The unprecedented pandemic has shown us how essential cleaning and disinfection are in the fight against contamination. Since cleaning and disinfection are now more than ever part of our daily lives, it is important that all users (professionals and consumers) learn to use products in an appropriate and responsible manner and to respect the conditions of use. Disinfection should not be automatic, as this could lead to the development of pathogen resistance. Reducing the consumption of biocide, using less aggressive products or choosing alternatives are ways to limit the impact on health and the environment.

What is reasoned disinfection?

The concept of reasoned disinfection aims to limit the use of disinfectants by advocating selective and reasoned use, so that the benefits of their use outweigh the disadvantages and harmful consequences they may cause.

This approach suggests that cleaning with an effective detergent is just as effective, if not more powerful, than a general (sometimes excessive) application of disinfectant. Through deep cleaning, soil, a food source for pathogens, is removed. The microbial load is then reduced to respectable, non-harmful levels.

Recurrent and excessive use of biocide does not clean surfaces and can support the development of resistant pathogens. This is known as bacterial resistance. The use of disinfectants should remain occasional and targeted, but their application can be increased in the event of a health risk and should be aimed at surfaces that are frequently in contact with hands: handles, stair railings, switches, etc.

How can you reduce your biocide consumption while maintaining a safe level of hygiene?

1. Deep cleaning

Surface cleaning is done with a detergent and aims to dissolve and remove soiling from surfaces. Disinfection, on the other hand, is carried out with a biocide and focuses on the elimination of residual pathogens that may remain on the surfaces. These are therefore different and complementary hygiene solutions, each with a specific and essential action.

Applying a disinfectant to a dirty surface considerably reduces its effectiveness. Optimal disinfection requires thorough cleaning beforehand. Soiling that may provide protection for pathogens must be removed so that the disinfectant can act directly on the remaining micro-organisms.

Descaling (with an acid solution) should not be forgotten as part of surface cleaning. A surface that has not been descaled is also a risk for the spread of infection. The deposit of lime or a simple veil of lime is a point of attachment and protection that allows micro-organisms to develop.

2. Strictly follow the product’s operating instructions 

Enhanced cleaning requires the use of cleaning products adapted to the desired action and the types of surfaces to be cleaned. The effectiveness of these solutions is based on four inseparable factors: chemical, mechanical, thermal and temporal. Better known as Sinner’s Circle, or TACT (Temperature / Mechanical action / Chemistry / Time of action).  

3. Follow all steps of the hygiene protocol 

It is not just the application of the products that needs to be considered. Each step of your protocol is essential and must be carefully followed in order to make the most of the cleaning and disinfecting potential of the solutions used. Around cleaning and disinfection there are also :  

The preparatory or roughing-in stage

Excellent roughing (removing material from surfaces, removing visible waste and residues, etc.) before the cleaning and disinfecting stage is crucial. This first phase has a direct influence on the performance of the following steps.  

Rinsing

Rinsing is an often neglected, but also important step. In addition to removing dirt and germs, rinsing removes residual traces of cleaning and disinfecting agents. 

Caution: Interference between a disinfectant and other substances can reduce the effectiveness of disinfecting agents. Therefore, cleaning should be followed by rinsing before disinfecting. To save time, it is possible to opt for a 2-in-1 product in which the detergents and disinfectants work in synergy.

It is also important to report any problems encountered that could hinder compliance with the protocol: water leaks, empty canisters, unsuitable water temperature, etc. 

4. Cleaning and disinfecting cleaning equipment

Every cleaning protocol includes the cleaning and disinfection of cleaning equipment. To ensure good hygiene, you must clean with clean and disinfected cleaning equipment. Otherwise, germs proliferate and instead of cleaning, you spread pathogens all over again.  This is a basic hygiene measure.

Brushes, mops, sprayers, foam guns, hand sinks should be cleaned and disinfected after each use. Not only the soiled segment (brush bristles, microfibre), but the entire utensil (handle, trolley handle, bucket handle, sprayer), as it has been in contact with the hands of the staff.

What to do in case of an epidemic?

Use protective equipment

In case of a health crisis, it is recommended to use – in addition to your usual protection – gloves and face shields during cleaning in order not to re-contaminate the disinfected surfaces. 

Expanding the scope of intervention 

The intervention perimeter determines the areas where cleaning and disinfection must be carried out. A different frequency is established for each of the defined areas.

  • Zone 1: The core business generally requires daily cleaning of surfaces and utensils handled 
  • Zone 2 : Stocks, storerooms, corridors, but also walls, ceilings and the inside of cupboards are generally cleaned and disinfected on a weekly or monthly basis depending on the sector of activity    
  • Zone 3 : Receiving and dispatch docks require annual or quarterly cleaning 

During a health crisis, it is recommended that the frequency of cleaning of all areas be increased. Every area is a surface and every surface is a potential source of contamination. 

Increase the frequency of cleaning  

Increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfection of a utensil (zone 1), helps to control the spread of a pathogen if the utensil is subsequently stored in a drawer that is also cleaned and disinfected. Otherwise there is a risk of recontamination.

Increase the cleaning and disinfection of sensitive or “high-touch” surfaces  

High-touch surfaces are the surfaces frequently touched by staff and visitors and are therefore considered to be at high risk of contamination.

  • Door, cupboard and fridge handles 
  • Switches 
  • Soap dispensers 
  • Work tables  
  • Taps 
  • Ustensils 
  • Equipment 
  • Hygiene lock and hand-washing area 
  • Any area regularly in contact with the hands  
  • Trolleys

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