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“Cleaning professionals must act quickly and decisively to protect the health of building users.”


tools, utensils, and in professional cleaning, mops. They are of particular concern now with COVID-19.


According to a March 2020 report in India Today, an analysis of the SARS epidemic, which was also spread by a virus, similar to COVID, found that ‘fomites were a major contributor’ to the spread of the disease throughout Hong Kong. Because of the similarities between the two viruses, it is expected that this will be true once again, with the spread of the pathogens that cause the coronavirus.


Viruses can survive on fomites for long periods. It all depends on intrinsic conditions such as humidity, temperature, how long they were in contact with the host (in this case, the floor), and other variables. This means that even if the coronavirus survives on a dry floor's surface for 72 hours, it could survive longer on a mop head because it offers a wet environment. The COVID pathogens now have found a perfect home that can help prolong their survival.


Aware of this, and aware that the professional cleaning industry is now in the infection prevention business, what steps can cleaning contractors take to help ensure the health and safety of their clients’ facilities? The first step, of course, is to stop using these fomites.


Next, we should investigate not only floor cleaning alternatives but, more specifically, floor cleaning alternatives designed specifically to prevent the spread of infection. For instance, fomites have long been a problem in veterinary facilities. One animal becomes infected with a disease,


52 | FLOORCARE & MAINTENANCE


pathogens find their way onto floors, and the sickness quickly spreads to other animals.


In one veterinary clinic, what has proven to be an effective floor cleaning infection prevention method is the use of a no-touch cleaning machine. According to Kathy Miles, the animal care manager for a shelter in North America, no mops are used in this cleaning process.


Instead, the no-touch machine releases an automatically diluted cleaning solution to floors, walls, counters, and other surfaces. The same areas are then pressure-cleaned by the machine using fresh water. The final step in the process involves vacuuming up all moisture and with it, soils and pathogens, once again using the no-touch system.


Kathy said: "The whole process is simple, quick, and the [no- touch] machine is very easy to operate."


She added that the process has helped reduced contamination in the facility, helping to stop the spread of infection and protect the health of the animals under her care.


When it comes to COVID, just as in restaurants and food service, there is no such thing as a three-second rule. Cleaning professionals must act quickly and decisively to protect the health of building users. Much is on our shoulders now, but with the right products and cleaning methods, we will be up to the challenge.


www.kaivac-emea.com twitter.com/TomoCleaning


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