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Instilling confidence in a post COVID-19 world

29 May 2020

As the nation edges ever-closer to a post-lockdown world, James White of Denis Rawlins urges facilities managers and company owners to step up their cleaning processes to give the returning workforce confidence in infection control.

At the time of writing my last column in early March 2020, we were bracing ourselves for the impact of coronavirus, unaware of just how devastating it would prove to be for the UK. 

As we watched the headlines roll in from Wuhan, it seemed everyone rushed out to hit the (disinfectant) bottle. Sales soared as the nation stockpiled in an attempt to banish bacteria, blissfully unaware of the impact that such solutions can have on the effectiveness of a cleaning process.  

This got me thinking. And when drafting my last column, I wrote about how the over-reliance on disinfectant, risks compromising hygiene, with cleaning methods failing to remove bacteria, even if they are dead. 

Now, fast forward to today, and we are hopefully coming through the worst of the COVID-19 crisis. And if it has taught us anything, it’s that only the highest standards of cleaning and hygiene can prevent further spread of the virus. 

So, as we gear up to return to work in a brave new world, I have a question for facilities managers and company owners:

What are you doing to build trust and confidence in the cleanliness and safety of your building, amongst both your staff and clients? What processes and changes are you willing to make to your cleaning strategies? 

At Denis Rawlins, we are firm believers in antimicrobial protection and we strongly caution against the over-reliance on disinfectants. As a champion of scientifically proven methods, we cannot stress enough the need to move away from this ‘disinfect and disperse’ approach, which simply relies on hoping that cleaning processes are good enough. 

True cleaning is about removing unwanted substances, such as dirt, infectious agents and other impurities. Therefore, facilities managers need to strive for consistent proven results that instil trust and confidence in the health of the overall environment. In a post-coronavirus society, there needs to be a shift to a ‘remove, improve and protect’ approach. 

The first step in this process is ‘remove’. There is no excuse for using mop buckets and rags or wipes in an attempt to clean the floor. The dirt needs to be removed, not pushed around by an unhygienic archaic method. 

On hard surfaces, dirt should be removed by adding water, and the correct chemistry in the form of a pure cleaning solution that is uncontaminated by previous use. With some dwell time and agitation where necessary, high-flow fluid extraction can then be used to take away the used solution, storing it separately for disposal. 

This cleaning process should be carried out at regular intervals, ideally daily, to ensure that the removal of the day’s dirt is all that is required - a simple task when using the correct techniques. 
The second step is ‘improve’. Facilities managers must ensure that all cleaning is process-driven and continuously increases cleanliness levels each time. Using a high-flow fluid extraction process will significantly improve cleanliness levels from the very first time it is used, enabling operatives to consistently deliver high standards of hygiene. The effectiveness of the process can then be proven by taking ATP measurements before and after cleaning, to ensure that floors are not just clean, but free of germs. 

The final step is ‘protect’, so that the hard work isn’t quickly undone. It is vital that, once surfaces are cleaned, they are protected with a solution like Zoono Z-71 Microbe Shield, which will provide up to 30-days active protection against bacteria and viruses.  

As Britain reopens its doors in the coming months, facilities managers have the responsibility of reassuring anyone that frequents their environment – from the cleaning operatives and staff to visiting members of the public – that they are not at risk of infection. Our ‘remove, improve and protect’ strategy delivers the trust and confidence that is so desperately needed in a post-COVID-19 world.