Green cleaning services address the challenges of infection control in schools, specifically where cross-contamination is a concern.
Green Cleaning Services and Infection Control for Educational Facilities
Cleaning and disinfection procedures in schools and daycare facilities face two ongoing challenges:
- Cleaning while avoiding cross-contamination, and;
- Disinfecting while avoiding the introduction of toxic chemicals into the local environment.
According to a 2010 publication;
It is well documented that disinfectants are associated with both acute and chronic health problems.
In a recent study of cleaning products and work-related asthma, Rosenman and colleagues found that 12% of confirmed cases of work-related asthma were associated with exposure to cleaning products.
Of these cleaning-related cases, 80% (4 out of 5) were new-onset cases (i.e., the cleaning product exposures caused new asthma in people who had not had it before).
Of all the cleaning-related asthma cases, 39% were from medical settings, but 13% were from schools.
In all work settings, 22% of those who had work-related asthma associated with cleaning agents worked as cleaners.
Hand and respiratory health are symbiotic.
To prevent the spread of infection in schools, children and staff must learn to cover their mouths or nose when they cough or sneeze, then follow recommended hand washing guidelines.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
Teaching people about handwashing helps them and their communities stay healthy. Handwashing education in the community:
Reduces the number of people who get sick with diarrhea by 31%.
Reduces diarrheal illness in people with weakened immune systems by 58%, and;
Reduces respiratory illnesses, like colds, in the general population by 16-21%.
Make hand-hygiene as simple as possible by maintaining clean and well-stocked sanitation stations with plenty of soap, clean paper towels, and liquid hand sanitizer.
Conventional cleaning products have been shown to negatively impact the long-term health of building occupants, and children are naturally more susceptible to the toxins due to their underdeveloped immune systems.
To address this challenge, schools across the country are switching to safer and more efficient green cleaning products.
However, switching to healthier and more cost-effective products is not enough to address the ongoing challenge of infection control, especially during cold and flu season.
School administrators must coordinate with custodial teams and teachers to increase the frequency and thoroughness of cleaning and disinfection efforts throughout all occupied spaces and high-contact surfaces to mitigate the impact the illness has on children and the learning environment.
According to results from a recent poll published by the Public Broadcasting Systems (PBS);
ZOOMers who took part in the ZOOMflu survey missed a total of 20,920 days of school because of the flu!
That’s over 57 years or 29,959,200 minutes or 1,797,552,000 seconds of missed school!
Clean, Sanitize, & Disinfect
Always follow the procedure–clean, then sanitize or disinfect, from top to bottom.
Cleaning products are not very good disinfectants.
Sanitizers and disinfectants lose their efficacy when they come into contact with dirt and oil.
When cleaning, make sure to assign color-coded microfiber to specific surfaces and areas, combined with the two-bucket cleaning method, to avoid cross-contamination.
Once the cleaning is complete, the custodial staff should implement advanced disinfection procedures, including electrostatic disinfection appliances or EPA certified Category IV disinfectants.
Electrostatic disinfection appliances simplify the sanitation process by quickly adhering to three-dimensional surfaces without scrubbing, wiping, or dripping, or post-application wipe downs, which is necessary with bleach.
Category IV disinfectants are certified as safe and have proven to be just as effective in removing common germs and bacteria.
References & Resources
The best advice for preventing the spread of infection in schools and daycare facilities is–if you’re sick, stay home.
Some individuals, however, may be contagious, but not realize that they are ill, making it vital to always follow recommended hygiene, especially around children.
Switching to safer and healthier green cleaning products will help protect the long-term health of children and staff while reducing costs and improving the effectiveness of custodial duties, especially during increased cleaning cycles during cold and flu season.
Implementing EPA certified Category IV disinfectants or, better yet, electrostatic disinfection appliances, will cost-effectively improve the sanitation levels of all hard surfaces, including difficult to clean electronic equipment, in a fraction of the time, when compared to conventional methods and practices.
In Bakersfield CA, call (661) 437-3253
In Fresno CA, call (559) 206-1059
In Valencia CA, or Santa Clarita CA, call (661) 437-3253