Five Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Coronavirus Cleaning Company
by Mike Derryberry • August 08, 2020
The coronavirus pandemic has altered the cleaning practices of most Arizona businesses. It is now expected for your business to have a comprehensive disinfection and sanitization routine (links to CDC Guidelines). Are you looking for ways to improve the cleaning practices of your business and protect your employees from contracting COVID-19? Or has your business experienced an outbreak in positive cases and is in desperate need of coronavirus disinfection services? Either way, it is important to gather as much information as possible when interviewing potential cleaning providers. Here is a list of the top five questions to ask before hiring a coronavirus cleaning company. We have included answers to each question so you will know what to look for when conducting an interview. If a commercial cleaning company fails to answer all five questions correctly, then you should continue your search and interview other potential candidates.
1. How Long Have You Been Providing Disinfection Cleaning?
- The answer should be well before March 2020.
- Aim to find a cleaning company with over a decade of experience, like Compass Cleaning Solutions. While the coronavirus is new, cleaning for health, cleaning to eradicate viruses and bacteria is not new to us.
2. What is Your Company’s Core Business? Did It Have Anything to Do With Cleaning Prior to COVID-19?
- A preponderance of companies who have never done this before are claiming they can disinfect your building envelope. The proper way to conduct a terminal clean takes training and experience. Always remain wary of people who are making claims without the history to support it. Would you ask your landscaper to repair your car?
- Always check the website of a cleaning company before interviewing them. You may discover they have little experience with the type of cleaning you want. If so, then they could put you, your employees and your customers at risk.
3. What Products Does Your Coronavirus Cleaning Service Use?
- A wide range of disinfectants are effective, when used properly. Most disinfectants require a 4-10 minute dwell time. The disinfectants must be wiped down to remove any residue. In Arizona, most liquids have dried on a surface in under four minutes.
- CLO2 and Quat disinfectant cleaner have a 60-90 second dwell time. CLO2 dissipates as a gas even if applied as a liquid, leaving no residue. The likelihood of a disinfectant being wiped down in 60-90 seconds is much higher than a longer dwell time.
- The ARA issued a guideline for all restaurants that states…”Establish a disinfection routine and train staff on proper cleaning timing and procedures to ensure safe and correct application of disinfectants.”
4. What Equipment Do You Use to Deliver the Cleaning?
- Electrostatic sprayers are the most effective and efficient. They will not damage your furniture or other moisture sensitive surfaces.
- Normal sprayers do not atomize the product in small enough droplets, presenting potential problems and damage. Even if they are ULV, but not electrostatic, the droplets are still beholden to the laws of gravity and will fall through the air landing in random patterns leaving uneven coverage and leaving the undersides of objects or surfaces untreated. Electrostatically charged droplets can "defy gravity" to treat the undersides of surfaces and simultaneously repel each other creating a lot more uniform coverage.
- It is important to know if the cleaning company uses high grade Microfiber towels. If they are using traditional bar towels or paper towels, then they are not removing bacteria or chemical residue from disinfectants. In one test two lunch room tables were tested for biomatter using an ATP meter. In both cases scores were over 1000 (under 100 is considered safe). One table was cleaned with a cleanser and cotton towel, the other with high grade microfiber and water (that's right, not cleanser). They retested both tables the table cleaned with a cotton towel and cleanser dropped to slightly below 200. The Microfiber and water? Less than 60.
- The proper tools matter!
5. Are You Willing to Certify Your Coronavirus Cleaning Service in Writing?
- Without a certificate stating what service was given, and on what date it was done, you are at risk of liability if or when there is an outbreak or reported case.
- If the service provider is unwilling or reluctant to give you a certificate, then it is likely they are not using approved products, procedures or equipment, and they know it.
Bonus Question: What Do You Do to Validate the Effectiveness of Your Products and Service?
- A legitimate service provider should be willing to provide testing results to validate the efficacy of their products and service. Can they provide legitimate testing by independent laboratories in regard to the products they are using in their claims? If legitimate they should be able to provide them quickly.
- One CAUTION: when someone suggests they use an ATP meter, which tests organic matter on surfaces, be careful, this test does not distinguish between normal organic material and a virus, so this may not be as effective as you think. ATP will also read dead biomatter that is no longer infectious, giving a false positive.