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Commercial disinfection: business biohazard cleaning for COVID-19

covid-19 disinfection and specialised cleaning March 09, 2021

With the rollout of vaccines for the novel coronavirus now beginning for populations considered ‘at risk’, we have hope for 2021 returning to some level of normalcy. Still, the rollout will take time, and with mutant strains and outbreaks still making headlines, we continue to provide commercial biohazard cleaning, also known as a COVID-19 deep clean. 

According to SafeWork Australia, “You are not expected, and should not try, to diagnose workers. However, you have a work health and safety duty to minimise the risk of workers and others in the workplace being exposed to COVID-19 so far as reasonably practicable.”

After isolating the person and ensuring they have access to the medical attention required, close off the affected areas and do not let others use or enter them until they’ve been disinfected. Open outside doors and windows if possible to increase airflow. 

Your state or territory public health unit will identify contacts of a confirmed COVID-19 case and provide them with instructions. 

All areas that were used by the person/s concerned must be deep cleaned and disinfected according to information relevant to your industry. 

How clean is clean?

Our specialist services are suitable for most biological hazards, including forensic cleaning and mould removal. Antiviral cleaning requires a particular set of chemicals and tools to be carried out within Australian health guidelines, as it is different from cleaning away bacterial hazards.

You have more bacteria in your gut and on your skin than human cells in your entire body. However, most of these are a helpful colony known as your microbiome. In fact, the cells in your gut play a significant role in your immune system. 

Problems occur when certain kinds of bacteria get into places where they can cause harm through infection or intoxication. The dilemma of where they spread is well framed in this cheeky viral campaign by Dettol NZ. It shows us that clean isn’t always clean, especially when it comes to our clothes. Real viruses are even tougher.

According to the WHO: “It is not certain how long the virus that causes COVID-19 survives on surfaces, but it seems likely to behave like other coronaviruses. A recent review of the survival of human coronaviruses on surfaces found large variability, ranging from 2 hours to 9 days”. 

What’s the difference between antiviral cleaning and antibacterial cleaning?

Without going too much into biology, bacteria are cells with mitochondria, capable of self-replicating. Viruses, on the other hand, rely on ‘hijacking’ a host cell to replicate and spread their genetic code. Viruses are not classified as being alive; they have no cell membrane, no metabolism, no respiration – they are a parasite. Of around 2,000 viruses identified in the world, only roughly 10% infect humans.

Simple soap disrupts a bacterium’s cell wall (with enough friction, say from 20 seconds of handwashing). But there is no cell membrane in a virus, and no evidence that soap alone ‘kills’ viruses; rather it balls them up in surfactant to ‘roll’ them off your hands with rinsing.

So what happens for a biohazard clean up? For surfaces near to where a person infected with COVID-19 has been, the WHO recommends the following:

  • 70% ethyl alcohol to disinfect small areas such as reusable dedicated equipment (for example, thermometers);
  • sodium hypochlorite at 0.1% (1000 ppm) for disinfecting surfaces; and,
  • for areas where fecal contact has occurred, commercially available quaternary ammonium compounds, such as cetylpyridinium chloride, used according to manufacturer’s instructions, and peracetic or peroxyacetic acid at concentrations of 500−2000 mg/L. [1]

Experienced, specialised deep cleaning

Kleenit has been working in specialised cleaning, including meth lab remediation, forensic cleaning, and mould removal, for more than a decade. With a national network of Kleenit professionals, we’re able to provide peace of mind in all settings, from schools, government buildings and shopping centres, to foodservice outlets and strata disinfection. We also provide a certificate on completion after a COVID-19 clean. 

[1] World Health Organisation, Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus, 23 April 2020, https://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/handle/10665/331846/WHO-2019-nCoV-IPC_WASH-2020.3-eng.pdf Retrieved 21 January 2021

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