Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Child Care Program

Does your policy for keeping the surfaces in your program clean distinguish between cleaning and disinfecting?  I have spoken to many people who believe that these two processes are one in the same.  They're not.  Cleaning involves physically removing dirt and germs from surfaces whereas disinfecting involves actually killing the germs.  Cleaning is not enough; surfaces must be sanitized as well.  (You can find our Standard Precautions Policy here.) 

First of all, program staff must know which surfaces need to be cleaned when.  Surfaces that are visibly soiled should be cleaned immediately.  When things are not visibly soiled, each staff member must know what his or her individual responsibility is in keeping the facility clean on a regularly-scheduled basis. 

There are some products that clean and disinfect simultaneously.  These products can be effective, but only if the manufacturer's directions are followed carefully.

If using separate cleaners and sanitizers, start with the cleaning solution to remove any surface soil.  Once the surface is clean and dry, it can then be sanitized.  The biggest issues to watch in both of these processes is ensuring that you are using the right type of product (cleaner or sanitizer) for each type of surface (wood, linoleum, etc.), that you are mixing the product properly (if required), and that you are using the product according to the manufacturer's instructions.  Sanitizers typically need to either dry naturally or, as a minimum, be allowed to remain on the surface for a certain amount of time.  If staff is sanitizing at the end of the day, they can probably just leave the product to dry naturally.  If not, it will need to be wiped off, but must remain on the surface for the minimum amount of time first in order to be effective.

Care must also be taken to keep office staff healthy.  Most electronic devices can be cleaned and sanitized with disposable disinfecting wipes, so don't forget your phones, computer keyboards, etc. in your cleaning routine.

Keeping the surfaces in your program clean and sanitary is one of your most effective ways of preventing illnesses among the children and staff.  Here's to a healthy winter!

No comments:

Post a Comment