Whether the concern at hand is COVID-19, influenza, or any other infectious disease, properly cleaning and disinfecting your facility when someone has fallen ill is always a top priority. Viruses, bacteria, and other microorganisms can land on all kinds of surfaces, making it terribly easy for infections to surge. Fortunately, best cleaning practices can stop germs before they have a chance to spread. To help you get started, read on for your guide on how to clean and disinfect your facility when someone is sick.

You may even consider supplementing your current cleaning routine with the help of a professional, like 360clean. Every day, our commercial cleaning company is trusted to clean millions of square feet in health facility space across the U.S. To learn more about our cleaning services, contact us today for a free no-obligation estimate.

Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

Although the words “cleaning” and “disinfecting” are often used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. Cleaning is the process of physically removing dirt, debris, and germs from surfaces, while disinfecting directly kills microbes, germs, viruses, bacteria, and microorganisms on surfaces.

Routine Cleaning

According to the CDC, if no one with COVID-19, influenza, or another transmissible illness has been in or around a particular space, cleaning once per day is usually sufficient. Clean the spaces in your facility more often if they:

  • Are occupied by people at increased risk for illness
  • Lack of hand-sanitizing or handwashing stations
  • Are poorly ventilated
  • Include a large number of people walking through each day

When someone in your facility is sick, it’s urgent that disinfecting–not just cleaning–takes place.


For disinfection, the CDC recommends using certain products that are listed as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) List N disinfectants. These products will kill germs on surfaces, including coronaviruses like COVID-19, to reduce the risk of spreading infections.

How to Clean Your Facility

Whether you’re planning on routine cleaning or tackling a cleaning with disinfecting, you should begin by developing a plan that includes the following points:

  • Deciding what needs to be cleaned
  • Cleaning high-touch surfaces
  • Disinfecting as needed
  • Cleaning specific types of surfaces

Always protect yourself and your staff by mandating that proper personal protection equipment (PPE) be worn, including masks and gloves, especially when cleaning and disinfecting an area that has been contaminated.

Decide What Needs to Be Cleaned

The more often a surface is touched by people, the higher the risk of illnesses spreading. Make high-touch surfaces a priority before you turn your attention to low-touch surfaces. Take note that many cleaning products also contain disinfectants, so these can be used as an all-in-one solution if needed.

Clean High-Touch Surfaces

The CDC recommends that high-touch surfaces that should be prioritized when disinfecting include things like:

  • Pens
  • Elevator buttons
  • Keyboards and mice
  • Desks
  • Counters
  • Light switches
  • Doorknobs
  • Phones
  • Faucets
  • Toilets
  • Handles and railings

Your facility’s cleaning staff should be properly trained on the proper use of products for cleaning and disinfecting, even if they are not part of the environmental cleaning crew.

Carefully read all labels on product containers, and keep in mind that special considerations for people who have asthma may be needed because many chemical cleaning solutions can cause respiratory irritation or further complications.

Disinfect as Needed

If you determine that disinfection is needed along with cleaning when someone at your facility is sick, keep a few important things in mind:

Labels Matter

If the label on the solution you are using for cleaning does not specify whether it contains disinfectants or that it can be used for both cleaning and disinfecting, you must clean surfaces with detergent or soap before disinfecting solutions are used.

EPA List N

When checking to see if products are on this list, check that the EPA registration number on the product is the same as that is listed in the List N search tool. If there are no products on this list available in your facility, bleach solutions can be used on appropriate surfaces.

Cleaning Specific Types of Surfaces

For soft surfaces like drapes and rugs, soap or detergents can be used. Launder soft items when possible, and when dry, these items can be vacuumed as normal. Towels and linens should be laundered in the warmest water available and dried completely. Handling dirty laundry requires wearing gloves and a mask.

For electronic devices, manufacturer instructions should always be followed for cleaning. Many products for cleaning electronics contain alcohol because it dries very quickly.

Leave Your Facility Cleaning to 360clean

A lot goes into cleaning and disinfecting a facility when someone gets sick, and it can be difficult to handle it all on your own. To ensure the job is done correctly, consider partnering with a professional cleaning service like 360clean. To learn more about our services, contact us today for a free estimate!

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