By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales Canada, Charlotte Products Ltd

There are five critical security elements of disinfecting that must absolutely be a natural extension of your cleaning program as we continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and indeed venture into what may be the darkest days of the pandemic yet. In fact, the largest part of any cleaning program right now must be following these five critical security elements of disinfecting protocol. If you do nothing else during this pandemic, please follow these five elements. 

  1. Use a registered product. In addition to finding a disinfectant product that is registered with Health Canada or the U.S. E.P.A. as effective against coronavirus, thoroughly read and understand the product’s SDS as every single product’s directions will be different.
  2. Dilute properly. Regardless of your application method, you have to dilute properly.Use (PPM)  litmus paper to test your dilution frequently depending on the type of facility and protocol – more is not better, less is not butter. 
  3. Clean first. Always pre-clean the surface using a high quality all purpose cleaner or disinfectant. Then apply your disinfectant. If you are going into a space and spraying everywhere with a disinfectant, but not cleaning first, then you are failing at disinfecting. 
  4. Follow the dwell time. Respect and ensure the dwell time is met by following the dwell time listed on your disinfectant’s label. 
  5. Include a potable water rinse according to each label especially on food contact surfaces or on any surface like a toy in a preschool environment that will come into contact with the mouth.

By now, if you are a regular reader of my blogs or if you tune into the Charlotte Products bi-weekly webinars, you should be familiar with these five elements. You may be thinking “not this again” or “here goes Jim again.” Maybe you’ve memorized these five elements and have implemented them in your cleaning program. Well done. This process is still the largest area of concern along with one of the most popular questions we receive from the public asking for assistance on how to do this correctly.   Now you are ready to do much more. Some of my suggestions for you you may integrate the Five Critical Security Elements of Disinfecting Protocol into your entire cleaning program include:

Consider specialized training sessions on these five elements. Whether you are able to host in-person, socially distanced training or have implemented a virtual training program, The Five Steps of Disinfecting Protocol should be topic No. 1 in your team’s training topics. If you are looking for an integrated virtual training option, consider the Charlotte Products Online Learning Program. If you are looking for a quick fix, you could always show a video clip from any one of our Charlotte Products webinars where yours truly discusses the Five Steps to Disinfecting Protocol in detail, like this one.

Put it in writing. Creative signage can go a long way toward educating the public about safety protocol like social distancing and hand washing, and we’ve seen the use of this kind of signage surge in popularity in 2020 as facilities reopened during the pandemic. How about investing in some signage for your custodial closets and work rooms that highlight the Five Critical Security Elements of Disinfecting Protocol to remind your workers of their duties? 

Reinforcement and reward. Try a program that rewards your cleaning workers for a job well done, rather than one that takes away or punishes bad behavior. Consider having a Five Critical Security Elements of Disinfecting Protocol contest. Your supervisor can choose to pop in on a worker that has been doing an excellent job of following these five elements and rewarding that worker. Rewards need not be lavish. Items as simple as a gift card to a coffee shop can go a long way. A paid day off can go even further, if you’re able to afford it. By rewarding a cleaning worker during these hard days for their essential work and a job well done, you will be elevating their essential work, lifting morale, and motivating the rest of your workforce in the process.

Educate the public. The public has never paid more attention to the way its indoor environment is cared for than in 2020. Enlist the encouragement and support of your building occupants by educating them about the Five Critical Security Elements of Disinfecting Protocol. This will not only hold your team accountable but it will also boost confidence of the public in your work, and will contribute to healthier, safer environments. Signage could work in this case, but also consider communicating with a COVID-19 newsletter or by using your social media presence to get the message out about The Five Critical Security Elements of Disinfecting Protocol and how your team is following these simple and effective measures.I’ll continue to emphasize the Five Critical Security Elements of Disinfecting Protocol every other week in our Charlotte Products webinars, and if you and I happen to have a conversation it is highly likely I’ll be talking about them. These five simple elements are the most common source of failure in the infection prevention process, and now more than ever we must follow them. The good news is that once you realize their importance, following them is simple.