Disinfecting High Traffic Areas in Schools

by Lawton Brothers | Jul 25, 2017

High traffic areas in schools deserve special treatment since they are areas frequented by large numbers of children and adults. While it is true that it takes a team effort to prevent communicable diseases and infections, it is the custodial and maintenance staff that are on the front lines battling bacteria, viruses, fungal infections, and molds.

Custodial departments usually have comprehensive cleaning programs in place to wipe out everyday germs to help prevent the spread of disease. Through proper training, they understand that just because something looks clean, it does not mean it is sanitary. When team members clean with the goal of creating a healthy environment for all students and staff, they promote health through measurable actions.

Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing

Often used interchangeably, cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing actually carry three distinct meanings.

Cleaning uses a soap or detergent and water to remove dirt, bacteria, viruses, etc. from surfaces and objects. Cleaning properly reduces the spread of infection by getting rid of the germs, not by killing them.

Disinfecting takes it a step further by ridding high-traffic areas of contaminants. It is crucial that surfaces are properly cleaned before disinfecting in order for the chemicals to do their job effectively.

Sanitizing is the use of either of the above processes to reduce and maintain the level of contaminants in accordance with acceptable health standards. The idea is that getting rid of germs reduces the risk of spreading infection.

Prioritize Proper Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures

One major fallacy we are here to dismiss is the concept that if a small amount of the chemical diluted with water is good, then more must be better. What many people fail to realize is that proper dilution is required to remain within healthy exposure limits. Using too much of the cleaning chemical in a mix is wasteful and can actually cause physical harm through contact, inhalation, or both.

Read the label directions. Following the directions keeps the products within safe health limits and ensures the products do the job for which they are designed. Surfaces should first be washed and possibly rinsed before disinfection. Using EPA-registered cleaners and disinfectants only protect the health of your students, faculty, staff, and community if used according to directions.

Disinfectants often require the surface to remain wet for a designated amount of time, known as dwell time. If a product is certified as a cleaner and disinfectant, make sure anyone using the product follows the correct procedure depending on intended use. Remember, cleaning and disinfecting may both work to rid an area of contaminants, but they are not synonymous.

Computer labs and technology stations are havens for germs in schools. Disinfecting wipes have specific directions that must be followed. It can be tricky to keep the surfaces wet long enough to be effective, so those in charge of this process must be diligent about rewetting as necessary without damaging the electronic components.

Provide Training on Cleaning for Health

Training should not be relegated to only custodial staff. Teachers, aides, school nurses and all others who will use cleaning products and disinfectants are part of a team that works together to protect school health. Time set aside to thoroughly train people on the safe and appropriate use of available products will save time lost due to the spread of infectious diseases. It may be necessary to provide instruction in other languages to ensure all employees have equal access to proper training.

Targeting high-traffic areas for disinfection is an essential part of any schoolwide health plan. Restrooms, door knobs, water fountains, tables, desks, and computer equipment are just some of the areas and objects that must be included in any plan looking to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses. School custodial staff should also receive specialized training on how to deal with blood and body fluid spills. Special cleaning kits should be accessible to clean and disinfect soiled areas in a manner that protects all involved.

At Lawton Brothers, we strive to enable our clients to keep their schools healthy through the best cleaning and disinfecting practices available. We offer high-quality products and continuous training to help you clean for health and improve attendance of students and staff.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter
ISSA Member
Green Seal