With the advance of COVID-19 paranoia taking over the lines and aisles at grocery stores, cleaning and disinfection efforts must increase to combat the rise in foot traffic and prevent the potential spread of illness.
How to Clean a Grocery Store
As of 2018, the grocery store industry was a more than $700 billion per year business, boasting employment numbers well at 4.8 million.
With the increased demand placed on the industry due to fears regarding quarantine and the spread of the COVID-19 virus, many mega-chains have committed to increasing their employment numbers to match rising consumer demand in their stores.
More people--both customers and employees--means more foot traffic, more touching, and more dirt and germs on everything.
Some of the most critical areas, especially during an outbreak or during cold and flu season, are the floors, refrigerated display cases, restrooms, and checkout lines.
Cleaning Grocery Store Floors
Humans track in a disturbing amount of germs and bacteria on their shoes.
According to CIRI Science;
A study which investigated germs collected on footwear, by Dr. Charles Gerba, microbiologist and professor at the University of Arizona, and The Rockport® Company, found large numbers of bacteria both on the bottom and inside of shoes; averaging 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe and 2,887 on the inside.
Some of the bacteria found on the shoes included: Escherichia coli, known to cause intestinal and urinary tract infections, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract and wounds.
The conventional method for addressing increased foot traffic in large facilities like grocery stores is to increase the frequency of mopping.
According to experts, and perhaps counterintuitively, such an approach is ill-advised when combatting the spread of pathogens and should be replaced with modern equipment and techniques, such as no-touch vacuum scrubbing systems.
According to a 2017 study published in the American Journal of Infection Control;
[...] floors in hospital rooms could be … a source of pathogens and are an important area for additional research.
This applies not to just hospital floors but floors in all types of facilities
One way to help eliminate this 'underappreciated source of pathogens' is to stop mopping floors.
Mops can spread contamination.
Floor cleaning alternatives that do not involve mops should be selected. It's more important today than ever before.
Cleaning Grocery Store Refrigerated Display Cases
Dirty, germ-covered hands combined with food and liquid spills can lead to the buildup and spread of mold, bacteria, and illness-causing pathogens quickly.
The buildup of filth contributes to decreased equipment life, increased maintenance and energy costs, and provides the feeding ground for mold that can contaminate food and create foul odors, ultimately resulting in reduced sales and angry former customers.
Regular cleaning with specialized equipment by trained professionals ensures customer and worker health and safety while protecting your business and its profits.
Cleaning Grocery Store Restrooms
Publicly-facing grocery store restrooms are subject to the same challenges as any other industry.
Poorly maintained restrooms can quickly become a source for malodours smells emanating from bacteria which feeds on urine, a starting point for the spread of foodborne illness, like norovirus, and contains numerous high-touch germ hot spots that can contribute to the spread of pathogens, such as influenza or rhinovirus.
- Restrooms should be cleaned from top to bottom every day.
- Trash cans should be emptied regularly and disinfected on a routine schedule, especially during an outbreak or cold and flu season.
- Toilets and urinals should be scrubbed clean.
- The floors should be swept daily and scrubbed regularly.
- Toilet paper, soap, and paper towel levels should be checked every few hours to ensure they are fully stocked, and;
- Sink counters and faucet handles should be wiped down and disinfected at least once per day.
Cleaning Grocery Store Checkout Aisles
Checkout aisles contain some of the most germ covered surfaces in a grocery store, specifically the
- Credit card processing machine.
- Self-checkout screen, and;
- Cash register buttons.
In addition to standard surface cleaning and disinfection, these surfaces could benefit significantly from wipe downs with disinfectant wipes at regular intervals.
References & Resources
- Supermarket Facts
- How to Clean a Grocery Store
- Stay Cool: How to Clean Grocery Coolers
- How To Stop Mold Growth From Developing in Your Walk-In Cooler
- The 10 germiest things in the grocery store — and how to stay safe
Even under ideal conditions, grocery store cleaning is difficult and time-consuming, especially where the in-house staff is leveraged for additional cleaning and disinfection duties.
In large-scale, high-traffic facilities, it is significantly more profitable and safe to outsource your grocery stores cleaning and disinfection services to an experienced service provider with the training and equipment necessary to ensure a healthy and hygienic location for the public to purchase their food and supplies.
If you would like more information regarding the effectiveness of high-performance infection prevention and control measures, or if you would like to schedule a free, no-obligation onsite assessment of your facility's custodial needs, contact us today for a free quote!
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
In Palmdale CA, or Lancaster CA, call (661) 371-4756