanitize, disinfect.
Cleaning involves wiping and dusting to remove dirt and impurities from surfaces. If the object is waterproof, you can wash it with soap and water. While soap will not necessarily kill germs, it can lower the risk of spreading disease.
Sanitizing reduces the amount of germs to a level that is deemed safe by public health standards. The process includes cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects.
Disinfecting not necessarily cleans surfaces, but it kills germs by applying special chemicals. Getting rid of germs after cleaning can further lower the risk of disease.
Cleaning should be enough for low-risk surfaces such as floors and windows. Sanitizing is a must for surfaces that make contact with food. Disinfection is recommended for frequently touched surfaces that are likely to transfer pathogens.
Clean and disinfect objects that are touched often.
Your daily maintenance tasks should include cleaning and disinfecting objects that are touched often. These include:
- Computer keyboards
- Faucet handles
- Elevator buttons
If surfaces or objects are soiled with body fluids or blood, wear gloves, and clean it up immediately. Dry the spill and disinfect thoroughly.
Perform routine wiping and dusting.
Standard cleaning practices such as wiping and dusting are often sufficient to remove dirt, dust, and pollen. Washing walls and fumigating should only be scheduled as needed. Fumigation, in particular, can irritate the eyes, nose, and skin, and trigger asthma attacks.
Clean, sanitize and disinfect correctly.
Always clean and sanitize dishes, utensils, cooking equipment, and kitchen surfaces. Remove visible food, crumbs, and dirt before sanitizing or disinfecting. It is best to run dishes, utensils, and cooking equipment in a dishwasher. Most machines come with a sanitize cycle that kills harmful bacteria through high heat and food-safe chemicals.
If you don’t have a dishwasher, you can wash, rinse, and sanitize your dishes in three individual sink basins.
Always follow directions on the label before applying disinfectants and make sure it is EPA-approved.
Disinfecting wipes can remove germs from items that are often touched, such as phones and computer keyboards.
Wear gloves and eye protection when handling chemicals like bleach and disinfectants.
Mixing chlorine bleach and ammonia can result in serious injury or even death. To be safe, do not mix cleaners with disinfectants.
Maintenance staff should undergo training on the safe and appropriate use of cleaners and disinfectants.
Dispose of waste properly.
Wear gloves when handling the waste. Place no-touch waste bins in high traffic areas. Avoid touching soiled tissues and other waste items when emptying the trash. Wash your hands with soap and water thoroughly after disposing of waste.
How to Clean
It is essential to clean, sanitize, and disinfect all items that come in contact with food.
- Remove food crumbs before washing
- Wash dishes, utensils, and cooking equipment in hot, soapy water
- Rinse in clean, hot water
- Sanitize with a chlorine bleach solution or the hot water method
- Allow dishes to air dry instead of wiping down
Soap residue can prevent the bleach from sanitizing, so make sure to rinse thoroughly. Replace clean dishcloths daily and never use sponges as they tend to harbor germs.
How to Sanitize
Here are two methods for sanitizing kitchen equipment.
- Chlorine bleach. Create a solution of 1 tablespoon unscented chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of cold water. Do not use hot water as it stops the bleach from sanitizing. Soak dishes and utensils for at least one minute in this solution. Wear gloves when you remove the plates and allow to air dry.
- Hot water. Soak dishes and utensils in 170°F water for at least 30 seconds. Check the water temperature to ensure accuracy and make sure the dishes are completely covered. Take out the dishes and allow to air dry.
When using bleach, be sure to check the label for EPA confirmation that it sanitizes. Bleach with fragrances cannot sanitize.
How to Disinfect
Disinfecting is the next safety step after cleaning and sanitizing. Here are steps on how to disinfect hard surfaces such as tables, chairs, and counters.
- Remove dirt and debris.
- Wipe with a clean dishcloth dipped in hot soapy water.
- Create a solution of ¼ cup chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of cold water. Pour into a spray bottle and apply to hard surfaces.
- Wipe thoroughly with a clean cloth.
- Allow to air dry completely.
Wiping and dusting are not enough to keep your tenants and customers safe. With pollutants and viruses lingering in the air, sanitizing and disinfecting should be part of your daily routine. If you are unable to employ a full-time, in-house custodial staff, Prestige Property Services can help. Our day porter services are just a phone call away.