The average adult can touch as many as 30 objects within a minute, and the Centers for Disease Control estimates up to 80 percent of all infections are transmitted by hands. Keeping germs at bay is no easy task, especially in heavily trafficked facilities where high-contact surfaces like doorknobs, handrails and tabletops are widespread. So how can business owners ensure their cleaning routine effectively prevents against harmful bacterium, viruses and infection?
You may be surprised where the germs lurk, but there are preventative measures you and your staff can take. It may just take a little creativity to get the job done.
In Restaurants – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Canadian Food Inspection Agency have models and systems in place to help regional and local agencies protect restaurant goers from foodborne illness. But how to safeguard customers from germs throughout the dining experience poses a big question. Bacterial contamination can occur before an order is even placed – with germs lurking anywhere from booth seats, to tabletops and even condiment or napkin dispensers. Menus, which are handled by virtually everyone who enters a restaurant, should be regularly cleaned, and if not properly sanitized, table rags can leave a film of germs including E. coli. The Journal of Environmental Health even inspected lemon wedges that perch on glass rims – 70 percent of which were found to contain disease-causing microbes.
Tip: Build overlooked germy surfaces – such as menus, chair handles and booster seats – into your staff’s cleaning routine, and use disposable wipes regularly to clean and sanitize tabletops and avoid cross contamination.
In Grocery Stores – Grocery stores are community hubs. Unfortunately, that also means that they can play host to some of the most common viruses, bacterium and grime. Shopping carts are some of the biggest culprits when it comes to germs. Their bacterial count can even exceed that of the average public restroom, according to a study by the University of Arizona. Uncleansed cart seats holding diaper-wearing children, as well as check-out conveyor belts sometimes contaminated with leaks from meat packages can leave customers with more than they bargained for.
Tip: Set up hand sanitizing stations near grocery store entrances and wipes near the shopping carts so customers can play a role in combating germs. Encouraging cashiers to sanitize their conveyor belt and work station frequently can also prevent contamination.
In Restrooms – We’re all a little germ-conscious when it comes to public restrooms. From avoiding toilet handles, to hanging purses on stall doors, visitors are willing to take the extra steps to ensure a hygienic experience. But what about infrequently cleaned surfaces like the soap dispenser? Often overlooked, the containers can leave bacteria to grow and extend into sink taps and faucets as soap scum builds. This is where building managers can make sure their cleaning staff go the extra mile.
Tip: Patrons should wash their hands with hot water for 15-20 seconds and avoiding touching contaminated surfaces afterwards. Add dispenser cleaning into your routine restroom maintenance, or consider installing hand-free taps and soap dispensers to prevent bacterial growth and contamination.
The most frequented spaces are often the germiest by nature. However, taking the proper precautions by providing hand hygiene solutions and disinfecting surfaces can make all the difference.