At the writing of this post, 63 million people in the United States have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19. That means 19.2 percent of the country’s population is protected. Still, it is critical to clean and disinfect homes and businesses to help safeguard people from the coronavirus and other viruses.
What are the three virus threats?
The coronavirus pandemic has had worldwide catastrophic repercussions since 2020. While vaccinations are rapidly underway, many people in the US are yet to be fully protected. For maximum protection against Covid-19, cleaning and disinfecting continue to remain an important defense.
The two most threatening respiratory viruses in 2020/21 are SARS-CoV-2 and influenza. Between 2019 and 2020, the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 38 million people showed symptomatic influenza illness; and 400,000 people with the flu needed to be hospitalized.
The common cold is a third, but far less aggressive, danger. The CDC reports that adults catch two to three colds per year, and children contract even more. Rhinoviruses commonly cause the common cold, although many other types of viruses can do the same.
How long do viruses live on surfaces?
Fortunately, the spread of Covid-19, the flu and the common cold can be effectively reduced through regular cleaning and disinfection processes. The coronavirus lingers on various surfaces for a range of time, from a period of a few hours to several days.
The flu virus is viable on surfaces for up to 48 hours. Rhinoviruses are known to linger on a range of surfaces for up to three hours. The spread of the viruses that cause the common cold can be mitigated by frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces.
Covid-19 vaccinations are being ramped up to protect the population from coronavirus illnesses. The flu vaccine becomes available during flu season each year (around the autumn months) and offers a level of protection. A vaccine is not available for the common cold, however.
Despite the current rollouts of Covid-19 vaccines and the influenza vaccines in autumn, it remains crucial that commonly touched surfaces are routinely cleaned and disinfected. Proper cleaning and disinfection go a long way toward reducing the risks of contracting any of these three viruses.
What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?
Cleaning and disinfecting serve two distinct purposes. Cleaning removes germs and viruses from surfaces but does not kill them. Disinfecting kills germs and viruses but fails to remove grime. Both cleaning and disinfecting are necessary to ensure a hygienic, virus-free environment.
What areas should be cleaned and disinfected?
The CDC recommends homeowners clean and disinfect their homes daily. Examples of high-touch objects that require disinfection include doorknobs, countertops, light switches, and cell phones. Other germy hotspots include microwave/fridge/dishwasher handles, stair railings, cupboards, and faucets. Clean and disinfect after receiving visitors.
In commercial spaces, such as offices, hotels and apartment complexes, cleaning staff are advised to focus on cleaning and disinfecting high-touch spots, such as elevator buttons, door handles, lobby area tables, bathrooms, desks, shared computer equipment, staircase railings, and remote controls.
What products kill these three viruses?
Several EPA-approved disinfectants are readily available and will disable the coronavirus. These disinfectants may be purchased as sprays or wipes. Effective brand name products include those manufactured by Clorox and Lysol. Homemade bleach disinfectant sprays will also kill the coronavirus.
High heat (167 degrees Fahrenheit) destroys the influenza virus. But common household products will also disable the flu virus. These include cleaning products that contain hydrogen peroxide, chlorine, alcohol and soaps or detergents. Iodine-based antiseptics also effectively kill the flu virus.
The rhinovirus may be killed by disinfecting with products that are designed for the task. Be aware that not all popular disinfectants will kill the rhinovirus. When choosing a disinfectant, it is important to examine the product label for an indication that the disinfectant specifically kills common cold viruses.
What are tips for using disinfectants?
When using a disinfectant, following the recommended contact time ensures that the product works at maximum efficiency. For example, a disinfectant may require a contact time of 10 minutes. This means the product must remain visibly wet on the surface for 10 minutes to achieve full disinfection.
Adequate ventilation is necessary when cleaning and disinfecting. Fumes from products can be noxious. Open windows if weather permits. Equally important is to avoid mixing various disinfectants and chemicals. Doing so can be hazardous and unleash toxic and damaging gases.
The coronavirus, influenza and rhinovirus can cause similar symptoms. Covid-19 vaccinations and yearly flu vaccines are the number one recommended method to prevent contracting Covid-19 or influenza. Cleaning and disinfecting often immeasurably help to lessen the spread of viruses and germs.
Fortunately, home and business owners have access to help and can rely on professional disinfection and sanitizing services, like ServiceMaster NCR. We provide commercial disinfection year-round, so customers can be confident that they are protected from viruses at any time of the year.
Whether it is the current Covid-19 post-vaccination period or cold and flu season, office managers can depend on ServiceMaster NCR for deep cleaning and disinfection. Our techs respond quickly to requests for disinfection services—speed is critical when an individual displays symptoms of Covid-19.
ServiceMaster NCR is experienced in decontaminating a wide range of commercial structures, from military bases to high-security government offices. In addition to the coronavirus, our skilled specialists are experienced in decontaminating spaces where outbreaks, like norovirus, MRSA, and tuberculosis, occur.
As a licensed and insured commercial disinfection company, ServiceMaster NCR follows all safety protocols established by the CDC and other industry standards. When a Covid-19 outbreak occurs at your facility, consult us for immediate and discreet services. We handle all logistics, so your staff can return to a safe environment.
ServiceMaster NCR crews stay on top of the latest updates about the coronavirus and various diseases. Prevent infections at your facility by scheduling regular disinfection services with us. We proudly serve residential and commercial spaces in the Washington, DC, metropolitan areas 365 days a year.