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Cleaning considerations for COVID-19

07 April 2020

As we deal with the ever-changing landscape of Coronavirus (COVID-19), Alastair Scott, sales director at Robert Scott, warns that it’s crucial for the cleaning industry to join forces and work together to uphold its duty to keep the UK hygienically clean.

The industry is seeing unprecedented demand from customers as key workplaces, schools, supermarkets, hospitals, care homes and other public spaces increase their commitment to keeping as hygienically clean as possible to combat the spread of the virus.
Robert Scott, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers and distributors of products for the janitorial sector shares insight for businesses to navigate these challenging times, manage and reassure customers and how to implement the right cleaning processes with increased diligence for end-users.
Managing demand and reassuring customers
It’s important we understand and consider the role we play within the cleaning industry and the supply chain as we continue to manufacture and distribute products that our customers need most. Our role has been deemed as an essential service by the UK government and it’s crucial for us to continue to ensure we can support frontline janitorial staff.
In a time of such uncertainty, we have a responsibility to be transparent and open in our communication to customers. Be clear with customers on stock level and availability, changes to delivery dates and lead times. By communicating clear and accurate information, your customers can plan accordingly, and find alternative solutions if needed.”

Increasing hygiene protocols means customers and end-users may be looking for guidance on which products to use and how to use them effectively to combat the spread of COVID-19. When sharing information, look to trusted sources such as Public Health England, World Health Organisation (WHO), The British Institute of Cleaning Science (BICs) and the Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association (CHSA).

Increasing cleaning of common touchpoints 

As COVID-19 has spread, we’ve seen familiar scenes in public places around the world, people trying to avoid common touchpoints on public transport, in supermarkets and workplaces that are essential services which remain open. Where available, people are wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), but in some workplaces this is not always possible.

Tom Capper, regional sales manager at Robert Scott, said: “Janitorial staff should be increasing the cleaning of common touchpoints, which can experience high volumes of human interaction, therefore easily transmitting and spreading viruses. These touchpoints often include handrails, door handles, lifts and escalators, push plates, sinks, tables, vending machines and more. Where possible, leave doors open to help decrease the rate of common touchpoints being used.”

Considerations for daytime cleaning 

As workplaces and public spaces are increasing the rate of which they are being cleaned, end-users will be cleaning in the day time and navigating the challenges of cleaning around people. 

One of the many challenges service contractors and cleaners face with a daytime cleaning regime is how to minimise disruption to the working day of other people, while ensuring that cleaning performance and productivity is maintained without compromising the safety and wellbeing of occupants and staff. 

 In busy environments such as retail outlets, and healthcare facilities, janitorial staff will be cleaning around the clock and working to ensure that any spillages or dirt caused by heavy footfall can be quickly and effectively cleared without closing sections of the building or business.

This is where the benefits of microfibre mopping systems and cloths come into their own. As one of the first companies to introduce microfibre products to the UK’s janitorial sector over 20 years ago, Robert Scott understands the full capability of microfibre.

Microfibre mops and cloths can be used to clean surfaces without the use of chemicals, meaning cleaners can use more environmentally-friendly methods, dramatically reduce costs and, in a daytime cleaning context, eliminate the need for chemicals and large quantities of water in busy environments. 

Tom added: “As the industry is currently in overdrive for products such as disposable mops, cloths, spray bottles, pumps - don’t forget hygienic and cost-saving products such as reusable microfibre, which can be used multiple times if they are washed at the correct temperatures above 60°C after each use.”

Without the need for chemical cleaning agents, microfibre is much safer to use and has been proven to remove over 99.9% of dirt and bacteria while traditional systems often only remove 60%. 

Avoiding cross-contamination

With the increase in demand for cleaning and challenging environments, janitorial staff need to remain mindful of cross-contamination. 

Kelly Brierley, key account manager at Robert Scott, explained: “As a rule, always clean from top to bottom – so high level to work surfaces to floors. Always clean starting from the cleanest to dirtiest so as not to contaminate clean areas. And always clean from the back of the room to the front of the room when cleaning floors – make any doors the barrier at which you change your mop head and your mop water to help prevent cross-contamination.

“Folding cloths before use is a good way to avoid cross-contamination. This will provide users with eight clean sections to use on each cloth, so the risk of moving any bacteria from area to area is greatly reduced. After use, the cloths can be deposited directly into a laundry bag and should be washed above 60°c. 

“The same methodology applies to microfibre mop pads. If you have a trolley with a compartment for storing mop pads in rows, apply your cleaning agent directly to the compartment so each pad is ready to use. The mop pads can then be detached into the corresponding laundry bag after use.”

The most important thing to remember during these times is to stay safe. Keep your employees and customers informed at all times and work together to keep the UK hygienically clean.