As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, cleanliness has never been more important. It seems that everyone in the nation is taking hygiene more seriously than ever before. The following blog post is our attempt at giving you an insight into how you as a business or homeowner could approach deep cleaning, the methods available to you, what products to use and our attempt to dispel some housekeeping myths along the way.
With hygiene constantly on our minds, more than usual in fact, and If you are anything like me (OCD about cleanliness), Cleaning and cleanliness is not something to be overlooked. It’s something we all have to do. Whether at home or at work; maintaining a clean and hygienic home or workplace is incredibly important. Not just for aesthetics, but also for personal health and well being.
Deep Cleaning: A Definition
According to a simple internet search; A deep clean is defined as an exceptionally systematic clean of an area, especially a detailed clean of a hospital with the intent to reduce contamination and control infection.
Let’s take a closer look.
So, what exactly is deep cleaning?
Well – this is seemingly an incredibly vague term. A clear deep cleaning definition seems to exist on a case by case basis. Everyone’s interpretation of what constitutes deep cleaning is different. Our ideas of deep cleaning are probably different. Different people and companies all have their own idea of what deep cleaning really means. Outlining the equipment and materials, you’ll see exactly what goes into a deep clean and how this can help you maintain a hygienic home or business; reducing the potential exposure to harmful bacteria, viruses or pathogens.
What’s the difference between deep cleaning and regular cleaning?
Regular cleaning is what we should all be doing as homeowners and business owners. A generic set of cleaning tasks that should be completed daily or even weekly. Deep cleaning is generally reserved for business downtime, out of hours and in the case of a domestic dwelling, a quiet Sunday once in a blue moon. That one day every now and again – when the sofa is pulled out, the kitchen cupboards are emptied and thoroughly cleaned and all the windows in and out are given some special attention. This is what we would classify as domestic deep cleaning.
A deep clean within our industry is slightly different. This includes special processes, special equipment and in some cases, the use of specialist technology to assist. This doesn’t mean however, that you and other people at home cannot complete the same level of deep cleaning we would provide. With a bit of knowledge and guidance, we can show you how to complete a far more intensive deep clean that’ll satisfy OCD cleaning enthusiasts everywhere.
So, what do you need to complete an industry standard deep clean?
Let’s start with PPE. PPE or personal protective equipment is the protection that should be worn to protect the person carrying out the deep cleaning. This is standard clothing worn during all deep cleaning operations. Face masks, over suits, gloves and overshoes ensure personal safety is maintained and cross contamination is minimised throughout the cleaning operation.
Why is it important to protect against cross contamination?
Cross-contamination is defined as the process by which bacteria or other microorganisms are unintentionally transferred from one substance or object to another, with harmful effect. This can happen all the time. In a domestic setting, something as simple as washing a chicken breast under a cold tap can lead to cross contamination of the sink and surrounding worktops. The same is the case for all germs and bacteria when deep cleaning a house or business. The PPE ensures that any viruses or pathogens on surfaces are not transmitted by touch or via the air.
So, what equipment would I need to deep clean?
Specialist methods and equipment are often utilised during deep cleaning operations. Even vacuuming is more advanced. We would always recommend using a HEPA Vac when carrying out any type cleaning where you believe there to be (potentially) hazardous particles. these Vacuums have a high-density HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. A HEPA filter is a type of mechanical air filter; it works by forcing air through a fine mesh that traps harmful particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke. HEPA vacuums can filter the exhaust air down to .3 microns which is a smaller diameter than a hail follicle. These high-grade filters capture and stop the release of tiny, microscopic dust particles into the air. Domestic vacuums do not have these. Next, touch point cleaning…
Touch Point Cleaning – What is it
Touch point cleaning is addition to you daily cleaning routine. Touch Point Cleaning is a system of cleaning that focuses on high-traffic areas specifically “touch points”. A few examples of touch points are; light switches, computer keyboards, computer mice, doorknobs and work surfaces. With just a few on the many mentioned, these objects or surfaces are all considered high risk areas to come in contact with disease, viruses, and germs. Touch points would not constitute a deep clean. These are areas that need extra disinfection. They are also areas that can also experience an unseen build up in germs and bacteria.
So now the surfaces have been thoroughly deep cleaned and touch points disinfected, we move to what you cannot see – the air.
How Do YOU Clean the Air?
One thing that is incredibly difficult for most cleaners and home cleaners to achieve – is cleaning of the air. This sounds made up, but I assure you is a very real step in the process of a deep clean. Advanced ozone generators are the best way to deal with airborne contamination and odours. To give you some context and something you may be familiar with; Ozone generators are installed in most public toilets and washrooms. They appear as small wall mounted boxes. Their purpose is to release small doses of ozone gas periodically. This gas breaks down airborne contamination and airborne particulates. Can you imagine the number of bacteria and potentially harmful particulates in these type of high traffic, unsanitary settings? A LOT. Therefore, the use of ozone generators in a deep clean can help remove and help YOU clean what cannot be seen
So, what exactly is ozone?
The definition of ozone is a colourless unstable toxic gas with a pungent odour and powerful oxidizing properties, formed from oxygen by electrical discharges or ultraviolet light. It differs from normal oxygen (O2) in having three atoms in its molecule (O3).
Ozone is a naturally forming gas. it is nature’s way of cleaning.
If it’s good enough for mother nature, then surely, it’s good enough for us. We can take a leaf out of her book and apply the practice to homes and businesses alike.
Ozone gas is really effective at killing bacteria and viruses. As the ozone levels rise the gas eliminates bacteria, viruses, airborne VOC’s or pungent odours. Ozone is very dangerous and should only be utilised by competent, trained operators.
When dealing with special cases and deep cleaning projects that can include confirmed viruses, we can use another specialist piece of equipment, electrostatic spraying. Let’s take a look at what this is and how this works.
Electrostatic Spraying – What is it?
Electrostatic spraying is a specialist method that can be utilised as part of a deep cleaning operation.
This specialist process is more commonly associated with deep cleans related to infection control and virus related cleans. But what exactly is electrostatic spraying and what does it do?
Electrostatic spraying is the process of spraying an electrostatically charged mist of decontamination chemicals onto surfaces and objects. Electrostatic spray uses a specialized solution that is combined with air and atomized by an electrode inside the sprayer.
Subsequently, the spray contains positively charged particles that are able to aggressively adhere to surfaces and objects. Because the particles in the spray are positively charged, they bond to and coat any surface.
For awkwardly shaped objects or hard to reach places, the nature of the mist allows it to coat surfaces evenly, and envelope objects – even if the mist is only sprayed from one side. After the spray is applied, the chemical agent works to disinfect the covered surfaces. For this reason, electrostatic spray is an excellent solution for infection control projects.
How Does Electrostatic Disinfection Work?
Electrostatic spray is electrically charged, allowing the appropriate sanitizers and disinfectants to wrap around and evenly coat all types of surfaces for a more complete disinfection. As the chemical exits the electrostatic sprayer, it’s given a positive electrical charge. The droplets then become attracted to all negative surfaces, covering the visible area, underside and backside, with the sanitizing agent. Surfaces that are already covered will repel the spray, making the method extremely efficient.
So now, we’ve cleaned. We’re all done with manual cleaning, mechanical cleaning and are looking at a clean and safe environment, right? Well, how do we prove that?
ATP Swab Testing – What is it?
So once a deep clean is completed, how exactly can you be sure that the deep clean has been successful? We swab. ATP swab testing to be more precise.
ATP is recognised by healthcare and the food industry for testing the cleanliness and hygiene levels on the surfaces that have been attended to.
ATP monitoring is a rapid testing method to quickly assess the cleanliness of the tested surfaces. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is present in all organic material and is the universal unit of energy used in all living cells. ATP is produced and/or broken down in metabolic processes in all living systems. Processes such as photosynthesis in plants, muscle contraction in humans, respiration in fungi, and fermentation in yeast are all driven by ATP. Therefore, most foods and microbial cells will contain some level of naturally occurring ATP.
A hygiene meter (in conjunction with ATP swabs) use bioluminescence to detect residual ATP as an indicator of surface cleanliness. The presence of ATP on a surface indicates improper cleaning and/or the presence of contamination, including food residue, allergens and/or bacteria. This implies a potential for the surface to harbour and support bacterial growth. ATP monitoring can confirm that ATP presence is eliminated or minimized by effective cleaning procedures. ATP monitoring prevents cross-contamination and allows the user to verify safe and acceptable hygiene levels. ATP is way to validate that the deep clean has achieved the required standard.
Thoughts and takeaways?
We’ve barely scratched the surface on deep cleans but I’m sure we’ll be back for some more tips and tricks of the trade for you all to see.
We haven’t even mentioned chemicals today. We will address chemicals and their importance to a deep clean in a separate post. The log kill of a cleaning product is incredibly important. What’s a log kill? Exactly. Until next time