As America gradually reopens in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses and offices are preparing workspaces for the reintroduction of staff. A disinfection checklist should be in place to protect the health of employees and customers now and in the near future.
The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is relatively easy to disable. The virus may be killed by a combination of soap and water, an EPA-approved disinfectant or a solution containing at least 70 percent alcohol. Cleaning solutions like these are already staples in businesses across the country.
Disinfectants are available as sprays, wipes and concentrated solutions. Each disinfectant product requires that users follow specific instructions. For example, some disinfectants will work only when the liquid remains visibly wet on the contaminated surface for a certain number of minutes (contact time).
How does the coronavirus react to different surfaces?
When applying disinfectants to workplace surfaces, consider that the coronavirus remains viable on different surfaces for varying amounts of time. Some materials harbor the virus for just a few hours, while other surfaces have the potential to host the virus for several days.
Smooth surfaces tend to attract and retain the coronavirus more abundantly than ones featuring microscopic grooves, crevices or nooks. Doorknobs, with their metallic smooth surfaces, for instance, attract the coronavirus more profusely than cardboard, which consists of materials containing microscopic holes.
SARS-CoV-2 lives on surfaces for a brief period, resulting in a decreased chance of infection when an employee touches surfaces where the virus had lived for several days. The virus lives on cardboard for 24 hours; on glass for five days; and on plastic and stainless steel for three days.
The virus flourishes when it spreads from person to person through respiratory droplets, like those from coughing and sneezing. But when a person coughs onto a hard surface, like a desk, the virus will unlikely live for very long and will thereby be less likely to cause an infection.
Are both cleaning and disinfecting necessary?
While reducing the risk of exposure to the coronavirus via personal contact is key, disinfection is still important. Despite the coronavirus being viable on surfaces for a short duration, killing the virus helps prevent its spread. Disinfectants work to disable the virus, making contaminated surfaces safe to handle.
Disinfecting works best when cleaning is done first. Cleaning removes dirt and grime but fails to kill germs. Disinfecting, though it does not reduce dirt, does kill germs and viruses. An approach that combines cleaning and disinfecting is central to disabling infection-causing viruses, like SARS-CoV-2.
While disinfectants are hard to come by at this time due to a surge in demand, businesses may already have a stockpile of disinfectants on hand. If not, supply chain experts expect the stock of disinfectants to be replenished by the summer of 2020.
Businesses that are ready to disinfect yet have limited access to EPA-approved disinfectants can contact a professional disinfection company like ServiceMaster.
What disinfectants kill the coronavirus?
The EPA has approved a list of disinfectants. The disinfectant products on the EPAs list work against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19. The contact time for many of these disinfectant solutions ranges anywhere from one to five to ten minutes.
Hydrogen peroxide products, like Oxivir HC Wipes or Oxivir Disinfectant Cleaner, are effective. In addition to disabling SARS-CoV-2, hydrogen peroxide kills several pathogens, including the rhinovirus, feline calicivirus and the rotavirus. Disinfectants containing hydrogen peroxide have a contact time of one minute.
Effective Lysol brand disinfectant sprays that have human coronavirus claims or that meet the EPA Viral Emerging Pathogen Policy include Lysol Disinfectant Spray EPA #777-99, Lysol Disinfectant Spray Max Cover Mist #777-127 and Lysol Disinfectant Spray Neutra Air 2-in-1 #777-136.
Sodium hypochlorite is the active ingredient in effective Clorox cleaning products. The EPA has approved several Clorox brand solutions for use against the coronavirus. Clorox Clean Up Cleaner + Bleach has a contact time of one minute and fights norovirus in addition to SARS-CoV-2.
Other Clorox disinfectants that are proven to work against the coronavirus include Clorox Multi-Surface Cleaner + Bleach, Clorox Disinfecting Wipes and Clorox Disinfecting Bathroom Cleaner. Any of these products can be safely used to effectively decontaminate workplace areas from the novel coronavirus.
Bathrooms and their fixtures, including sinks and toilets, should undergo thorough disinfecting with approved solutions. Other high touch points in work environments that must be disinfected include light switches, hard-back chairs, phones, touch screens, remote controls, countertops, tables and handles.
What are safety precautions to take when using disinfectants?
Safely using disinfectants comes with its own set of rules. For instance, never mix bleach with another disinfectant or cleaning product, as doing so will release toxic fumes that are harmful to human health. When storing disinfectants or using them, always heed the instructions on the product labels.
Furthermore, in an effort to disperse sufficient quantities to offices, business establishments and other workplaces, it is important to avoid stockpiling vast numbers of disinfectant products. Hoarding disinfectants only leads to shortages for those businesses that are in critical need of them.
Professional Disinfection Services
As companies begin to reopen, it makes sense to disinfect the work environment. When the health and safety of your employees is a top priority, hire ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning for our prompt and professional coronavirus disinfection and sterilization services.
ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning is highly qualified to disable dangerous viruses, like SARS-CoV-2, from contaminated professional buildings. We use EPA-approved disinfectants and employ proven techniques, like wet fogging with a broad-spectrum biocide, to wipe out the coronavirus from work spaces.
Businesses of all types in the greater Houston, Texas, area benefit from a coronavirus cleaning by ServiceMaster Restoration and Cleaning. Our local team of experienced technicians will respond quickly to requests for emergency and immediate cleanings. Safeguard employee health by scheduling a commercial cleaning with us.