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Coronavirus Information for the Professional Cleaner

Coronavirus has created many challenges for the cleaner, especially if your primary work is indoor cleaning, like carpet cleaning or general cleaning.

Today, there was a spike in calls coming into our office from customers looking for cleaning solutions for the Coronavirus situation.  So, I thought it would be a good opportunity to address all of you and share with you what I know.

1st, remember, there is nothing better than actual cleaning.  Cleaning with soap and water is better than any disinfecting chemical. For example, it has been proven that washing your hands with soap is more effective in killing the virus than using hand sanitizers.  This is still the most misunderstood fact.  It has been proven that soap, surfactant, dismantles viruses.  See it here.

Although you can use any product with surfactants to clean surfaces, it is even better when you use products that contain hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is active against a wide range of microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, fungi, viruses, and spores according to the CDC, Centers of Disease Control & Prevention,  One such product is Trashed Green Gel.

For soft surfaces like carpet and upholstery, this will be your 1st weapon of attack – cleaning with soap, surfactant.

Then, for controlling residual and psychological concerns, this can be easily accomplished by post spraying of a sanitizer. All sanitizers that are EPA approved are made for our industry are made for hard surfaces, not soft surfaces like carpet.  The reason being, it’s hard to cover all the areas on the soft surfaces as the pile and the fabric can make it difficult to do so.

Also, these products are approved for many uses including viruses, like the Coronavirus. But, this new Coronavirus is Novel, meaning new.  None of these products have been tested on this new Novel Coronavirus, Covid 19. (Please see the new 03-14-20 Update below)

So, with that said, we have to deal with what we have available to us.  I’ve selected the most broad-spectrum EPA approved sanitizer for customers to use for general cleaning of hard surfaces. There is no sanitizer made for soft surfaces.  But, you can apply them as an extra precaution after cleaning. Do not guarantee or make any sanitizing claims as that will be misleading.  I have also selected them because of their concentration. Very little is needed to make a ready to use.

Lastly, I would like to talk about how to price this.  I believe that if you charge half what it costs you to clean for sanitizing, that is sufficient and still fair for your customers.  So, if the cleaning cost is $100, then sanitizing will be $50. As far as the cost of a gallon of ready to use, it is not even a penny per sq. ft..  Janitorial companies are charging $60 per man hour to perform this work.

Here is the link to our top-selling sanitizers that are also on the new EPA’s Covid19 lists. 

All the best!

Taf Baig

IICRC Instructor and Master Textile Cleaner

You can get more information from these two reliable government sources:

EPA CDC

PS Need Marketing help?  I’ve drafted an educational letter you can email or use social media to inform your customers of this service.  If you are an existing or prospective Magic Wand Customer, please feel to use it for your Marketing.  You can see it here.

Update 03-13-20

I have been fielding many calls about the Coronavirus since this article was published.  Many cleaners are under the misconception that fogging is all they have to do.  This is not true.  Fogging is only for the air.  It is not for surfaces.  And, cleaning still has to be performed.  You can learn more about how the virus has a very short life in the air compared to very long on surfaces here.
Note that fogging when done for surfaces will destroy hygroscopic materials, like paper, art, etc.

When concerns about fogging with chemicals occur.  Use Thymol, which is a natural food-based alternative.

Update 03-14-20

Yesterday the EPA published a list of products that they say you can use on Covid-19. These products are products with “emerging viral pathogen claim” and this list was actually created in 2016 to address emerging viral pathogens.  But, the EPA is still not endorsing them.  They think that these may work against Covid-19.  Plus, they also said that if these products are not available, use the product with a coronavirus claim (you can see this written on the labels of those products). I think they are referring to products that were approved for previous Coronavirus and are thinking that may work also on Covid-19.

Update 03-18-20

Wear gloves while cleaning and sanitizing.  Although respirators are not required, use N95 respirators if available.  N95 respirators are not available at this time as all the production is being sent to protect healthcare workers.  Other strategies can also be used to protect you.  For example, you can fog the air 1st before you begin.  You can request the occupants to vacate while you are there so you can avoid contact with them.

Update 03-20-20

With cities and states having “stay at home” orders, please note that they don’t apply to workers that are considered essential.  Anyone in your business who is needed for the operation is allowed to work.  Furthermore, you are providing a needed service that actually helps reduce the spread.  Mandatory closings apply to restaurants, bars, and other similar venues.

Questions from carpet cleaners about using a sanitizer on carpets and furniture after cleaning.  The 1st step is cleaning.  Thorugh cleaning.  Then as a precaution, you can apply Thymol.  It’s neutral pH, non-ionic and 100% food-based.  It is suggested you charge half the price of cleaning for adding this.

Update 03-21-20

IICRC (Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification) with collaboration with RIA (Restoration Industry Association) produced a preliminary report for Restoration Contractors assisting clients with COVID-19 concerns.  You can read it or download it here.

Update 03-22-20

Confusion about sprayers.  Misinformation generating online saying that you need an electrostatic sprayer to apply the disinfectants is incorrect.  Electrostatic sprayers apply whatever liquid you put in them evenly.  They are most commonly used by painters to spray paint evenly.  Disinfectants already have surfactant and wetting agents added in them that allow them to cover the surface evenly.  In the ATP (measures actively growing microorganisms through detection of adenosine triphosphate, or ATP) tests that I have done on the products, I have only used pump-up sprayers and just regular quart sprayers with triggers.  Like what the Windex bottles come with.  You can see me doing that here and also see the results.
Watch this video to see the proper steps for dealing with a virus like this.

Update 03-23-20

Are we Essential Workers?  Although, Essential Worker’s definition is someone who is needed for a business to function properly.  Some states have their own interpretation of this definition in relation to the Coronavirus “Stay at Home” regulations.  Even by the most stringent state definition, “building cleaning and maintenance workers” are essential.  See NY states definition, which I believe to be the most stringent at this time.  It specifically says that “building cleaning and maintenance workers” are essential.  In addition, RIA and IICRC have written a letter to the Government to protect contractors doing this work to remain essential workers.  See it here.

Update 03-28-20

CDC publishes new guidelines for households when a person is sick.  The guidelines are very similar to what I have mentioned above. You can see them here.  Interestingly enough, there are guidelines for cleaning soft surfaces like carpet and furniture.  They are, clean surfaces with soap and launder.  If laundering is not possible, disinfect with an EPA registered household disinfectant that is on EPA’s Covid19 list.  The products that we carry that are on that list can be seen here.

Update 03-30-20

More on essential workers.  Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, which is part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, released guidance to help state and local jurisdictions and the private sector identify and manage their essential workforce while responding to COVID19.




16 thoughts on “Coronavirus Information for the Professional Cleaner

  1. Sean M. Los Angeles says:

    I read your recent post on the 3 selected sanitizers

  2. Jeff Smith says:

    Great article for the professional cleaner.

    1. Taf Baig says:

      Thank you. I’m glad you found it useful.

  3. As a professional cleaner, I appreciate the information you’ve gathered together in one place. Very helpful! Especially during this crisis when there is so much misinformation going around that is misleading people.

    1. Taf Baig says:

      Thank you. I am trying to do my best to educate to improve the quality of the work that our customers and readers of this article can use to do their best work possible.

  4. Brian Mayer says:

    Excellent article.

    1. Taf Baig says:

      Thank you. I appreciate your kind words.

    2. Barbara Marsh says:

      I have a question, i work for a laundry mat.
      I have health problems and are concerned.
      But i live my custmers too.
      What do i clean with to keep them and me safe.
      I usually cime in early spray disunfect and let cook for 15. Then do mats and floors and bathriom.
      Everything cooks..then go to wiping down…but its hard to keep up when meny people come in. Help.

      1. Taf Baig says:

        You should be concerned about your health. The cleaning and sanitizing is easy when there are no occupants. What s challenging its when there are a lot of the in there. Some stores, like Home Depot, have limited the # of people they let in at a time. Also, I don’t know of anyone doing this in the US, but consider taking people’s temperatures before they enter. In China, they are doing that before they let people in in public places, ie subway. Hope this helps and all the best wishes for your safety.

  5. Tim yeater says:

    this is one of the most excellent and informative articles on this subject for those of us in the cleaning industry thank you so much !!!
    it’s awesome to be able to share it with our clients and educate them as we clean for them.

    1. Taf Baig says:

      Thank you. I am glad to provide all the information I have with all the links to empower the Professional Cleaner for navigating this pandemic.

  6. Amanda says:

    Great cleaning advice – thanks 😊
    Am in Commercial Cleaning in Australia. Do you know where I can find an electrostatic sprayer? It’s been hard to find! Which type do u recommend? Victory Backpack? Thank you.

    1. Taf Baig says:

      At this point, you will have trouble finding them. I actually recommend the steps mentioned above – Clean, sanitize and then fog. Hope a fast recovery to your country from this pandemic. 🙂

  7. Jerry VAUGHN says:

    are companies staying busy with cleaning for the virus?

    1. Taf Baig says:

      Hi. Yes. People performing these services are very busy. And, we are expecting it to get even busier in a few weeks. 🙂

  8. Carolyn Pelliccia says:

    Very informative article. Thank you for taking the time to educate us on the virus and how to further our businesses during these tough times.

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