Commercial Cleaners Explain COVID Disinfection

Commercial Cleaners Explain COVID Disinfection

With offices, stores, and other businesses reopening, commercial cleaning specialists are responding to COVID-19 concerns with new disinfection techniques and products. A significant investment in time, training and equipment has enabled these companies to respond to the enormous demand for disinfection services, which has no end in sight.

According to Frank Karkazis, FGK Services, the disinfection process required to fight COVID-19 represents a dramatic change in his business.  “We had always provided nightly virus protection, with a chemical which killed influenza A, strep, e-coli, and staph,” explains Frank, “but after seeing and feeling the fear over COVID in my customers’ voices, I knew we had to do more.”

Frank completed a certification course in COVID disinfection offered by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a division of the International Sanitary Supply Association (ISSA). He stocked up on EPA-approved cleaning agents and invested in spraying/misting equipment, as well as PPE for his staff.  The company updated its marketing to emphasize the new disinfection services, leading to a surge of business from new clients in addition to existing customers.

“We have disinfected buildings from Milwaukee to Hammond, Indiana. We’ve worked every day throughout the entire pandemic, seven days a week,” reports Frank. “I give every customer a Certificate of Safety after the disinfection, to show their customers and employees that they’ve taken extra steps to protect them.”

Rick Schneider, City Wide Maintenance, approaches client service with a two-pronged approach: enhanced disinfection as part of regular cleaning, and specialized COVID disinfection treatments. Like FGK, City Wide has completed the GBAC/ISSA certification for COVID disinfection and adapted its procedures accordingly.

For regular service, City Wide has added an EPA-approved disinfectant to its cleaning protocols and developed new routines for employees that ensure the disinfectant is given adequate time to work.  “We’re now spraying all touchpoints with disinfectant — light switches, handles, keyboards, everything — and then we move on to other tasks while the disinfectant does its job,” says Rick.  “If you just spray it on and wipe it off, you’re wasting time and money and failing to keep your customer safe.”

In addition to boosting regular disinfection procedures, City Wide has also introduced broad new pandemic-specific services.  City Wide mobilizes extra manpower to complete facility-wide emergency disinfection in response to a COVID exposure in order to minimize a client’s downtime.  Electrostatic spraying uses a positive ionic charge to make disinfectant wrap around and adhere to surfaces more efficiently.  City Wide also performs deep cleaning services combined with disinfection for businesses as they prepare to reopen.

Rick offers straightforward advice to facility managers looking to maximize the safety of their buildings:

  • Ensure that your service provider is using cleaning products registered by the EPA and CDC as effective against COVID-type viruses. A list of registered chemicals is available on the EPA website.
  • Check that all frequent touchpoints are being cleaned at least nightly, and that the product is left undisturbed for enough time to kill the virus.  Information about sufficient dwell times is available on product labels and on the EPA registered product list above.
  • Ask your provider about which products are most appropriate for your facility.  For example, day care centers often opt for botanical disinfectants that are safer to use on toys for babies and small children.

While new disinfection strategies do require building management to commit more time and money to cleaning, those expenses are now an essential part of doing business in the current environment. “The COVID disinfection service is invaluable, and it works,” says Frank. “Everyone is going to need it if they want to keep their businesses open.”

For a list of professional cleaning companies offering COVID disinfection, as well as other businesses with products for safe business operations, visit the Chamber’s member directory.