Minimizing Cross-Contamination While Cleaning
According to best practices, you should strive to minimize contamination of cleaning solutions and cleaning tools. Bucket solutions become contaminated almost immediately during cleaning, and continued use of the solution transfers increasing numbers of microorganisms to each subsequent surface to be cleaned. Cleaning solutions should be replaced frequently.
A variety of “bucket” methods have been devised to address the frequency with which cleaning solutions are replaced. This best practice will reduce water consumption, save trips to the closet to exchange dirty water for clean, and eliminate spreading germs. Simply set up a bucket with clean solution at the beginning of the shift and then put 15 to 20 clean cloths in the solution.
You must always start with a clean cloth when you wipe or disinfect a surface. Fold the cloth in half and half again. As you wipe each new area, unfold the cloth to an unused portion. This method provides you with eight clean surfaces with each cloth. Add more clean cloths as necessary to complete your day.
Studies have demonstrated that the number of times a surface is wiped is more important than the type of disinfectant used. This is because it’s always best to remove “bad bugs” rather than depending on the disinfectant to kill them. For best results, wipe the surface three times before moving on to another section or the next thing to be wiped. The mechanical action of wiping the surface three times removes soil.
The same technique can be used when mopping. Set up the clean bucket with clean solution at the beginning of your shift. Put eight to 10 clean, dry mops in the solution. (Add more clean mops as necessary to complete your day.) Each time you mop a new area, reach into the clean unused mops and put one on the handle, wringing it into the bucket of clean solution.
When you are done mopping an area, place the soiled mop in a bag so it is not inadvertently mixed with clean tools. Never put a dirty mop or cloth into a bucket of solution. That way, you won’t be contaminating the cleaning solution or the unused mops or cloths with the soil you have collected.
Cleaning cloths and mops should be laundered after use each day’s use and allowed to dry before re-use to help minimize the degree of contamination.