Last year was a dirty year. Well, perhaps it is more appropriate to say it was a germy year. The worst respiratory pandemic since the flu pandemic of 1968, coronavirus unleashed a wrath of infection on humans everywhere. Since the virus was so new to scientists, no one seemed to know how it was transmitted. Therefore, the common MO was to clean and reclean. Everything. Then, we hit repeat.
Now that we are into a new year, and scientists have developed a vaccine, it’s time for us to shake the dust off last year. While it may seem premature, starting your workplace cleaning in January isn’t a bad idea. Here are some simple ways you can kickstart 2021 with a burst of freshness.
CDC / DCD
Although there are definitely plenty of old wives’ tales we could pass along where cleaning is concerned, we’ll stick with scientific data for now. The reason being, coronavirus is not your old wife’s average germ. No, coronavirus is a super-contagious killing machine, and we want to kill it before it gets us. (Old wives of the past are pausing here for a good laugh, as they reminisce about all the deadly pandemics they endured.)
Believe it or not, there is a right way to clean. Although we trust the CDC, we actually added a step to the recommendation to simply “clean and disinfect.” So, here is how you can do a proper workplace cleaning in January.
First, you’ll want to declutter. Now, this concept is not obvious to all people. While some people are on one end of the spectrum viewing themselves as minimalists, others are on the opposite end. Often, people on the other end view themselves as collectors. Now, being a collector isn’t necessarily a bad thing, until you verge on being a hoarder. That, however, is an entirely different blog altogether. And therapy. Lot’s of therapy.
So, how can you begin the decluttering process? Well, start by picking up all unnecessary or useless objects from floors and surfaces. You might think you already have things decluttered, but this is where I encourage you to take a closer look. Does that doorstop actually work, or is it too short for the door it’s been sitting by for the past five years? Does that door even require a doorstop, or does it just stay put when you open it? If that doorstop isn’t doing a job, get rid of it. Look around your workplace and take that kind of action with all things touching the floor. After you’ve tackled the floor, work on the next level, right up to the tops of cabinets.
One thing to note: Decorative objects can be useful, if they improve the ambiance of an environment. So, just because you don’t put flowers in a decorative vase doesn’t mean it’s useless.
Next, you’ll want to clean. Now that you have decluttered, it will be much easier for you to begin the cleaning process. So, what is the difference between decluttering and cleaning? Well, decluttering is removing unnecessary objects, and cleaning takes care of the smaller matter. Specifically, you will wipe away small pieces of materials, dust, and residue.
Now, don’t just wipe away matter in the immediate line of vision. In other words, don’t just sweep around the vase. Instead, move the vase to the side, and tackle those dust bunnies hiding in the corner. Do that with everything on the floor, and on other surfaces. If there are areas with grime or that are particularly sticky, you’ll want to take cleaning a step further. Use soap and water to remove the scum, and if necessary use a scrubbing tool to remove residue.
Finally, it’s time to kill some germs. This is where you’ll get to take out your pent-up aggressions on poor, innocent microscopic bacteria. Ok, so in the case of coronavirus, those microbes aren’t exactly innocent. Rest assured, you are killing in self defense. Thus, there’s no need to feel guilty as you execute them in mass swipes.
Remember, cleaning and disinfecting are not the same thing. Just because you swept the floor doesn’t mean you removed the germs. Even after sweeping, wiping down the floor with a Swiffer filled with sudsy water doesn’t necessarily disinfect the surface. In order to disinfect, you’ll need to use some kind of disinfecting solution. Lucky for you, there are many choices on the market. For example, if you prefer holistic products, you can use something more natural, such as hydrogen peroxide. On the other hand, if you want to slaughter those germs, you can use something more potent, such as bleach. However, be careful about the products you use, because some can discolor surfaces (so be sure to read the instructions on the bottle thoroughly!).
Note: Be sure to check with employees to make sure there are no allergies to cleaning products, if you are cleaning while employees are in the office. Be especially careful about aerosol sprays, which can be harmful to lungs.
Be Sure to Clean These Areas
Now, your workplace may be huge. Conversely, you may be working from home in a tiny apartment. Either way, focus your efforts on the most important areas first. The most important areas to be sure to clean will be high-traffic areas, or spaces where you and/or other workers spend the bulk of your time. Ultimately, only you can decide which area is top priority, because you are the person working in that space. However, here is a list of places you should definitely focus on:
- Restrooms – It goes without saying that restrooms need a little extra TLC. After deep cleaning here, you might consider leaving a container of disinfecting wipes available for health-conscious people to use after (or before!) they do their business.
- Kitchen or break room – Even though the kitchen might not seem as grimy as the restroom, it still packs a punch where germs are concerned. Remember, germs love drains, garbage disposals, and trash bins. So, put some extra focus into those areas in particular.
- Copy machines and printers – The buttons on these machines are a hotbed for germs. Just be sure to spray disinfecting solution on the rag, and not directly onto the buttons. Or, you can use disinfecting wipes. You wouldn’t want to risk shorting out the electrical circuits by getting moisture under the buttons.
- Handles – This includes door handles in and out of the workplace, restrooms, and offices. Besides this, be sure to disinfect cabinet and drawer handles.
- Small tools – Don’t forget the small tools you use daily. Things such as pens and your computer mouse should be regularly disinfected the same way you’d disinfect doorknobs.
A Clean Workplace Is a Happy Workplace
Even though many of us choose to wait until the spring to begin deep cleaning it’s never too early to tackle the job. Especially considering the coronavirus pandemic, we can only benefit from a little extra workplace cleaning. So, if you want to make sure you are giving your workplace the best possible cleaning, always DCD. Declutter, Clean, Disinfect. Remember—order is important when it comes to cleaning! If you follow those simple steps, you will surely notice that your workplace is cleaner, fresher, and you’ll likely feel more productive because of it.