Schools and aged care facilities can be a breeding ground for infectious disease due to the length of time and difficulty of maintaining social distancing. The cleaning industry has been called upon to increase cleaning efforts, but how do we know what we are doing is the best process for infectious control cleaning?
Cleaning standards in schools and aged care is often conducted without measurable results. Generally speaking, cleaning is usually assessed by the naked eye which cannot see bacteria sitting on the surfaces.
When cleaning and disinfecting is performed incorrectly, bacteria may not be removed or killed. Instead, the bacteria is just moved around the surface and can potentially cross contaminate surfaces that were not contaminated to begin with.
Purpose of Cleaning and Disinfecting
It is important to understand the differences between cleaning and disinfecting. Cleaning is referring to the process of removing dirt and debri. Disinfecting is a process that will “kill” the microscopic organisms as claimed on the label of the product when used correctly. Our ‘Microbe Clean — Basic Understanding’ course can assist in understanding the language, transmission and management of infectious control cleaning.
Touch Point Surfaces
Both schools and aged care facilities will have different touch points that are more likely to be contaminated. It is important to assess each area and identify the high touch points in particular. These are surfaces that are touched multiple times a day and include things like door handles, doors, chairs, rails, and more. These touch points are commonly referred to as “HTO” (High Touch Objects and Surfaces).
Quality of Cleaning
Cleaners are generally chosen on price, rather than the quality of work that has been done. Without measurable results, bacteria can survive and continue infecting. Bacteria cannot be seen by the naked eye, BUT it can be tested for using an ATP (adenosine triphosphate) device.
Effective Protocols and Procedures
So how do you test, when do you test? There are so many questions that accompany testing effective cleaning. We have an online course called ‘Using ATP to Create Protocols’ that delves into the process of how to test your cleaning protocols. This can be a good starting point, as you can ensure that your protocols and procedures are effective and efficient. You can test different products and equipment through this method.
Once you have tested and implemented an effective cleaning protocol/procedure, it is important that you regularly spot test and follow up to make sure that your staff are continuing this method. It is one thing to have a protocol/procedure, but it is just as important to ensure that it is being followed.
With an increase in responsibility from cleaners, we need to remain responsible and professional within the community. We need to ensure that our cleaning efforts are being tested and measured for effective and efficient cleaning practices. Providing a service that is being tested with measurable results can mean a higher quality service, higher profit margins, and contributing to growing the cleaning community and industry.