Coronavirus Information for the Professional Cleaner
Coronavirus has created many challenges for the cleaner, especially if your primary work is indoor cleaning, like carpet cleaning or general cleaning.
Today, there was a spike in calls coming into our office from customers looking for cleaning solutions for the Coronavirus situation. So, I thought it would be a good opportunity to address all of you and share with you what I know.
1st, remember, there is nothing better than actual cleaning. Cleaning with soap and water is better than any disinfecting chemical. For example, it has been proven that washing your hands with soap is more effective in killing the virus than using hand sanitizers. This is still the most misunderstood fact. It has been proven that soap, surfactant, dismantles viruses. See it here.
Although you can use any product with surfactants to clean surfaces, it is even better when you use products that contain hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is active against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores according to the CDC, Centers of Disease Control & Prevention. This virus has also held together by oil and products that contain delimonene, a solvent, will help dissolve it. One such product is Trashed Green Gel.
For soft surfaces like carpet and upholstery, this will be your 1st weapon of attack – cleaning with soap, surfactant.
Then, for controlling residual and psychological concerns, this can be easily accomplished by post spraying of a sanitizer. All sanitizers that are EPA approved are made for our industry are made for hard surfaces, not soft surfaces like carpet. The reason being, it’s hard to cover all the areas on the soft surfaces as the pile and the fabric can make it difficult to do so.
Also, these products are approved for many uses including viruses, like the Coronavirus. But, this new Coronavirus is Novel, meaning new. None of these products have been tested on this new Novel Coronavirus, Covid 19. (Please see the new 03-14-20 Update below)
So, with that said, we have to deal with what we have available to us. I’ve selected the most broad-spectrum EPA approved sanitizer for customers to use for general cleaning of hard surfaces. There is no sanitizer made for soft surfaces. But, you can apply them as an extra precaution after cleaning. Do not guarantee or make any disinfecting claims. Instead, you can say that you are applying a disinfectant. I have also selected them because of their concentration. Very little is needed to make a ready to use.
Lastly, I would like to talk about how to price this. I believe that if you charge half what it costs you to clean for sanitizing, that is sufficient and still fair for your customers. So, if the cleaning cost is $100, then sanitizing will be $50. As far as the cost of a gallon of ready to use, it is not even a penny per sq. ft.. Janitorial companies are charging $60 per man hour to perform this work.
Here is the link to our top-selling sanitizers that are also on the new EPA’s Covid19 lists.
All the best!
IICRC Instructor and Master Textile Cleaner
You can get more information from these two reliable government sources:
PS Need Marketing help? I’ve drafted an educational letter you can email or use social media to inform your customers of this service. If you are an existing or prospective Magic Wand Customer, please feel to use it for your Marketing. You can see it here.
I have been fielding many calls about the Coronavirus since this article was published. Many cleaners are under the misconception that fogging is all they have to do. This is not true. Fogging is only for the air. It is not for surfaces. And, cleaning still has to be performed. You can learn more about how the virus has a very short life in the air compared to very long on surfaces here.
Note that fogging when done for surfaces will destroy hygroscopic materials, like paper, art, etc.
When concerns about fogging with chemicals occur. Use Thymol, which is a natural food-based alternative.
Yesterday the EPA published a list of products that they say you can use on Covid-19. These products are products with “emerging viral pathogen claim” and this list was actually created in 2016 to address emerging viral pathogens. But, the EPA is still not endorsing them. They think that these may work against Covid-19. Plus, they also said that if these products are not available, use the product with a coronavirus claim (you can see this written on the labels of those products). I think they are referring to products that were approved for previous Coronavirus and are thinking that may work also on Covid-19.
Wear gloves while cleaning and sanitizing. Although respirators are not required at this time. It is recommended that you wear a half-face mask respirator with goggles or a full face mask respirator. Other strategies can also be used to protect you. For example, you can fog the air 1st before you begin. You can request the occupants to vacate while you are there so you can avoid contact with them.
With cities and states having “stay at home” orders, please note that they don’t apply to workers that are considered essential. Anyone in your business who is needed for the operation is allowed to work. Furthermore, you are providing a needed service that actually helps reduce the spread. Mandatory closings apply to restaurants, bars, and other similar venues.
Questions from carpet cleaners about using a sanitizer on carpets and furniture after cleaning. The 1st step is cleaning. Thorugh cleaning. Then as a precaution, you can apply Thymol. It’s neutral pH, non-ionic and 100% food-based. It is suggested you charge half the price of cleaning for adding this.
IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) with collaboration with RIA (Restoration Industry Association) produced a preliminary report for Restoration Contractors assisting clients with COVID-19 concerns. You can read it or download it here.
Confusion about sprayers. Misinformation generating online saying that you need an electrostatic sprayer to apply the disinfectants is incorrect. Electrostatic sprayers apply whatever liquid you put in them evenly. Electrostatic sprayers just apply more evenly. See Electro-Force Electrostatic Sprayer and see how Electrostatic works. In the ATP (measures actively growing microorganisms through detection of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP) tests that I have done on the products, I have only used pump-up sprayers and just regular quart sprayers with triggers. Like what the Windex bottles come with. You can see me doing that here and also see the results.
Watch this video to see the proper steps for dealing with a virus like this.
Are we Essential Workers? Although, Essential Worker’s definition is someone who is needed for a business to function properly. Some states have their own interpretation of this definition in relation to the Coronavirus “Stay at Home” regulations. Even by the most stringent state definition, “building cleaning and maintenance workers” are essential. See NY states definition, which I believe to be the most stringent at this time. It specifically says that “building cleaning and maintenance workers” are essential. In addition, RIA and IICRC have written a letter to the Government to protect contractors doing this work to remain essential workers. See it here.
CDC publishes new guidelines for households when a person is sick. The guidelines are very similar to what I have mentioned above. You can see them here. Interestingly enough, there are guidelines for cleaning soft surfaces like carpet and furniture. They are, clean surfaces with soap and launder. If laundering is not possible, disinfect with an EPA registered household disinfectant that is on EPA’s Covid19 list. The products that we carry that are on that list can be seen here.
More on essential workers. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, released guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID19.
Questions about proper PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) have been on the rise. You can learn more about the correct PPE at OSHA’s site. There are some online OSHA compliance classes you can take for as little as $25. You can see an example here.
CDC releases new guidelines for essential workers that may have been exposed to a person with suspected or confirmed Covid19. Workers not showing symptoms must be monitored for their temperature before work and then routinely, required to use a mask, social distance and regular cleaning & disinfecting of their workspaces. You can learn more about this here.
New studies show respiratory droplets linger in the air for up to eight minutes. This reinforces the importance of cleaning and disinfecting “heavy touch surfaces” is more important than simply fogging the air. As the virus can live on surfaces for days.
I’ve been fielding some questions about insurance coverage. Since most of our customers already have insurance, they can add “Communicable Disease Coverage Endorsement” on their policy.
More customers are in search of products that they can spray and walk away. If you find yourself in this boat, then consider Chlorine Dioxide, as you can see here.
Is there such a thing as protection for 90 days. The EPA does not have any product approved to work for 90 days. These are just people’s claims. You can see more about that here.
Are you a cleaning professional who has a portable or truckmount? If so, let Tim Yeater, the Cleaning Professor, show you how to convert it to a fogger and sprayer. And, more importantly, how he disinfects. See it here.