As we move in 2021, the Covid-19 pandemic is clearly showing no signs of leaving us yet. With infection rates soaring, many businesses are opting to remain on minimum staffing levels, and some remain closed completely.
For those schools, retail and business premises which do remain open, it is crucial that every step is taken to ensure the safety of staff, students and those visiting. Social distancing measures, Perspex screens, masks and stricter cleaning schedules are all ways in which premises can help reduce this risk. Are these measures enough though?
Put simply its impossible to know unless we have a benchmark to work from. In certain working environments such as food preparation and medical theatres, testing of surfaces to ensure cleanliness has been standard practice for many years. One means of doing this is through ATP Testing.
What is ATP and why is testing for it important?
ATP is an energy molecule found in all plant, animal and microbial cells. It fuels metabolic processes such as cellular reproduction, muscle contraction, plant photosynthesis, respiration in fungi, and fermentation in yeast. All organic matter (living or once-living) contains ATP, including food, bacteria, mould and other microorganisms.
By testing the levels of ATP on surfaces it is possible then to determine whether they have been cleaned sufficiently well to prevent them from supporting and spreading viruses such as Covid-19.
The latest testing methods involve using a simple handheld digital testing kit and swabs. Surfaces around the premises especially in high-traffic areas are swabbed and the swabs placed into the testing machine. This then rapidly produces a visual report of ATP levels and a Pass or Fail mark is generated based on set parameters for hygiene.
What does a failed test mean?
A recent report by tech magazine Hidden Wires, points to research showing the Covid -19 virus can remain active for up to 28 days on surfaces such as touchscreens. Other materials such as fabrics, have been shown support the virus for less time but it can still remain for as long as 14 days in some cases. Hiddenwires Magazine
Studies show that these hard to clean and high traffic areas, may require more than standard cleaning and disinfecting methods. Fogging or liquid sanitisation is one method that can help reduce ATP levels on such surfaces and keep them clean for up to 30 days.
What is fogging or liquid sanitisation?
Liquid sanitisation and fogging both operate on the principle of firing microparticles of a biocide into the air and onto surfaces. We favour a water-based anti-microbial that is non-hazardous, clear and odourless, non-corrosive, harmless to the environment and requires no rinsing. The micro-particles hang in the air long enough to kill airborne viruses and the fine mist also penetrates hard to reach areas as well as walls and ceilings. Standard biocides used kill a wide variety of viruses as well as COVID-19 including E. coli, MRSA, C. difficile, listeria, salmonella and Legionella pneumophilia.
The chemicals used in the process are non-toxic and areas can be open for use again almost immediately. They are also safe for use around electrical equipment, such as computer monitors and keyboards, touchscreens and lift controls as they are non-corrosive.
How to fit this into your cleaning schedule?
The first thing to do then is to introduce initial ATP testing to your cleaning schedule following a standard clean. This initial assessment will highlight areas which are not meeting standards and therefore pose most risk. Further standard cleaning and testing can then highlight whether there is a need for a specialist clean such as fogging or liquid sanitisation. Once this has been completed a further test should produce a pass mark, showing these areas no longer pose a risk. Over following weeks repeat testing and if necessary further sanitisation can help Facilities Managers monitor and control hygiene levels and keep them with safe for staff and visitors.
In summary then, ATP testing and liquid sanitisation is a crucial tool in the fight against COVID-19. It can be used to quickly assess and deal with contaminated areas or to ensure that hygiene standards remain at a safe level. It is safe to people and the environment and can be used effectively to cover large areas rapidly and efficiently.
If your business premises could benefit from an ATP testing and sanitising programme or you simply want more information contact us today for a free, no-obligation chat or visit our commercial services page. Commercial Window and Building Cleaning | Excel (excelcleaning.co.uk)