A reader writes: “What is your opinion on the ongoing arguments regarding floor care and air borne contaminants?”

I admit to not being expert or even well versed in this area so please take my observations as general in nature. Please check with SME’s (subject matter experts) who I encourage to respond as they deem appropriate.

That said, I believe there is a growing body of evidence supporting the risks involved in soils becoming airborne once they are tracked into an area. Hence the need for well-maintained, quality walk off mats as the first line of defense.

As to hospital studies regarding this issue, I believe the same basic science can be applied to clinics, day care centers, youth centers, aftercare facilities, etc. Note following general points:

  1. A fomite is any object or material that is likely to carry infection (think pathogenic microorganisms) such as clothing, floors, utensils, touch points, etc.
  2. There is an ongoing discussion regarding dirt/soils becoming airborne after being brought into an area on people’s feet that should generate review of tasks/frequencies
  3. This is a valid concern which needs to be addressed by correct, frequent cleaning procedures in key areas susceptible to foot traffic
  4. This is one reason I highly recommend the regular sweeping (prefer vacuuming) of floors with regular cleaning with a detergent to remove the soils
    1. Using a disinfectant that does not have a detergency element can even be counter productive
    2. An example is that the use of a bleach (strong, caustic disinfectant) with a pH equivalent to stripper on a “waxed” floor can open the pores to microorganisms and…
    3. Can increase likelihood of cross contamination in many cases.
  5. Well intentioned customers may require the use of bleach water on fomites without fully understanding the implications and risks.

Remember why we are cleaning in the first place. It should be to provide a safe environment free of pathogens both on surfaces and in the air.

Your comments and feedback are always appreciated. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean…

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.