Cleaning and Disinfecting a facility with a suspected/confirmed case of COVID-19

Many businesses in the UK have now been allowed to open but, as we start opening our doors and navigating our way through the new normal, maintaining high cleaning standards is just as important as ever. COVID-19 has not gone away so maintaining high cleaning standards in the workplace should be kept in place to help reduce spread of the virus.

There are several steps available to you as a business owner to help control and reduce the spread of the virus. Where possible reducing person to person contact is the most effective method, if people don’t come in to contact with the virus they can’t catch it. Obviously this isn’t always possible, and especially difficult for some businesses. Where people are more likely to come in to contact with each other, PPE is the next preferred option but again, this isn’t always possible. If your business is open suitable cleaning and  disinfection regimes should be put in place.

COVID-19 Cleaning Tips

Here is some basic information to know and first steps to take in order to maintain the cleanest, safest environment that you can.

Know the Terms

Knowing what you’re up against is a big part of fighting it. So’ here’s some clarification:

Coronavirus is a broad category of viruses. There are seven known coronaviruses that can infect people. They were first identified in the 1960s. You may hear people call this latest one “the new coronavirus” or “the novel coronavirus” to specify which one they’re talking about.

SARS-CoV-2 is the specific name of this ‘newest’ coronavirus, which was discovered at the end of 2019.

COVID-19 is the disease that is caused by SARS-CoV-2. The name tells you that it is the COronaVIrus Disease that was discovered in 2019.

It is also important to know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting, we have shared this previously in one of our other blogs ‘’Cleaning and Disinfecting

but as a little reminder…

“Cleaning” means removing dirt and impurities from surfaces. It doesn’t kill germs, but it decreases the number of germs on a given surface, this in itself will help reduce the risk of infection.

“Disinfecting” refers to killing germs, usually with chemicals like EPA-registered disinfectants. The surface may not necessarily look cleaner, and the germs may still be present, but they will be dead.

To reduce risk of infection from COVID-19 or any bacteria or virus, the best way is to use both of these processes. First, clean all surfaces to remove the bulk of the germs and to get rid of dirt. Then disinfect the surfaces to kill any germs that may remain.

Ensure you employees use suitable hygiene and hand washing procedures, especially in the workplace.

You and your employees should wash hands thoroughly, for the full recommended 20 seconds.

If hand-washing is not suitable an alcohol-based hand sanitiser with at least 60% alcohol content should be used on a regular basis. Hand Sanitiser is now readily available in shops and online or see our previous blog for instructions on how to make your own. You can even download a copy of our Hand washing poster here.

If your employees feel unwell, they should not come in to work.

This should be a standard practice generally to restrict spreading any illness but, it’s especially important right now. Anyone experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 should avoid others. Make sure your employees know that you expect them to stay home if they are feeling ill.

Keep your employees aware of the current Government Guidelines that they should follow if they experience symptoms of COVID-19 and how they can get a test.

For latest advice, see the NHS website.

Use PPE where suitable

PPE (Personal Protective Equipment), is an important part of preventing the spread of infectious diseases. PPE includes face masks, gowns, and disposable gloves. These items are important, but they’re only effective if used well.

Masks are most effective when everyone is wearing them. People can carry the new Coronavirus without showing symptoms, wearing a face covering is a best practice for everyone. If your staff are required to wear facemasks, ensure they are aware of how they should wear them correctly (Covering the mouth and nose).

Gloves should only be used in suitable settings, they are only effective if they are disposed of and changed after each ‘single’ use. In most circumstances, it is more effective to wash hands regularly for 20 seconds with soap and water or use hand sanitiser as mentioned above.

COVID-19 Risk Assessments

You are now required to have a COVID-19 Risk Assessment in place for your business. At ServiceMaster we have a Risk Assessment for our cleaners while they are on your site, they will follow guidance within the Risk Assessment which includes information on specific COVID-19 related issues, PPE and general cleaning activities.

How to clean and disinfect your building

If you’re taking the time and effort to clean your building yourself, now is the time to make sure you do it right. Just like with washing hands, the procedures are there for a reason. If you try to cut corners or reduce costs, you could put yourself or your staff at risk. Put together a cleaning regime to make sure you take care of everything you need to.

Sort the cleaning from the disinfecting

Identify what just needs to be cleaned, and what needs to be disinfected, as well. Many surfaces and objects may be fine with a regular cleaning. But High Touchpoint area will probably need to be disinfected as well. Download out High Touchpoint cleaning poster for a list of areas that probably need more regular cleaning and disinfection.

Don’t forget to clean outside spaces too. Think about areas that people touch, door handles, handrails, tables & benches etc. All of these places can harbour the virus for hours or days even though they are outside.

Likewise, if absolutely nobody has been inside your place of business for 7 days, your normal cleaning routine will be fine upon returning. The coronavirus that causes COVID-19 has not been shown to survive on surfaces for longer than a week. However, once people return and begin to carry out day to day activities, regular disinfecting will be necessary.

For more information see our previous blogs or see the official guidance for cleaning in non-healthcare settings outside the home from the UK Government.

Consider outsourcing to commercial cleaning services provider

Professional cleaners already have the experience and cleaning products needed to help keep businesses and workplaces safe. They have the protective gear that they need. They come in, do the work, and get out. You can focus on your business and keeping yourself, your staff and your customers or visitors safe, while your cleaning provider focusses on your cleaning.

Help prevent the spread of this or any other virus in your business

It’s important to do everything you can to prevent the spread of COVID-19. That means enforcing rules about protective gear for your employees where appropriate. It means encouraging employees who feel ill to stay home. It means strictly following appropriate procedures for handwashing, cleaning, and disinfecting. And it means keeping the environment thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.

One way to reduce risk is to leave the cleaning and disinfecting to the professionals. ServiceMaster Clean Contract Services can take a giant task off your plate and a giant weight off of your mind. Whether you’re in retail, foodservice, an office environment, a School or even a GP surgery, professional cleaners have the training needed to keep you safe.

Were here if you need us.