WHAT ARE THE SIX STAGES OF CLEANING?
Updated at Dec. 31, 2021, 9:24 p.m.
Cleaning is a core part of daily life. Whether you’re cleaning your hands, a kitchen countertop at home, or high-touch surfaces in a workplace, everyone carries out cleaning at some point during their day. In many businesses, cleaning is crucial to the ongoing health and safety of staff and customers. Plus, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it has become even more central to people’s lives.
Adopting an effective cleaning method is crucial for ensuring you fully remove harmful microorganisms. The specific cleaning procedure and the substances involved may vary depending on what you’re cleaning, but there are generally six stages of cleaning that are important to completely disinfect contaminated surfaces.
In this article, we’ll explain what these six stages of cleaning involve and how to carry them out when you clean. We’ll also cover the importance of cleaning procedures, as well as how to improve the effectiveness of your cleaning activities and improve your safety while doing so. Finally, we discuss the differences between cleaning, sanitising, and disinfecting, which are often used interchangeably but do have some differences.
This article contains the following topics:
- Why are cleaning procedures important?
- What are the six stages of cleaning?
- How to improve effectiveness and safety while cleaning
- What is the difference between cleaning, sanitising, and disinfecting?
Why are Cleaning Procedures Important?
Effective cleaning is crucial for protecting your and others’ health, as many types of microorganisms and contaminants can pose a serious risk to people’s wellbeing. In fact, keeping the workplace sufficiently clean is a legal requirement under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, Regulation 9.
It’s also essential during the current COVID-19 pandemic for minimising the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is considered a hazardous substance (more specifically a ‘biological agent’) under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations 2002, so it must be controlled in workplaces.
One way of doing so is effective cleaning, particularly of high-touch surfaces, such as door handles, railings, shared appliances and tools, light switches, etc.
Some examples of health risks that cleaning can prevent include:
- Common viruses, such as COVID-19, flu, and cold, in all types of workplaces.
- Food-borne viruses, such as E. coli, salmonella and campylobacter, which can pose a risk in hospitality for example.
- Infections that can transfer via body fluids, such as HIV, for example in healthcare settings and those which involve puncturing skin like tattoo parlours.
- Food allergens, e.g. from food in a restaurant. Even tiny traces of an allergen can cause a reaction in those who are allergic.
- Non-food allergens, such as dusts, which can be present in all types of workplaces and could trigger a reaction in people who have a sensitivity.
By following an effective cleaning procedure, you can help to prevent these from harming people’s health and safety.
What are the Six Stages of Cleaning?
Following an effective cleaning procedure is vital for preventing health and safety risks. It ensures that you fully remove microorganisms, that you do not inadvertently spread them, and that any additional risks are minimised.
Each of the six stages of cleaning help you to focus on a certain key aspect of effective cleaning, from preparing the surface for a thorough clean by removing debris, to destroying microorganisms, to removing any chemicals, so the surface is properly disinfected and ready for use. For example, if it will be used to prepare food.
The six stages of cleaning are:
The first stage of cleaning is to remove loose debris and substances from the contaminated surface you’re cleaning. You can do this by wiping with a disposable towel, sweeping, or rinsing. The aim is to remove as much loose debris as possible to prepare the area for the next stage of cleaning.
2. Main Clean
The second stage of cleaning is to loosen any substances, dirt, grease, and debris that you were unable to remove during the pre-clean stage. This involves using hot water and a detergent. You may be able to wipe away the loosened substances right away with something suitable, such as a cloth or mop, or you may have to allow the disinfectant to do its work for a certain amount of contact time before doing so.
The third stage of cleaning is to remove all the loosened substances, dirt, and debris as well as the detergent, that was present in the second stage. You can do so using clean, hot water with a cloth, mop, squeegee, etc.
The fourth stage of cleaning is to disinfect the surface, which will destroy bacteria and other microorganisms. For example, by using heat or a chemical disinfectant for an adequate contact time. Follow the instructions for any products or equipment you use.
5. Final Rinse
The fifth stage of cleaning is to remove any disinfectants from the previous stage using clean, hot water. This step may not always be carried out however, depending on the disinfectant and surface you’re cleaning. As stated in the previous stage, follow the manufacturer’s guidance and seek further advice if needed.
The sixth and final stage of cleaning is to dry the surface, and it’s recommended that you air dry where possible. You can use drying cloths if needed, but they should be single use if so, especially in a commercial setting. You must not air dry any drying cloths that are damp from use and reuse them, as bacteria could grow on the cloths and pose a contamination risk.
By this point, the surface will be fully cleaned and most, if not all, microorganisms will have been destroyed, depending on the substances you used.
Thank You, For Reading.
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