4 tips for cleaning your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks
Regular, thorough cleaning and disinfection should be considered when cleaning your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks
Current evidence suggests that COVID-19 may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Scientists found that COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) was detectable in aerosols for up to three hours, up to four hours on copper, up to 24-hours on cardboard and up to two to three days on plastic and stainless steel. This is why it’s so important to be thorough when cleaning your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks.
We’ve prepared some tips to help you, your family and your neighbours stop the spread through the thorough cleaning of both apartments and your strata property’s common areas during COVID-19 outbreaks. However, it’s important to first understand the difference between cleaning and disinfecting:Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. It does not kill germs, but removing them decreases their ability to breed and the risk of spreading infection.Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. Killing germs on a surface after cleaning further lowers the risk of infection and spreading.Here are four tips for effectively cleaning your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks:
- Ask your cleaning contractor to increase the frequency of cleaning and take special care to disinfect frequently used surfaces
- Opt for a detergent solution when cleaning surfaces
- Practise good hand hygiene, especially before and after cleaning
- Don’t underestimate the power of soap
Ask your cleaning contractor to increase the frequency of cleaning and take special care to disinfect frequently used surfaces
Cleaning is an essential part of disinfection. The length of time that the COVID-19 virus survives on inanimate surfaces varies depending on factors such as the amount of contaminated body fluid – such as respiratory droplets – present and environmental temperature and humidity.
When cleaning your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks, or having it cleaned by professionals, it is wise to clean the following frequently touched surfaces with a detergent solution:
- Door handles (front entrances, storage lockers, service or equipment rooms)
- Light switches
- Balustrades and railings
- Common area bathrooms, toilets, faucet handles, sinks and sanitary or nappy disposal bins
- Garbage areas (chutes, door handles, rubbish bin handles)
- Doors and surfaces such as tables, chairs, benches in the BBQ or entertainment area, for example
Other surfaces such as floors, ceilings and walls should also be cleaned more regularly during a health crisis.
Detergent solutions and wipes are adequate for cleaning general surfaces. You should direct cleaners to take extra care of floors when cleaning your strata property during a COVID-19 outbreak, especially if there are young children in the building as they are likely to touch floors.
Committees should ask their cleaning contractor to do the following:
- Refer to the Australian Government Department of Health Cleaning guide
- Send you their COVID-19 cleaning plan that outlines how they are handling the situation. For example, stipulate the requirements to maintain social distancing measures, and increase the number of cleans, length of clean, and what gets cleaned
- Provide their Safe Work Method Statement, which includes additional processes including Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and social distancing measures
- Practise social distancing in common areas and display signs or section off areas where they are expected to frequent
- Disinfect equipment before it is brought on-site
- Regularly sanitise hands, and disinfect door handles and other surfaces after they have completed work
- Bring their own pens if any signatures are required
Remember, the main obligation of an owners corporation or body corporate is to maintain common property. Committees should bear in mind their responsibilities when deciding whether to continue with works. Common areas must always be maintained to a standard that is safe for residents and guests.
Opt for a detergent solution when cleaning surfaces
Detergent solution (as per manufacturer’s instructions) can and should be used when cleaning your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks, with the exact choice of detergent determined by the nature of the surface and likely degree of contamination. Detergent wipes may be used, but should not be used as a replacement for the mechanical cleaning process
Follow these steps to ensure disinfection:
- Use freshly made diluted household bleach solution, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for appropriate dilution and use
- Make sure the area you are cleaning is well ventilated
- Wipe the area with a bleach solution using disposable paper towels or a disposable cloth
- Dispose of gloves and mask in a leak-proof plastic bag
- Wash hands well using soap and water, and dry with a disposable paper or single-use cloth towel. If water is unavailable, clean hands with an alcohol-based hand rub.
Practise good hand hygiene, especially before and after cleaning
It is a good idea to place hand sanitisers (that contains at least 60% alcohol) and disinfectant wipes in common areas. Ensure that common area toilets are well stocked with soap and disposal hand towels.
When using the laundry room, wash your hands before and after using the facility. Ensure you use detergent and a hot water wash, and using the dryer is recommended.
??t underestimate the power of soap
Soap is a powerful tool to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and its use is essential when cleaning your strata property during COVID-19 outbreaks. Since COVID-19 is encased in a layer of fat, using soap breaks that layer of fat apart and leaves it unable to infect you.
We all need to play a part in protecting our homes and our families. If you have any concerns about the cleaning standards in your building, talk to your strata manager to access PICA Group’s list of cleaning contractors who can undertake rigorous and methodical cleaning work.To access our full range of strata resources or to stay up to date on regular updates, to sign up to receive our quarterly newsletter click here. For a consultation to review your by-laws, our Kemps Petersons Legal team is at your service to assist, click here to learn more. Or, one of our team members can assist you with a free assessment – it’s free and carries no obligation, click here.