Nicole Mason is the owner of Glean LLC. Glean is a locally-owned commercial cleaning company dedicated to excellence in commercial cleaning while creating job opportunities to local Richmond citizens. Glean provides both ongoing janitorial services, deep cleanings, and sanitizing services. For more information, visit their website.
How should I be adjusting my cleaning routine during the pandemic?
Cleaning in a COVID-19 world requires addressing the concerns of your staff and customers as well as using effective practices to mitigate contamination. Here are some considerations:
Educating yourself is key when exploring what your new routine could look like. Find out what your industry is doing to address specific concerns that could arise for visitors or frequenters to your space.
Listening closely and educating your staff or customers will be key when adjusting your routine. Some routine adjustments you make will be to reassure your staff and to give them the confidence that you hold their safety in high regard.
Consider your budget and devise a plan to obtain Personal Protective Equipment for at least the next 6 to 12 months to ensure the safety of your staff. As prices rise for these products, consider what can be sourced as a reusable product, what is critical for this time, and what can wait. If your budget allows, contract with a local cleaning company to supplement your staff’s cleaning practices.
How often should we be cleaning our retail business during the pandemic? How often should we be sanitizing our business?
Local state guidance indicates that businesses be cleaned every two hours. Considerations will need to be made if your facility is only open to your staff versus being open to the general public. For the safety of staff, each location may consider cleaning daily and disinfecting daily at minimum.
What types of products do I need to be using on high-touch surfaces?
Consider a disinfectant that requires a low “dwell time.” This essentially means you want a product that takes 60 seconds or less to work. Some products take up to 10 minutes to be effective. In most settings, 10 minutes is a long time to have a surface wet with the solution before wiping down. Also consider a non-toxic solution, as this will be something your staff and visitors will be breathing in daily.
What’s the difference between a regular cleaning and sanitizing?
There are three different aspects of a thorough cleaning process. Essentially cleaning simply removes debris that one can see with the naked eye. Sanitizing indicates you are lessening the germs on a surface that can not be seen. Disinfecting is when you use a product that disables the germ on the surface from infecting others. These stages of cleaning often take at least two different products to complete. Most people choose to either sanitize or disinfect after cleaning.
What is the place/item that businesses most often miss when self-cleaning?
Many folks miss the concept of using disposable or cloths that can be bleached when disinfecting. A very easy way to create “cross-contamination” is to use the same cloth on multiple surfaces without following the instructions of the disinfecting solution properly. Unfortunately, this can cause more harm than good.
When cleaning “High Touch” surfaces (i.e. door handles, light switch, faucet handles, toilet handles, counter tops) most folks spray the chemical at the top of handles and not on the entire surface. Just to be sure, think of where one’s hand would typically land on a surface and be sure to spray that area as well.
I don’t have the budget to hire a cleaning company to regularly sanitize my business, what should I do?
Training your staff to be a part of your cleaning routine can be helpful. You can empower your staff by providing them with a formal training on how you all will implement the new routine. Here are a few more tips:
Obtaining products that make the process easy and creating kits that are well stocked will be key. Staff know that cleaning isn’t the primary reason that you hired them, so make their jobs as easy as possible.
A staff member can be designated as “Quality Assurance” to make sure you have continuity of cleanings and supply refilling if the responsibilities rotate between staff.
Consider sourcing your products from multiple vendors to have a consistent supply, develop price comparison, and to purchase items in bulk as necessary. Stores like your local restaurant wholesaler, your bulk grocery stores, and online vendors can be very helpful. Online restaurant suppliers are also a great “non-traditional” source for products for those in the retail or office space.
Finally, consider contracting with a professional cleaner for a weekly or bi-weekly service to supplement your team’s cleaning.