Medical Cleaning

March 17, 2023

Medical Cleaning: Everything You Need To Know

Table of content

Sanitation is vital to all types of healthcare settings. The first thing people notice when entering a medical facility like a hospital or healthcare center is the level of cleanliness. How hygienic and orderly a place looks creates a lot of impact on people and businesses as well.  

Every day, the medical sector is responsible for safeguarding the health of billions of people. Protecting patients against harmful microorganisms is part of sustaining their well-being. And ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, methods changed, making cleaning a high priority. 

Frequent cleaning is necessary for the majority of businesses, but it's even more crucial for any healthcare facility. It can be a tiny doctor's office, a small hospital, or a large nursing home. Whether you train your staff or hire medical cleaning professionals, it will benefit everyone. However, it is not an easy task. One has to look into several aspects before beginning the cleaning process. 

If you are concerned about the cleanliness of your medical facility, don’t worry. We have all the necessary information for you in this blog. We have compiled a checklist required for medical facility cleaning, aspects to take into consideration, and factors that influence medical cleaning processes. 

Take out some of your precious time to know what we have got for you. Go on, read ahead!

What Is Medical Cleaning? 

Medical facility cleaning is designed in such a way as to meet the strict sanitation and hygiene standards for clinics, hospitals, and other healthcare setups. It includes thorough cleaning and disinfecting of every corner of the healthcare body. Medical facility cleaners should vigilantly clean the operation rooms, patient rooms, waiting rooms, and examination rooms. This process ensures that bacteria, pathogens, germs, and viruses don't spread away.

Medical centers treat patients who might be carrying bacteria or viruses. That’s why some areas in a health institution need specialized cleaning equipment and methods. Hospital-grade sanitation is vital in providing a safe space for patients, guests, and employees. Cleaners can do that through the application of specific antibacterial agents. 

You can check-out our complete guide to hospital cleaning for a clean & germ free environment.

Is There A Difference Between Medical and Commercial Building Cleaning?

In a word, yes, there is a difference between medical and commercial building cleaning. You should know that “cleanliness” has several definitions according to different facilities. It is especially true for commercial and medical cleaning.

Commercial building cleaning only requires the removal of debris, dirt, dust, stain, and spillages daily. But for medical facility cleaning, professionals deal with saline, body fluids, air-borne or blood-borne pathogens, and other substances that are hard to clean. These may be hazardous, causing serious effects on humans. This is not the case in commercial cleaning. For most of the part, it deals with individuals in good health. 

In commercial building cleaning, you may still want to prevent the spread of germs. However, the methods and regulations may not be as stringent as the medical cleaning practice. It will not meet the cleaning criteria of the isolation unit or ICU where a person has a weak immune system. This is a major difference between the two. 

Key Elements Of Professional Medical Cleaning 

Cleaning a medical building is just as crucial as cleaning an office space or a shop, if not more so. The recent pandemic has made medical institutions—including clinics, research centers, and hospitals, more crucial to our daily lives. Here is a list of the elements to effectively clean a medical center-

1. Removal of Trash  

While cleaning a treatment clinic, the first step you should be doing is getting rid of everything that won't be useful. Competent medical cleaners will ensure that they discard any medical materials. They should handle them carefully to never put anybody in danger, both within and outside your institution. This holds for the items like PPE kits, masks, bags, chemicals, or just common garbage items like glasses and wrappers.

2. Disinfecting Activity

Only sweeping and organizing the floor is not sufficient at a medical clinic. Janitors should ensure to clean all surfaces. To do this, spray a disinfectant on the surface first. Let it sit for a predetermined amount of time, and then wipe it off. Medical cleaners may use sterilizing sprayers, which will improve the disinfection procedure.

3. Maintaining A Neat And Clean Appearance  

With suitable medical cleaning equipment, cleaners should ensure there's no dust or dirt anywhere. This means dusting every surface, mopping, wiping, sweeping glass surfaces, window cleaning, mirror cleaning, etc. They must use hot water to kill germs from bedsheets, hospital gowns, masks, etc.

How Often Should You Clean A Medical Establishment?

As a general rule, cleaners should clean and disinfect medical buildings every day to maintain the standards of hygiene required of medical practices. However, some areas must be cleaned in different ways and during different periods. 

There are a few factors that affect cleaning frequency, like direct patient contact, surface types, level of hand contact, risks of pathogen contaminations, etc. Read ahead to know how often one should clean medical establishments-

Scheduled cleaning of a medical office  

Different areas of the hospital need cleaning distinct ways of cleaning due to varying footfall. It will also vary in time. For example, it is impractical to clean hospital machines every day. One has to make a proper schedule to make it happen. Therefore, dividing certain tasks into daily, weekly, and monthly categories would be sensible. You also need to plan, have staff meetings, gather essentials, and lay down the process for cleaning specific areas under scheduled cleaning. It will help things be orderly.

Terminal cleaning  

So what is terminal cleaning? We’ll let you know briefly. Terminal cleaning is a way of cleaning used in medical setups to manage and eliminate the chain of infection. Let’s be honest, your medical establishment is supposed to be a place of healing. It should not be a breeding place for HAIs or hospital-acquired infections (also known as healthcare-associated infections). So strategize according to it. 

Medical cleaners carry out terminal cleaning whenever a patient is relocated or released from their hospital room. The cleaning crew must systematically clean and sanitize every surface in a medical ward throughout terminal cleaning. The process should include cleaning surfaces like floors and medical supplies too.

To break the infection chain, the head of hospital housekeeping should be in communication with control officers. It will make things easy to manage and make sure everyone is on the same page. Terminal cleaning is not a joke. It requires extensive knowledge and training. We suggest you either work on training the in-house cleaning staff or hire medical cleaning professionals. 

Factors To Consider Before Hiring A Medical Cleaning Company

Are you considering hiring outside cleaners for medical facilities? If you want to give patients, workers, and guests a pleasant, sanitary, and healthy atmosphere, employing a cleaning company appears to be the ideal option. Here is a list of things to consider before hiring medical cleaning experts-

1. Background of medical cleaners

The internet is filled with information about everything. All you need to do is find the right company in the right way. Find out about the different cleaning companies, see what they have to offer, and then filter the best ones. Do a thorough background check on the cleaners. By doing this, you will know which one is the best for you.

Contact their previous clients, and read reviews during such research. Check their background and understand their experience levels in cleaning medical facilities. Know if they are certified to do their work in a medical field. You can even ask through word-of-mouth from friends, family, or acquaintances who have hired cleaning companies. 

2. Communication 

It isn’t an easy task to hire a cleaning service. When you filter from the many companies, clarify the cleaning specifications. There should be proper communication about what you want them to do and what they can offer. Communication also includes getting updates, having regular meetings, and asking queries between both parties.

Establishing proper communication is the key to having quality work done. Be mindful of this factor. 

3. Insurance and license to work

Make sure you work with a reputable company offering medical practice cleaning services. If they are a licensed business, you can take legal action against them should they ever fail to provide the services you have paid for. Having insurance is a crucial factor when hiring a company.

With an insured firm, the cleaning company will be responsible for any products or equipment destroyed during the cleaning process. Broken glass and using strong chemicals that harm carpets, furniture, other workplace furnishings, and even floor tiles are examples of accidents. You have the option to register a complaint that might lead to the license being revoked if the cleaning firm you hire ever refuses to pay for any of these losses.

4. Know the safety plan

It is vital to know about the safety plan of medical office cleaning providers. There are several patients in a medical body. Janitors should provide a strategy for safety protocols. It would be best to discuss using appropriate supplies for medical cleaning. Ask if they have masks, gloves, environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, backup staff, etc. It will help in creating a healthy environment for everyone. 

5. Cleaning supplies and equipment 

Be sure the company for medical practice cleaning services you choose has the proper tools and supplies for the job. Have they got ladders to clean the roof and other difficult-to-reach areas? Are the cleaning agents they use of excellent quality? 

If you still feel suspicious or are not satisfied with their answers, go to their site to learn about the specific tools and cleaning supplies. You can even have an interview session if needed to know the cleaning process of medical spaces. 

6. Budget

One of the most crucial factors to take into account when choosing a medical cleaning company is budget. Some businesses may be inexpensive because they hire unskilled workers and use inferior tools and materials. 

They may jeopardize the overall productivity of your medical establishment and the well-being of the workers by hiring them. Also, think of the kind of services you’ll need. Choose businesses that provide the most economical prices and the finest service.

Check to see whether they provide discounts, package offers, and other extras that might make hiring it less expensive. Before making a decision, evaluate the firm's costs and service standards.

Why Should You Hire Professionals For Medical Cleaning?  

It can be difficult to train the in-house staff as there are several things to take care of. Hiring professional medical cleaners would be a good option. The following are some of the main justifications for outsourcing your medical cleaning-

  • The cleaning staff has allthe updates on modern cleaning practices and procedures.
  • There is guaranteedcost-saving when hiring professionals. 
  • Professional services usethe best tools and materials available.
  • Your medical facility will be prepared for surprise inspections.

Cleaning Checklist For Medical Organizations

Proper procedures and medical cleaning policies will ensure a healthy and clean environment. This goes for the patient, staff, and visitors. Failing to meet the required standards will give you negative results. For these reasons, you need to have a clear medical cleaning checklist. We provide daily, weekly, and monthly cleaning checklists and tips for you in this section-

The Daily Cleaning of Medical Body 

Daily maintenance and cleaning are one of the finest methods to maintain hospital spaces as hygienic as possible. Although they might not be the most thorough, it's done regularly, which means you can get a spotless appearance in your establishment. Check out our daily healthcare facility cleaning checklist-

Checklist for patient room cleaning  

After the janitors have washed their hands thoroughly and worn the gloves, they should do the following:

1. Wipe down surfaces

Cleaners must wipe down all the surfaces. They should clean the floors, countertops, chairs, tables, and walls thoroughly. Janitors must not leave the bathroom sink and commode too. They should use appropriate cleaning agents depending on the surface material and look into spot cleaning as well.  

2. Clear the trash if needed

Medical cleaners should see that the room doesn't have trash. They must empty the dustbins from the bathroom and main room. This will ensure better hygiene. While emptying the trash, segregate the waste as well.

3. Disinfect bedside commodes

The commode should be cleaned to stop bacteria from filling the space with an offensive stench. It's a good idea to sanitize the seat, lid, and armrests with something like wipes or other forms of cleaner. 

Checklist for waiting room cleaning 

Waiting rooms can be tough to clean as there may be visitors sitting worryingly. If possible, cleaners can conduct this task at night. If not, here are a few things they should do-

1. Work around the guests

Janitors should be polite with the guests while cleaning the area. They should be able to reach the corners without much disturbance. This has to be done to ensure maximum hygiene. 

2. Report misplaced items

If the medical cleaners find any items that seem to be misplaced in the waiting room, they should report them immediately. It can be a purse, a file, important documents, money, a wallet, etc. 

3. Mop the wet floor or spills

It can be risky for visitors if the floor is slippery or if any spillage happens. One may get badly hurt if the floor stays wet. Janitors must dry it right away with suitable medical cleaning equipment.

4. Vacuum dirty rug areas

If there is a carpet or a rug, make sure janitors vacuum it daily. It will look presentable and will be germ-free for everyone in the waiting room.  

Checklist for cafeteria area of medical facility

A cafeteria is a place where several people come and go. It has to be kept clean all the time. But how should cleaners do it? Here are a few points to note down- 

1. Determine cleaning time based on cafeteria use

Your medical facility heads and janitors must communicate about when to clean the cafeteria. Assess the time based on peak and the lowest use of the cafeteria. This will create more room for cleanliness. 

2. Mop any spills or wet floor areas

Cafeterias are no doubt filled with people who tend to drop food items on the floor. It is up to the janitors to make sure they clean everything. We have already mentioned how dangerous wet floors tend to be. So daily cleaning of cafeteria floors is essential.  

3. Sanitize tables, chairs, and food service areas

You wouldn’t be able to imagine how dirty cafeterias are due to several people coming and going. Visitors and medical professionals may carry germs that can be precarious. Sanitizing and disinfecting these areas every day would be ideal. 

Checklist for diagnostic centres

An exam room is prone to a lot of infection due to patients coming in daily. Let the janitors clean it every day to ensure the maximum safety of staff and other patients. After washing their hands and wearing gloves, here’s what cleaners should do in the exam room-

1. Clean surfaces containing body fluids

This may sound gross to you, but someone has to do the job. Body fluids can be sweat, saliva, blood, or anything excreted or secreted from the human body. Any surface that has them must be cleaned immediately. You never know what pathogens it may contain.  

2. Sanitize and replace containers

Patients and medical professionals may have to use containers for certain tests. By using appropriate medical cleaning supplies, cleaners should sanitize them instantly after use. 

3. Replace hospital patient clothes and exam table covers

As we have already mentioned how weak a patient’s immune system can be. It’s better to sanitize the exam table and use new covers every time patients use it. And not replacing temporary hospital clothes for examination is a major violation of health norms. 

Checklist for Cleaning Operation Rooms

One of the obstacles that janitors confront while cleaning hospitals is undoubtedly cleaning the operation theatres (OTs). Cleaning the operation rooms may not be the responsibility of your hospital's general cleaners. There are several large pieces of surgical equipment. Generally speaking, cleaning should be performed routinely in the early morning. Here’s what janitors should keep in mind- 

1. Equipment cleaning

The OT table, surgical instruments, kidney trays, tourniquets, surgery lamps, X-ray systems, blood pressure monitors, C-arm, ventilation devices, IV stands, and many other items. Cleaners must thoroughly clean every one of these things using medical-grade cleaning equipment approved by the hospital. 

2. Floor cleaning

Only the cleaning crew should have access to the OT room, particularly when doing the floors. Throughout the procedure, they should put a warning sign reading "Wet floor" outside OT. Let the doorways be shut as well. The cleaners must first put all of the X-ray equipment, surgical instruments, furniture, OT tables, ventilators, IV poles, etc., in their respective locations. If they see any soiled material, gauges, or trash, wipe the tires of the equipment or machines with a towel dipped in the cleaning solution. They should begin washing the floor after everything is repositioned and the wheels have been completely cleaned.

3. Cleaning the cabinets

Cleaners should wipe all of the OT rooms' cupboards that house essential surgical equipment, medications, cotton, gloves, medical supplies for physicians and nurses, masks, gauges, shoes, etc. They must be cleaned and sanitized periodically. This is because they are a component of the OT and come into touch with the medical professionals and employees working in the operation room.

4. Cleaning the roof

Cleaning the ceiling's mounted equipment, like the OT light, must come first. They ought to clean them before beginning to mop the ceiling with a long handle. While cleaning, keep an eye out for any holes, fissures, or broken tiles that, if left unfixed, might be harmful. Any crack or ceiling restoration problems should be reported to higher authorities. Cleaning professionals should look for any leakage or dampening at the outlet location on the wall and ceiling where the air conditioner is mounted.

5. Biohazard cleaning

 Now here comes the toughest task of all. There are separate trays for biomedical wastes after surgery. There are swab materials, masks, tissues, blood, and more in the different color-coded bins. Empty them carefully. The cleaning staff should take good care of the medical tools, pans, and containers that still hold traces of the waste after the elimination of biohazards. They should use hospital-recommended cleaning and sterilization procedures on them.

The Weekly and Monthly Cleaning Task

Clean and hygienic places have an impressive effect on people. That’s why, as owners of medical facilities, you need to check if every corner and surface is spotless. Let there be no room for complaints from guests and patients during their visit.

While we have emphasized daily cleaning, there is also scope for weekly and monthly cleaning in medical bodies. This is because some areas in your hospitals or nursing homes need more extensive cleaning than usual. It isn’t the same as daily cleaning.

Another reason to do weekly and monthly cleaning is that some areas cannot be accessed as frequently. Here’s what janitors can do for monthly and weekly cleaning-

  • Clean and polish hardwood,tile, stone, or other types of floors.
  • Polish mirrors, wherever present
  • Restock items every month
  • Thoroughly wipe and wash the drapes and blinds.
  • Wipe down the window exteriors
  • Clean and polish any hardwood furnishings.
  • Clean and sterilize all kitchen tools (this includes microwave, refrigerator, and oven)
  • Vacuum carpets and rugs  
  • Reline trash cans
  • Scrub the sinks and tiles of bathrooms and pantry area

Several studies have found that 50 percent of the equipment, including copy machines, weighing machines, vending machines, and water purifiers, may not require routine maintenance. To stop them from harboring germs or viruses, they should be cleaned and dusted once a week. As these items are used frequently during the week, sanitize them once a week. Keep close attention to the knobs, push screens, and buttons that tend to attract the most fingerprints.

In addition to general medical facility cleaning guidelines, we've also compiled a detailed dental office cleaning checklist to ensure your dental practice maintains a clean and hygienic environment.

Useful Tips For Your Medical Cleaning Crew

While understanding how to clean every area is important, there are some additional suggestions your cleaning crew should know when they clean. It will assist them in learning how to clean. Your cleaning team should follow these three suggestions for exceptional hospital cleaning results-

1. The top-to-bottom rule

Touching the areas that are very high above is important. Cleaners should start with that first. This is due to the possibility that while clearing an elevated surface, debris, and dirt may fall to lower surfaces. If they don’t start upward, they will increase their work and make the lower area filthy again.

2. Moving from clean to dirty areas

The sequence in which the cleaners wipe should also take into account how dirty various locations are. We advise that the cleaning crew start in regions that are normally cleaner than others. They are less likely to spread dangerous germs and organisms using that technique from one surface to the other.

3. Have a proper system

Consistency is the most crucial factor to keep a hygienic medical establishment. Having a clear plan and following it every time is the key. There will be no room for guesswork for the cleaning staff. It will help them be more quick and efficient.

What Aspects To Consider During The Medical Cleaning?

There are various aspects to look into before janitors start cleaning the medical centers. Here are a few things they should consider during the cleaning process- 

1. Cleaning of both clinical and non-clinical areas

It is not just the medical areas but with proper medical-grade cleaning supplies, cleaners have to sweep the non-medical areas too. It is vital to keep the entire healthcare building neat and healthy. Make sure they touch all the smallest of areas and items like TV, jugs, center tables, shelves, and so on. They should remove books from the shelves and clean them or remove items from certain places to keep areas clean. 

2. Staff mistakes

Medical cleaning is quite rigorous. In comparison to the general population, hospital patients often have substantially lower immune systems. This implies that problems with cleaning or disinfecting spaces might have terrible repercussions for patients. Specialists need to be aware that the smooth surfaces they clean can contain harmful and contagious microorganisms.

In a medical context, shortcuts like those used in office cleaning are unsafe. Your personnel must clean all surfaces that could be home to contagious viruses and bacteria to avoid infections from spreading.

3. Theft risks 

There is no doubt a theft risk everywhere. Compared to other types of institutions, the stakes of fraudulent activity in the healthcare sector are higher. High-risk theft targets include people like hospital patients, elderly inhabitants of nursing homes, and persons preoccupied with worries. During a patient's admission at a healthcare institution, many individuals report the loss of modest items like jewelry or bank cards.

Most alarmingly, a lot of prescription medications disappear from hospitals. It's a problem even if your cleaning staff doesn't have access to the medicine cupboards. Look into these matters during the cleaning process. 

4. Safety of medical staff 

Isn’t it wise to see if medical cleaners are safe or not? Cleaning staff working in healthcare facilities are more likely to come in contact with dangerous microbes than normal individuals.

Employees who enter this setting must have the necessary training to safeguard themselves and reduce their chance of getting sick. One of the most crucial pieces of equipment for cleaning specialists is Personal Protection Equipment (PPE), such as latex or nitrile gloves. When the medical staff is safe, the medical body remains safe because everything is dependent on them. 

5. Strict regulations  

Unlike regular janitors, medical cleaning providers have to follow some stringent rules. Some organizations research how to best limit the spread of disease transmissions and keep the staff safe. Policies are made according to what they find out. These rules and policies may change according to situations like how they happened during the pandemic. Following such regulations is vital and if you hire professionals, you have to be aware of whether cleaners follow them or not. 

6. Patient Privacy

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is a national law in the USA. It imposes stringent privacy regulations on the medical sector. Although they aren't technically obligated to do so by HIPAA, cleaners are nonetheless expected by most medical centers to obey (and maybe abide by) patient privacy laws.

Mistakes under HIPAA may be quite expensive. For instance, Affinity Health received a punishment of more than $1.2 million a few years ago. It happened because of removing office equipment from the facility without first clearing crucial information from its hard drives. These are the steep consequences that you need to be careful about. 

Always Sparkling With Sterling Cleaning Services

Hospitals have a different atmosphere due to the presence of several individuals (nurses, patient families, physicians, patients, and staff). There are special cleaning procedures, medical equipment, and specialized furnishings involved. The medical cleaning team faces a special problem when it comes to cleaning surfaces. 

Cleaning isn’t one size fits all. Every medical center is different hence, so you must know the exact needs. Hiring a medical facility cleaning service will help you keep your medical center healthy. It will get the patient satisfaction scores you want. The very first thing that cleaning staff must do while cleaning medical establishments is to minimize the chance of transfer of infection from one place to another.

With so much to look into, how would you do it? Well, you should get in touch with Sterling Cleaning Services, a renowned commercial cleaning company. Expect comprehensive cleaning for all kinds of commercial places, including medical buildings at affordable prices. 

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