Cleaning & Disinfecting the Workplace

May 21, 2020
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As we return to work following the COVID-19 pandemic we need to be aware of keeping our workspaces clean and disinfected.

CLEANING

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines cleaning as the removal of dirt and impurities, including germs, from surfaces. Cleaning alone does not kill germs. But by removing the germs, it decreases their number and therefore any risk of spreading infection.

DISINFECTING

CDC defines disinfection as the killing germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. But killing germs remaining on a surface after cleaning further reduces any risk of spreading infection.

HARD SURFACES

CDC recommends cleaning hard surfaces prior to disinfection. Once the surface is clean, it is time to disinfect.

1. Wear disposable gloves.

2. Cleaning with a detergent or simply soap and water.

3. Use an EPA-registered household disinfectant. Follow the instructions on the label to ensure safe and effective use of the product.

4. Diluted household beach solutions may also be used if appropriate for the surface

BLEACH SOLUTION

Disinfection can be accomplished using diluted household bleach at the following ratio;

5 tablespoons (1/3 cup) bleach per gallon of water or

4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

You can also use EPA registered disinfectants, which can be found here.

SOFT SURFACES

For soft surfaces such as fabrics, carpets, curtains, etc, if possible, run the item through the laundry at the warmest water setting recommended by the manufacturer and then allow the item to dry completely. 

If the item cannot be laundered, use one of the cleaning products recommended by the EPA for soft surfaces, which can be found here.

ELECTRONICS

For electronics such as touch screens, tablets, keyboards, etc. remove any visible dirt and then clean with an alcohol-based wipe or spray containing at least 70% alcohol and then dry the surface.

EXTRA TIPS

  • Employees doing any cleaning tasks should wear PPE such as gloves and also safety glasses if using liquids. 
  • After cleaning employees should wash their hands using soap and water.
  • Follow normal preventive actions while at work and home, including cleaning hands and avoiding touching eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Additional key times to clean hands include:
    • After blowing one’s nose, coughing, or sneezing.
    • After using the restroom.
    • Before eating or preparing food.
    • After contact with animals or pets.