Floor Contamination Issues

While facility administrators and cleaning experts believe that when it comes to stopping the spread of contamination, greatest attention should be paid to “high-touch” areas such as railings, light switches, elevator controls, countertops, chair handles, and bed railings, and less attention is required for floor areas. The reasoning is simple: floor areas are least likely to be touched by hands.

Further, administrators and cleaning professionals must remain practical when it comes to floor care. A freshly cleaned floor often becomes soiled and even can become contaminated as soon as it is walked on. This is true whether the floor has been mopped using advanced mopping systems (microfiber/dual buckets) or cleaned using a spray-and-vac cleaning system.

Of course, there are those who disagree with this premise. Some, such as Jennifer Meek, Director of Marketing for Charlotte Products Ltd®., the leaders in surface cleaning and manufacturer of certified green Enviro-Solutions® cleaning products, claim that pathogens “hitchhike” on the soles of shoes (as they walk over contaminants such as urine and fecal matter in bathrooms; rodent, bird and animal feces as they walk across grass and sidewalks; pathogens and body fluids on floors; etc.) and then travel from surface to surface from floors.

“It has been documented that the average person has incidental contact with the floor more than 50 times a day through things such as purses, briefcases, dropped glasses, pens, papers, etc. that land on the floor, are picked up, and are then set on a desk or other surface,”

she says. “Any pathogens on the floor can be transferred to these objects from the floor and then to the new surface as well as the hands of the person picking them up.”

Man Cleaning The Floor

Although she does not disagree that a freshly cleaned floor can become re-contaminated shortly after cleaning because of use and foot traffic, Meek still believes certain facilities, and all facilities facing an imminent threat, should consider incorporating disinfectant cleaners in floor cleaning processes in addition to more conventional neutral or all-purpose cleaners. “Floors are the largest horizontal surface in a facility,” she says. “It just stands to reason this would make them a potentially large reservoir for bacteria to thrive.”  When a threat of a potential outbreak in the area or worse yet, already an outbreak in the facility, cleaners should switch from neutral floor cleaners to a neutral cleaner disinfectant with the stated kill claim for the pathogens of concern.

However, this debate comes to an end when we discuss areas with children. Most agree that because children are closer to the floor, frequently touch floor surfaces, and are so much more inclined to put things in their mouths, it is worth the effort to put more time and attention into floor care, especially in schools and medical centers, to protect their health.


 

For more information on appropriate floor care products and proper processes please review our New Enviro-Solutions® Floor Care Program Brochure as well as our New Enviro-Solutions® Infection Prevention Brochure for a clear understanding of infection prevention & control.

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