To Disinfect or Not to Disinfect?
Disinfectants can promote a healthy environment The use of disinfectant products is increasing because of public concerns with germs. News stories about Norovirus, MRSA, EBOLA, Enterovirus D68, and other pathogenic bacteria and viruses helps stoke the concern. While using disinfectants can help prevent the spread of illness and disease, they have to be used correctly and on the right surfaces. CAUTION: Disinfectants are a type of Pesticides Too often, the wrong surfaces are needlessly disinfected. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates disinfectants. One reason for regulation is because of the potential detrimental effects disinfectant use can have on the environment. Equally important is to insure that the public health claims made by the disinfectant products are back by sound testing and documented test results. Most of the bacteria we encounter daily are essential for life. Bacteria help our bodies process food and are essential for decomposing organic matter. Disinfectants can’t tell the difference between good bacteria and those that make us sick. Therefore, we need to really use these products where they are needed. Disinfectants are an important part of green cleaning It seems like an oxymoron when we suggest disinfectants are an important part of green cleaning, yet they pose environmental and health risks. But when you stop to consider that disinfectants help prevent the transmission of illnesses, it makes sense that their use can promote the health of individuals. Therefore, disinfectants are logically connected to green cleaning. Being Pro-Active: Develop an Infection Control Plan (ICP) An ICP is a plan aimed at minimizing the spread of illness or disease. While healthcare institutions understand infection control plans, any facility can benefit from an ICP. In particular, schools, daycares, offices, factories, etc.
- Promote good hygiene practices, particularly hand washing.
- Regularly scheduled cleaning of all surfaces. A green cleaning program prioritizes cleaning to promote health.
- Establish a High Touch Surface Cleaning and Disinfecting protocol.
The Healthy Schools Campaign through its Quick and Easy Guide to Green Cleaning, does an excellent job laying the groundwork for developing an ICP. Infection Control Page, Q & E Guide: http://www.greencleanschools.org/s4-infection-control.html Which Surfaces Should I Disinfect? High Tough Surfaces are defined as surfaces that many different people contact in a relatively short time period. Examples include doorknobs, light switches, phones, faucets, flush handles, coffee pots, vending machines and toys. High-touch surfaces can become contaminated by direct contact from people or through indirect contact with other contaminated objects, such as inadequately cleaned rags and sponges. High Touch Surface Disinfecting 1-2-3: Follow these steps
- Create a list of areas and high touch surfaces that require attention.
- Define how often these areas are to be disinfected.
- Develop a procedure using the tools and products to properly disinfect surfaces.
Conclusion: Disinfect Wisely Using disinfectants correctly and only where needed can prevent the spread of illness, reduce absenteeism and improve productivity. The simple act of regular cleaning will go a long way to making a facility healthier. Multi-Clean manufactures a wide selection of green cleaning products and EPA registered disinfectants. Visit www.multi-clean.com to learn more.