Cleaning during COVID-19
As a cleaning company we have witnessed an increase in customers requesting help with cleaning advice due to the coronavirus. There are those customers we can help directly by provisioning a cleaning service for the cleans they need and there are others that are simply seeking guidance in these unprecedented times. It is for this latter group that this article is provided.
The first thing to say is that whilst it is prudent to ensure your living environment is pristine and healthy, we live in a world of germs and bacteria and it is impossible to live without them. In fact, modern man has evolved to be his and her magnificent selves because of the microscopic arms race we have faced from time immemorial, even before we crawled out of the primordial swamp. We have grown strong as a species not by avoiding danger entirely, but by learning to deal with and to live with it. Our immune systems are our most potent defence against microscopic invaders of all types including the virus that has the world so enthralled at this unprecedented time – Covid 19.
The advice that follows will help to keep your home and work environment clean and healthy. Further on we give you some thoughts on how to protect your immune system too so that if the virus does come your way, you’re in the best shape to deal with it. Indeed prevention is better than the cure, so let’s start here.
Cleaning for Covid-19
If you use a professional cleaning service the first thing to think about is how best to avoid cross-contamination. That means you need to ensure your cleaners are bringing fresh and clean cloths and cleaning materials into your home each and every time they clean. You do not want them using the same mop on your kitchen floors as they used on the neighbours’ bathroom tiles. Those shaggy mops are the worst. The same goes for the cleaning cloths they use. Some services use the same microfibre cleaning cloths all day long from one clients’ home to the next and you need to use an eagle eye to watch out for this.
What’s the difference between Cleaning and Disinfecting?
Cleaning means to physically remove germs (viruses and bacteria), grime, dirt, body fats etc from surfaces using a detergent and water solution. Typically, you would be using what’s known as a surfactant that will break up grease and oil with the use of water. It is far preferable to use a non-toxic product here such as a quality citrus-acid based product like the one we use ~ ecoLove. The germs and bacteria that live in amongst this gunk will also be removed in large part by this process.
Disinfecting means using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. If you are cleaning yourself the first move is to get everything clean of surface grease and grime. This means using a surface detergent based cleaning product (as described above) that will cut down and break up oil and grease with the use of water. Then when you have the surface in a good condition you can use a disinfectant.
Disinfectants kill germs. But it is not always possible in our opinion to remove every single germ.
The former (surfactant) can be toxin-free but in most cases the disinfectant will contain alcohol, bleach and/or quaternary compounds. It’s important to dilute these products as per the instructions and to wear a face covering and gloves when using them. We also advise to wash the surface again with clean water and wipe dry to ensure you don’t leave excessive toxins behind. Make certain to wash your hands thoroughly after use as well.
What should I be disinfecting?
Any surfaces that are touched frequently should be disinfected. These will include tabletops, door handles, light switches, desktops, keyboards, TV remotes, kitchen surfaces, kitchen handles, keyboards etc. Any surfaces that visually look particularly soiled should be cleaned first and disinfected second. Those things that are used by multiple people should have close attention paid to them such as EFTPOS machines, shopping trolleys, toilet door handles etc. Additionally, surfaces should be dry wiped including when you mop the floors. Excessive water will spread germs and viruses through water droplets along with being a slip and fall hazard. We use flat, replaceable microfibre mop heads to achieve this. And we always dry the floor with a fresh dry microfibre mop head after its been washed with warm water.
How our bodies can fight Covid-19
There are numerous factors that impact our immune system and we should personally look deeply into these and understand the power of our own bodies to protect our being. The first thing is to acknowledge the role of fear and to avoid it. Truly there is nothing to fear but the fear of fear itself. Unfortunately, the media pumps up the fear to sell more advertising. It’s a good idea to be conscious of this and to work on ways to counter it. One idea is to try to be aware of increased levels of anxiousness you experience when watching certain programmes on TV and maybe try to avoid these.
Above we outlined how to get your house clean. For specific cleaning techniques you can view the videos on our website here https://1800cleaner.com.au/media-centre/ and read the specific articles provided on our site as well. Hopefully you’ll leave with more than just cleaning knowledge and advice.
As our company celebrates its 38,000th odd clean one of the most remarkable things we have witnessed throughout this time is how rarely our cleaners get sick. It seems that the daily exposure to all the indoor nasties that live in the pre-clean homes of our clients, the more their immune systems and specifically their antibodies rise to the challenge. We appreciate the importance of cleaning during this plandemic but really want to assure people that everything is going to be alright. Your body is an amazing and miraculous marvel. Just as we do everything we can each flu season to avoid the cold and flu we should take precautions here as well. Mankind has survived all types of things throughout our long meandering history and in the context of these current times this latest epoch is something we can handle.
How big is the Coronavirus?
When it comes to the coronavirus specifically this is what the encyclopaedia brittanica has to teach us;
Most viruses vary in diameter from 20 nanometres (nm; 0.0000008 inch) to 250–400 nm; the largest, however, measure about 500 nm in diameter and are about 700–1,000 nm in length. Only the largest and most complex viruses can be seen under the light microscope at the highest resolution.
To say that these things are tiny is an understatement. This particular virus is purported to be anywhere from 60-140nm in size. That’s intensely small so completely avoiding such a tiny thing with a face mask is not possible. A mask will offer protection from direct contacting water droplets carrying any virus. It’s reasonable to expect that these commonly used masks won’t stop the penetration of such a small virus once airborne.
Our experiences with face masks
Our cleaners have used these masks for years whenever we clean excessively dusty homes to avoid the thick clouds of dust and pollutants we disturb from entering our systems. They work for this goal in the main but we still feel the effects of the really tiny particles that make their way past the masks when we clean. Sometimes we can feel the effects for hours afterwards as our bodies expel the inhaled nasties. With a big healthy meal and a good nights sleep we’re usually fighting fit again the next morning. This is due to the fact that our cleaners are exposed to more of these contaminants on a regular basis than the average person. As a result our immune systems are perpetually ready for action.
The best thing the average householder can do is to keep their home clean and dust-free and to specifically disinfect common touch-points in the home and to learn everything there is to know about supporting your own immune system. You need a plan to deal with the dust and the articles here will help: https://1800cleaner.com.au/how-those-things-we-cant-see-can-hurt-us/
Simple steps to boost our immune system
It seems that high temperatures and particularly ultraviolet light are useful in killing the virus.
Get plenty of sunshine and fresh air. These also boost our immune systems. Get plenty of rest and drink lots of fresh water. Try to avoid anything negative or of a scary nature. The fear can have a negative impact on our stress hormone levels, our ability to sleep and again on our immune systems. It seems lots of hugs are good to boost our immune systems but use your own discretion with that one. We advocate for the removal of excessive dust from your home. We also believe that the use of negative ions can have a very positive impact on your health too so getting an ioniser and antibacterial air filter is a good idea. Regular washing of our hands has always been and will always be a great idea.
Always look for the silver lining
Boosting the immune system is not rocket science. It is actually timeless logic that our grandparents and forebears often lived instinctively by and hopefully tried to teach us before this modern age of mass media consumption. Go to bed nice and early. Exercise, even just a little each day. Eat good food. Drink water. Avoid sugar and alcohol. Take a bath if you can. Treat yourself like someone you’re responsible to care for. Choose to be around positive people and energies and also to avoid negative energies.
If you’re confined to the inside of your home for any period of time then here’s a chance to de-clutter. Make your house a haven. Some things are outside of our control and some things we can control. Let’s focus our energy on only those things we can control and chief amongst them is the cleaning and our immune systems.
Michael Sweet is the founder of 1800 CLEANER and has been cleaning professionally for over 30 years.