Bacteria and viruses are more prevalent than ever. They also travel faster, farther and are increasingly becoming more resistant to antibiotics and traditional disinfection measures. The stakes in slowing transmission and stopping these viruses are greater than ever, as COVID-19, the upper-respiratory tract illness caused by the novel coronavirus, show us.
In Washington State alone, the pandemic has taken a severe toll. There are over 373,000 COVID-19 cases in the Evergreen State, and it has claimed the lives of at least 5,300 people statewide. In Benton County alone, there are nearly 16,000 COVID-19 cases and more than
What’s more, the sheer size of scores of buildings in this state, and limited cleaning resources, have combined to leave many offices highly vulnerable to potentially dangerous bacteria and viruses. With viruses like COVID-19 becoming an unwanted part of everyday life, everyone from homeowners to business executives should consider having an effective disinfection plan. Lunchrooms, workstations, conference rooms, waiting areas, and restrooms all must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection and virus transmission.
Everyone should take a personal interest in keeping their homes and offices as clean and sanitary as possible. It could literally save lives.
What is Disinfection?
The U.S. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) describes the term “disinfection” as “The destruction of pathogenic and other kinds of microorganisms by physical or chemical means.”
The FDA is the sole authority that regulates the chemicals used for high-level disinfection.
Types of Disinfection
There are three types of disinfection that take place before resorting to full-blown sterilization. They include:
Low-Level: When you need items cleaned that are in constant human contact, low-level disinfection is called for. Ammonium-based products are used for the disinfecting process. Examples of areas cleaned this way are doctor’s offices or any waiting areas that call for regular, or even frequent cleaning.
Intermediate-Level: This type of extensive cleaning is meant for areas that contain large amounts of bacteria. This might include hospital gowns or similar clothing that, in order to save lives, must be thoroughly disinfected. Cleaning agents that have bleach or alcohol are ideal for this type of cleaning process.
High-Level: This level of disinfection is typically used at hospitals. This is the most common setting for this high-level cleaning regimen, with everyone from doctors, nurses, and emergency personnel being frequently exposed to open wounds or similar scenarios. This advanced cleaning process helps to make sure that pathogens and harmful bacteria in those areas are contained.
Chemicals Used in High-Level Disinfection
Although these high-level disinfectants are primarily used in hospitals and other medical facilities, where sterile conditions are paramount, they can also be applied at all sorts of businesses and even in homes.
Because these specialized chemicals must be mixed in precise ways, it is recommended that only trained personnel work with these high-level chemicals.
Ingredients in these High-Level Disinfection (HLD) jobs include:
Hydrogen Peroxide: This is a highly effective disinfectant that is typically applied to material surfaces.
Hypochlorous Acid: This is comprised of chlorine mixed with water. It is considered a very effective cleaning agent for high-level disinfection.
Glutaraldehyde: This is used for a variety of conditions that include treating warts to sterilizing surgical instruments.
High-Level Disinfection in Homes
Carpet cleaning is ideally suited for High-Level Disinfection in the home. The Institution on Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC), recommends that carpets in homes be cleaned every eight to 12 months, but even more often during situations like a pandemic.
HDL is also important when cleaning abandoned homes before renovation. An example of this type of venue receiving HDL would be abandoned homes, such as ones where hoarders have lived. This involves specialized teams of cleaning specialists garbed in full hazard gear to ensure these homes are cleaned adequately.
Extensive cleaning is especially necessary for carpets because they collect a great deal of dirt and debris. Having children and/or pets makes this even more true.
Something else that calls for special cleaning is fabric curtains. Professional cleaning services usually clean curtains with steam and disinfectant without having to remove them. The same is true for cloth-covered furniture and cushions.
Disinfecting Commercial Buildings
HDL cleaning is vital for any business in an era of unprecedented transmissions of dangerous bacteria and deadly viruses. It is even more ideally suited for high-traffic zones such as public restrooms. Public sinks are hotspots for bacteria and mold. Other areas in commercial buildings that need first-level cleaning attention are cafeterias, meeting rooms, and waiting areas. All common business areas are ripe for major cleanings.
When it comes to medical facilities, there should be comprehensive cleaning done with high-level disinfection. It can be a major challenge to keep hospitals adequately disinfected with the extremely high traffic areas and with how busy they are.
High-level disinfection is absolutely necessary at places such as daycare centers and retirement homes, where there are high concentrations of people, which include staff and visitors. These can be hotspots for viral transmissions.
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