Chances are you’ve heard the term “Cross Contamination” used in conjunction with kitchens, restaurants, and other types of food service sectors to prevent the spread of bacteria from raw to cooked foods. Though did you know there’s another type of equally serious cross-contamination in the cleaning industry?
Cleaning cross-contamination is often linked to the spread of germs and cleaning chemicals to surfaces as well as other areas where it’s not meant to be. Not only can cleaning cross-contamination damage surfaces but there are also some instances where it can make people very sick.
Common Causes of Cross-Contamination?
The most common cause of cross-contamination comes from cleaning multiple areas with the same towels and/or cleaning equipment. If you continue to use the same towel to wipe things down or the same device to clean multiple high-touch surfaces and floors, it can easily carry germs and unwanted cleaning chemicals from one location to the next.
When it comes to pathogenic microbes, lax cleaning protocols end up meaning that you’re not truly eliminating germs and bacteria, you’re just relocating them. Often times this can be taking them from one surface, such as a bathroom handle, to a high-touch light switch out in the main office space or commons area.
Ultimately, true cleaning and sanitizing go beyond just cleaning frequently and rigorously. It’s also about cleaning safely and correctly. Without mindfulness toward preventing cross-contamination the results of a lax cleaning effort can easily leave behind bacterial residue, microbial pathogens, lingering particulates, and chemical impurities.
Any one or all of these can be transferred to various surfaces throughout an entire building. Once cross-contamination reaches one surface, people can unwittingly carry the potentially harmful residue to other places. Not to mention the risk of bringing something home with them!
The Benefits of Being Proactive About Cross Contamination
Preventing cross-contamination in your building and communal spaces is about more than just the moral high ground and pride in maintaining a professional appearance. It’s also about making an active effort to ensure all liability issues are covered.
The last thing you want is for an employee, customer, client, or other professional guests getting sick due to accidental chemical or microbial cross-contamination.
At the same time, a professional space that is free of cross-contamination issues is also less likely to see a loss of productivity due to employee sick days.
When you consider all these things as a whole, taking the extra time, and spending the extra money to prevent cross-contamination of bacteria, viruses, germs, and cleaning chemicals pay for itself in no time flat!
Places That Are At High Risk For Cross Contamination Problems
There are some business and professional spaces that are at higher risk of cross-contamination problems than others. This includes:
- Gyms & Fitness Centers
- Restaurants & Food Service Businesses
- Commons Areas & Waiting Rooms
- Senior Care Facilities
- Schools & Universities
- Grocery Stores
- Retail Spaces & Shopping Malls
Tips to Help Prevent Cross Contamination
There are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of cross-contamination in your building. Some of the following things are enhanced practices, while others might call for implementing wholesale changes in how you clean your facility
Choose Effective Cleaning Products
Not all cleaning products are created equal. A lot of the ones sold in retail stores at the consumer level don’t have the ability to effectively kill germs without rigorous use and/or overuse. Make sure to provide your custodial staff with products that are certified for sanitizing and cleaning effectiveness.
Switch to Microfiber Mop Heads
Old-fashioned string mops and sloppy water buckets are rife with bacteria and other pathogens. When the mop bucket isn’t cleaned out and the same mop head is used over and over again, it just compounds the spread of cross-contamination across all your hard floors. Employees and guests then pick up these germs and spread them throughout the facility on the bottoms of their shoes.
By switching to microfiber “Dry” mop heads, you reduce the presence of liquid, while still being able to adequately maintain clean floors throughout the day. The microfiber heads are cheap and can easily be replaced throughout the course of a floor cleaning session.
As an added bonus, you’ll have a much lower risk of slips and falls due to wet floors!
Offer Copious Disposable Rags & Other Supplies
One of the biggest culprits contributing to cross-contamination of microbes and cleaning chemicals in a professional office or commercial space is simple cleaning rags. Provide your custodial staff with rags and dry microfiber mop heads that can be disposed of after moderate use. Then encourage them to change rags or microfibers when moving from one contaminated surface to another.
Clean from Top to Bottom
The order in which you clean vertical surfaces and multi-surface areas matters. Ideally, you want to always clean from the top to bottom on countertops, handles, and faucets, to make sure you are removing surface microbes with any drips or particulate matter falling to the floor. Then your mopping efforts can pick up any residue leaving the entire area cleaned.
Consider Hiring a Professional Cleaning Company
The problem with handling your own cleaning in professional spaces and commercial buildings is that it’s hard to source the highest quality cleaning products. Then you also have to worry about your staff not having the proper training to use these products safely and effectively. These two things on their own greatly increase the risk of cross-contamination not only of pathogenic microbes but cleaning chemicals!
When you hire a professional cleaning company, like Building Service, you get the peace of mind that comes with knowing highly trained professionals are handling all your cleaning duties from top to bottom.
We use commercial-grade cleaning products and industry best practices to eliminate the presence of pathogens without the risk of cross-contamination. We even offer a “Green Cleaning” service that leaves your building smelling naturally fresh, rather than the fumes that often come from harsh chemical cleaners. All at a cost that is much lower than hiring your own in-house custodial staff.