Even the best microfiber cloths can fail to remove bacteria if they are not used correctly, which is why custodial managers must focus on training the staff on proper cleaning procedures.

“Right now, we are rolling out new training for our environmental services staff so that they understand why they’re doing what they’re doing, and they’re not just cleaning to clean,” says Guspiel. “We want them to know that they play a role in reducing infections, and that’s a big deal to the hospital as a whole.”

Ed McCauley, president of ARTA, emphasizes the importance of educating employees on how often to use a new cloth.

“You don’t want to use one cloth so many times that it’s no longer effective,” he says. “There has to be training on the right amount of solution to use and how many square feet that cloth can sanitize before it must be thrown in with the soiled ones. If you try to clean four rooms with one cloth, that’s a problem.”

Workers should be trained to use a new cloth for each new area cleaned. Hicks recommends color-coded cloths to help custodians avoid cross-contamination.

“If cleaning classrooms, for instance, it’s good to have a color-coded system so you’re not cleaning restrooms with the same cloth you used to wipe desks,” he says.

Proper folding techniques can also prevent cross-contamination and ensure optimal soil removal.

“Once those microfibers are full of soil, they won’t collect any more,” says Hicks. “But if you take a 16-inch cloth, fold it in half, then fold it in half again, you have eight sides to use, so you won’t transfer soil from one side of the cloth to the other. That’s the most effective way to remove soil, and it gives the disinfectant a better chance to do its job.”

Hicks also stresses the importance of using a clean bucket for disinfectants.

“Too many people depend on the disinfectant to kill whatever’s on the inside of the bucket wall, and they don’t do a good job of cleaning their buckets out,” he says. “Start with a clean bucket, add your microfiber cloths, and make sure soiled cloths never go back into the bucket.”

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