Over the last several weeks we have all become reacquainted with hand-washing best practices and Tips for Keeping PSAPs Healthy – Cold, Flu and COVID-19.
We know your 24/7 mission-critical center is concerned about preventing the spread of the virus and keeping teams healthy and staffed. Since the novel coronavirus can live on inanimate surfaces like steel for up to 48 hours, glass and wood for up to five days, and plastic for up to nine days, it is critical for 24/7 communication centers and agencies with shift workers, to regularly disinfect touchable surfaces. These include console furniture work surfaces and cabinets, door pulls and handles, monitor edges, keyboards and mice.
In this blog, you’ll learn about the SARS-CoV-2 virus, why a two-step approach helps stop the spread, effective disinfectant options for control consoles, and why developing a disinfecting protocol may be right for your agency.
With all that is known and the questions that remain, experts recommend that we are both cautious and diligent about preventative measures, especially in shared spaces like 911 call centers.
Cleaning + Disinfecting Your Control Console = Best Protection for You
There has been some confusion about the varied benefits of cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting – and the terms are often used interchangeably. Each action provides unique benefits.
Robert Neitzel, Big 3 Packaging, puts it simply, “Cleaning a surface simply removes visible debris, dirt and dust. Sanitizing a surface makes that surface sanitary or free of visible dirt contaminants that could affect your health. Sanitizing is meant to reduce, not kill, the occurrence and growth of bacteria, viruses and fungi. Disinfecting a surface will “kill” the microscopic organisms as claimed on the label of a particular product.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, “Current evidence suggests that SARS-CoV-2 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in community settings.”
Experts agree that “…the reduction of pathogen populations on environmental surfaces is exponentially better when you disinfect.” If surfaces are visibly dirty, they should be cleaned of dry debris then wiped using a detergent or soap and water. Follow this step with an EPA-registered household disinfectant or one of the recommendations below.
Disinfectants That Stop SARS-CoV-2 Spreading From Your Console
Since the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is an enveloped virus, meaning it has an outer lipid membrane layer, soap and water is a highly effective, and easy-to-come-by, viral deactivator.
How does it work? According to Palli Thordarson, a chemistry professor at the University of New South Wales, “Soap contains fat-like substances known as amphiphiles, some structurally very similar to the lipids in the virus membrane. The soap molecules “compete” with the lipids in the virus membrane.” Simply put, soap breaks down the fatty outer membrane of the virus, causing the virus to fall apart and become inactive.
The soap does not have to be anti-bacterial – any soap will do. Create your soap solution and apply it with a damp cloth, and let stand for 20 seconds. Wipe the surface with a clean cloth and wipe or air dry.
Commercially Available Sprays and Wipes
If you are using a disinfectant on your surfaces, make sure it says it is antiviral, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Look for disinfectant sprays and wipes that contain hypochlorite (which is the main active ingredient in bleach) or activated hydrogen peroxide (0.5%). Most manufacturers indicate surfaces need about 10 seconds soaking with the disinfectant for it to be effective. The CDC recommends a 60 second soak time, meaning the surface should remain visibly wet with the disinfectant during that time.
Conventional bleach ( 0.1-0.2% available chlorine – check the back of your bottle) and water will deactivate (kill) viruses. Diluted household bleach solutions with at least 1000 ppm sodium hypochlorite may be used. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a diluted bleach solution (⅓ cup bleach per 1 gallon of water or 4 teaspoons bleach per 1 quart of water) for virus disinfection. Wear gloves while using bleach, and never mix it with ammonia—or anything else—except water.
TIP: Clean then Apply Bleach Solution
“Always clean the surface with water and detergent first, since many materials can react with bleach and deactivate it,” says Richard Sachleben, an organic chemist and a member of the American Chemical Society.
While Ethanol is best, isopropyl alcohol is also effective. The National Center for Biotechnology Information shares, “Alcohol is effective against influenza virus. Ethyl alcohol (70%) is a powerful broad-spectrum germicide and is considered generally superior to isopropyl alcohol. Alcohol is often used to disinfect small surfaces and occasionally external surfaces of equipment… Since alcohol is flammable, limit its use as a surface disinfectant to small surface-areas and use it in well-ventilated spaces only.”
TIP: Protect your Team and your Furniture Investment
All disinfectant solutions mentioned above are safe for use on console furniture surfaces when applied according to these and manufacturer instructions. When cleaning laminate surfaces and cabinets, do not use products that contain the following ingredients as they may mar the surface finish: Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid, Hydrofluoric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Pumice (abrasive), Muriatic Acid Hydrogen Chloride, Oleic Acid Oil of Vitriol Oleum, Rust Remover, Caustic Soda Caustic Lye Soda Lye, Ammonia.
Control Console Disinfecting Protocol
In his article chronicling recommendations and protocols for a safe workplace amid COVID-19, Vince McLeod shares a framework for optimal daily disinfecting. PSAPs and other Command Control agencies with 24/7 staffing and shared work spaces may benefit from developing a similar protocol.
Disinfection staff should wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) prior to working on disinfection projects. At a minimum, this should include a mask (N-95 respirator recommended), safety glasses and gloves (latex or nitrile).
Determine areas to be disinfected and cordon off using signs or barriers. This prevents cross-contamination and allows disinfectants to remain undisturbed on surfaces for the recommended soak time.
Using an EPA-approved disinfection product, wipe all horizontal surfaces reasonably touched by all persons in the facility, beginning at head height and working down to the floor. Follow manufacturers’ directions and allow to air dry for at least 30 minutes. Disinfection product may be applied using pump spray bottles or clean moistened cloths.
- Hard (Non-porous) Surfaces
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products for concentration and application method. Ensure a contact time of at least 1 minute and allow proper ventilation during and after application. Note: Check to ensure cleaning products are not past posted expiration date.
- Soft (Porous) Surfaces
- Remove visible contamination if present and clean with appropriate cleaners indicated for use on these surfaces. After cleaning, if the items can be laundered, launder items in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions using the warmest appropriate water setting for the items and then dry items completely.
- Remove visible contamination then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
- Consider use of wipeable covers for electronics.
- If no manufacturer guidance is available, use alcohol-based wipes or sprays containing at least 70% alcohol to disinfect touch screens.
- Dry surfaces thoroughly to avoid pooling of liquids.
- Remove visible contamination then follow the manufacturer’s instructions for all cleaning and disinfection products.
Wipe down PPE, dry and store appropriately. Place used applicators, wipes, cloths, and gloves into plastic trash bags, seal well and dispose in normal trash.
Promote healthy work habits by making sure each console has a well stocked sanitation station that includes disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and a keyboard taco.
Additional Control Furniture Care Resources
Console Manufacturer Recommendations for Surface Laminate Care
Routine Care For Consoles
Clean the surface with a damp cloth or sponge and a mild soap or detergent. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and wipe dry. Additional recommended household cleaners for routine care: Windex® • Glass Plus® • Fantastik® • Mr. Clean® • Formula 409® • Isopropyl Alcohol (Isopropanol).
Removing Console Stains
In addition to disinfecting, difficult stains such as coffee or tea can be removed in a second step using a mild household cleaner/detergent and a soft bristled brush, repeating as necessary. If a stain persists, use a paste of baking soda and water and apply with a soft bristled brush. Light scrubbing for 10 to 20 strokes should remove most stains. Although baking soda is a low abrasive, excessive scrubbing or exerting too much force could damage the decorative surface, especially if it has a gloss finish.
Stubborn stains that resist any of the above cleaning methods may require the use of undiluted household bleach or nail polish remover. Apply the bleach or nail polish remover to the stain and let stand no longer than two minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water and wipe dry. This step may be repeated if the stain appears to be going away and the color of the laminate has not been affected.
WARNING: Prolonged exposure of the laminate surface to bleach will cause discoloration.
Words of Caution When Cleaning Your Console
- When cleaning laminate surfaces and cabinets, DO NOT use products that contain the following ingredients: Hydrochloric Acid, Sulfuric Acid, Hydrofluoric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Sodium Hydroxide, Pumice (abrasive), Muriatic Acid Hydrogen Chloride, Oleic Acid Oil of Vitriol Oleum, Rust Remover, Caustic Soda Caustic Lye Soda Lye, Ammonia
- Acidic or abrasive cleaners can damage laminate surfaces; do not use them. • Drain cleaners containing lye will permanently damage any Wilsonart Laminate surface. If you spill a drain cleaner, wipe it up immediately and rinse several times with water.
- Hair, textile and food dyes can cause permanent stains. If dye should happen to spill, wipe it up immediately with dish washing detergent or an all-purpose cleaner. • Never place pots or dishes directly from the oven or burner on an unprotected laminate surface; such extreme heat can cause cracking or blistering.
- Do not work with oven cleaners on an unprotected counter top. Wipe spills away promptly and rinse several times with water.
- Rust removers contain harsh chemicals which will quickly cause permanent damage. If a spill occurs, wipe off all residue immediately, wash thoroughly with soapy water and rinse several times.
- Steel wool and other abrasive pads will damage Wilsonart Laminate. Don’t use them for cleaning and don’t store steel wool pads on your counter top; the metal can rust and leave stains.
- Toilet bowl cleaners contain harsh chemicals that can cause permanent damage. If spills occur, wipe up immediately, wash surface with soapy water and rinse several times.
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
- National Institutes of Health (NIH): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
- NIH: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK513254/
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3990.pdf
- Clorox.com: https://www.clorox.com/how-to/disinfecting-sanitizing/cold-flu-other-diseases/5-germiest-hot-spots-in-your-home/
- Wilsonart: https://www.wilsonart.com/care-and-maintenance