January 30, 2023
When it comes to hospital cleaning, the owners or managers know how challenging it gets. The aim of this hospital cleaning guide is to eliminate, control, or prevent infections among patients, visitors, and healthcare staff. From thorough cleaning practices to abiding by specific cleaning protocols, frequent hospital room disinfection to proper waste disposal, there are several things that hospital cleaners need to follow.
Moreover, patient satisfaction depends on the quality of care provided with the cleanliness maintained by the hospital. On seeing the sanitary environment of your hospital, people will perceive that you not only care about the health problems but also the sanitation of your patients. Cleaner hospitals also show that you care about the well-being of your hospital staff and families accompanying the patients.
Simply put, regular cleaning and sanitizing is indisputably a key part of hospital management. Thereby, hiring the general cleaning staff may not be effective as they may not be well acquainted with the healthcare cleaning protocols and procedures. For that, you need to hire specialized medical practice cleaning services from trained staff. They have expertise in cleaning hospitals and achieving these three critical goals:
• Keeping a clean and sanitary environment for patients.
• Ensuring the safety of staff, visitors, and outside patients.
• Meeting cleaning standards of the healthcare industry.
To learn further about the cleaning of hospitals, give this blog a quick read. You will know what to do and how to maintain a pristinely clean and hygienic environment in your healthcare facility.
There’s nothing as an ideal frequency for cleaning hospital rooms and various areas of the hospital premises. It primarily depends on the type of hospital area, i.e., whether it is a general/public area, patient area, or intensive area like OT (operation theatre), laboratory, pathology, etc.
The type of hospital area along with the factors given below determine the frequency of cleaning.
Any areas or rooms in the hospital which keep patients need to be cleaned regularly or frequently with low or high-concentrated disinfectant. These areas come in direct contact with the patients. Cleaning and disinfecting the surfaces in these areas are crucial to ensure there is no potential spread of infections.
Dry corners or surfaces favor the survival of gram-positive Cocci, which mainly wants to survive on dust and dry surfaces. Whereas, moist or dampened surfaces favor the growth of molds. Also, horizontal surfaces catch moisture and microbes and hence, need frequent cleaning.
Higher touch surfaces and lower touch surfaces determine the degree and frequency of hand contact. The higher the frequency of hand contact, the greater the chances of infection spread. Transmission of microbes takes place faster on such types of surfaces and hence, requires more frequent cleaning. Such higher-hand contact surfaces include door handles, switches, bed rails, chairs, monitoring equipment, etc.
On the other hand, low-touch surfaces include walls, floors, mirrors, windowpanes, etc. that do not have much potential for the transmission of microbes and hence, need to be cleaned less frequently.
Not every surface possesses a high risk of contamination. The probability of the contamination of the surface depends on what type of pathogens comes in contact with it, nature of the activity, and the microbial load involved. For instance, surfaces that come across contamination with blood or body fluids are marked as ‘heavy contamination’ surfaces and need frequent cleaning.
For instance, the surfaces of tables and equipment inside OT, labor rooms, hemodialysis unit, and autopsy room). Surfaces in patient rooms and public areas like lounges are termed as ‘moderate contamination’ and ‘low contamination’ surfaces accordingly. Clearly, the frequency of cleaning public areas will be low if you consider the chance of contamination.
The nature of medical activities taking place in an area of the hospital generally determines how much surfaces are exposed to blood specimens or body fluids. For instance, a critical care unit is more exposed to blood or body fluids while the meeting room or doctor cabins are less or not exposed to them. The greater the exposure of surfaces in an area, the more should be its frequency of cleaning.
Also, the vulnerability of patients to infections in an area determines its frequency of cleaning. If patients are more susceptible to infections due to their weak medical condition and lack of immunity, cleaning and sanitization should be done frequently or daily. Usually, people suffering burns or undergoing surgeries and invasive procedures are more susceptible.
On the hand, patients who are suffering from orthopedic problems, digestive problems, etc. are considered less susceptible to infection, and hence, areas keeping them do not need to be frequently sanitized.
Hospitals are areas with high foot traffic as it provides essential and emergency services. So, in no way, you can interrupt its day-to-day operations for a while. Hospital cleaning should be planned well in advance and at convenient hours so that you can make efficient use of the time.
Here’s how you should schedule the cleaning and sanitizing of your hospitals without disrupting or interrupting any of the care procedures.
The hospital in charge or the manager should decide the day for cleaning. They should inform the facility staff. The person should then contact the cleaning services provider who will provide hospital cleaning services and explain to them their duties regarding cleaning.
A key step involved in the scheduling of your hospital cleaning is gathering the equipment and cleaning essentials including a vacuum cleaner, soap, germicidal, sanitizers, disinfectants, etc. Gather the essentials that cleaners or any of the hospital staff accompanying them during cleaning will need such as gloves, mask, cap, or gown.
Lastly, hold an internal meeting with the head of the departments, guards, and usual janitorial staff of your hospitals to discuss the hospital deep cleaning and sanitizing procedures that will be taking place. Take extra care in those areas where there is potential for injuries or infections. Hence, the cleaning staff must be made aware of the risks.
Before the day of cleaning, check everything. Remove all the clutter. Make sure the surfaces and floors are free from mess such as chairs, stretchers, cots, etc. Collect unwanted items like notepads, unused containers, empty packets, trash bins, etc.
Cleaning specific areas including water tanks, emergency fire tanks, etc. should be cleaned following particular procedures and guidelines. Also, you should discuss the cleaning methods with various departments so that you can seek help whenever required. Also, the waste should be segregated into general waste, biodegradable, biomedical, and recyclable waste before disposal. Hence, you should lay down procedures for segregating the waste before the cleaning procedure starts.
After you have gone through these stages, you are ready to start cleaning hospital rooms, equipment, and public areas ensuring full hygiene and safety of your hospital.
While hospital cleaning is crucial, we've also covered the unique cleaning requirements of dental offices in our blog post on dental office cleaning checklists.
The cleaning and sanitization practices to follow for your hospital depend on the patients, products, and cleanliness protocols. The key aim behind hospital cleaning is to make its environment tidy, odor-free, and sanitized so that pathogen or infection transfer is mitigated. However, providing deep cleaning services to any hospital or healthcare facility involves challenges.
The healthcare industry specifies various standards and guidelines for hospital cleaning. While those are obligatory for the hospitals to follow, it is quite challenging to abide by them. Besides, the protocols and techniques are framed to ensure the hospital is also environmentally clean and safe. Some of the crucial cleaning procedures that you should follow for environmental friendliness are:
• Perform a preliminary assessment of the hospital rooms and premises that are to be cleaned.
• Spot the differences between cleaner and dirtier areas to understand the risk of microorganism spread and identify the areas to be cleaned on a priority basis.
• Prevent the microorganisms and dirt from falling or spreading, from highly dirty areas to cleaner areas.
• Clean the areas systematically to avoid missing out on any area.
• Immediately respond to accidental spillage of blood or body fluids with proper cleaning agents and disinfectants.
Ensuring all these will keep your hospital environment clean and sterile, making it a safe space for patients, families, doctors, nurses, and other front line staff.
Nearly two-thirds of a hospital area comprises patient wards, critical care units, doctors’ rooms, clinical service rooms, and staff rooms for which you should follow specific cleaning protocols and procedures.
The remaining area of the hospital premises comprises public areas including lobby or hallways, lifts, waiting rooms, outdoor patients department, lifts, parking lots, staircases, and entryways. The probability of contamination in these areas might be lower and furniture/objects placed in these places are considered low-touch surfaces. However, you should also clean them frequently because these get higher foot traffic.
Some of the key activities for cleaning surfaces and objects in public areas include:
• Keeping things and furniture organized in the right places.
• Sweeping the floors and mopping them.
• Vacuuming the dirty carpets and rugs.
• Sanitizing the surfaces and objects.
• Removing trash, bits of paper, and particles from the surfaces of tables, desks, etc.
• Emptying the trash bins and putting trash liners.
• Disinfecting the common touch surfaces including the door handles, switches, staircase rails, etc.
The ultimate care should be taken to ensure that all these public areas are free of germs, dirt, and odors so that the visitors and hospital staff are not exposed to infections or illness. Whether your hospital’s cleaning staff tidies up these public areas or you hire professional janitorial services for them, make sure to follow these steps.
The various hospital cleaning procedures and sanitizing equipment question the safety of the cleaning personnel. It’s because of the higher risk of contamination or pathogen transmission on various surfaces and areas. No doubt, for this reason, you need to hire trained and experienced cleaners who understand the procedures of cleaning hospitals and are aware of the particular cleaning protocols.
Also, while undertaking the cleaning, healthcare organizations should consider the safety of the patients, families of the patients, physicians, clinical staff, nurses, and other employees. Thus, identifying support activities during cleaning is essential which include transportation of patients, alerting the staff about cleaning time, providing separate rooms or waiting areas to the staff, and so on.
These should be done to ensure that cleaning procedures that involve biomedical wastes and sharp substances like needles, etc. take place smoothly without causing any harm to the patients, staff, or families.
Hiring professional cleaners who offer janitorial services for hospitals may increase your costs. Therefore, you should do a bit of research, seek referrals, and contact a specialized cleaning team, which offers services at affordable rates.
The hospital staff and doctors are the frontline workforces who perform several duties to treat and take care of ailing patients. Each day they face hundreds of patients or perform examinations and surgeries that make them exposed to harmful pathogens and infectious diseases. A deep cleaning service is required for your hospital to prevent the transmission of pathogens. The risks of transmission of pathogens vary with surfaces and types of areas.
To optimize the safety of your patients and hospital staff while cleaning, the best thing that you need to do is to assess the potential risks. When you are well aware of the risks, you can take appropriate measures to prevent them.
Key ways for the risk assessment
While developing your cleaning procedures, consider the risks. The risks of transmission will help you decide the frequency of cleaning and the type of cleaning procedures to employ. However, assessing the risk is difficult! Some of the key factors for assessing the risks are the probability of contamination on the surfaces, susceptibility of patients to infections, and potential for exposure to pathogens.
Also, the risks depend on whether a surface is high-touch surfaces (like bedrails, call bells, doorknobs, switches, IV poles, etc.) and low-touch surfaces (floors, walls, cabinets, reception/cash counters, lobby, parking, etc.)
So, in addition to planning efficient cleaning protocols and using proper cleaning agents, you should also make the cleaning associates aware of the risks in different areas and surfaces of the hospital. Subsequently, your hospital faculty members should make them follow every protocol.
Cleaning the operation theaters (OTs) or simply the operation room is no doubt one of the challenges that janitors face while cleaning hospitals. Perhaps, it is not the role of the general cleaners of your hospital to clean the operating rooms. There are manyintricately designed structures and a lot of equipment used for surgeries. Mostly, the cleaning should be done on a regular basis in the early morning and sometimes, needed more than once a day after every surgery.
A special team of janitors must be present to clean the OTs and sterilize all the surgical settings and equipment to ensure the safety of patients, surgeons, and other nurses from infectious biomedical waste.
The different equipment in the OT rooms includes the OT table, surgery tools, kidney trays, tourniquets, surgical lights, X-ray machines, blood pressure cuffs, C-arm, ventilation equipment, IV stands, etc. Also, there are various types of electronic equipment used for monitoring patients’ health parameters during surgery.
Each of these items should be cleaned with a hospital-approved germicidal solution with extra care. It is a specific disinfectant cleaning that ensures that all the equipment and their surfaces are sterilized properly.
Also, wearing gloves, OT dresses, and caps during cleaning and sanitizing equipment is necessary for the cleaning staff. The electronic equipment which does not come in direct contact with patients, blood, or any biomedical wastes should be damp-dust. The cleaning staff should also clean the suction canisters and the extended reflective portion of surgical lights. They should clean the scrub basin and tap, and also wipe the antiseptic bottles so that they are hygienic for next use.
Allow only the cleaning staff to be present in the OT rooms while cleaning, especially when the floors are cleaned. A precautionary sign of ‘Wet floor’ must be kept outside the OT during the process.
Also, the doors should be kept closed. First, the cleaners should reposition all the surgical machines (lights, X-ray machine, ventilation equipment, etc.) and the furniture (OT table, IV pole, etc.) in the proper place. Clean the wheels of the machines or equipment with a towel soaked in cleaning solution if you spot any dirty cotton, gauges, or waste.
Once everything is put in place and the wheels are cleaned thoroughly, the cleaners start cleaning the floors. They should take a minimum of 1 hour to clean the entire room. First, they need to sweep to collect all the dry waste, cotton swabs, soiled linen, or visible dirt. Then, they should mop the floors using hospital-approved disinfectant solutions.
They should wipe the floors carefully in mechanical action to ensure spores, blood, or liquid spills are completely removed. In case the floors look too much dirty, they should increase the disinfectant concentration in the cleaning solution. Once the cleaning is done, keep the floors as it is for at least an hour until it is completely dry.
Before starting to clean the ceiling, the cleaners must start with the cleaning of fixtures mounted with it such as the OT lamp. They should clean them and then start wiping the ceiling itself using a long-handled mop. While cleaning, also check for cracks, holes, or loose tiles, which can be dangerous if kept unrepaired. Immediately, report any cracks or repair issues on the ceilings to the hospital authority.
Also, you should check the ceiling and wall that has the air conditioner, especially at the point of the outlet for any seepage or dampening. Any leakages of water will make the wall and ceiling moist resulting in mold growth. So, a key part of ceiling cleaning is to ensure that it is free of cracks or holes so there is no accumulation of dust, fungal growth, or leakages through the ceilings.
Clean all the cabinets in the OT rooms that keep vital surgical tools, surgical wear of the doctors and nurses, surgical tools, cotton, gauges, medicines, sterilization items, sheets, gloves, masks, footwear, etc. Since they are a part of the OT with which the doctors and surgery staff come in contact, they also should be cleaned and sanitized frequently.
Instruct the cleaners to clean the doors of the cabinet and keep things inside the cabinet organized. Collect all the unnecessary or expired items in a separate bin and discard them. Put fresh items and organize the stuff so that the staff and doctors could easily find them before the operation began.
Here, comes the most difficult part of the OT cleaning! All the biomedical waste produced after the surgical procedures are collected in separate trays. Cotton swabs or gauges wet with blood and tissues are also collected separately. The masks, gloves, and other used items that came in contact with the biomedical waste are collected in their respective bins. The bins are color-coded bins for different bio-hazards. Empty each of the color-coded bins, wash them, dry them, and replace them with fresh trash bags.
Once the biohazards are removed, then the cleaners should take care of the trays, containers, and surgical tools that have a trace of the waste. These should be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized using hospital-recommended solutions.
Usually, cleaning the OT room equipment and floors is recommended after every case! It’s because surgeries make the OT rooms exposed to various microbes and bio-hazard wastes. This makes patients, surgeons, and hospital staff coming into the room for the next case susceptible to higher infections.
Another major challenge that janitors face during hospital cleaning is the deep cleaning of occupied patient rooms or wards. It is in no way similar to cleaning a general household or public place. It’s because you can never expose patients to even a speck of dirt or dust.
Also, negligent cleaning and not properly sanitizing hospital rooms and contaminated surfaces like bedrails, bedside tables, IV poles, etc. can easily infect the staff or make the sick persons sicker. Thus, special care should be taken to clean patient rooms since they have weaker immunity power than anybody else. Follow the following steps to clean patient rooms.
This is necessary before the hired cleaners start cleaning and disinfection of hospital rooms with patients in them. They need to do a preliminary assessment of the room to see the conditions of its patients. For instance, if there is a patient with an air-borne disease, they should consider wearing PPE kits to clean the surrounding area of that patient properly without causing any risk of infection to them and others. This assessment should be done before cleaning every room.
The cleaning team should then look for any liquid spills, blood spills or stains, or any bodily fluids on the floors. To clean those, they need to apply special cleaning techniques and disinfectant solutions. Thus, observing the room’s mess or dirt before is necessary so that your cleaning team can be ready with all the required cleaning solutions.
Patient wards include not one but multiple trash cans, each beside a bed. The cleaners should empty all the trash cans and put fresh liners on them. If the sharps containers that keep used needles and other sharp objects are filled, they should be emptied and replaced with fresh clean sharp disposal containers.
Also, you need to check whether there are any obstacles, sharp objects, or broken furniture lying anywhere on the floors and remove them.
The floors should be made free of packets, papers, debris, etc. not thrown into the trash cans.
In the next step, the cleaning experts should start cleaning thoroughly the high-touch surfaces and objects with disinfectants. Door handles, bed rails, nursing carts, chairs, meal carts, hand-wash sinks, toilet seats, IV stands, monitors, etc. in the room are often touched. They collect contagions from various hands that dwell there for a long time and hence, are can spread infections to any person again touching them.
The team of janitors should be careful about the high-touch surfaces. They should clean and disinfect every surface with an appropriate solution.
Whenever it’s time for cleaning the hospital rooms, you should look at the walls, windows, and visible dirt or marks anywhere. If there is any soil dirt on the walls, ask the cleaners to wipe them using a soft microfiber cloth and clean them with a mild disinfectant solution to not damage the paint. Immediately dry the area to prevent dampening of the walls.
If you have found sports or marks on the windowpanes and glasses, clean them using a glass cleaner. It is recommended to use a squeegee with a long handle to clean window glasses that reach height to the ceiling.
Cleaning the floors is the last step of the procedure. Your cleaners should do it when they have removed all the loose dirt particles, organized the objects and furniture in places, and replaced the trash cans. Before mopping, vacuum or dust-mop the floors! It should be done tactfully by not lifting the dust mop and shaking it. Doing so reduces the chance of airborne particles.
To mop the floors, the cleaners need to use a microfiber cloth mop which absorbs most of the cleaning solution applied to floors and so helps them dry out sooner. This is a prerequisite for cleaning patient rooms and every room of the hospital to prevent accidental falls.
According to the health safety guidelines provided by CDC, hospitals need to follow specific procedures and cleaning techniques to ensure environmental safety while cleaning their premises. To abide by these guidelines, here are a few tips that hospitals need to follow.
Do not just dive into cleaning hospital rooms and premises but do a thorough assessment of rooms, critical care units, common areas, and waiting areas. By conducting the preliminary assessment, you can become aware of the total hospital cleaning work that needs to be done. Accordingly, you can prepare the steps, gather the cleaning essentials, alert the staff, and take precautionary measures to make each step environmentally friendly.
Hospital cleaning is full of challenges and the biggest challenge among them is to prevent the spread of microorganisms and biological dirt from one surface to another and from patients to staff or vice-versa.
The surfaces that look pristine and sanitary, there may be germs prevailing that are not visible to the eyes. Since cross-contamination is the greatest risk here, there are particular guidelines for cleaning any surfaces, objects, or equipment at the hospital. They mostly involve cleaning and sanitizing equipment, objects, surfaces, and even furniture.
Patient wards and outdoor patient departments are generally vast-sized. Since there are multiple beds and chairs in these places, it is quite common for the cleaners to miss a bed or two. Keeping any bed or chair unclean while others clean is also riskier in a hospital environment as it can result in cross-contamination and infect the healthy staff or already ailing patients. Therefore, the cleaners should clean every room and area of your hospital systematically.
Hospital floors and surfaces encounter body fluid spills while admitting patients and transferring them from one ward to another. Vomit, urine, blood, and feces also get spilled in critical wards, post-surgery rooms, labor rooms, and patient wards. These hazardous wastes also give out bad odors and hence, need to be deep cleaned. The floors should be disinfected with high-grade cleaning agents and disinfectants to make the floor surfaces free of germs and odor.
Hospitals are huge structures and apart from their size, they include multiple rooms, intensive units, and complex equipment. Each of these including the floors, furniture, walls, and ceiling has to be cleaned regularly. Clearly, the total hospital cleaning cost can bury a hole in your pocket. However, you can prevent that by engaging a specialized cleaning team that offers commercial cleaning services and has experience in cleaning and sanitizing hospitals.
The professional cleaning team will charge the cost of cleaning either according to the area or the estimated time required to clean. So, regular cleaning includes cleaning floors along with cleaning operating rooms, patient wards, pathology clinics, and other critical areas. You will need to spend less compared to deep hospital cleaning which is needed two to three times a week. Deep cleaning will cover all areas including outdoor areas, waiting rooms, lobbies, cafeterias, and so on.
Ideally, the hospital cleaning cost depends on the frequency of cleaning. To ensure cost-effective cleaning, you should first plan the steps. Segment the areas that need to be regularly cleaned, frequently cleaned, and occasionally cleaned. To decide this, you should determine the area of high-touch surfaces and surfaces that get direct patient contact.
With lots of people (patients, patient families, doctors, nurses, and staff), unique cleaning protocols, medical equipment, and specific furniture involved, hospitals have a unique environment. The cleaning of intricately designed equipment, intensive care areas, and surfaces of patient rooms, exam centers, etc. create a unique challenge for the hospital cleaning staff.
Hospitals need to be kept supremely clean and sanitized not only to ensure patient safety but also to show their commitment to providing quality care. Hygiene is inevitably important in any healthcare facility and can make or break its reputation. A cleaner hospital premise leaves a great impression on the patients’ families and makes them trust your services more. A tidy and sanitary hospital environment also enhances the patient satisfaction level.
For cleaning hospitals or healthcare facilities, the first thing that the janitors need to ensure is lowering the risk of infection spread between different areas. This has become a pivotal concern after the COVID-19 situation which made it mandatory for cleaning and sanitizing surfaces.
With so many challenges prevalent, what are you planning to do to clean your hospital? Well, get in touch with our experienced commercial cleaning service providers at Sterling Cleaning Services.
We are one of the best cleaning companies based in NYC and strive to provide comprehensive cleaning services to all types of commercial spaces including hospitals at reasonable costs. Hire us to experience the difference! We are one of the best cleaning companies based in NYC and strive to provide comprehensive cleaning services meeting our commercial cleaning checklist at reasonable costs. Hire us to experience the difference!
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