The coronavirus era has upturned societies, causing illness and death to people all over the country and world. Due to the highly contagious nature of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it is crucial that landlords and tenants perform frequent cleanings and disinfection of their rental properties.
Health officials know the novel coronavirus spreads primarily through person-to-person contact. Respiratory droplets emitted through speaking, coughing, or sneezing are dispersed through the air and can infect the respiratory system of individuals within six feet of distance, causing mild to severe illness.
Surfaces contaminated with the coronavirus can also lead to transmission of the virus, making it extremely important that landlords schedule a cleaning and disinfection of all high-touch surfaces in the apartment building’s common areas and encourage tenants to do the same inside their units.
1. Clean and Disinfect High-Touch Surfaces
An apartment building’s high-touch surfaces located in common areas include doorknobs, door frames, doorbells, mailboxes, laundry machines, vending machines, and elevator buttons. Additional apartment building surfaces that require regular cleaning and disinfection are computers, desks, trash compartment handles, garage doors, and light switches.
Tenants should clean and disinfect the carpeting, upholstery, and other soft materials inside their rental units. Launder them at the warmest setting, if possible. Visible contamination should be removed from electronics, like computers, touchscreens, tablets, and phones, with alcohol-based wipes.
2. Know the Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting
Cleaning and disinfecting are distinct. The former simply removes dirt and debris without killing germs. Disinfecting, on the other hand, fails to eliminate dirt but ultimately kills germs. Combining cleaning, which should be done first, with disinfecting yields effective results.
Soap and water may be utilized to perform a thorough clean. Soft materials, like carpets or upholstery, require appropriate cleaning solutions. Once dirt and dust are removed, follow up with a disinfectant. Heed the disinfectant’s contact time (the time the disinfect remains visibly wet), to ensure efficacy.
3. Use EPA-Registered Products
Certain cleaning and disinfecting products have been proven to work against the coronavirus. Be sure to check out the CDC’s list of specific cleaning agents and disinfectants that have been approved to eliminate COVID-19.
Although commercial cleaning and disinfecting products may be in short supply due to a surge in national demand. When landlords or tenants have difficulty obtaining supplies, a diluted bleach solution or alcohol solution containing at least 70 percent of alcohol may be prepared and effectively used.
4. Clean and Disinfect in AM or PM
The ideal times for landlords to schedule apartment building cleanings are early in the morning or late at night when foot traffic is light. Since cleaning and disinfecting solutions create irritating fumes, be sure to ventilate the cleaned areas—open windows and doors to allow adequate air circulation.
5. Clean and Disinfect Daily
Especially since the treatment or cure for COVID-19 has not yet been developed, it is critical for landlords to clean and disinfect their buildings at least once a day. Daily cleanings may temporarily place undue stress on cleaning staff, but frequent cleanings are necessary to protect workers and tenants.
To prevent overworked cleaning staff, landlords may work with a disinfection service for deep cleanings regularly. Disinfection experts experienced in eliminating viruses can reduce the workload of the building’s existing cleaning personnel and ensure safety in the rental space.
Tenants should also clean their units every day. Renters in states that have eased restrictions may venture out into public or workplaces. Outings into public spaces can lead to contamination of one’s hands or clothing, making it imperative for tenants to clean and disinfect their units’ high-touch surfaces.
Tenants should take precautions when cleaning the interior of the rental. Launder items at the warmest setting and following the manufacturer’s instructions. Do not shake dirty laundry, or virus particles could be dispersed. Clean and disinfect hampers where laundry is stored.
6. Wear PPE
Landlords should feel relief in knowing that their cleaning staff’s risk of exposure to COVID-19 is relatively low. However, cleaning personnel should still wear personal protective equipment (PPE) during cleaning routines. PPE may include disposable gloves and work uniforms or coveralls.
The cleaning staff should report any PPE breaches, such as tears in gloves, to the supervisor. The proper protocol should be followed to ensure personnel remains safe. Hands are to be washed with soap and water immediately upon removing the gloves. Washable work uniforms should be laundered after use.
While landlords are responsible for cleaning common areas, tenants must clean and disinfect their rental units. Some people with COVID-19 may not show symptoms, meaning they are asymptomatic. The undetectability of the virus makes it more important that landlords and tenants clean and disinfect daily.
Always Remember to Disinfect
While there are certainly many tips to keep in mind when cleaning, the most essential step is to protect yourself and those around you. So whether you choose to hire a cleaning or disinfection service or do it yourself, remember to disinfect and to do it often, especially high-touch surfaces.