CLEANING TECHNIQUES AND EQUIPMENT
Commercial office cleaning companies use a wide variety of cleaning methods, chemicals, and equipment to facilitate and expedite the cleaning process. The scope of work may include all internal, general and routine cleaning – including floors, tiles, partition walls, internal walls, suspended ceilings, lighting, furniture and cleaning, window cleaning, deep cleans of sanitary conveniences and washing facilities, kitchens and dining areas, consumables and feminine hygiene facilities as well as cleaning of telephones, IT, and other periodic cleaning as required. Carpet cleaning though, even with regular vacuuming, needs hot water extraction applied every 18 to 24 months. External cleaning, litter picking, and removal of graffiti may also be incorporated.
The two global cleaning industry associations, the British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICSc) and the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA), both publish standards for managers and operatives engaged in cleaning activities.
The commercial cleaning industry is extremely competitive and employees tend to be at the lower end of the pay scale. However, unionized workers may earn higher wages. Many commercial cleaning companies provide on-the-job training for all new employees due to the nonexistence of tertiary based courses for the cleaning industry. A trend in the cleaning industry is the elimination of the usage of more hazardous chemicals such as drain cleaners due to liability and environmental concerns. Individuals employed in commercial cleaning typically hold the job title of janitor, custodian, or day porter.
Clinically relevant pathogens often persist on inanimate surfaces for weeks or even months. Hence, in healthcare settings, cleaning disinfection of surfaces is part of the multi-barrier system for preventing nosocomial infection. Proper risk assessment is the basis for applying disinfection procedures. Here, focus is on those surfaces that are directly touched by personnel and patients/residents or are exposed to frequent contamination.
APPLICATION TIMES FOR SURFACE DISINFECTANTS
In surface disinfection, exposure times and concentrations depend on the risk assessment and the manufacturers instructions. For high-risk areas, for example operating theatres, recommendations state an application time of at least one hour. After all routine surface disinfection measures, the surface can be used again as soon as it is visibly dry independent of the recommended application time. As the microorganisms are inactivated exponentially, the most are killed at the beginning of the exposure time. The surface disinfectant continues to inactivate the pathogens until the end of the application time, even though the surface is already dry.
CLEANING EQUIPMENT AND MATERIALS
Equipment and materials which help to make housecleaning tasks easier and more effective include:
- cleaning products for floors
- cleaning products for wet areas (baths, handbasins, laundry tubs, kitchen sinks)
- cleaning products for food preparation and meal areas (tables and benchtops)
- dish washing detergent for cleaning kitchen utensils (pots, pans, plates and cutlery)
- laundry detergent for washing household linen (towels, sheets, blankets) and clothes
- oven cleaner
- disinfectant (kills germs)
- cleaning cloths and sponges. These should be replaced regularly and there should be different ones for different cleaning areas (for example, never use the same cloth or sponge to clean the bathroom and the kitchen, as this can spread germs from one place to another)
- scrubbing brush
- stainless steel pot scourer
- broom, dust pan and brush
- mop or squeegee