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The glaring gap in sanitation and infection prevention

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Across every industry, executives are advancing their business’ sanitation practices and protocol. Janitorial and environmental service staffs are increasing in size. Orders of cleaning supplies are growing in volume. Disinfection routines are ramping up in frequency.

Even still, there’s a glaring gap in most plans.

We’re tending to door knobs and elevator buttons. Handrails, light switches, you name it – if it’s a hard surface, its getting sprayed and wiped down relentlessly. The air we breathe is being considered too: facial coverings are worn as a barrier to escaping spittle and sneezes, activities are being moved to outdoor, open air spaces, foggers are being carried along corridors.

What’s being left behind, then?

It’s upholstery on the furniture in lobbies and waiting areas. It’s garments on the racks of retailers, or blankets on the shelves at the home decor store. It’s all the high-touch soft surfaces that are known to be fomites and yet are often looked over. In the current pandemic, soft surfaces such as pillows and bed sheets are emerging as sites for the coronavirus to linger even after contact with asymptomatic carriers.

Some decision-makers are unfamiliar with the propensity for soft surfaces to harbor and spread germs. Others don’t realize the shortcomings or potential pitfalls of their current cleaning solutions. Even more are unaware of the advanced technologies that exist to treat soft surfaces.

If you’re going to put up hand sanitizing stations and plexiglass shields, invest in HEPA filters and UV-powered sterilizers, are you really going to stop short of pursuing the innovative technologies that tackle fabrics and textiles? We challenge everyone to dig deep. If you’re committed to covering all your bases, remember that soft surfaces are one of them.

References

  1. GMS Hygiene and Control, 10: Doc 4
  2. Asymptomatic Coronavirus Carriers Can Shed Virus on Surfaces: Study
  3. “A Mechanistic Comparison of Residual Antimicrobial Additives For Laundry,” Applied Silver Commentary