COVID-19: doing routine cleaning and disinfecting your workplace is the best choice

COVID-19 breakouts makes people more aware of routine cleaning because it spreads through the respiratory system when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Besides, when a person touches an object or subject having the virus on it then touches his own mouth, nose and eyes, he can acquire the virus. An appropriate way to protect workers in the workplace is by implementing routine cleaning. This document provides guidance on how to clean and disinfect after a suspected case of COVID-19 appears in the workplace. 

What are cleaning and disinfection?

Cleaning and disinfection are the two different definitions. Cleaning is the process of removing germs (bacteria and viruses), dirt and other organic matters from the surface of an object. Meanwhile, disinfecting means using the chemicals in order to kill germs on the surface. A combination of cleaning and disinfection is most effective from the risks of exposure to COVID-19. 


Cleaning and disinfection are two different process

It is very critical to clean before disinfecting. Because cleaning reduces germs and dirt that allows the disinfectant to active and kill the COVID-19 virus. Disinfectant may kill the virus better if the surface has been cleaned with a detergent first. Those containing over 70 percent of alcohol, oxygen bleach and chlorine detergent are suitable for use on the hard surface, for example using on surfaces where any spilt liquid does not soak in. Health organizations recommend that you should use a 1000 ppm bleach to disinfect hard surfaces. 

Routine cleaning 

It is highly recommended that the workplace should be cleaned at least daily. In some situations, more office cleaning may be required. Specifically, if workplaces operate in shifts, you should clean it between shifts. And if equipment is shared among workers, it is essential to clean between uses. However, special attention should be applied to frequently touched subjects such as the door handles, desks, kitchen surfaces, light switches and so on. Surfaces should be cleaned more frequently when being used repeatedly by a large number of people, after any spillage and visibly soiled. 


Ideally, the workplace should be cleaned at least once a day

Cleaning with water and detergent regularly is effective enough to make the surface disinfected. Alternatively, you may be able to do 2-in-1 routine cleaning and disinfecting by combining detergent and disinfectant. When and how often you do cleaning your workplaces and certain surfaces, it will depend on the contaminated detergent being used. This would also depends on the volume of workers, the suspected case of COVID-19 at the workplace, the likelihood of customers or visitors who touch the surfaces. 

Checklist of standard precautions for cleaning  

While cleaning and disinfection, you should remember that:

  • Where cleaning happens on or around electrical equipment, if possible, should isolate and turn off the power source before cleaning with water. 
  • Read the label on the packaging of detergent or disinfectant and follow the recommendations from the manufacturers. 
  • Make a copy of Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for the detergent and disinfectant and be familiar with the contents on it. 
  • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) which is identified on the label of detergent and the SDS. 

What should be used for cleaning and disinfecting the workplace?

Due to the characteristics of the surfaces and objects, you should choose the different kinds of detergent and materials. 

For cleaning

  • Hard surfaces: Ideally in most situations, cleaning with water and detergent is efficient to remove the virus. 
  • Soft or porous surfaces: For fabric or leather surfaces, ask for an advice from the manufacturer of the item that needs to be cleaned about the products should be used for safety. Occasionally, detergent is a good choice for fabric surfaces. If you need more thorough cleaning, fabric materials may be steam cleaned first. And it is required to have some special cleaning for leather. For example, when doing office cleaning on seats, it may be more effective if you use removable washable cover and replace these regularly as you clean the surface.   


Cleaning and disinfection is one of the best way to prevent the spread of COVID-19 virus

For disinfecting 

  • Hard surfaces: Disinfectant is suitable for use on hard surfaces where any split liquid does not soak in. Disinfectant with alcohol concentration of at least 70%, 1000 parts per million of chlorine bleach, oxygen bleach or sprays containing quaternary ammonium compounds. These chemicals should be labelled as “disinfectant” on the package and must be used following the instructions. 
  • Soft and porous surfaces: Disinfectant is not useful on fabric surfaces. Instead, it only works with extend contact time on the surface. 

Recommended doing routine cleaning on the workplace 

When you need to clean your environment, especially do office or strata cleaning, keep in mind that: 

  • Wear gloves while do cleaning. After each clean, discard the gloves. In the circumstance when used reusable gloves, it is recommended only using these gloves for COVID-19 related surfaces and not using for other purposes or sharing among workers. Note that after use, you should wash reusable gloves with detergent and water and leave to dry. Also, clean your hands instantly by using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If not, use hand sanitiser with over 60 percent of ethanol or 70 percent of isopropanol. 


Keep in mind some recommended action to doing office cleaning more effectively and prevent workplace from the exposure of COVID-19 virus

  • Clean the surfaces with detergent and water carefully and remember that always clean from the cleanest to dirtiest surfaces. This will prevent the bacteria and virus to move to cleaner objects and allow to remove the amount of germs as large as possible. 
  • If it is necessary to use a disinfectant, clean the surface first, then use detergent and apply disinfectant. A disinfectant may not kill germs if the strata has not been cleaned. Remember to use disposable paper towels to apply disinfectant and ensure that disposable cloths are dried before using.  
  • Leave the disinfectant to remain for a certain period of time as specified on the package. By that way, the virus is killed. If no time is required, leave it for 10 minutes. 

How to clean the workplace if someone is suspected or confirmed to acquire the virus of COVID-19?

If a person at your workplace is suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19, it is required to clean carefully and disinfect all of suspected areas. For example, clean the offices, common areas such as door handles, light switches and so on. Remember to close off the affected area before doing routine cleaning and disinfection. If possible, you should also open the outside doors and windows to make the air circulate better and then start cleaning. So how to clean the workplace in this special circumstance?

Besides doing routine cleaning, you should use a professional cleaning service team 

  • Clean and disinfect the hard surfaces by using either a physical detergent and water with 1000 ppm bleach or household bleach or hospital-grade bleach solutions available on the retail stores. These bleach solutions should be made fresh on a daily basis. 
  • Using a combined detergent and 1000 parts per million bleach solution (2-in-1 clean) made daily from a concentrated solution. 
  • Some equipments such as cloths or mop heads should be laundered by using hot water and dried completely before reuse. And for cleaning tools like buckers should be cleaned with a new disinfectant and dried completely. 

When routine cleaning and disinfection is done, you should place disposable cloths and covers in a plastic bag or place inside another rubbish bag then dispose in the general waste. During the process of cleaning, you do not need to close down the entire workplace. Particularly if a person is infected or suspected to have COVID-19, there are only visited parts of the workplace close. Remember that the cleaning and disinfection must commence before employees return to the affected areas. 

This document helps you to find out how to clean and disinfect the workplace, especially when someone is suspected to have COVID-19. A key way to protect employees from acquiring the virus is by doing routine cleaning and applying disinfecting measures at the workplace. It is highly recommended to clean at least once a day. And a combination of cleaning and disinfection is most effective to kill the COVID-19 virus. Moreover, you should hire a professional cleaning service team to make the cleaning more effective and save time as well.


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