Cleanliness is always of the utmost importance when it comes to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Hospital-acquired infections (also known as healthcare-associated infections, or HAI) are a very real danger. However, clean and sanitary facilities can cut down the risk of them considerably. During the coronavirus pandemic, though, this goal has taken on an even greater significance. Some experts from the University of North Carolina detailed some strategies that hospitals and other healthcare facilities are implementing to combat the spread of COVID-19.
An Effective Disinfectant at an Increased Frequency
Emily Sickbert-Bennett, PhD, director of UNC Medical Center Infection Prevention, says that COVID-19 “is actually one of the easiest pathogens to eliminate with disinfection”. It’s important, though, that janitorial staffs are using a hospital and EPA-approved disinfectant. Furthermore, these staffs are cleaning more often than they were prior to the pandemic. For example, UNC Health’s Environmental Services team is disinfecting areas like the emergency department, lobbies, waiting rooms, restrooms, and hallways every two hours. In addition to the usual sweeping and mopping, they’re also paying special attention to high-touch areas like countertops and chairs.
Hospitals and other healthcare facilities take steps to separate COVID-19-positive patients from other patients. This helps to reduce the spread of the virus. Dr. Sickbert-Bennett speaks of screening processes integrated with electronic medical record systems. These measures can alert staff and keep track of patients with COVID. Hospitals are also taking extra steps to separate patients in the emergency room.
Patients in hospitals often need to be moved from one area of the facility to another. Accordingly, healthcare facilities are implementing extra steps to ensure their safety. For example, after taking a patient from a testing lab to their room, UNC Health staff returns the stretchers or wheelchairs to a new cleaning station in their equipment storage area where they get a thorough disinfection.
While these steps were designed to reduce the spread of coronavirus, many are bound to become the new norm as hospitals learn to provide a safer environment more efficiently.
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.
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.
Disaster response professionals heavily rely upon high-quality restoration cleaning supplies to bring damaged structural components back to pre-loss condition. The products used must be efficient and effective, but harsh chemicals that can create hazardous fumes when combined are no longer the only options available. The BIOESQUE® Solutions botanically-based line of cleaners and disinfectants use a proprietary herb-derived active ingredient called Thymox® instead of potentially hazardous components to deep clean and disinfect.
Restoration by definition is a process of renewal, bring things back to a former, preferred state. Companies that specialize in restoration save their customers time and money by using industry best practices and innovative cleaning supplies to bring water, fire, mold, and otherwise damaged properties back to the baseline in place before a disaster. Avoiding demolition and rebuilding delivers premises back to businesses and individuals faster, with function and memories intact. Employing the BIOESQUE® interrelated range of cleaners for restoration projects has the advantage of getting the job done without endangering the well-being of the technicians, individuals who live and work on the affected premises, or the environment.
Tenacious dirt, grease, soot, and other residues loosen for permanent removal with BIOESQUE® Heavy Duty Cleaner & Degreaser. An effective blend of wetting agents and surfactants penetrates challenging soils and stains. No harmful or hazardous chemicals are on its list of ingredients. Before disinfection with other BIOESQUE® products, the damage and debris from water, fire, mold, and other catastrophic events must be cleaned up and cleared away, precisely the job for the Heavy Duty Cleaner & Degreaser.
BIOESQUE® Botanical Carpet Cleaner is a non-toxic yet efficient choice to deep clean spots and stains. It also removes the grease, grime, and dirt ground into the fibers both with normal wear and tear and because of the damage done by pet and human fluids, soot and smoke, microbes, and water. The Carpet Cleaner is concentrated and can be used in steamers and other carpet extraction units. A no-residue formula cleans and deodorizes, restoring the look and feel of carpeting in businesses and homes.
Once water, fire, mold, or other damage complete remediation, BIOESQUE® Botanical Surface Cleaner & Sealant offers a clean slate for the newly restored surfaces in a property. Residues wipe up quickly due to the Thymox® technology powering the cleaner, and the unique formula also provides deodorization and a long-lasting protective barrier against future soiling.
When stains and odors linger after restoration, BIOESQUE® Botanical Odor Neutralizer uses Thymox® technology and its enzymatic formulation to alter the remaining odor bearing particles at a molecular level, so they no longer emit the unpleasant smells. Where water damage or persistent moisture creates a risk of microbial growth after restoration, BIOESQUE® Mold Resistant Coating gives both solid and porous surfaces an extra protective edge, inhibiting mold and mildew growth. Learn more about our botanical disinfectants.
Throughout the restorative process technicians familiar with the BIOESQUE® line can also choose to use the Botanical Disinfectant Solution as a spray and wipe, or electrostatic dispersal option. This EPA registered broad-spectrum disinfectant can disinfect, sanitize, clean and deodorize in one step, a benefit when large spaces or difficult to reach areas require restorative action. Learn more about remediation cleaning products.
When a business or residential space experiences flooding of even slightly contaminated water, it is crucial to include effective antimicrobial treatment as one of the final steps in the restoration. BIOESQUE® Botanical Disinfectant Solution is used for water mitigation projects, including sewer backups and other gray or black water circumstances. It cleans, disinfects, sanitizes, and deodorizes in one step if applied appropriately.
BIOESQUE® Botanical Disinfectant Solution is available in a range of sizes, including a one-quart spray bottle, a one-gallon bottle, a five-gallon pail, and a 55-gallon drum. For very compact areas or spot treatments, the spray bottle has the flexibility to distribute the product into tight corners and oddly shaped spaces. The larger sizes permit restoration technicians to use a bucket and mop application strategy on floors to cover all affected areas adequately.
BIOESQUE® Botanical Solutions also recommends the use of the Victory Innovations electrostatic sprayers to achieve thorough coverage of large areas. The VP300ES Professional Cordless Electrostatic Backpack Sprayer comes ready with a VP20A Professional 16.8V 3400mAh Lithium-Ion Battery and a VP10 Professional 16.8V Charger. The VP50 3-in-1 Nozzle is adjustable to deliver the BIOESQUE® Botanical Disinfectant Solution at spray particle dispersal levels of 40, 80, or 110 microns.
This unique application system is intended to give restoration professionals the freedom to cover up to 8000 square feet of flood-damaged space on just one tank of BIOESQUE® Botanical Disinfectant Solution. The patent-pending proprietary electrostatic technology employed by the VP300ES Professional Cordless Electrostatic Backpack Sprayer sends and an electrical charge through the solution. The electrostatic charge improves the delivery of the disinfectant, resulting in an even coating that is thin yet provides comprehensive coverage. The solution wraps conductive surfaces with the disinfectant, including vertical surfaces and the horizontal expanses that hang above or below, like ceilings and soffits.
Using the spray pattern determined most effective by flood restoration crew leads, the 3 in 1 nozzle easily adjusts to the particle size required. The backpack design and cordless operation allow the restoration technician to move from space to space effortlessly, arms free to direct the spray. A removable 2.25-gallon tank holds the BIOESQUE® Botanical Disinfectant Solution, and the quick release valve permits the flood clean up technician extended reach and maneuverability during application.
Flood restoration equipment like a VP300ES Professional Cordless Electrostatic Backpack Sprayer saves time, maximizes effort, and is very efficient with the solution when cleaning up after a flood. Less BIOESQUE® Botanical Disinfectant Solution is needed to cover contaminated surfaces when employing this technology.
If a flood caused contamination of a residence or commercial building, Bioesque® Solutions is ready with a full range of effective cleaners and disinfectants. Perfect for cleaning up after a flood, it also uses cutting-edge technology to apply the botanical disinfectants that complete the restoration process quickly and easily.
*See our label for a full list of pathogens.