With the flu season in full force and infections such as H1N1 in the news, cleaners must step up their efforts to prevent cross-contamination in facilities. This starts by promoting proper hand hygiene among building occupants.

According to studies from the Soap and Detergent Association, Americans recognize that good hygiene is an effective line of defense against viruses, but few have changed their habits. Educating these building occupants that proper hand washing and disinfecting of commonly touched surfaces can drastically minimize the spread of infections is essential. In fact, an unwashed hand can spread bacteria to every surface it comes into contact with, transferring germs to the next person who comes touches that surface.

Cleaners can eliminate this cross-contamination threat by implementing the following:
• Encourage building occupants to wash their hands with soap for a minimum of 15-20 seconds routinely, particularly after coughing, sneezing, using the restroom and before eating meals.
• Provide and/or encourage the use of hand sanitizers when access to soap and water are not readily available.
Regularly clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces such as doorknobs, handles and elevator buttons. This also includes encouraging building occupants to disinfect surfaces not covered by the cleaning crew, such as desks, keyboards and telephones.