Whether you’re quarantined at home or you still have to go to your office during the current COVID-19 outbreak, it’s always a good idea to regularly clean, disinfect, and sanitize your workspace. Luckily, the CDC has recently provided updated guidelines on this very matter to help us stay as disinfected as possible in these uncertain times.
Get The Right Tools For The Job
Before we dive into the exact best practices for disinfecting and otherwise cleaning your office workspace, we should make sure that we have the right tools at hand to get the job done correctly and safely. The CDC also has a list of cleaning products that meet EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
It’s no surprise that at the top of the list are hydrogen peroxide solutions and powerful bleach solutions. Here is the list as updated on the CDC website. Just make sure that whatever you are using to clean with that you are using the correct amount and that you are taking all safety precautions for handling these severe and potentially harmful products. Make sure to wash and dry your hands after use and before consuming any food or preparing food.
Take Your Time
There is a saying regarding how to act in an emergency situation and it applies here as well: fast is slow and slow is fast. When disinfecting your workplace, there is no need to hurry. If you rush you may make mistakes or forget a place or two to sanitize and that could defeat the whole purpose of doing this in the first place. Also, pay attention to the CDC guidelines regarding how long they expect you to expose your work surfaces to these cleaning agents. Some require a soak or general exposure for up to 10 minutes or more. This isn’t a matter of simply wiping everything down with a bleach cloth for a minute or two. Look at the chart linked above and see how long you should be sanitizing each area.
Choose Your Targets
You’ll want to start with high traffic areas that you and others frequent each day. These surfaces should be sanitized several times a day. Things like door knobs for conference rooms, bathrooms, and break areas should be constantly wiped down and disinfected. Same goes for conference room tables, the fridge door handle in the breakroom and the breakroom coffee station. Since practically everybody in the office will touch the coffee station multiple times per day, that should be a high frequency clean area. If you can, and there isn’t a shortage otherwise, it might be a good idea to keep some sterile gloves in the kitchen area that you can put on before handling high touch surfaces. As always, wash your hands thoroughly after each trip to the breakroom or conference room.
Here Is The CDC’s Complete Guide To Cleaning And Disinfecting Surfaces Around The Office To Help Prevent The Spread of The COVID-19 Disease:
From their website here (check it for regular updates):
How to clean and disinfect
Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
- Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
- For disinfection, most common EPA-registered household disinfectants should be effective.
- A list of products that are EPA-approved for use against the virus that causes COVID-19 is available here
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- . Follow manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for (concentration, application method and contact time, etc.).
- Additionally, diluted household bleach solutions (at least 1000ppm sodium hypochlorite) can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application, ensuring a contact time of at least 1 minute, and allowing proper ventilation during and after application. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. Unexpired household bleach will be effective against coronaviruses when properly diluted.
- Prepare a bleach solution by mixing:
- 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water or
- 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water
Soft (Porous) Surfaces
- For soft (porous) surfaces such as carpeted floor, rugs, and drapes, remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning:
- Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely.
- For electronics such as cell phones, tablets, touch screens, remote controls, and keyboards, remove visible contamination if present.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
- If no manufacturer guidance is available, consider the use of alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens. Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
Linens, clothing, and other items that go in the laundry
- Wear disposable gloves when handling dirty laundry from an ill person and then discard after each use. If using reusable gloves, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other household purposes. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
- If no gloves are used when handling dirty laundry, be sure to wash hands afterwards.
- If possible, do not shake dirty laundry. This will minimize the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
- Launder items as appropriate in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If possible, launder items using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and dry items completely. Dirty laundry from an ill person can be washed with other people’s items.
- Clean and disinfect clothes hampers according to guidance above for surfaces. If possible, consider placing a bag liner that is either disposable (can be thrown away) or can be laundered.