Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Protecting
Maintaining the cleanliness of hospitals and other healthcare facilities isn’t just important for patients and staff – it’s essential for the health of the entire surrounding community. Additionally, cleaning healthcare facilities is much more involved than merely emptying the trash and running a vacuum over the carpet. The constant influx of patients with contagions and delicate health issues makes every high-traffic area a potential hazard. Furthermore, the sheer size of some hospitals can make cleaning a daunting task. It’s helpful then to have a detailed plan in place for regular cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing your healthcare facility.
The Importance of Cleaning
Cleaning clears dirt, debris, and micro-organisms from surfaces, making them less hospitable for pathogens. Industrial-strength vacuums are also important. These vacuums usually feature HEPA filters, which can remove 99% of airborne particles. When it comes to mopping, be sure to use a two-bucket process. This ensures that waste is kept separate from the cleaning solution. Furthermore, mops should be completely cleaned and dried after each use. Finally, all involved staff should be wearing the proper personal protective equipment when cleaning.
The Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfection
While cleaning removes micro-organisms from surfaces and slows their proliferation, disinfection actually kills them. When disinfecting, be sure to pay particular attention to high-touch surfaces like counters, chairs, railings, and handles, along with all treatment areas. The Environmental Protection Agency’s List-N is a guide of products that are expected to kill SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) when used in accordance with directions. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution is a List-N product and features a 55-second kill time against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
Handling Medical Waste
Healthcare facilities generate waste such as used medical supplies, lab refuse, blood, and other bodily fluids. These items must be designated as medical waste and have special procedures for handling and disposal. All cleaning staff must be trained to recognize, handle, and dispose of this type of waste
When devising a healthcare facility cleaning program, keep these guidelines in mind. Ensure the entire staff is on the same page and each employee knows their responsibility. Further resources can be found on the CDC’s Healthcare page.
Welcoming Your Guests Back
COVID-19 has been brutal on restaurants but, luckily, those who made it through are beginning to allow in-person dining again. This is an excellent time to review some best practices for restaurant cleaning to provide a safe, sanitary environment for guests and ensure repeat visits.
Foodborne Illness is Restaurant Enemy #1
A food-related outbreak of diseases like E. coli and norovirus can be a disaster for a restaurant. Consider Chipotle, hit with a $25 million fine after instances of E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella outbreaks in 2014. Proper and frequent handwashing is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of foodborne illness. As we’ve all learned in the COVID era, 20 seconds with soap and warm water is enough. Other things to watch for are sick staff members, poor food storage practices, and improperly cleaned workstations. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution can clean and disinfect in one step, kills E. coli in two minutes and norovirus in four, and is safe for food-touch areas.
Know the Health Department’s Guidelines
Skipping on these out of ignorance or carelessness can mean temporary closures or having to display a low grade somewhere in your establishment. Both will cost you money. These guidelines were devised to make sure restaurants are providing clean, safe environments. Use them to guide you as you develop a cleaning plan for your business.
Keep the Critters at Bay
Another thing that can destroy a restaurant’s reputation is a guest seeing a roach during a visit. Or, worse yet, finding one in their food. Make sure you’re doing everything you can to make your restaurant as inhospitable as possible to pests. This means storing food properly in airtight containers, making sure food residue is cleaned up at workstations and in coolers, and taking trash bags out to the dumpster several times a day. Signs that you might have a pest problem are chewed containers, rodent droppings, and flies in the food prep area.
Get Everyone on the Same Page
It does no good to have the kitchen staff following best practices for cleaning if the servers are going to contaminate the food before it reaches the guest and vice versa. Make sure everyone on your team knows the guidelines for proper hygiene, food safety, and general cleanliness. Stick to your standards and make them a habit.
Think About Customer Perception
Following the Health Department guidelines will ensure your business is safe and sanitary, but you can really give your restaurant’s dining experience a boost by putting yourself in the guest’s shoes. Think about the little details that can make or break a night out. Does your dining area seem welcoming? How do the floors look? Are the salt and pepper shakers full? What about the toilet paper in the restrooms? Walk through your entire establishment to try to find things you’ve overlooked. You could also ask a friend to come in and eat and be as critical as possible, writing down everything they see in a notebook. Sometimes a set of fresh eyes helps. The goal is the best customer experience possible and using these tips as a starting point will get your restaurant there in no time.
A Variety of Needs, a Variety of Products
Restaurants have both high-traffic and specialized areas that require a variety of cleaning products. Dining areas, lobbies, restrooms, and kitchens all have special needs that we must attend to. What works great for cleaning your kitchen’s air vents is totally inappropriate for guests’ tables. Here is a list of important considerations to think about when purchasing cleaning products for your restaurant.
Know the Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting
This has taken on a special importance over the last couple of years. Cleaning refers to the process of removing dirt and other impurities from a surface. On the other hand, disinfecting actually kills the viruses and bacteria in an area. Both are necessary to help reduce the spread of pathogens.
What Jobs Can Each Product Handle?
Knowing the versatility of what you’re purchasing can help you cut down costs in the long run. A good all-purpose cleaner and disinfectant is always a good investment. However, such products probably won’t be powerful enough to handle the grease that can accumulate in the kitchen. Read each product label closely and make the best decision for your specific restaurant.
How Much Should I Buy?
This is a bit of a balancing act. You’ll have to consider how often you’ll be using each product and how much you’ll need before the next order. You should also think about how much space you have for storage and how much each product will take up. For example, if you use tablets to clean your deep fryer, you can probably go ahead and buy in bulk to save cost as they don’t have much of a footprint.
How Safe Are These Products?
Many cleaning products are full of harsh and toxic chemicals like bleach, chlorine, or phosphates. Furthermore, even milder products aren’t necessarily safe for food-touch surfaces. Again, read the label carefully and think about where this chemical will be used and how often.
How Do These Products Affect the Environment?
If ecological responsibility is important to your business and clientele, there are environmentally friendly products available. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution is botanically derived and free of the harsh chemicals mentioned above. It’s also an excellent all-purpose cleaner, handling both cleaning and disinfecting, and is safe for food-touch surfaces.
Providing a Safe, Sanitary Environment
For all the difficulties coronavirus has caused, restaurateurs have been able to take comfort in the fact that food is an inhospitable environment for the virus. This allowed many restaurants to stay afloat by turning to take-out and online food deliveries. Fortunately, though, state restrictions are lifting all over the country and dining areas are filling back up. However, these customers – along with servers and other staff – want to know that ownership is doing everything they can to keep them safe. Here are some tips to keep your staff happy and your customers coming back for a return visit.
It Starts with Effective Supplies
List-N is a group of products that the EPA expects to kill all strains and variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) when used according to the label directions. Bioesque’s Botanical Disinfectant Solution is included on List-N at features a 55-second kill time against the SARS-CoV-2 virus (COVID-19). Furthermore, it’s no-rinse-required, even on food contact surfaces, making it an excellent choice for kitchens and dining areas. Some other supplies to you’ll always want to have on hand are bottles of hand sanitizer and soap, stainless steel cleaner, bleach, paper towels, and plenty of food prep gloves.
Take Care of the Front-of-House
The lobby, cash registers, and main counters get the most frequent outside traffic in a restaurant. Therefore, it’s the area that’s most likely to become contaminated. Think about installing a plexiglass shield around the register as that area often has faces in close proximity. Also, make sure to keep two large bottles of hand sanitizer nearby, one for guests and one for employees. Additionally, make sure you’re frequently disinfecting the entire front door, paying extra attention to handles, push plates, and the edges. Disinfect counters, phones, and cash registers at least three times per day and do the same with high-touch areas in the restrooms.
Put the Cellphones Away
Cellphones are among the germiest objects we come in contact with throughout the day. Touching a phone and then a workstation, table, silverware, etc. is a very easy way to spread pathogens around your establishment, resulting in sick employees and sick customers. Make sure everyone working a shift knows to leave their cellphone alone unless it’s absolutely essential. The same goes for other high-touch personal objects like wallets and car keys.
Check CDC Guidelines
Even taking solid precautions such as these can’t guarantee your business will be safe from the coronavirus. Have a plan in place in the event of an outbreak. The CDC offers plenty of help concerning plans for contact-tracing so check their site often to make sure you’re keeping abreast of the latest information. And if you’re experiencing symptoms, be sure to self-isolate and contact your doctor.
Profitability and Perception
Over the past decades and particularly in an era where climate change is a hot topic, we have seen increasing consumer demand for sustainable business practices. What was once thought to be a passing fad is quickly becoming the new normal. While business owners were initially hesitant to get on board, they soon found that a move toward sustainability can increase profitability. Green products are less costly and more effective than ever before. Furthermore, a sustainable practice includes actively searching for ways to eliminate, reduce, or recycle waste, which in turn reduces expense. Here are some sustainable practices to apply to your food service or restaurant business.
A Move to LED Lighting
LED light fixtures are about three times more energy efficient than fluorescents and almost eight times more efficient than traditional incandescent fixtures. Additionally, LED light bulbs last, on average, up to eight times longer than other bulbs.
Reduce Water Usage
Moving to low-flow plumbing fixtures and appliances can reduce water usage by almost 30%.
Paper, Not Plastic
To-go food is very popular, especially in our era of restaurant restrictions. Paper products are biodegradable and recyclable while plastic ones wind up in a landfill for years.
Restaurants generate plenty of food waste and composting rather than trashing can promote eco-friendly farming in your community.
Buying locally will cut down on transportation costs and reduce your carbon footprint. Furthermore, advertising locally sourced ingredients is a great draw for the eco-minded guest.
Green Cleaning Products
Traditional cleaning products are full of harsh, toxic chemicals. Employees hate using them and guests hate smelling them. However, there are botanically derived alternatives available that offer an environmentally friendly solution without sacrificing any effectiveness.
Protecting the Environment and Increasing Positive Customer Perception
This is obviously not a complete list, but it should give you an idea of a place to start. Other easy strategies to implement could include making straws optional, eliminating styrofoam usage, energy-saving appliances, and donations to food banks. All will reduce your energy usage, waste, and cost. Ultimately, this is good for the environment, your bottom line, and your standing with the green guest.