We all value a clean office environment. Empty trash, spotless floors, organised desks, and sanitised toilets help in providing a sense of contentment and security as we go through our day-to-day tasks.
Bacteria and germs have no place in our office. But avoiding these infection-carrying contaminants is more complicated than it seems. This is why it is important to avoid cross-contamination if you don’t want an onslaught of pathogens and microorganisms to rule your workplace.
Why Cross-Contamination in the Office is a Serious Matter
Cross-contamination in the office is the act of carrying bacteria and germs from one area to another – and can be done unintentionally even as we work on our own, mingle with co-workers, and during cleaning sessions.
From the moment we lay down our smartphone or purse on our desk, use the coffee pot in the break room, and touch the faucet in the restroom – we risk spreading microorganisms that others may pick up or vice versa.
Cross contamination can therefore result to sickness, injury, or even widespread infection in the office. Whether you are a regular employee, a top-management supervisor, or a member of the cleaning crew – you must do your part to help minimise the risk of cross contamination in the office.
Below are five essential tips to make your office environment less susceptible to cross contamination.
Clean from top to bottom.
Cross-contamination occurs because of constant contact to high-touch areas such as door knobs, office equipment, and floors. A thorough cleaning process from top to bottom is an effective way to capture all dust and dirt so the cleaning tool can pick it up during the final step.
Consider the following tips to avoid missing any areas of a room:
- Tackle all surfaces first. Wipe down all fixtures and surfaces – even nooks and crannies – using an appropriate cleaning solution. This will ensure that no dirt and dust will be missed or that all filthy particles will off the floor.
- Disinfect and sanitise second. Use the disinfectant spray on common touch points and hotspots that need sanitising, allowing it to set in for 5 to 10 minutes before rubbing it off clean. This is to ensure that any germs or bacteria will be properly dealt with.
- Finish off with the floor. Mop or vacuum from the farthest corner or the innermost point of the office, intentionally cleaning towards the door. This is to avoid getting in contact with previously-cleaned surfaces and to ensure that all used-up cleaning materials will exit the room accordingly.
Trade out-dated practices with highly effective cleaning products and methods.
Today’s advanced technology has led to the inception of highly effective office cleaning products and methods that improve cleaning outputs as well as the health of individuals who occupy the workplace.
Avoid cross-contamination in the office by adopting the following industry-standard practices:
- Substitute regular rags and cotton cloths with microfiber materials specifically designed to capture up to 99% of pathogens and other common office contaminants.
- Forego the use of regular vacuums and opt for vacuums with HEPA filter to prevent the transport and re-distribution of dirt and dust and to effectively trap micro-sized debris and particles.
- Throw away those mop buckets containing dirty water and use a multifunctional microfiber mop with built-in sprayer to decrease the risk of cross-contamination and to allow for proper conservation of time, energy, and resources (such as water).
- Switch from water and regular detergent to specialised disinfectant because it doesn’t just clean up visual dirt and obvious stains but also combats microorganisms and pathogens effectively.
- Stop the use of products with hazardous ingredients or chemicals and replace these with green-certified products with high cleaning efficiency and is safe for people and the environment as well.
Colour-code and categorise.
Devise a color-coding system for cleaning tools and equipment so that all workers will identify and understand when and how to use these.
Consider matching the colour of your microfiber towels and cloths with your disinfectant spray bottles and other cleaning implements. It may seem costly and inconvenient at first, but it will significantly decrease the risk of cross-contamination and the spread of infection in the office environment.
There is no specific rule for colour-coding but general trends in modern office cleaning suggest the following:
- Red: Used in high-traffic office areas with the maximum level of cross-contamination such as toilets and urinals, restroom floors, and sanitary appliances
- Green: Used in general areas where food handling, preparation, and consumption is done such as lunchrooms or break rooms
- Yellow: Used in surfaces and fixtures such as door knobs and handles, railings or balustrades, kitchen sinks and walls, as well as restroom fixtures and surfaces.
- Blue: Used for high-traffic but low-risk areas such as hallways, general meeting rooms, cubicle offices, as well as glass and mirrors
Segregate and organise cleaning tools and equipment.
When cleaning tools and equipment are colour-coded and properly categorised, it is easy to segregate and organise during storage.
Store like items together, making sure there is a proper label and place for each type depending on where or how it is used.
Allot a specific storage spot for cleaning items for general office areas, toilet and restrooms, surfaces and fixtures, and toilets or restrooms.
Implement training and communication programs.
The most obvious tip for preventing cross contamination is general awareness of the cleaning system in place – whether full-time employee, supervisors, or on-call cleaning crew.
- Educate all employees who will have access to any of the office areas will know how to properly utilise the necessary cleaning products and equipment.
- Encourage regular hand-washing through signage or verbal reminders.
- Implement strict CLAY (clean-as-you-go) policy in lunchrooms or break rooms as well as in walkways, common rooms, and in their own private office cubicles.
- Require custodial staff or cleaning crew to wear proper personal attire and protective gear during scheduled facility cleaning.
At the end of the day, an attractive office would not matter at all if it is not clean and safe to work in. There is no better time to pursue and incorporate effective cleaning practices that will lower the risk of cross-contamination in your office.
Avalon Services as Your Trusted Office Cleaning Provider
Avalon Services strives to deliver the best cleaning service that your office deserves. We offer highly specialised, tailor-made, and environmental-responsible cleaning methods and solutions that will satisfy your expectations.
If you want to experience safe, hygienic, and effective results, get in touch with us today.