You arrive at work, open the office door, put your belongings on your desk and make your way to the kitchen to brew a delicious coffee to start your morning. After getting your coffee, you answer the main office phone and walk into the conference room for your weekly workplace meeting. Now during the day, you’ve probably used the elevator to leave for lunch or walked down the stairs and touched the handrails once or twice.
I could go on and on and on but let me get to the point.
An employee working in any industry touches many different surfaces throughout the workday. And these aren’t just any surface, they’re high touchpoints.
Touchpoints are a serious breeding ground for germs to live on and spread between surfaces and also people.
So now that you know this information so far, I have a question for you. Do you see why it’s super important to clean high touchpoints frequently?
Because it’s not just to keep your workplace clean and free of germs. It’s also about keeping your staff safe and healthy as we all know how bad it can get when staff get sick…
With over 27 years of experience in the commercial cleaning industry, we know the ins and outs of touchpoint cleaning which we’re going to pass on to you! This article will address what constitutes a touchpoint, how to clean them, and why it’s vital to do so.
Let’s clean up that bacteria party that’s living on your touchpoints!
What are high touchpoints?
Think about how many times today you’ve touched a light switch at work or the handrails up the stairs or the door handle to the office or meeting room.
You’ve probably lost count right?
The surfaces that are commonly touched and handled frequently by numerous people during the day are considered high touchpoints. And in the cleaning industry, touchpoint cleaning focuses on cleaning these specific areas regularly as they make a very convenient place for germs, bacteria, and viruses to grow and spread from person to person.
Surfaces in your work environment that are considered high touchpoints include:
Door handles (including cupboard doors)
Door push areas
Appliance handles, such as fridge, oven etc
Appliance buttons and dials
Other office equipment, e.g. printers
Landline phones, and mobiles
Tops of chairs (where you pull them out)
Even if these surfaces are not visibly dirty to the naked eye, they certainly house the most unseen dirt, germs, bacteria, and viruses.
Regularly cleaning these touchpoints helps reduce the number of germs on the surfaces and also the length of time the germs are there. However, cleaning these touchpoints just for the sake of it won’t do the job. For the cleaning to be effective against harmful germs, the right products and methods need to be put in place.
What are the best ways to clean high touchpoints?
What should my cleaners be doing? Or more importantly, what types of cleaning solutions and tools should they be using?
In other words, what are the easiest ways to optimise touchpoint cleaning?
This question is super-duper important because yes, although you may know what touchpoint cleaning is, that’s not what matters most. What matters most are the disinfectants and cloths the cleaners use to get the job done.
With that in mind, let’s discuss the 4 best ways to curb the spread of transmissible diseases in your workplace.
Yes, the type of cloth you use plays a big role in the effectiveness of your touchpoint cleaning.
The chances of cross-contamination are significant when using the wrong cloth.
What do I mean by wrong cloth?
I’m talking about the “microfibre” cloths you can purchase from Bunnings or your local supermarket. Oh, and let’s not forget that using a Chux cloth is not a good idea. Though they’re branded as quality microfibre, they won’t do their job – removing microbial dirt.
So what cloths should my cleaners be using?
Simply, there’s nothing better than quality microfibre cloths, especially those from Rubbermaid.
They’re able to remove 99.9% of dirt, germs, bacteria, and viruses from surfaces with water only!
To add to that awesomeness, the chances of cross-contamination between different touchpoints with launderable microfibre are limited. Why? Because they’re colour-coded and encourage cleaning different areas of your workplace with different colours. For instance, at In-Tec, we use yellow microfibre cloths for disinfecting purposes.
With quality microfibre cloths, the built-in zig-zag scrubbers effectively remove dirt, get into small crevices, and also deliver optimal infection prevention.
Stop using cheap microfibre cloths or Chux that won’t do the job and choose ones that’ll do the best job for you.
You can’t just use any cleaning chemical like Ajax spray and wipe for your touchpoints.
You need a disinfectant that can both break down, and lift bacteria and grime from your surfaces.
At In-Tec, we recommend manually wiping touchpoints with Oxivir and a yellow microfibre cloth. Oxivir is a hospital-grade disinfectant cleaner based on Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP).
It comes in two forms:
Concentrate – which we dilute with water
RTU – ready to use in a spray bottle
It kills COVID-19 in 15 seconds!
It also has a fast and effective performance against other viruses such as Hepatitis C, Influenza A, and many others. It’s also successful against 27 microorganisms. I mean, what more could you want!
At one of our clients’ sites, we clean touchpoints such as door handles and light switches twice a day with Oxivir – this is done with a microfibre cloth that is pre-soaked in Oxivir. This is due to the nature of the site and the number of people they have in their office (which is quite a lot!).
I will end this section with a comment about Tersano.
If requested, we can use Tersano for high touchpoints, however, it’s yet to be TGA approved to kill COVID-19 in Australia (although it has been approved overseas).
You may have seen a video or photograph of cleaners disinfecting for COVID-19 with a gun like sprayer.
This is exactly what the team at In-Tec use, specifically a Victory electrostatic handheld sprayer. However, let’s not confuse this which a fogging machine (don’t get us started on why they should not be used).
They use positive and negative charges to cling to and coat surfaces the sprayer is aimed at. It releases a mist that is able to coat a surface evenly, even if the mist is only sprayed from one side.
Electrostatic treatment will ensure that 100% of germs, bacteria, and viruses are eradicated!
Again, electrostatic disinfecting is used for all surfaces a human would touch and/or areas that are near a surface a human would touch. This typically includes high-risk areas like lunchrooms and toilets (as we call them, waste in and waste out areas).
Don’t get us wrong, there are many other chemicals out there that are great for disinfecting. But the reason why we use Oxivir is because of its dwell time (kill time). There’s nothing better than knowing that your surfaces will be clear of almost all nasty viruses in under 1 minute!
You want to prove your results.
And what better way to do this than by conducting an ATP test.
Essentially, an ATP test reveals the presence of biological matter on surfaces within seconds! The higher the Relative Light Units (RLU) reading = the more bacteria counted = the higher the risk of infection.
With accurate ATP testing at your fingertips, you’ll be able to get a clear before and after picture of your touchpoint cleaning to ensure you’re meeting the standards you want.
Ask your cleaning company whether they have an ATP testing kit or whether they’re willing to prove to you that they’ve left you with a clean working environment.
Amongst our obsession, we seem to have forgotten that there are other viruses and bacteria out there that can make us sick.
We all touch our eyes, nose, mouth, and/or face multiple times a day. But before we touch any of those, it is more than likely that we’ve touched something with germs on it, like a door handle. This is known as an indirect transfer.
Taking a proactive approach to cleaning high touchpoints is a basic, yet fundamental principle that curbs the spread of nasty germs in the workplace. It’s for this reason that cleaning frequently touched surfaces is essential.
Additionally, you don’t have to worry about absenteeism in your company. Touchpoint cleaning can have a significant impact on the number of absences due to employee illness. You don’t want your staff taking time off work because of a lack of cleanliness, and you certainly don’t want unproductive team members.
In reality, touchpoint cleaning is a basic and straightforward step your cleaners can take to stop the spread of germs from one surface to another, and from one person to another.
A cleaner space equals a safer and healthier place
A simple gastro bug or the common flu can sweep through a workplace so quickly that you don’t end up having time for damage control – it’s too late.
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
High touchpoint cleaning is an easy job your cleaners can perform that eliminates the number of germs, bacteria, and viruses lying around your workplace.
But what you want to make sure is that your cleaners are using the appropriate tools and methods to do the job properly. This can include microfibre cloths from Rubbermaid, disinfectants like Oxivir, and ATP testing.
If you’re eager to find out more information about how we stop the spread of viruses, bacteria, and COVID-19, take a look at our article What is Commercial Deep Cleaning? In this article, you’ll find In-Tec’s 4 step process and why prevention is better than the cure.