Cross contamination is a concept usually tied to food and food preparation, but it's equally if not more relevant to cleaning and health. We define cross contamination as the unintentional transfer of harmful bacteria to cleaner surfaces due to poor practices. It's common in most environments, but it is preventable with small changes to cleaning and hygiene routines and more awareness for the risks it poses.
All it takes is for one person to sneeze into their hand and then touch an elevator button. Or for someone to not wash their hands after going to the washroom. Or a cloth used for cleaning a washroom to be used to wipe a desk. With so many high-touch surfaces around you, there are many chances for you, your employees, your guests, or your patrons to pick up germs because of unintended cross contamination. And there could be serious consequences too: almost 100,000 people die from healthcare associated infections each year in America (GE, 2011).
It should be a priority for all facilities to make their environments as least susceptible to cross contamination risks as possible, and we at Swish have the expertise and tools to help your facility become a cleaner, safer, healthier place. Learn more about infection prevention
There are many benefits to taking measures that will lessen cross contamination risks in your facility, such as:
There are some things to keep in mind when designing a cleaning program around cross contamination. For example, do the members of the cleaning crew know what dangers are around? It's a good idea to have an understanding of specific viruses that are a risk in that setting as well as how to most effectively remove them. This includes having the right tools and training on how to use them. As well, to ensure that the training and effort is working, there needs to be regular follow-up, and staff need to be held accountable for the successes or failures.
In order to aid in reducing cross contamination while cleaning, it's a good idea to implement colour-coded cleaning systems. This means that tools for certain areas are colour-coded so there is no crossover of bacteria from one room/area to another while cleaning. We recommend using these colours as an easy to remember method.
Colours are easily identifiable, so by sticking to a colour-coded cleaning regimen, the risk of cross contamination is drastically lowered. Many cleaning tools are available with multiple colours or identification systems. From microfibre cloths to mop buckets to solution bottles to even putting coloured tape on a broom handle, whatever you need is attainable.
Double cavity mop bucket
Problem: Single cavity buckets force the user to constantly dip into and spread contaminated water after they wring a mop out.
Solution: A separate bucket inside captures dirty water so a wrung mop can be dipped into clean water and cleaning solution, effectively preventing contaminated water from being spread.
Swish Recommends: Rubbermaid®'s WaveBrake® has space for a second bucket and is designed to reduce spills, thus reducing cross contamination.
Flat mop system
Problem: Traditional string mops leave floors to wet and aren't efficient at capturing all contaminants.
Solution: Microfibre flat mops are more absorbent and leave floors dry. Flat mops are also easier to maneuver than traditional string mops, get into crevices better, and they can be washed or thrown out, meaning there is no risk of cross contamination.
Swish Recommends: The Unger® Excella™ is an ergonomic flat mop with interchangeable pads that aid in cross contamination.
Problem: Traditional paper towel dispensers are a source of bacteria and virus transmission in the washroom.
Solution: Removing a touch point on a dispenser, especially in a place as dirty as a washroom, is an easy way to reduce cross contamination.
Swish Recommends: Tork®'s PeakServe™ dispenser helps reduce touches in the washroom as well as provides labour savings with its patented compressed continuous hand towel system.
Learn more about PeakServe™ here
Touch-free soap and sanitizer dispensers
Problem: Traditional soap dispensers are usually the first thing people touch after using the washroom. They, and sanitizer dispensers, are a source of bacteria and viral transmission.
Solution: Installing touch-free systems means there is one less contaminated touch point around.
Swish Recommends: GOJO®'s Purell Solution™ puts the Purell™ brand you trust in a revolutionary new system. Having sanitizer stationed around your facility encourages use and adds to a positive facility image. Learn more about Purell Solution™ here
Problem: Traditional bottles and sprayers don't lend themselves to a strict colour-coded cleaning system.
Solution: A dispensing system allows the user to accurately and safely dispense solution into fully colour-coded bottles.
Swish Recommends: The Enviro-Solutions® ES64/72 can effectively clean 95% of your facility with only two products, and the colour-coded lids and triggers easily align with a colour-coded cleaning strategy. Learn more about the ES72/64 program here