While the coronavirus pandemic has closed the doors of many businesses, soon they will open again as the illness runs its course or peters out among the local population. With a little time and diligent containment, soon we’ll be reopening offices and commercial buildings as workplaces again. Employees will be able to come back from their far-flung home offices and share a workspace once more.
But before that can happen, you’re going to need to do some serious cleaning. COVID-19’s super-power is its infectivity. If even a small surviving virus particle reaches someone’s face, the infection wave can start all over again. It is vital that each employer perform an anti-viral deep clean of the office or building before inviting staff back to their posts.
How, you ask? That’s exactly what we’re here to explore today. Let’s take a dive into the deep cleaning methods necessary to prepare your office for a post-covid grand reopening.
100% Empty for 7 Days
Medical researchers have found that COVID-19 can stay alive in moisture particles anywhere from 4 hours to 5 days. It can hang in the air or maintain on a soft surface for up to 4 hours. Harder and smoother surfaces like plastic, metal, and glass let it live longer. COVID-19 lives longest on glass, at around 5 days if undisturbed, and is contagious during that entire time. The exception is sealed, moist containers where it may live longer.
It’s practical to do careful no-contact upgrades and repairs to the building during the downtime. But the best first step for a covid-free deep clean is to close the building completely, no people at all, for 5+ days. This will allow most of the virus particles to expire on their own, leaving a much smaller percentage you are responsible for removing with sanitiser and corner-to-corner cleaning.
If you can’t wait a full week with the building empty, increase your cleaning standards and protection measures.
Well-Protected Cleaning Team
Make sure your cleaning team, internal or hired, is well-protected. There can still be pockets of infectious viral particles inside the building. Ensure everyone has a face-protecting mask, gloves, and a profound understanding of how the virus spreads. Cloth masks must be replaced when damp. Gloves should be changed between activities. Faces must absolutely never be touched with hands or gloves that have touched an unsanitised item or surface.
With a safe team, you can go in and clear out the last refuges of COVID-19 that may be lurking in your building.
Throw Out Sealed Containers
First things first: Throw out any once-opened, now-sealed containers. Tupperware and bags of food in the break room fridge, for example, may still contain virus particles preserved during the lockdown Also watch out for sealed containers of supplies, ingredients, or even sealed office supplies. All might potentially have preserved the virus.
If you need to keep the container or contents, address the necessary protected sanitising process for the materials involved.
Disnfect the Bathrooms
Bathrooms have the most shiny-hard surfaces on which COVID-19 lives the longest. In addition, the bathroom is one of the highest risk areas for reinfection. Make sure your team is protected and send them to completely disinfect each bathroom. Disinfecting is stronger than sanitising. It uses a more powerful cleaning solution and requires 30 minutes to take full effect. Loose items can be soaked to disinfect or surfaces can be wiped and left to dry for thirty minutes.
In the bathrooms, disinfect everything. Essentially drench every smooth surface with disinfecting solution and allow it to sit. Make sure, also, to get the undersides, backsides, and floor behind each of the fixtures. Wipe each faucet and soap dispenser thoroughly, so that disinfecting solution touches every angle and surface. Mop to the corners and, if tiled, mop the walls as well. Pay special attention to the mirrors. as COVID-19 lives longest on glass.
Sanitise Doors, Handles, and Railings
The most common location for COVID-19 to lurk and spread is the most-touched surfaces. People can carry the infection on their hands, touching doorknobs, railings, handles, windowsills, counters, chairs, and everything else. Use your intuition and track down every hard object that is regularly touched or might be touched by someone who wanders with their hand brushing the furniture
Focus especially on fixtures like doors, counters, and railings and give them the full 30 minutes to properly disinfect with the stronger cleaning solution.
Sanitise Every Piece of Furniture, Inside and Out
Now turn your attention to the furniture. Hard surfaces like desks, chairs, and equipment are more likely to retain virus particles than soft surfaces like carpets and upholstery, but it’s all worth deep-cleaning. Make sure you get every single piece of furniture, including storage items like shelves and cabinets. Not only should you get the outside surfaces, but open up the drawers and cabinets to get the entire interior surfaces as well.
Address Corners and Ceilings
Be very attentive to corners and even to walls and ceilings. Because COVID-19 travels in airborne breath particles, it can spread to higher surfaces and to the far reaches of every room. Use precision cleaning tools to spread your sanitising solutions to the furthest corners, edges, and even up to the ceiling. This is also a good way to remember your upper shelves and near-ceiling storage spaces. Clean these as well, including any dust-storage unused upper surfaces.
Clean Under and Behind Equipment
Finally, remember to move stationary furniture and equipment to clean all the way around. Clean under equipment and behind stationary furniture to ensure that every possible lingering particle of COVID-19 has been eliminated. Be prepared to work carefully as a team here. Team-lift heavy equipment and, if necessary, empty heavy storage furniture before moving and cleaning around it. This will ensure that there is absolutely nowhere that remaining virus particles can be hiding.
With these necessary precautions and deep cleaning steps taken, you will be able to bring your team safely back into the workplace when the pandemic is over. If you need a professional deep-cleaning service ready to handle COVID-19 requirements to make your office safe once more, contact us today!