Lately, it's been a hot topic within our operations department that cross-contamination is a critical aspect. After talking with some team members here, I understood that this challenge could be avoided while performing cleaning tasks with a simple but systematic solution used every day at Imperial: color-coded microfiber cloths.
In today's world, many facilities are trying to lower the risk of preventing germs within their business. Hence, the big question inside the commercial cleaning industry is how cross-contamination can be avoided when cleaning services are conducted. When investigating to get the best answer to this question, some conversations were held with professionals here at Imperial that provided me with some beneficial information. Cleaning itself is an activity that diminishes the spread of viruses and bacteria. However, doing it the wrong way can backfire. Using the same cloth for different surfaces might worsen the problem it is trying to fix.
Several benefits are brought to the table by implementing the method of color-coded microfiber cloths in the cleaning system. The main thing, though, is lowering the risk of cross-contamination. Besides that, we can also pinpoint the simplification of training procedures and, lastly, the visual aspect of the strategy.
The coloring system can represent both types of surfaces, such as glass and stainless steel, or areas inside the building, like restrooms and cafeterias. Imperial's system is structured as follows: a) Blue - glass ad mirrors; b) Green - heavy duty of general surfaces; c) Yellow - cafeteria and break rooms; d) Orange - stainless steel; e) White - toilets and urinals; f) Pink - countertops, sinks and dispensers inside restrooms.
Microfiber cloths are usually made of polyester, nylon polymers, or wood pulp. These materials are best practiced within the cleaning/maintenance business since they are less likely to wrinkle and shrink, unlike other materials on the market. However, the most crucial aspect of these extraordinary cloths is that they can seize particles, trapping them within their fibers. On the other hand, regular cloth's germs stay on the rag's base, making it easier for them to redistribute these harmful particles around.
1. Lower the risk of cross-contamination
On several occasions, cross-contaminating is unintentional since your staff does not realize the impact that reusing a cloth used in different areas can have.
It only takes a simple system adjustment to prevent it from happening. It is unfair to rely on the specialist's memory to judge which rag was already used. So, by color-coding it, they can rest assured that the white cloth used to clean a toilet must not be used to clean a cafeteria tabletop.
2. Simplify training
The color-coded system not only makes the process of cleaning organized and efficient. It also helps eliminate confusion among specialists during training. It is a perfect match when applied jointly with the Team Cleaning System. If a new hire is being trained for a Restroom Specialist position, they will only have access to 3 or 4 colors, depending on the facility. White, for toilets; Pink, for countertops and dispensers; Blue, for mirrors; and Orange, if there is any stainless steel in the bathroom.
3. The Visual Aspect
It is a fact that the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way human beings see commercial cleaning services. People now value and trust the cleaning services provided in their facilities a lot more than before. It's common to see regular employees paying attention to how the services are provided, especially if the Facilities Department hires Day cleaning services.
In that situation, perception is key. Even if the specialist is highly trained in separating cloths of the same color to avoid contamination, all the employees will see is a person cleaning different areas with cloths that look the same. It affects the overall perception and may create a feeling of distrust in the system. The color-coded hack is a simple solution to explore the visual aspect and improve overall community satisfaction.