A focus on non-food-contact surfaces
High-touch surfaces are often an enemy of wellness. Colds, flu and norovirus are among the most common pathogens acquired by unsuspecting staff and their guests. These contaminated surfaces are a major driver in staff absenteeism as well as other negative outcomes from a casual touch and transfer.
Recurring situations drive surface cleaning protocols in restaurants, institutions and hotels. These are grouped and a periodic cleaning schedule is established. Unwittingly, many operators apply the standards for food-contact surfaces to the high-touch, non-food-contact locations. This can result in unnecessary inconvenience as users don gloves and are expected to wash their hands each time they are doffed.
By definition, high-touch surfaces are contaminated frequently. It makes sense that a targeted cleaning process should consider frequency first.
Clean-as-you-go is increasingly the remedy of choice in maintaining a more consistent surface cleanliness standard, hour-to-hour, shift to shift. Timely cleaning with convenient and versatile cleaners may better meet needed cleanliness standards. The focus is pathogen removal rather than killing them.
An assessment of the risk is primary, looking closely at the nature of the likely contaminant, visible or invisible, and the range of at-risk individuals using the area. Surface cleanability and the age of the contamination are considered. This is followed by an analysis of available labor, answering the key questions of who will do the cleaning, when and how.
TouchReady® Cleanliness Standards
Many choices of protocol are made spontaneously for these non-food-contact surfaces. If you can reach your TouchReady® standards by using convenient cleaners more often, the basic clean-as-you-go method can keep surface-to-hand contaminations to a minimum. After risk is assessed, further decisions depend on standards and a method to measure, track and report.
Where surface cleaning standards are met without harsh disinfectants, we refer to the multiple possible methods under a classification termed Wipe-A-Tize™ to emphasize the process rather than the product and avoid confusion with terms like sanitize and disinfect. A Wipe-A-Tized surface is not one of food contact and is thus out of the regulatory purview, allowing the operator to hone a system meeting their specific, risk-based needs.
Wipe-A-Tize is the banner Handwashing For Life created for an array of convenient cleaning methods to keep high-touch surfaces within a narrow range of cleanliness throughout the day. It is a self-set standard for non-food-contact surfaces. It also is a call-to-action. Everyone cares. Everyone cleans.
Here are three variations to consider:
1.) Spray and wipe with a versatile product like ready-to-use Spic and Span. This choice allows users the flexibility of using more product or adding a soak time where needed - all without the need to don gloves. Convenience is key in all Wipe-A-Tize methods, all selected to facilitate frequent use.
2.) For added cleaning and germ kill, spray with the same chemical. Let sit per label instructions and then wipe with a single-use paper towel.
3.) Wipe with a single-use fast-drying towelette.
Please note that the reusable rag/sanitizer bucket protocol is not listed because of its track record of poor performance in non-laboratory environments.