Everyone’s awareness of cleanliness and sanitation has increased over the past few years. It’s on our mind while we drop kids off at school, run errands, and especially when we go to work as we try to protect ourselves, families, coworkers, and employees. The pandemic has made employers take a closer look at facility cleaning and sanitizing practices to ensure workplace safety and retain workers, and it’s made employees look at what they can clean in their workspaces. Cleaning and sanitizing are often used interchangeably, but they refer to different things. Let’s review what each of these are before we dive into why they’re important.
Cleaning means removing visible dirt, dust, and other debris from workplace and facility surfaces. Usually this is done with a wet cloth or wipe to wipe down surfaces, either with water alone or with soap. For example, cleaning off a break room counter with a wet rag.
Generally, cleaning surfaces doesn’t kill germs but could remove some of them. Cleaning also helps sanitizing be more effective.
Sanitizing refers to lowering the amount of germs to a “safe level.” Your facility’s “safe level” depends on if you have specific workplace requirements or public health standards. Typically sanitizing practices vary between facilities because each one is different. As sanitizing examples, you could wipe down a desk using antibacterial wipes or use a chemical disinfectant to sanitize workplace floors.
How Germs Spread
Germs and viruses spread when someone touches something that is contaminated and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth. Droplets from a cough or sneeze of an infected person move through the air and carry viruses with them. A person can become infected by touching a surface where these droplets land before touching their eyes, mouth, or nose. In addition to cleaning and sanitizing, frequent hand washing prevents virus transmission from infected surfaces.
In addition to your facility’s commercial cleaning, employees can help to clean and sanitize their workspaces. It’s important to regularly clean and sanitize telephones, computer equipment, and other frequently touched surfaces. Provide employees with cleaning products that are safe to use and will not damage office equipment.