Sanitisation: the basic rules to follow to reduce the risk of contagion
Of all the thousands of news reports there have been during this health emergency, the subject of sanitisation seems to be one of the most hotly debated. To increase the level of safety, it is important to use correct procedures when sanitising interior spaces and their surfaces.
A reference protocol for sanitisation
Afidamp (the Italian Association of Professional Cleaning Manufacturers and Distributors) represents different facets of professional cleaning in Italy. It is the institutional reference point for the Public Administration on matters of cleanliness, which is seen as an essential prerequisite for healthy living. In recent days Afidamp itself issued a set of guidelines listing the essential sanitisation operations that need to be carried out (depending on the place, e.g. kitchens, bathrooms), some of them with the backing of Italy’s consumer rights organisation Codacons, and with the collaboration of APCI and FIPE.
“According to the traditional definition, sanitisation is defined as the set of steps taken in order to reduce the number of pathogens in a particular place to a level that is considered safe by the hygiene standards and/or the particular requirements of the place in question,” explains Stefania Verrienti, the national secretary of Afidamp. To sanitise an establishment properly it is always a good practice to start from the cleanest areas and work towards those that are most contaminated, and also to work from top to bottom, to prevent dust and/or pathogens from falling onto previously sanitised areas. Vertical surfaces should always be cleaned before the floor, which should be cleaned last, starting from the furthest corner and ending at the entrance to the place. When dusting and washing by hand, it is important to use the correct equipment and to proceed with very tight S-shaped movements, so that you’re wiping in a backwards fashion towards the door. These S-shaped movements should also be used, where possible, when cleaning flat surfaces with sponge cloths, and taking care to wet the cloth (and not the surface being cleaned) with the cleaning products. For floors, cleaning machines are also very useful because they save greatly on time. We also advise that catering establishments should be cleaned twice a day (at the change of shift and at the end of the day), paying particular attention and increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting all those areas that are at the greatest risk and/or where there is most contact with hands (bathrooms, handles, switches, push buttons, tables, menus etc.).”
What the virologist says
“Coronavirus is a respiratory virus that is transmitted through the body’s airways. The virus is not transmitted through food. But of course surfaces, crockery and utensils can be vehicles,” says Giulio Tarro, an internationally acclaimed virologist and Emeritus Professor at the “D. Cotugno” hospital in Naples. “The normal sanitisation procedures that should always be followed in professional kitchens will also help to reduce the presence of the virus. All these procedures should be carried out more frequently than was previously the case. We should remember that incrustations of dirt can create a substratum which protects the virus. Extraction hoods and air conditioning systems should also be sanitised, although the virus seems to survive less well at higher room temperatures, such as those typically found in professional kitchens.”