The current and ongoing infectious outbreak of COVID-19 has changed how businesses and private people protect themselves and others from catching the viral disease through the proper cleaning and disinfecting procedures strongly recommended now by the CDC, Centers for Disease Control.

Note: COVID-19 refers to a coronavirus disease that was first discovered in 2019 hence the 19 following COVID.

Every state has enacted a COVID-19 response that businesses are required to follow in order to safely operate most businesses. This should be done by reducing the likelihood of contracting the disease either from contact with an infected person or by touching a contaminated surface where someone who is infected has previously touched or coughed on.

Learn how to disinfect a building of COVID-19 according to current health and safety guidelines that are always subject to change.

What CDC/EPA Recommends for Safe Cleaning & Disinfecting of Buildings

The CDC/EPA have released their latest recommendations for safe cleaning and disinfecting of various buildings whether a business, private home residence, learning institute or other building. Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company offers expert cleaning and disinfecting services for buildings thought to be possibly contaminated with COVID-19. 

There are some steps that must be followed to ensure everyone’s safety both during the cleaning/disinfecting process and after the job is completed. Before reviewing these guidelines, we will first discuss the idea behind why these procedures are being recommended now by the top infectious disease control agencies.

Understanding How COVID-19 Is Transmitted

This strain of coronavirus, called COVID-19, is thought to be primarily transmitted when someone gets in close proximity to someone already sick with COVID-19 symptoms through airborne droplets. These droplets are typically strewn into the air surrounding the infected person when they talk, cough or sneeze. 

If someone is standing near to them during this time, that person could then breathe in the virus or otherwise transfer viruses that have contaminated surfaces near to where the infectious person was present.

The Main Thoughts Behind CDC Cleaning/Disinfecting Guidelines

In general, viruses, including corona viruses, tend to be transmitted through the air by close contact with an already infected person who is actively coughing, sneezing, or rubbing their nose, mouth, or face then touching nearby surfaces. However, most viruses are incapable of remaining live and active on these surfaces for long stretches of time.

A virus, like COVID-19, needs a reservoir to remain active and stay infectious. COVID-19 is now thought to have begun as an illness spread through bat contamination. Although some virus cells are present in samples from the feces of infected bats, it is unclear whether the virus can live and reproduce in these conditions. 

The COVID-19 pandemic is being spread now by human to human contact. There is evidence that the virus COVID-19 can remain on surfaces that were touched or otherwise contaminated by someone already sick from the viral illness usually by coughing or sneezing. The viruses that are left behind on surfaces are thought to be unable to actually multiply, or reproduce, without a live warm body reservoir like a bat or a human.

Most scientists studying the current COVID-19 pandemic believe that the virus can potentially remain alive and viable for some period of time on certain surfaces. This viral contamination is not done through a spore or other longer living microorganism state so are prone to die after a matter of hours to days laying on a surface and not having access to a cell reservoir.

Much is still unknown about this disease spread, and this is why the CDC and other government infectious disease control experts have specific cleaning and disinfecting measures needed to slow the spread of this highly contagious viral infection.

Understanding the Differences Between Cleaning & Disinfecting

While some people will use the words cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing interchangeably, there are some definition differences. Cleaning typically refers to normal cleaning using soap and water that removes grime and some microorganisms. Sanitizing or disinfecting refers to actually trying to kill germs, microorganisms, with the use of stronger chemicals.

First Make a Customized Plan of Action Before Reopening Building

Before businesses, that were mandated to close during the quarantine, can safely reopen, they must first assess their unique situation and develop an effective plan of action first. To do this, there are some factors to consider that include:

  • Determining Degree or Possible Level of Contamination
  • Make an Effective Cleaning & Disinfection Plan
  • Determine PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) Needed & Gather Them
  • Figure Out Where Greatest Contamination Is
  • Start from the Cleanest Areas to the Dirtiest to Avoid Cross-Contamination
  • Get the Proper CDC Recommended Effective Cleaning/Disinfecting Agents
  • Ventilate the Areas Being Cleaned
  • Put on Protective Clothing/Gear
  • Carefully Mix Cleaning Chemical Solutions – Never Mix Ammonia & Bleach & other Cautions
  • Start Outside & Go Inward Towards Inside Areas of Building
  • Find & Thoroughly Clean/Disinfect Bathroom – for Use When Cleaning
  • Pay Attention to Hot Spots and Frequently Touched & Shared Items & Places – Door Knobs, Handles, Facets, Countertops etc.
  • Have Break Area for Workers Cleaning
  • When Done – Do Decontamination Process

Recommended PPE Before Cleaning/Disinfecting Contaminated Building

There are some supplies to gather prior to beginning the actual cleaning and disinfecting process. It is crucial to have and properly put on personal protective equipment and garb.

PPE includes:

  • Full Face Respirator/Cartridge 
  • Tyvek Coveralls – Try for High-Quality if Reusing 
  • Double Nitrile Gloves
  • Rubber Boots

The PPE used should be specific to the building cleaning needs. Remember, corona viruses won’t multiply or reproduce if they are not in a live host, rather the viruses left on surfaces will degrade over time.

Employees Must Get the Appropriate Training Before Cleaning

Cleaning and disinfecting a possibly or for sure contaminated building is dangerous work. It is critical that employers give their employees who will be doing the cleaning the proper training and instruction beforehand. This will include how to safely and properly put on the required personal protective equipment or clothing and gear. 

The proper cleaning supplies must be available as well. Most professional cleaning companies will have specialized equipment, ventilation fans and cleaning related supplies already. The CDC/EPA has a list of chemicals and cleaning brand products available online to help individuals ensure that they are using an effective cleaning agent.

Determine What Cleaning Solution to Use for Each Building Item

Many of the effective chemicals and brand name approved cleaning products will leave behind a filmy residue. This could damage some of the more sensitive technological equipment that a business or building might have. This would include computer keyboards, electronic equipment, monitoring devices and others. Some of these items may need to be cleaned with a hand-held microfiber cleaning cloth that is dampened with the proper cleaning agent then wiped dry.

Why Regular Cleaning With Soap/Water Should Be the First Step

The use of regular cleaning products, like plain soap and water, should be performed first to remove visible dirt, grime and wash away some of the top surface layers of germs and other microorganisms. Begin with the cleanest area first and move outwards towards the dirtier spots.

The next step is to apply the disinfectant solution. This can be mixed into a bottle with fogging capabilities, sprayed on or otherwise properly applied product method and allowed to sit for the proper amount of time. This can be from 5 minutes to longer.

Follow this step up with a rinse and dry process to wipe away any chemical residue that may be sticky. Follow your chosen disinfecting product directions precisely to avoid problems.

The Need for a Safe Decontamination Process at End of Cleaning

Since the supply of required personal protective equipment and supplies is limited, many companies are requiring that their employees reuse PPE if possible. After disinfecting an area, the person cleaning should be taken outside and sprayed down with their protective coveralls and other attire still on. Allow the clothing to dry. Only then is it safe to carefully take off the gear in the proper order. Always mark apparel/gear if reusing with your name.

Make Cleaning/Disinfecting Your Building Easy by Calling Eco Bear

Eco Bear Cleaning Company is well-trained for biohazard cleaning and disinfecting services. Our highly-qualified team have the knowledge, hands-on training and ample experience to get this dangerous, but necessary, job done right the first time.

Our topnotch cleaning/disinfecting services are affordable and easy to schedule. Whatever your building disinfecting needs, our cleaning specialists can handle it for you. We have our own effective PPE, environmentally safe cleaning products and the necessary industrial-strength cleaning and ventilation equipment to complete the work in a safe manner minimizing risks of exposure. Contact us here.