While some professionals have continued traveling to and from work throughout the span of the pandemic — perhaps to work in a hospital, grocery store, or private proprietary system — the rest of us are just starting to head back in after months of working from home, even if it’s just for two or three days a week.
Regardless of profession, all of our desks, chairs, and cubicles have all been sitting unused, which allowed plenty of time for dust, germs, and even mold to build up. Now that we live in an even more clean-conscious society, as we’re transitioning back to office life and some semblance of a pre-COVID routine, it’s important to have a game-plan to both properly clean and disinfect. In other words, we need the knowledge to combat microbial growth, remove infectious agents, and kill germs to safely return to the office.
Decontaminating Your Office
First, the Cleaning Process:
Wear a pair of disposable gloves (as well as an optional mask and gown) and start the decontamination process by cleaning all routinely touched surfaces. These could be your door-knobs, refrigerator handles, microwave handles, laptops, phone receivers, touch screens, water coolers, or the thermostat you used to fight over with your co-workers. Remember those days?
You can use a simple soap and water solution to remove dust, germs, and dirt from general surfaces, but remember, cleaning doesn’t kill germs, it only moves them around. Ideally, and especially in the “high-touch” areas, you want to clear as much as possible before you come in with the disinfectant.
For electronics especially, consider using a wipeable cover that you can frequently clean without risk of damaging the technology. If the manufacturer doesn’t provide guidance on cleaning, stick to alcohol-based wipes (at least 70% alcohol).
Next, to Disinfect:
The CDC recommends using a disinfectant that is registered and approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Continue to wear your gloves and other optional protective equipment, and carefully follow the instructions on the label. If concerned about fumes, employ proper ventilation.
Another option is to use an alcohol solution with at least 70% alcohol or a diluted household bleach solution. However, if using diluted bleach, be sure to verify that it is intended to disinfect. It must also have a sodium hypochlorite concentration between 5 and 6%. For further instruction and safety information, reference the CDC guidelines for disinfection.
If you’re using disinfecting wipes, only clean one surface or item at a time, and use enough so that the surface stays wet for at least 4 minutes. In general, follow the instructions on the back of the label to ensure proper use.
Lastly, Tackle The Softer Stuff:
The most commonly overlooked step is to take care of your soft surfaces. Whether we’re talking about rugs, carpet, couches, or drapes, you need to first clean with soap and water (or an otherwise appropriate cleaner). If it’s possible to throw anything in the laundry, do so. Then, disinfect with any of the formulas approved by the EPA.
Other Areas to Clean & Disinfect:
- Front desk and reception areas
- Elevator buttons
- Coat racks
- Chair backs
- Coffee/tea stations
- Bathrooms (toilet handles, faucets, trash cans)
- Changing stations
- Conference rooms
What Else Can You Do To Keep Things Clean?
Whether you’re going back into the office full-time, or filtering back in with co-workers over time, you deserve to work in a clean and safe environment. If you’d rather put your trust in the professionals, Mold Medics can provide top-notch, hospital grade disinfection services for your office. We’ll even provide a window sticker that advertises the dates your office was decontaminated. Call us today for a free quote!