Cleaning Public Restrooms in the Era of COVID-19

02 November 2020
Cleaning Public Restrooms in the Era of COVID-19

2020 has, to put it lightly, been a year of change in the facilities maintenance/janitorial world. Cleaning professionals all over the world are now recognized as integral players in public health, and many standard operating procedures have been altered or newly introduced in service of that role. There are a host of new surfaces to clean, like plexiglass shields, and the fundamental goal of cleaning has shifted from cleanliness to protecting public health. Nowhere is this more apparent than restroom cleaning procedures, which have been dramatically altered by COVID-19.

Before the outbreak of novel coronavirus, cleaning public (or employee-only) restrooms was primarily about keeping the area looking and smelling pleasant. Hygiene was more of a secondary concern or beneficial side-effect of the sort of cleaning required to keep an orderly environment. Those goals have swapped priority in the last six months; now a cleanly appearance is a beneficial side-effect of a sanitary restroom. What this means, frankly, is a heavier workload for facilities maintenance professionals—deep cleaning restrooms once during off-hours and spot cleaning during business hours isn’t enough.

First and foremost, many consumers understand on some level that restrooms are a convenient vector for the spread of illness. People want to see public restrooms being cleaned and disinfected regularly, which means increasing the frequency with which those areas are attended. It also means redefining high-touch surfaces to include things like tiled wall surfaces and entire stall areas, not just latches and flush levers. Cleaning professionals might also consider temporarily switching to disposable products, like sponges and mops, to prevent cross-contamination.

Restocking soaps and paper towels, as well as cleaning their dispensers, should also be done more frequently. Our increased emphasis on handwashing means that people will be using those more of those supplies and, therefore, interacting with their fixtures more often. Dispensers should also be placed in visible, accessible areas; facilities managers may need to move existing fixtures or add new ones to that end.

In short, taking care of restrooms in the era of COVID-19 is about increasing consumer confidence through more frequent, visible cleanings and ready access to basic sanitary supplies like hand soap. These aren’t new or innovative steps to take, but they’re necessary components of public health for the foreseeable future. Trust Gergely’s Maintenance King to be your partner in the fight for a healthier tomorrow. Whatever your specifics needs might be, we can help you get the job done.

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