Ah-choo! October marks the beginning of flu season. During this time of year, it’s more important than ever to provide a clean, healthy work environment for building occupants, visitors and employees. Cleaning alone is not enough. The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 48 hours if they’re not properly disinfected or sanitized. During flu season, up to 59% of surfaces will be contaminated with the flu virus. That amounts to 6 out of every 10 things you touch on a daily basis having the potential to transmit the flu to your occupants and employees!
That’s why ESC recommends a 3-step cleaning process to clean, disinfect and sanitize surfaces.
Did you know that a cleaner does not disinfect and a disinfectant does not clean? A traditional all-purpose cleaner is designed to lift off dirt. Some germs will be removed during this process, but the cleaner will not get everything. Sanitizing a surface will reduce 99.9% of bacteria on inanimate surfaces but will not remove viruses or fungi. Disinfecting destroys bacteria and germs due to the containment of special ingredients, but it is not designed to lift dirt off a surface, making it shine or leave a pleasant scent behind. As part of the 3-step process, we recommend to clean first, then sanitize and then apply disinfectant to kill the bacteria. Usually, a disinfectant product needs to sit for at least 5-10 minutes, wet, on a surface, giving it time to kill germs.
Be sure to target high-touch room surfaces. Objects and surfaces that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, light switches, phones, break room tables and counters, bathroom counter tops and faucets, need to be disinfected at least once a day. Germs like influenza can survive on surfaces for hours. The norovirus, a source of acute gastroenteritis, can survive for weeks at a time, providing ample opportunity for the spread of infection between employees, so it is important to use products that are EPA-registered to kill germs of most concern.
Cold and flu season may be upon us, but the combination of cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing can keep building occupants healthy all year long!