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Hygiene Tips

While many people are smart about fighting dirt and germs at home by keeping their houses clean, they may be losing the battle at work where they have less control over the environment. Many workers pick up illnesses such as colds and flu at their offices and take them home, spreading the germs to their family and friends. The American Cleaning Institute offers the following cleaning guidelines to help people stay healthier at work and at home. Go to www.cleaninginstitute.org for even more information.

Smart Workplace Hygiene

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water, scrubbing for 20 seconds. When you are on the go and soap and water are not available, use wipes or hand sanitizers available in gel or foam.
  • Wash hands after using some else’s equipment, such as a computer, pens or shared equipment, such as the office copier and fax machine.
  • Post signs in washrooms and kitchen areas to remind co-workers to wash their hands with soap and water.
  • Keep clutter to a minimum. Having lots of papers around makes cleaning harder and provides places for dust and allergens to collect.
  • Do your part to keep surfaces, such as bathroom counters, as dry and clean as possible to help control the growth of moisture-loving bacteria, like mold and mildew. Report leaks to building management or maintenance personnel.
  • Wipe shoes on entryway rugs or mats to protect floors and carpets, and to catch dirt, dust, pollen and other allergens that can enter the workplace on the bottom of workers’ shoes.
  • Keep work spaces crumb-free and wipe up spills to minimize the spread of food-borne bacteria.
  • Request building maintenance to change ventilation air filters often.
  • Disinfectant/antibacterial wipes are a road warrior’s best friend and can be used on the plane, in the car and in the hotel room.

Keeping Clean on the Homefront

In the Kitchen
  • Use a disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaner to clean cutting boards and kitchen countertops before and after preparing food to help reduce the threat of foodborne illness.
  • Clean refrigerator walls and shelves using a nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner or a solution of baking soda and water.
  • Use an abrasive cleanser for hard-to-remove soils like food particles and grease residues in sinks. Read the label first to see whether the cleaner is recommended for the finish.
In the Bathroom
  • Disinfect sink areas, toilet bowls, tubs and showers to kill germs as well as mold and mildew that can trigger asthma attacks.
  • To fight mildew in the shower, clean stalls and bathtubs using a non-abrasive, all-purpose or disinfectant (antibacterial) cleaner. Check the label to find out if the product kills germs and/or mildew, and follow directions for best results.
  • To get rid of the “ring around the bathtub,” use a soap scum remover.
  • Use daily shower cleaners to prevent soap scum buildup and mildew stains.
  • Clean vinyl or ceramic tile using a floor cleaner or a non-abrasive, all-purpose cleaner.
Cleaning the Living Areas
  • Mop wood floors once a week. Before mopping, sweep or vacuum the floor first, then mop starting at the farthest corner of the room and work your way toward the exit. Use a cleaner that’s right for your floor type.
  • When vacuuming carpets, vacuum against the carpet’s nap, taking at least six to eight strokes over each area. Be sure to move the furniture!
  • Dust hard furniture regularly using a dusting product. Spray a dusting product on a clean, soft cloth. Don’t use a dry cloth – it will just spread the dust and could scratch the finish.
  • Spray glass cleaner on a cloth instead of directly on a mirror or picture glass. This will keep the cleaner away from the frame and prevent it from seeping onto a picture.
  • Use a fabric refresher to remove lingering odors in furniture.
Doing the Laundry
  • Check clothing care labels to see how the manufacturer recommends caring for the garment.
  • Match the wash cycle and water level to the load.
  • Separate colors from whites (to keep dyes from bleeding onto lighter-colored fabrics) and heavily soiled items from lightly soiled ones.
  • Use the recommended amount of detergent per load. Adjust the amount of detergent if soil, water or machine conditions are not average.
  • Wash towels and bathmats once a week.
  • Launder sheets weekly in warm or hot water to remove dust mite allergens and keep linens fresh.

Safety First

  • Read the cleaning product label. Different products work in different ways and can have different instructions for using them. Follow the directions to get the best results. Call the manufacturer using the toll-free number on the label if you have questions.
  • Store cleaning products out of the reach of young children and pets and away from food.
  • Never mix different cleaning products together. They can make dangerous fumes.
  • Keep products in their original containers with their labels on. It’s important to know what the product is if a child accidentally swallows it. Never reuse an empty bottle or box for a different product.