Team Clean, Inc.Team Clean, Inc.

SLOWING THE FLU: How the Pros Clean and Disinfect a School

When the summer ends and school returns, so does the flu. But the flu can be slowed and sometimes stopped when school personnel take these active measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

Cleaning and disinfecting are part of a broad approach to preventing infectious diseases in schools. To help slow the spread of influenza (flu), the first line of defense is getting vaccinated. Other measures include staying home when sick, covering coughs and sneezes, and washing hands often. Below are tips on how to slow the spread of flu specifically through cleaning and disinfecting.

1. Know the difference between cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing

Cleaning removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Sanitizing lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.

2. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are touched often

Follow your school’s standard procedures for routine cleaning and disinfecting. Typically, this means daily sanitizing surfaces and objects that are touched often, such as desks, countertops, doorknobs, computer keyboards, hands-on learning items, faucet handles, phones, and toys. Some schools may also require daily disinfecting these items. Standard procedures often call for disinfecting specific areas of the school, like bathrooms.

Immediately clean surfaces and objects that are visibly soiled. If surfaces or objects are soiled with body fluids or blood, use gloves and other standard precautions to avoid coming into contact with the fluid. Remove the spill, and then clean and disinfect the surface.

3. Simply do routine cleaning and disinfecting

It is important to match your cleaning and disinfecting activities to the types of germs you want to remove or kill. Most studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being deposited on a surface. However, it is not necessary to close schools to clean or disinfect every surface in the building to slow the spread of flu. Also, if students and staff are dismissed because the school cannot function normally (e.g., high absenteeism during a flu outbreak), it is not necessary to do extra cleaning and disinfecting.

Flu viruses are relatively fragile, so standard cleaning and disinfecting practices are sufficient to remove or kill them. Special cleaning and disinfecting processes, including wiping down walls and ceilings, frequently using room air deodorizers, and fumigating, are not necessary or recommended. These processes can irritate eyes, noses, throats, and skin; aggravate asthma; and cause other serious side effects.

4. Clean and disinfect correctly

Always follow label directions on cleaning products and disinfectants. Wash surfaces with a general household cleaner to remove germs. Rinse with water, and follow with an EPA-registered disinfectant to kill germs. Read the label to make sure it states that EPA has approved the product for effectiveness against influenza A virus.

If a surface is not visibly dirty, you can clean it with an EPA-registered product that both cleans (removes germs) and disinfects (kills germs) instead. Be sure to read the label directions carefully, as there may be a separate procedure for using the product as a cleaner or as a disinfectant. Disinfection usually requires the product to remain on the surface for a certain period of time (e.g., letting it stand for 3 to 5 minutes).

Use disinfecting wipes on electronic items that are touched often, such as phones and computers. Pay close attention to the directions for using disinfecting wipes. It may be necessary to use more than one wipe to keep the surface wet for the stated length of contact time. Make sure that the electronics can withstand the use of liquids for cleaning and disinfecting.

5. Use products safely

Pay close attention to hazard warnings and directions on product labels. Cleaning products and disinfectants often call for the use of gloves or eye protection. For example, gloves should always be worn to protect your hands when working with bleach solutions.

Do not mix cleaners and disinfectants unless the labels indicate it is safe to do so. Combining certain products (such as chlorine bleach and ammonia cleaners) can result in serious injury or death.

Ensure that custodial staff, teachers, and others who use cleaners and disinfectants read and understand all instruction labels and understand safe and appropriate use. This might require that instructional materials and training be provided in other languages.

6. Handle waste properly

Follow your school’s standard procedures for handling waste, which may include wearing gloves. Place no-touch wastebaskets where they are easy to use. Throw disposable items used to clean surfaces and items in the trash immediately after use. Avoid touching used tissues and other waste when emptying wastebaskets. Wash your hands with soap and water after emptying wastebaskets and touching used tissues and similar waste.

If the constant cleaning, disinfecting and sanitizing put too much of a burden on the school’s staff to do the job properly, a professional janitorial service with in-school antibacterial and flu experience like Team Clean may well be safest way to go.

Team Clean, whose clients include primary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, employs effective cleaning techniques to combat mersa (antibiotic-resistant bacteria) and stringent employment screening and hiring procedures, with the goal of producing an environmentally safe and clean facility, free from harmful bacteria.

Naturally, school bathrooms present their own challenges. Team Clean’s Spotless Restrooms program has been particularly effective in residence halls, which require detail cleaning in restrooms to eradicate harmful microorganisms that can cause serious illnesses. This program utilizes specialized equipment and Green chemicals to provide effective sanitation in these rooms.

Need more info? Take a look at these other CDC pages:


Is Recycling Worth the Hassle?

The familiar recycling symbol can be seen on garbage bags, dump trucks and trash cans all over the world. The phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” is taught to school children. We all know that recycling is a simple way in which every person can contribute to making a better world. But surely there must be more benefits of recycling than just reducing the amount of trash we throw out. After all, it takes time and effort to collect, separate and send away that trash. But the fact is, there are many ways in which recycling makes for a better and happier world.

Recycling helps us…

Reduce the Size of Landfills: One of the biggest reasons why recycling has been promoted is that it does reduce the strain on our environment. By utilizing waste products in a constructive way, we can slowly decrease the size of our landfills. As the population grows, it will become difficult for the landfills to hold so much trash. When this happens, our cities and landscapes will face pollution, poisoning and health problems. Recycling helps to keep the pollution in check, and decreases it, little by little, over time.

Conserve Natural Resources: Scrap cars, old bottles, junk mail and used rubber tires are becoming common features of our landfills. All of these may seem endless, but the resources required to make them are vanishing quickly. Recycling allows all of these junk items to be used over and over again so that new resources do not have to be exploited. Recycling conserves natural resources such as water, minerals, coal, oil, gas and timber. Another benefit of recycling is that it allows more emphasis to be put on creating technology to utilize what already exists. This is why a number of industries support programs where they can receive large quantities of recyclable material to convert into new items.

Offer More Employment Opportunities: Recycling is a huge industry within itself. After you deposit your trash for recycling, it has to be sorted and shipped off to the right places. Thousands of workers are involved. Certainly, one of the major benefits of recycling is that it creates more jobs in the community and provides stability to the entire process. Throwing the trash away creates some six to seven jobs at best, where recycling can help create close to thirty jobs.

Offer Cash Benefits: Recycling is not all about being charitable and doing what is good for the environment. If it were so, everybody would recycle out of the goodness of their hearts. Most governments have policies in place that give financial benefits to those who recycle. People that take aluminum cans or glass bottles to the recycling plant get a cash benefit in return. In fact, many teenagers can pick up recycling as a way to make extra money on the side. Old newspapers, appliances, plastic, rubber, steel, copper and even beer cans can be sold for money.

Save Money:  A strong economy is efficient. What drags it down is having to pay for resources that are growing scarce in the country. Every bit of recycling counts when the economy does not have to pay for planting more forests, mining iron ore or purchasing fossil fuels from other countries. When the jobs increase, the economy gets a boost. As the cost of maintaining the current waste disposal system goes down, all the money saved can be diverted to where it is needed the most.

Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions: When you recycle products, you tend to save energy responsible for increases in global warming. Recycling helps to reduce air and water pollution by cutting down the number of pollutants that are released into the environment. A recycling rate of 30% can is almost equivalent of removing 30 million cars from the roads.

Save Energy: When you recycle aluminum cans, you can save 95% of the energy required to produce those cans from raw materials, energy saved from recycling one glass bottle is enough to light a light bulb for four hours. This clearly shows how much energy can be saved if recycling is taken on a larger scale. The reduced reliance on foreign oil also helps with long-term savings.

Stimulate the Use of Greener Technologies: The use of more recycling products has pushed people towards greener technologies. Use of renewable energy sources like solar, wind and geothermal is on rise,  which has helped to conserve energy and reduce pollution.

Bring Different Groups and Communities Together: At the end of the day, recycling is an act that can bring a community together, whether by picking up trash from the roads as a team, or collecting waste materials to raise money for schools and colleges. Many simple programs that make a community stronger can be built upon the many benefits of recycling. In fact, it is one the best ways to teach children about responsibility and taking an initiative.

Prevent Loss of Biodiversity: Less raw material is needed when you recycle products. The beauty of recycling is that it will help you to conserve resources and prevents loss of biodiversity, ecosystems and rainforests. Dangerous mining activities will be reduced. Soil erosion and water pollution will be reduced, which in turn will help native plants and animals survive in forests. The amount of deforestation will be significantly reduced if the pace of recycling increases.

The benefits of recycling are easily understood, and the effects of recycling are all positive. Team Clean supports all forms of sustainability. All Team Clean employees receive mandatory training in proper Green chemical usage, both to minimize waste and to maximize efficiency—two important benefits of cleaning Green. By using Green-building best practices, Team Clean helps building owners solve problems, improve building performance over time, and insure a safe and healthy workplace for occupants and visitors.

Adapted from Conserve Energy Future.

Green Cleaning

Green Cleaning: Why It’s Important

Carpeting, flooring, waste bins, windows, bathrooms; all areas of your building need to be cleaned, that’s a given.  Nobody is ever delighted to walk into a dirty building or room.  Cleaning is important to maintain the look and feel of your establishment.  What’s more important than that?  Your health. Routine cleaning takes away dirt, allergens, and food sources for pests who carry bacteria and disease.  Air quality is a big issue especially for those who have a chronic health condition.

Ok, so, we’ve cleaned and polished, and reduced any contaminants in the air; We’re done, right? Not so fast.  How did you accomplish that clean?  What kind of products are you using?  To some this might seem “nit-picky,” but it is a very valid question.  Are you using the safest products to achieve the goal? Cleaning chemicals are known to be abrasive and powerful solutions that are meant to destroy dirt and odor.  Often these chemicals are branded with disclaimers and warnings about the effect they might have on health.  These products can be a danger.  Working toward using safer “greener” products can reduce or eliminate the dangers revolving around using such abrasive chemicals.

According to EnvirOx:

  1. Safer products reduce worker’s comp issues. Right now, six out of 100 custodial workers have a chemical-related worker’s comp claim per year.
  2. Safer chemicals also reduce surface wear & tear. If it’s safe for the environment and safe for people, the product probably isn’t going to hurt your carpet, either.
  3. Sustainable, concentrated chemicals often have a high yield — that is, the concentrated chemical makes a lot of in-use cleaning product. This can lead to big in-use savings over ready-to-use products that end up in landfills.

Taking steps now to move toward safer cleaning products will save you money, and create an even healthier environment.  Team Clean proudly uses green cleaning products in our operations.  Ensure the safety of your facility and the well-being of your staff; all while saving money. It’s a win-win.

Spotless RestSpotless Restroomroom

Spotless Restrooms

Whether you like it or not, a restroom at your place of business is a front-line location for keeping your employees, your customers and your visitors happy.  It’s a first, last, and lasting impression that we hope will be a good impression, not something that detracts from your image.

We’ve all been in places where the restroom makes you stop and think, is this what they think is right?

There are some businesses that do not take pride in keeping their restroom area looking and smelling great for their employees and customers.  You should not take that same approach.

A great looking restroom can leave a positive, lasting impression on a customer, and being on the other side of that perspective can mean the loss of customers or a poor reputation.

We know – it’s just a restroom.  That’s true – but think how uncomfortable a terrible looking restroom makes people feel.

If you are the type of facility manager that wants a great looking restroom, there are a few simple ways to keep it looking great.

First, keep up a good stock of restroom supplies.  Hand soap, toilet paper, paper towels and seat covers are a few items that need to be replenished daily. Forget about these items and you may leave customers unhappy.

Remember to empty the trash. Nothing is worse than a trash bin overflowing. Especially with a lot of traffic throughout the day, consider checking and emptying the trash multiple times a day if needed.

Keep the sinks clean.  A lot of bacteria builds up in a restroom sink. Clean these daily to reduce risk of bacteria and to keep it looking shiny for customers.

Also, keep the toilets clean. Urinals and toilets get a lot of use throughout the day, especially with a lot of traffic. For obvious reasons, clean these daily.

And don’t overlook the restroom stalls and walls. Although these probably don’t need to be cleaned daily, restroom stalls and walls should be wiped down at least weekly.  The restroom floors are also a big issue.  To prevent long-term damage to tile, wood or linoleum, consider moping the floors daily or a few times a week.

Daily restroom cleaning can be difficult to handle on your own if you don’t have the resources. If you don’t have the internal resources, you should consider hiring a janitorial services company to clean your restrooms daily.


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