Friday, January 24, 2020

Workshop Attendees Fight MRSA With Training and Exercises

Members of a school’s volleyball team came down with Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), so school officials called in bio-response specialists to track the source of the infection and disinfect the campus. 
After the specialists cleaned and disinfected the volleyball courts, the locker rooms, and the showers, more team members came down with MRSA. So, the specialists turned their attention to the campus fitness center. After a thorough disinfection, the MRSA cases among the team ceased.
This scenario, although realistic, was actually an exercise in which attendees of a bio-response fundamentals training workshop presented by the GBAC, a division of ISSA, got the chance to try out what they learned. The all-day workshop, held this week at ISSA headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois, was created for individuals and facility service professionals seeking information and training on responding to disease outbreak situations, gaining skills in forensic cleaning and professional disinfection, and understanding the important role the cleaning industry has in public preparedness for infectious disease outbreaks.
Following a morning of training on germs; personal protective equipment (PPE); the methods and differences of cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting; and an overview of cleaning and disinfecting tools and equipment, attendees were ready to put their knowledge to test in the afternoon. They donned the appropriate PPE: paper coveralls, respirators, full-face shields, disposable gloves, shoe covers, hair covers, and even a helmet equipped with a cooling HEPA filter. They chose their microbial weapons—microfiber cleaning tools and a variety of electrostatic disinfecting sprayers available in hand-held, backpack, and wheeled cart models—and set off for the ISSA fitness center, which was masquerading as the volleyball team facility.
As GBAC trainers prompted them to start from the cleanest surface and make their way to the dirtiest, the trainees used their sprayers to mist the ceiling first, then the walls, all the fitness equipment, then lastly, the floors. “Gymnasiums are hard to disinfect as there are a lot of moving parts, a lot of areas for germs to hide,” said GBAC board member Dr. Gavin Macgregor-Skinner.
Staff reminded them to follow disinfectant dwell times, so if a product required a 10-minute dwell time and it was dry in seven minutes, it was best to rewet the surface.
After the class participants finished disinfecting the room, they made sure not to contaminate the room again with their equipment by cleaning the wheels and cord of a pull-along disinfectant sprayer. They also took care not to contaminate themselves, by following earlier instructions on the correct removal of disposable gloves as well as the rest of their PPE.  “You can practice removing disposable gloves while you are at home, watching tv,” Macgregor-Skinner suggested.
When one participant realized he had torn his coveralls, Macgregor-Skinner explained how he always carries duct tape for such emergencies. “Tears are realistic. Duct tape any rips; duct tape is your best friend,” he said.
Prepare your professional cleaning and restoration staff to become microbial warriors.

Article by Cleaning and Maintenance Management.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Corners and Crevices: The Nastiest Restroom Areas

True or false: The toilet seat is the dirtiest part of the restroom.
Regardless of what patrons may think, the toilet seat—unless visibly soiled—is probably cleaner than many other surfaces in the restroom and is a less-likely source of cross-contamination compared to other high-touch point areas in the toilet stall, such as the flush handle, stall door handles, or handicap grab bar.
From urine- and mold-prone surfaces to tough-to-clean stains, here we explore some of the grossest and most difficult-to-clean areas of the restroom.

Gross Area No. 1: The Toilet Bowl

When cleaning the toilet, the focus should always start below the toilet seat, according to infection control expert J. Darrel Hicks, as it’s important to clean from the dirtiest area to the cleanest.
To get started, take a compact mirror and use it to look below the rim where the toilet’s water ports are located. This is the area that passes water when someone flushes the toilet. When you do this, you will probably see a buildup of mineral deposits, stains, or even black bacteria. Buildup like black bacteria is not only a source of germs and decay, but it can cause odor issues in your restroom, as well.
Cleaning tips: When cleaning the toilet bowl area, make sure the bowl brush remains inside the toilet until you are done cleaning, Hicks says. Using the brush to clean the outside of the toilet will only bring more germs onto the toilet seat and outer bowl. If you are trying to remove a stubborn stain like hard water or rust, a pumice stick may come in handy. You may also want to try an acid-based bowl cleaner or a calcium, lime, and rust remover.

Gross Area No. 2: Surfaces with Bodily Fluids

While this gross area is pretty vague and can apply to a variety of restroom surfaces, the rule of thumb is pretty similar across the board: Leaving bodily fluids to rest on surfaces or in receptacles can lead to more bacteria growth and putrid odors. This applies to feminine hygiene receptacles—a commonly missed area, Hicks says—urinal mats and screens, or any other surface that is prone to urine, fecal, or blood exposure.
Cleaning tips: Clean early and often. Change feminine hygiene receptacles at least once daily, with increased frequency depending on your restroom’s foot traffic. Employees should check to make sure the bags have not leaked, and clean the inside of the receptacle if necessary.
Change urinal mats and screens at least every two weeks. When replacing the mats and screens, write a date on when they next need changing. This will help to remind employees when it’s time to make a switch and provide a quality assurance checkpoint for supervisors during inspections.
Of course, when cleaning any of these areas, make sure your employees have access to and are trained to use proper personal protective equipment, such as gloves.

Gross Area No. 3: Grout

Grout is prone to developing mold and other bacteria because of its exposure to moisture, whether from standing water, vapor in the air, or urine. This can lead to discoloration and odor control issues among other problems.
Cleaning tip: Avoid using mopping systems that leave moisture behind in the grout lines to prevent mold from coming back. Additionally, apply steam to the grout while using a brass wire brush to remove the mold. Last, improve air circulation in the restroom and any shower areas to help encourage drying of wet surfaces.

Article by Cleaning and Maintenance Management