How to Clean for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

How to Clean for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

Unlock the secrets to a healthier workspace and community with effective strategies to prevent the pervasive Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) – your blueprint to safeguarding well-being starts here.

How to Clean for RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus)

Navigating RSV Season: Effective Cleaning Strategies to Protect Your Facility

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is an infectious agent that can cause severe respiratory illness across various age groups, especially in young children and the elderly.

As business owners and facilities managers, understanding the nature of RSV is crucial for implementing effective cleaning strategies to prevent its spread.

Proper cleaning and disinfecting protocols are vital, as RSV is predominantly spread via droplets from a cough or sneeze and by touching contaminated surfaces.

Ensuring a clean environment not only helps curb the transmission of RSV but also underscores a commitment to the health and well-being of all facility occupants.

This article will outline evidence-based cleaning practices, from routine cleaning to innovative technologies, recommended by health authorities and experts in the janitorial services industry to mitigate the risk of RSV in business and community settings.


Understanding RSV and Its Transmission

Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) is a common respiratory virus that causes mild, cold-like symptoms in most people.

However, it can lead to more severe health complications such as bronchiolitis or pneumonia, particularly in infants and the elderly (National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, 2021).

Symptoms typically include coughing, sneezing, fever, and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing, which may require hospitalization.

The virus is highly contagious and can spread through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

It can also live on surfaces for several hours, making touching contaminated objects a notable risk for transmission (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

In communal and business settings, the risk of RSV spreading is heightened due to the proximity of individuals and the shared use of facilities and equipment.

For facilities managers and business owners, recognizing the transmission dynamics of RSV is a critical step in tailoring janitorial services to combat the spread of the virus effectively.

This involves not only standard cleaning procedures but also specific interventions targeting areas and practices with the highest risk of contamination.

The susceptibility to severe RSV infections is exceptionally high among certain groups, such as infants, older adults, individuals with compromised immune systems, and those with underlying lung or heart conditions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

Protecting these high-risk groups through stringent cleaning and disinfection practices is a priority in minimizing the impact of RSV within the community and workplace.


Preparing Your Facility for RSV Season

The onset of RSV season, which typically peaks during fall and winter, necessitates a proactive approach to minimize the risk of infection within facilities.

An initial step in this preparation is the thorough assessment of the environment. Facilities managers should identify high-traffic areas, frequently touched surfaces, and common gathering spaces that could become hotspots for virus transmission (Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, n.d.).

These areas require particular attention during cleaning to ensure they are regularly disinfected.

Another critical aspect is the role of ventilation in reducing the concentration of airborne pathogens, including RSV.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) recommends increasing the ventilation rates and the percentage of outdoor air that circulates into the system to improve air quality (OSHA, n.d.).

By doing so, facilities can dilute the presence of potentially infectious particles, thus diminishing the likelihood of airborne transmission.

Selecting the appropriate cleaning materials and disinfectants is also crucial. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), using products that meet EPA's criteria for use against RSV ensures effectiveness in eliminating the virus on surfaces.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides guidance on the safe and effective use of these products, which includes adhering to the contact time specified by the manufacturer for the disinfectant to be effective (CDC, 2020).

Finally, staff training on these enhanced cleaning protocols is essential.

This not only includes the correct use of cleaning agents and equipment but also ensures that janitorial staff understand the importance of their role in preventing the spread of RSV.

The culmination of these efforts lies in creating a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes health and safety while maintaining the efficiency of business operations.


Daily Cleaning Rituals to Mitigate RSV Spread

Daily cleaning rituals are the frontline defense against the spread of RSV in any facility.

A targeted approach should be implemented, focusing on high-touch surfaces such as doorknobs, light switches, and electronics.

These areas are frequent points of contact and, as a result, are more likely to harbor viruses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) underscores the importance of cleaning these surfaces regularly with the correct disinfectants to mitigate the spread of pathogens (CDC, 2020).

Hand hygiene is another cornerstone of preventing RSV transmission.

The CDC advocates for proper handwashing techniques, emphasizing that employees should wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

In the absence of soap and water, a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used as an alternative (CDC, 2020).

Businesses should facilitate this practice by providing adequate supplies and hand hygiene stations, especially in high-traffic areas.

Laundry practices also play a significant role in daily cleaning rituals.

If applicable, items such as clothing, bedding, and even stuffed toys can be vehicles for RSV spread.

The International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA) suggests laundering these items using the warmest appropriate water setting and ensuring they are completely dry before use (ISSA, n.d.).

This reduces the survival rate of the virus on fabrics, thus decreasing the risk of surface-to-human transmission.

These daily practices are not only about maintaining cleanliness but also about instilling a routine that can become part of the collective effort to create a safer environment.

Janitorial services are integral to this, as they are often tasked with executing these daily cleaning rituals efficiently and effectively.

It is crucial that their role is supported with the necessary tools and knowledge to protect themselves and those who use the facility.


Deep Cleaning Practices

Scheduled deep cleaning sessions serve as an essential supplement to daily cleaning efforts, providing an extra layer of defense against RSV by addressing areas that may be overlooked in routine cleanings.

The frequency of these deep cleanings should be based on the level of traffic and use within the facility, with high-use areas receiving attention more frequently.

According to the CDC guidelines, particular focus should be placed on carpets, upholstery, and areas less accessible during daily cleaning (CDC, 2020).

Understanding and adhering to the safe use of disinfectants is critical during deep cleaning.

Product labels offer a wealth of information, including the types of pathogens the product is effective against and specific instructions for use to ensure safety and effectiveness.

The EPA's List N provides a list of disinfectants approved for use against RSV, ensuring that facilities are using products deemed effective by regulatory authorities (U.S. EPA, n.d.).

The utilization of steam cleaning for upholstery and carpets is particularly beneficial in a deep cleaning regimen.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) suggests that steam cleaning can reduce allergens and pathogens in these materials due to high temperatures that many organisms cannot survive (NCBI, 2012).

This method can be especially effective in environments frequented by individuals at higher risk of severe RSV infection, such as healthcare facilities or childcare centers.

The implementation of deep cleaning practices requires a careful and methodical approach, with attention to detail and adherence to safety guidelines being paramount.

For janitorial services, training in these specialized cleaning methods ensures that staff are equipped to perform deep cleanings effectively, with the ultimate goal of safeguarding the health of facility occupants.


Innovative Cleaning Technologies

The integration of innovative cleaning technologies can significantly enhance the effectiveness of janitorial services in controlling the spread of RSV.

One of the forefront technologies is UV-C light disinfection, which has been demonstrated to inactivate various pathogens, including viruses similar to RSV.

The efficacy of UV-C light as a disinfectant is documented by its ability to destroy the DNA or RNA of microorganisms, thereby preventing them from replicating (NCBI, 2020).

Safety considerations are paramount when using UV-C light, as direct exposure can be harmful to human skin and eyes, necessitating its use in controlled environments or during times when areas are unoccupied.

HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners and air purifiers represent another layer of defense. High-efficiency particulate Air (HEPA) filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns with a 99.97% efficiency, which includes the size of many viruses.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) acknowledges that air filtration can reduce the presence of airborne pathogens (NIAID, 2020).

HEPA-equipped devices are particularly useful in settings where air quality is a concern and can complement other cleaning methods by reducing the amount of airborne particulates.

Smart facility devices are becoming increasingly relevant in maintaining cleanliness and managing janitorial tasks.

These devices can range from smart thermostats that regulate airflow and temperature to sensor-equipped soap dispensers that monitor and report usage for timely refills.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the CDC highlight the role of facility management in infection control, indicating the potential for smart devices to aid in these efforts (OSHA, 2020).

Incorporating these technologies into a facility’s cleaning protocols can provide a more comprehensive approach to preventing the spread of RSV, optimizing the janitorial services provided.

As these technologies evolve, staying abreast of new developments and understanding their practical applications becomes essential for facility managers and cleaning professionals alike.


Educating Facility Occupants and Visitors

Educational initiatives within facilities are a cornerstone in the prevention of Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) transmission.

Teaching occupants about proper hygiene and cleanliness is essential, as informed individuals are more likely to engage in behaviors that mitigate the spread of viruses.

Materials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provide comprehensive guidance on hygiene practices that reduce the transmission of RSV, including handwashing and the cleaning of surfaces (CDC, 2021).

Setting clear and enforceable guidelines for visitors during RSV season is also crucial.

This may include mandating hand hygiene, regulating the number of visitors, and potentially screening for symptoms of respiratory illness.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health provides examples of visitor policies that have been effective in controlling the spread of RSV in communal environments (Public Health LA County, n.d.).

Community support and access to resources are vital components of a robust educational strategy.

Providing links to resources such as the MedlinePlus guide to RSV infections can empower individuals to seek information and support independently (MedlinePlus, n.d.).

Additionally, janitorial services can play a proactive role by offering educational materials and signage to promote awareness and encourage hygiene practices.

Lastly, the value of educational efforts extends beyond the immediate goal of preventing RSV.

These practices contribute to a culture of health and safety within facilities, which has broader implications for public health and can enhance the reputation of the business or organization.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Prevention & Treatment. Retrieved from
  2. International Sanitary Supply Association. (n.d.). RSV: Cleaning and Prevention. Retrieved from
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Symptoms and Care. Retrieved from
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). How RSV Spreads. Retrieved from
  5. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. (2021). Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV). Retrieved from
  6. Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. (n.d.). Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV). Retrieved from
  7. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. (n.d.). List N: Disinfectants for Coronavirus (COVID-19). Retrieved from
  8. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (n.d.). Ventilation in the Workplace. Retrieved from's_Cleaning_and_Disinfecting_Guidance.pdf
  9. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2012). Steam vapor cleaning. Retrieved from
  10. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. (2020). Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19. Retrieved from
  11. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2020). Far-UVC light (222 nm) efficiently and safely inactivates airborne human coronaviruses. Retrieved from
  12. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV): Prevention & Treatment. Retrieved from
  13. Public Health Los Angeles County. (n.d.). Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV): Information for Providers. Retrieved from
  14. MedlinePlus. (n.d.). Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infections. Retrieved from



The importance of maintaining rigorous cleaning routines, utilizing innovative technologies, and educating occupants and visitors cannot be overstated.

These practices not only reduce the risk of RSV but also contribute to the overall health and well-being of the community.

Janitorial services are at the forefront of this effort, serving as an essential component in the fight against RSV by ensuring environments are not just visibly clean but hygienically safe.

Facility managers and business owners are encouraged to adopt these cleaning and educational practices as a standard part of their operations.

By doing so, they protect not only their own workforce and clientele but also contribute to public health initiatives.

It is imperative to remember that the fight against RSV and other infectious diseases is ongoing and requires consistent effort and adaptation to new challenges and information.

Lastly, while these guidelines serve as a robust framework for prevention, it is crucial to consult healthcare providers for the most current advice and to address specific concerns related to RSV.

Healthcare professionals can provide tailored recommendations and up-to-date information that can help facilities further refine their prevention strategies.

As we continue to navigate the challenges posed by infectious diseases, the role of diligent cleaning, innovative technology, and informed communities remains central to our collective well-being.

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 on-site 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

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Southern Valley