The winter months are when schools, healthcare facilities, offices, and many other types of locations become very concerned about infection control. Fortunately, cleaning professionals can play one of the most important roles in helping to reduce illness and infections.

Mopping“There are many steps cleaning professionals can take to help improve cleaning results and at the same time protect their own health, as well as create a healthier, safer environment,” says Paul Wildenberg, vice president of sales for Charlotte Products/Enviro-Solutions, a leading manufacturer of professional cleaning chemicals as well as Green-certified cleaning products.

“However, it requires following some relatively simple guidelines as well as using the right tools, products, and procedures.”

Wildenberg suggests the following procedures to help reduce the spread of infection during the winter months:

  • Put the cleaning worker first. It is very important that cleaning workers wear gloves and, especially during the flu and cold season, additional protective gear such as goggles and masks.
  • Increase hand washing. Cleaning workers should wash their hands frequently for up to 20 seconds throughout their work schedule and, most importantly, every time gloves are removed.
  • Use clean tools. Such things as mops, buckets, and cleaning cloths should be cleaned before use and changed after each room or area is cleaned; additionally, if cleaning tools are torn or damaged, they should not be used.
  • Have the right tools for each cleaning task. Evaluate if the tools currently being used are the most effective at cleaning and sanitizing surfaces; in many cases, transferring to new cleaning technologies may prove more effective and reduce cleaning times as well.
  • Select disinfectants carefully. If using disinfectants, make sure the disinfectant targets the types of germs and bacteria of most concern; also ensure it is diluted correctly and allowed plenty of “wet” dwell time to work effectively.

“It is also very important to not overuse disinfectants,” says Wildenberg. “Some pathogens are developing immunities to disinfectants due to overuse. Further, overuse is invariably costly and can be detrimental to the environment.”