Ramped Up House Cleaning

Our housekeeping experts, the professionals of the Environmental Services Department, know how to knock out germs. They keep Southwestern Vermont Medical Center clean and safe for patients and staff around the clock, 365 days a year. Here are their top tips for cleaning your home to neutralize COVID-19 and anything else that might cause illness.


Safety first.

Every cleaning product on store shelves includes important instructions printed on the label. It includes whether you should wear gloves, whether you should dilute the solution with water, and what to do if the cleaner comes into contact with skin or eyes. Follow the instructions carefully, work in a well-ventilated area, and never mix chemicals. It wouldn't be funny if you ended up in the hospital for a cleaning-related injury while trying to stay out of the hospital for COVID-19.


Read the fine print.

You'll notice that there is always an asterisk next to the big bold letters on the front of the label that says, "Kills 99.9% of viruses and bacteria." Next to the corresponding asterisk on the back of the label is how long a surface must remain wet with cleaner in order for the cleaner to work as claimed. For many products, the "wet time" is 10 minutes. That’s how long you have to keep the surface wet.


Disinfect.

We use disinfecting wipes or a bleach solution of one part bleach to ten parts water, especially when cleaning the bathroom.


Start from the top.

Always clean from top to bottom and from dirtiest to cleanest. In a bathroom, for instance, do the toilets and floors last. For the toilet, clean everything, including the outside of the bowl all the way to the floor. For high-touch areas—like doorknobs, light switches, phones, handrails, faucets, and countertops—start at one end of the room and work around back to where you started, so you don’t miss anything.

Chris Dargie manages Environmental Services at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center. 

 

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