The risk of infection is reduced considerably in a clean, well-kept environment that is regularly cleaned.
Here is an overview from Karcher of which cleaning technologies are available to fight pathogens such as the new coronavirus and how they work.
Effective also in areas that are difficult to access: professional steam cleaners.
Steam cleaners and vacuum cleaners are an effective and time-saving solution thanks to the high cleaning temperature in order to ensure appropriate hygiene and combat germs or viruses. The steam emerges from the nozzle in very fine drops and, depending on the machine type, at a temperature of around 100 °C and a pressure of up to 8 bar. It is possible to not only clean walls, floors and furniture effectively, but the steam also reaches areas that are difficult to access such as rubber folds or crevices.
In order to kill viruses, i.e. neutralise them, high temperatures must be reached on the surface to be cleaned. If the surface is around 20 °C, for example, it is necessary to keep the nozzle on one area for a particularly long time until the desired temperature is reached. Tests in an independent laboratory have confirmed the effectiveness in combating viruses. The result: At maximum steam pressure and a cleaning duration of 30 seconds, the machines eliminate up to 99.999% of enveloped viruses*, such as the coronavirus or influenza, and 99.99% of household bacteria** from hard surfaces.
Key discipline – large areas: high-pressure cleaners.
Anyone who uses high-pressure cleaners can efficiently work large areas such as ceilings, walls or floors. The machines offer the ability to reach a high hygiene standard and thus kill germs, bacteria and viruses. Depending on the area of application, models whose water pressure and volume can be controlled on the high-pressure gun are in demand. Users can use the appropriate combination to achieve the desired result without the loose dirt rebounding.
Hot-water machines accelerate the cleaning by up to 40 percent compared to cold-water models. Better results can be achieved quicker and the drying process of the clean areas is considerably shorter. A measurable germ reduction can be achieved when working with a water temperature of at least 85 °C. Not only is the dirt removed, but bacteria and viruses are also effectively combated.
In order to break chains of infection and remove all dirt residues, suitable cleaning agents can also be used. If the foaming cleaning agent is applied with a cup foam lance, this has a clear advantage: the foam is so resilient that it remains on the surface and increases the reaction time and cleaning power. Rinsing with water transports the dirt away in a controlled manner and prevents new contamination.
It is recommended to alternate between acid-based and alkaline foam cleaning products. Acids counteract the build-up of inorganic deposits such as lime, organic dirt is removed with alkaline cleaning agents. Bacteria and viruses have no adhesive surface and can also not develop any resistance to a certain agent. The only thing to remember is that tile joints must be wet before using acid-based cleaning agents so that they do not absorb the acids. Wet and dry vacuum cleaners are perfect for removing residual water. A disinfectant rounds off the cleaning process.
For cleaner floors: Floor cleaning with scrubber driers.
Apart from manual cleaning machines, scrubber driers are used for the wet cleaning of hard and elastic floor coverings. They wet and scrub the floor in a single step and immediately absorb the dirt again. The advantage over manual cleaning using a bucket is the fact that germs are permanently removed by the absorption of the dirt and do not collect in a cleaning textile. The risk of recontamination is therefore minimised. Also the risk for the cleaning staff of contracting pathogens via their hands is reduced with the contactless floor cleaning.
Floor disinfection with scrubber driers
Scrubber driers can generally also be used to disinfect floors. For this application, both the correct dosage of chemicals and the exact contact time in line with manufacturer specifications must be observed.
There are two ways of achieving the correct dosage:
1. The best way to achieve the application concentration is through automatic dosing in decentralised disinfectant dosing units located, for example, in the equipment room.
2. As an alternative, the disinfectant solution can be prepared in the correct ratio using a measuring cup, for example.
The disinfectant solution is then filled into the fresh water tank of the scrubber drier. Dosing systems integrated in scrubber driers are not suitable for this. A sufficient amount of the active ingredient has to reach the floor surface to successfully disinfect it. To achieve this, the flow volume in relation to the floor covering should be selected such that even wetting can be ensured. Microfibre textiles or pad materials are a helpful tool – brushes are less suitable. It is essential to use the one-step method – that is not using suction – in order to adhere to the required contact time. The disinfectant solution is only applied to the floor with the scrubber drier. The area is then allowed to dry.
Against contact infections: Meticulous surface cleaning.
Cleaning surfaces plays an important role in the prevention of disease transmission through contact infection – especially where people regularly congregate. In order to protect the user, he should always be vigilant about personal protective equipment and wear gloves. The key point with surface cleaning is that cleaning textiles are changed frequently enough and not put back into the cleaning fleet.
With the change cloth method, for example, a fresh cloth is used for each new object within an area to be cleaned, whether it is a toilet, office or room. This provides effective protection against carryover. The 16-side method originally stems from the healthcare sector and is used with ready-to-use cleaning agents. The cleaning cloth is folded in half four times so that there are a total of 16 sides. Each surface can be wiped with a fresh side wet with cleaning agent – when each side is used, the cloth is discarded and a new one is used.
If contaminated surfaces should be chemically disinfected, there are disinfectants and disinfectant cleaners, which, depending on the version, can have a virucidal effect against enveloped viruses such as the coronavirus. In the case of heavy contamination the surface must be cleaned first. After the drying time the disinfectant is mixed with tap water according to the defined ratio. The solution must be applied to the entire surface and allowed to take effect. Then the surface is rinsed with fresh water, in the food processing industry with drinking water. If the surface is slightly dirty, disinfectant cleaners can be used, which clean and disinfect in one step.
Cleaning as needed: Digital support to combat pathogens
Using software or apps that digitally represent processes for all tasks of building service contractors, adjustments to daily cleaning tasks can be made quickly and without physical contact and adopted to the cleaning plan. Real-time communication enables customers, facility managers and cleaners to quickly exchange information. Special tasks like additionally disinfecting door knobs or other surfaces can be reliably planned and communicated in this way.