How to clean and disinfect safely during Covid-19

Are you concerned about properly disinfecting for coronavirus while also protecting your employees from the health risks associated with hazardous chemical exposure? 

GreenSeal published a guide for safer cleaning and disinfecting practices focused in five main areas. 

Their guidelines explain how to:

  • Create a cleaning and disinfecting plan.
  • Ensure that cleaning personnel are properly trained.
  • Maintain sustainability and healthy indoor air.
  • Communicate the cleaning and disinfecting plan.
  • Provide safer working conditions.

These best practices are meant to help guide facility managers, custodial and maintenance managers, property managers, and heads of housekeeping with actionable steps to both clean and disinfect spaces, while reducing the unnecessary use and exposure to hazardous chemicals.

This guideline outlines where and when to clean and disinfect (both in doors and outside), and goes into details about proper cleaning and disinfecting for workplace reopening, routine cleaning and disinfecting, and following a suspected or confirmed Covid-19 case.

In addition to cleaning guidelines, they recommend training, the cornerstone to any successful cleaning program! They focus on enhanced training for cleaning staff in six areas, and if possible, training should be completed in their own language.  

The six training areas are:

  • Safe and effective handling and use of products
  • Use and maintenance of cleaning equipment
  • Preventing ergonomic injuries
  • Proper cleaning procedures
  • Use of PPE, including how to avoid cross-contamination
  • Recognizing COVID-19 symptoms

In order to focus on protecting human health during a pandemic they highlight responsible cleaning and disinfection. This includes no unnecessary hazardous chemical exposure, referring to the guidelines on when, where, and what to clean and disinfect.

GreenSeal recommends selecting green cleaning products that are certified for performance and safety by a third party. In the case of the disinfectant, selecting one on EPA's List N that has safer active ingredients, one that that EPA's Design for the Environment program has reviewed and approved. These ingredients are safer than other EPA List N chemicals, but just as effective. Finally, they urge organizations to heavily promote proper handwashing over hand sanitizer, and choosing third party certified green hand soaps. These will all contribute to a healthier indoor environment, and a healthier worker.

Next is communication, which should include emergency communications procedures for suspected COVID-19 cases in the building. Visible signs indicating whether spaces are closed for cleaning or safe to re-enter. Informational materials for cleaning personnel to share with building occupants to help answer questions about their cleaning procedures. They also recommend information to occupants about actions they can take, like clearing workstations, to help cleaning personnel.

Lastly, GreenSeal points out the need to create a healthy workplace for all cleaning staff.

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