Cleaning

Cleaning And Disinfecting During A Pandemic

Cleaning workplaces and facilities have always been important. During a pandemic, the importance of these tasks is now front and center in the minds of everyone, from business owners and employees to customers and patrons of community spaces. Cleaning and custodial professionals know that the tools and chemicals in use work effectively against viruses, bacteria, and other organisms. However, as America reopens its businesses and public places, it is important for business owners and facility managers to review and revise current practices to ensure these spaces are safe and healthy for all who use them. The CDC has developed guidance for many industries as they seek to reopen. This excellent resource can be found here.

Recommended cleaning and disinfecting practices include:

  • Developing and implementing a plan that includes educating and training employees on new practices.
  • Using cleaning products that meet the EPA’s criteria for use against SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19). This list of products can be found on the EPA website here: List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Normal cleaning of surfaces with soap and water before disinfection.
  • Increased frequency of disinfection of surfaces and objects that are touched by multiple people.

With the increased use of disinfectants comes increased exposure to harmful ingredients found in the disinfectants. Many of these disinfectants contain active ingredients that can cause asthma and aggravate allergies. The EPA List-N includes disinfectants that are safer for human health and effective against pathogens. Look for products on List-N that contain one of the below active ingredients:

  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Citric Acid
  • Lactic Acid
  • Caprylic (octanoic) Acid
  • Thymol (if other ingredients are not available)

For more information on safer ingredients please visit San Francisco’s Department of Environmental resource page.

If you have any questions regarding this information or the abundance of information provided by various agencies, please contact UNR BEP staff on our hotline at (800) 882-3233 or by email help@unrbep.org.

Additional resources can be found below.

ResourceLinkDescription
University of Washington: Safer Cleaning Fact SheetU of W Safer Cleaning Fact SheetThis fact sheet was made by the University of Washington. It gives tips on how to properly clean, sanitize, and disinfect during COVID-19.
SF Environment: Safe, effective cleaning & disinfection for businessesSF Environment Safe Cleaning Fact SheetThis fact sheet was made by SF Environment. It gives tips for businesses on safe disinfectants approved for COVID-19 and how to properly and safely clean their facilities.