THE COMMON ELEMENTS ARE: 1. Remove gross debris.

2. Apply a detergent along with physical energy to disrupt the soil/substrate surface layer.

3. Rinse or wipe to remove displaced debris.

4. Apply a disinfectant to reduce the remaining bacteria/virus population to safe levels.

To ensure a hygienic clean, one that will deter virus and bacteria, cleaning must be followed by disinfection. This is when things get more complex in terms of type of disinfectant, its BS EN certification, contact time and also levels of dilution.

Historically most disinfectants have been tested to BS EN 1276, the European standard for the bactericidal activity of chemical disinfectants. A log 5 reduction is required to pass this test; this means that if 1,000,000 bacteria were exposed to the disinfectant for five minutes and 10 were leſt this would result in a 99.999% reduction.

Several months ago, not many products in the cleaning arsenal were accredited with BS EN 14476 ‒ the standard applicable for chemical disinfectants making viricidal claims, i.e. able to inactivate viruses. This standard requires a minimum of a 4 log reduction or 99.99% inactivation. However, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a focus on tests for this standard, originally developed for medical purposes.

To eliminate a virus such as the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), we need to see that the disinfectant product has passed the full version of BS EN 14476, or a modification of the same test, which includes a specific strain of an enveloped virus.

In order to ensure effective control of Clostridium difficile, which can survive a normal spray and wipe regime, a sporicidal disinfectant must be used which needs to comply to BS EN 13704.

So, when choosing your cleaning products, look for the BS EN accreditation, with approved kitemark and note the contact time required to be effective as well as whether it has virucidal and bactericidal efficacy. Products manufactured at Clover

Christeyns are put through rigorous testing by independent research laboratories to ensure effectiveness against viruses and bacteria and we provide clear information on efficacy testing results and required dilution rates and contact times.

In addition to the cleaning regime, it’s crucial to remember the role of exemplary hand hygiene. Where soap and water are not readily available, the most effective way to reduce cross-contamination is by regular hand sanitation using an approved product.

Many new products have entered the market over the past year but there is no point in using a hand sanitiser that does not do the job. Look for a hypoallergic, alcohol-based product that contains over 60% alcohol and one that ideally contains an effective emollient to help protect against dermatitis. Currently the only BSI standard kite-marked hand sanitiser is AHS 70 alcohol gel from Clover Christeyns which has virucidal efficacy under BS EN 14476 and kills 99.99% of germs.

It goes without saying that identification and risk assessment of common contact points such as door handles, touch screens, and handrails, is crucial to further avoid cross- contamination. When considering products to be used on these surfaces bear in mind the materials they are made from and what they are used for. For example, you may choose a different product for areas in the home that deal with food handling and dining.

Every care home will have its own systems and routines but it’s helpful to put together a cross-functional team of staff from various departments so that all locations, items of equipment and furnishings that regularly come into contact with staff, visitors and residents are covered in the cleaning schedule. It is also worthwhile remembering that cleaning staff will work better if they understand what they are doing and why and how valuable their role is.

If you have any questions about the right product for the job, ask your supplier. As with the use of any chemicals, always read the label and use the appropriate protective equipment. Check the PPE guidance as some products may be harmful to the skin and eyes. Never mix chemicals and always follow the guidelines for use.

Cleaning maybe a routine job but the consequences of not doing it properly are wide reaching and oſten fatal. - 43 -

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