Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

Routine facility cleaning and disinfecting is critical year-round, but even more so during the challenging cold and flu season, especially in buildings housing vulnerable demographics--young, old, and immunocompromised occupants.

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility

Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility Every Day and When Someone is Sick

Maintaining surface cleanliness and hygiene levels is critical for ensuring occupant health, safety, and productivity all year long.

However, during cold and flu season, the risks associated with public facility occupancy regarding disease transmission are higher, so increased diligence is called for.


Does the Cold Lead to Colds?

A common misconception regarding the spike in influenza and other respiratory illnesses during the winter is that they are caused by the cold.

However, while lower temperatures may play a key role in pathogen survivability, the increased rates of transmission have more to do with increased indoor occupancy, closer proximity to other occupants, restricted indoor airflow, and reduced exposure to sunlight.

According to Harvard University;

[...] the influenza virus is necessary to have the flu, so cold temperatures can only be a contributing factor.

In fact, some people have argued that it is not cold temperatures that make the flu more common in the winter.

Rather, they attest that the lack of sunlight or the different lifestyles people lead in winter months are the primary contributing factors. Here are the most popular theories about why the flu strikes in winter:

1) During the winter, people spend more time indoors with the windows sealed, so they are more likely to breathe the same air as someone who has the flu and thus contract the virus.

2) Days are shorter during the winter, and lack of sunlight leads to low levels of vitamin D and melatonin, both of which require sunlight for their generation.

This compromises our immune systems, which in turn decreases ability to fight the virus.

3) The influenza virus may survive better in colder, drier climates, and therefore be able to infect more people.

The Reason for the Season: why flu strikes in winter


The Surface Prevalence of Influenza

Compounding the issue of increased time indoors is the survivability rate of influenza strains on commonly touched surfaces.

According to a study published by the US National Institutes of Health that assessed the long-term survival rate of influenza on cotton, microfiber, and stainless steel;

The viability and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction signal of five influenza strains seeded on to three surfaces (cotton, microfibre, and stainless steel) were assessed over time.

Viable virus was detected from coupons for up to two weeks (stainless steel) and one week (cotton and microfibre), whereas detection of viruses by PCR was made for the entire seven-week study period.

No strain differences were found.

These results have important implications for determining infection control protocols, cleaning regimes and sampling methods in healthcare settings.

Persistence of influenza on surfaces


Increased Rates of Cleaning Decreases Rates of Infection

Increased pathogen transmission rates call for increased cleaning and fomite disinfection rates to break the chain of infection and protect facility occupants.

Additionally, according to guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, additional cleaning and fomite disinfection routines are called for in the event of a spike in infections in the local community.

When cleaning a facility where sick people are present, such as a retirement home, or likely routinely trafficking through, such as a school or other larger public building, the following guidelines are recommended:

  • If you are concerned that a section of a facility has been contaminated due to the presence of a confirmed sick person being present, or if the area is associated with increased rates of infection, quarantine it off and air it out, either naturally or with increased airflow through the HVAC system for at least 24 hours.
  • Ensure all personnel are wearing the appropriate protective gear before entering a quarantined area or commencing cleaning operations.
  • Remove all clutter and garbage from the area.
  • Dust, starting high and moving down.
  • Clean each section of the facility top to bottom with a commercial-grade soap-based detergent applied with microfiber.
  • Leverage day porter services to wipe down high contact surfaces with an EPA-registered disinfectant multiple times per day.
  • Disinfect large buildings, gyms, locker rooms, showers, and bathrooms at least once per week with an electrostatic disinfection appliance.
  • Increase the rate of cleaning and disinfectant services and daily applications based on facility and community pathogen spread, and;
  • Where possible, consider the use of sustainable Safer Choice cleaning and disinfection products to reduce the volume of Volatile Organic Compounds and other toxic chemicals found in many commercial-grade products from entering the air and water supply.


References & Resources



Respiratory illness is more prevalent in the colder months, resulting in significant downstream damage to the economy, education, and worker productivity.

Increasing cleaning rates and improving disinfection efficacy through modern products and application tools has a measurable impact on facility hygiene and occupant safety.

Outsourcing to an experienced provider is a proven method for onboarding critical infection prevention and control services as part of a greater facility cleaning subscription service at a fraction of the cost of maintaining a similar service in-house.

Contact us today and discover why Vanguard Cleaning Systems® is the Standard of Clean® for businesses throughout Northwest Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.

In Oklahoma, dial 918-960-4450

In Arkansas, dial 479-717-2410

In Missouri, dial 417-812-9777

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks.

Vanguard Cleaning Systems of the Ozarks.