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Perfecting the cleaning process


Peter Teska, Global Infection Prevention Application Expert at Diversey, discusses how to ensure surfaces receive the correct level of hygiene.


The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought about a new standard for facility hygiene. As the world recovers, businesses need to protect staff and customers during and after reopening. Building service contractors (BSCs) and


facility managers should review current practices, products and tools.


Before implementing new processes, review your hygiene standards with industry experts who can help ensure the appropriate level of surface hygiene – cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting – is identified for each surface.


Cleaning vs. sanitising vs. disinfecting


Though these words are often used interchangeably, there are important differences between cleaning, sanitising and disinfecting. Cleaning removes soil from a surface, but makes no specific claims about killing disease-causing organisms. Cleaning assumes that the process will remove many of the organisms on the surface, but assumes small numbers of organisms after cleaning would be acceptable.


Sanitising kills surface bacteria to help ensure that there are very low levels of disease-causing bacteria left on surfaces, but makes no claims about fungi or viruses.


Disinfecting has the power to kill bacteria and fungi, and inactivates viruses at a much higher level than sanitising. Sanitising provides a three-log reduction to bacteria and disinfecting provides a six-log reduction, with each log being a factor of 10.


In other words, after cleaning there may be organisms left on the surface, but the surface may have an acceptable level of hygiene for certain uses. The concern is more about soil removal than eliminating a certain level of organisms.


50 | FEATURE


Sanitising is used when there is a higher level of concern on the surface. If there were 1000 bacteria on the surface prior to sanitising, there would only be a few afterwards. For disinfecting, if there were 100,000 bacteria on the surface, only a few would remain.


Any time there’s visible or ‘gross soil’ on a surface, employees must first clean before disinfecting or sanitising. You can use a disinfectant to clean surfaces, but must apply it twice: first to clean and then disinfect. Using a disinfectant that has been through a standardised test method allows you to clean and disinfect in one step when there is no visible soil on the surface, and when allowed by the product label. Check the label to confirm it is a one-step product. The same considerations also apply to sanitising non-food contact surfaces.


Some disinfectants are also labelled to be used as a sanitiser. Sanitising with disinfectants may be achieved by using a different dilution (for a concentrate), a different contact time, or when used on soft surfaces (if allowed by the product label). Knowing the nuances of how certain products should be used to achieve a desired outcome is key to optimising the performance of sanitisers and disinfectants.


Different technology and tools


When pandemics occur, organisations are under pressure to show that they are doing something different to protect patrons and employees, but different does not always mean better. For example, one Hong Kong airport is testing full- body disinfection booths at entrances. However, spraying disinfectant on hands and skin will do nothing to prevent the virus from entering the building, and may even cause health issues.


Electrostatic sprayers (ESS) are also in high demand from organisations that want to apply disinfectant to a large


(https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/hong-kong-airport-cleaning-robots-wellness-scn/index.html) twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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