Cleaning Should also Break Cross-Contamination Cycles

Facility managers may want to take note. According to Forbes magazine, workplace illness costs business $576B each year. So cleaning without breaking microbiological cycles of infection is a somewhat hollow effort. Cleaning for Health versus cleaning for appearance has been shown by University of North Carolina studies to provide a better overall effectiveness, more odor remediation and greater building occupant satisfaction than traditional cleaning procedures.

FOR STARTERS

Does your facility maintenance department have a written protocol for common touchpoints, known technically as fomites? What leading companies and hospitals have found, assisted by infection control leaders such as PUR-O-ZONE, is that a specialized regimen of treating specific touchpoints (like school desktops, shared office equipment, door handles, drinking fountains) with a specialized product (such as Clorox Healthcare Wipes, or microfiber cloths and Envirox Critical Care residual effectiveness disinfectant) pays off in as much as 50% fewer sick leave days, less student absence, fewer parent and community concerns, greater PTO confidence, fewer health-insurance claims and greater workforce productivity.

RESTROOMS

Restrooms are designed as hazardous waste collection stations. Even healthy people using restrooms make them less than healthy places. Traditional cleaning procedures were marginally effectiving, leading to odor from "resident" odor build-up. 

Then platforms for no-touch, total restroom cleaning came along. KaiVac and Hillyard are two sources of these specialized restroom systems that clean, disinfect and deodorize almost all restroom surfaces. These platforms separate the operators from hazardous microorganisms and allow them to accomplish much more thorough cleaning with less work than old methods. 

ENCLOSED DISPENSERS

The more enclosure around towels and tissue in restrooms the better. High-pressure valve flushing of toilets has been shown in University of Arizona testing to make a "microbiological shower" on paper products in restrooms, for a distance of several feet. The more enclosed the dispenser, the less exposure. Studies have also revealed that the paper hand-drying process provides an important element in the handwashing process. Hands that leave restrooms partially moist or wet, actually spread bacteria and viruses. 

THINGS TO AVOID

Evidence is building that hot air and jet air dryers not only make a trememdous mess in restrooms, but have even been described as "viral bombs" based on recent research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology. Not only do blow dryers discourage many from washing at all, but the evidence is that germs are blown throughout the rooms where they can increase cross-contamination or be inhaled by restroom users.

Harsh and toxic chemistries, such as phenolics and quaternary agents are not only more dangerous, but less effective than many recent technological innovations. From aqueous ozone, which can be converted for use from tap water, to real hydrogen peroxide disinfectants such as those made by Envirox, to agents that kill with very short dwell times, you may want to review with your PUR-O-ZONE representative the wide range of options you have. The days of leaving harsh chemistries sitting on restroom surfaces can be over.