With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, we’ve all been paying a lot more attention to handwashing. Hopefully by now everyone is familiar with how often and for how long (two renditions of “Happy Birthday” or one of “I Will Survive”) we need to be washing our hands.
But what about our desk surfaces? For those people who aren’t able to work from home, like 911 call takers and dispatchers, how do they make sure their console work surfaces are disinfected? Or that work shared areas are cleaned properly?
There are a ton of ideas out there right now on how best to make sure your environment is disinfected. Some are urban legends (no, vodka will not sanitize a surface). Some materials, while great as disinfectants, will discolor or damage your work surface. Bleach and ammonia, for example, will cause discoloration over time. Others, like Windex, are great cleaners and recommended in normal circumstances, but they don’t disinfect.
Cleaning vs. Disinfecting
The CDC advice is to “match your cleaning and disinfecting activities to the types of germs you want to remove or kill”. Now, more than ever, it is important to be aware of the difference between cleaning and disinfecting your surfaces!
Disinfecting is killing bacteria and viruses on a surface. While cleaning is simply removing any visible dirt or matter from a surface. It is possible to be clean but not disinfect, and even disinfect without actually cleaning. We recommend cleaning your desk first, then follow up with disinfecting the entire surface area. Especially where you touch the most, like phones and keyboards.
How to disinfect your console station using 2 everyday items:
Isopropyl Alcohol (i.e. rubbing alcohol)
Rubbing alcohol will kill the coronavirus and won’t damage surfaces. Just don’t dilute it! Make sure the mixture is at least 70 percent alcohol, and you are good to spray and wipe on your desk.
Many people think a quick wipe-down with a disinfectant wipe will do the trick, but according to Clorox you need to “Use enough wipes for the treated surface to remain visibly wet for 4 minutes. AND let the surface dry.” A quick wipe-down will clean a surface, removing dirt and some germs, but won’t truly disinfect. Make sure you are using them properly to ensure your workstation is protected, and don’t forget to include other items you touch like your mouse, phone, and keypad.
Stay safe and healthy as you provide these essential services to our communities, and know that we are all saluting you and your efforts.