During the Covid-19 pandemic, effective cleaning and disinfection of surfaces has become one of the key ways to fight the virus and reduce the spread of the infection.
Regular cleaning and disinfection of touch points is essential in areas where staff or customers are sharing the same space.
From the start of the pandemic, scientists have been concerned that touching a contaminated surface and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose could transmit the virus and spread infection. A study in 2009 (Nicas and Jones) found that adults contact these critical points of microbial entry to the human body approximately 16 times each hour. Therefore, effective cleaning and disinfection of the surface touchpoints in a workplace needs to be in place to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19.
But how do you know if your cleaning has been effective?
How can you ensure your cleaning has removed Covid-19?
Rapid detection of Covid-19 on surfaces does not yet exist, and is certainly not available for the average business to access.
Some laboratories are able to offer surface tests to check for the presence of the virus – but testing for viral presence on surfaces is far from simple. Tests can be expensive, usually take 3-4 days to get the results, and may not provide you with useful information, especially after such a time delay.
So, if you can’t test for it, what can you do?
Perhaps it is better to focus your attention on achieving high standards of cleaning and disinfection at your premises. This may be more achievable and practical than a laboratory test result which shows if the virus was on a particular surface at a particular time on a particular day, several days ago.
How can you ensure your cleaning is effective?
Visual cleanliness will only show you if a surface has been cleaned, but not if it has been cleaned effectively. It is important staff use chemicals as they were designed to be used, to ensure they reduce microbiological load to a safe level – incorrect dilution and contact time can all influence the effectiveness of disinfectants, even if the surface may look clean.
BIOSCANNING hygiene monitoring is a simple and practical way of checking your cleaning standards. Let us be clear – it will not tell you specifically if there is Covid-19 on the surface, but it will tell you in as little as 10 seconds if the surface has been cleaned properly.
BIOSCANNING uses bioluminescence technology to detect adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is an energy molecule found in all living plants, animals, and microbial cells. If a surface has been cleaned and disinfected well, the level of ATP will be low. We use BIOSCANNING swabs to detect whether surfaces have been effectively cleaned – a well cleaned surfaces reduces the risk of transmission of microbiological organisms. There are no guarantees that the surface is virus free – but if it has been cleaned effectively then you will have significantly reduced this risk.
Poor cleaning will enable microbiological organisms such as bacteria AND viruses to spread easily.
BIOSCANNING hygiene monitoring service – how does it work?
In House has used BIOSCANNING as part of our Food Safety Support to food business for many years, and are very experienced in monitoring standards of cleaning and hygiene. But the technology can also be used in non-catering environments, to check the cleaning standards of touch points in communal areas – such as door handles, handrails, switches, work surfaces, desks and of course staff kitchenettes.
An In House advisor would visit your premises and carry out BIOSCANNING swabs on a range of ‘clean’ surfaces – we would discuss these with you to determine the most useful or at-risk areas. The results are available straight away, and give an indication of how well a surface has been cleaned. If there are any issues identified, you can arrange for the surface to be cleaned again with our recommendations, and we can then retest it. An improved result will help you to demonstrate that your cleaning method is effective.
A written report would be left on site, then a formal report (with any recommendations) emailed to you after the visit.
Whether you want reassurance that your kitchen cleaning is up to scratch, or if you want to ensure your cleaning in other parts of your workplace is effective, BIOSCANNING can help.
For more information about BIOSCANNING or to arrange a visit, please get in touch – email us or call us on 01933 626444