8 Tips for Cleaning Office Furniture In The New Normal

The pandemic changed almost everything, especially the workplace. Everything happened quickly, the change was inevitable. One morning you were just in your office, doing your usual meetings with your work colleagues, then a sudden shift of working from home started to prevent exposure and combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Most offices were hurriedly closed in response to nationwide lockdowns to further avoid the possibility of virus spread.

Now that it’s clear that the virus wasn’t just a fleeting scare but a health hazard that demands everyone to continuously be cautious and aware.

Returning to your office desk after so much time away can be frightening if you’re not sure how to approach safety regarding the virus. How do you clean your office so that even with all the continual ins and outs by several people on a given day, it remains safe for you to work from?

Hiring a reliable cleaning and disinfecting service with appropriate credentials is probably one of the most important first steps to take as you head back to the office to make sure you’re starting on a clean slate. You can search online for cleaning services providers near your area, such as Summit Facility Services, which are experts in cleaning furniture, including upholstery without damaging it, and holds certifications for COVID-19 sanitization would be ideal.

That should get you going but for continued hygiene, you should know how to conduct routine office cleanings before and after periodically calling in professionals.

This article will give you some of the best tips on how to clean some of the most important office appliances and furniture regularly.

How Long Can The Coronavirus Live In Your Office

An important part of the cleaning procedure in the new normal is learning exactly how the virus works, for instance, how long does it take for the virus to survive once it touches a surface.

The answer to that depends on the surface in question.

Some surfaces, such as cardboard, can keep the virus alive for around 24 hours. And that’s a long time for a dangerous virus to be living in your office, hence, the importance of frequent cleaning to deal with other surfaces that might be holding an active COVID-19 virus.

1. Use The Right Disinfectants

You’ve probably been told time and time again that washing your hands for about 30 seconds with soap and water gets rid of the COVID-19 virus. The same applies to most surfaces in your office, including your desk and swivel chairs.

The soap’s chemical composition will break down the membrane surrounding the virus. Once it’s broken down, the water can now remove it from your workstation.

Another idea that’s also effective is the use of alcohol-based disinfectants. However, the required alcohol content should be 62%. With this alcohol content, the disinfectant will be able to penetrate and destroy the layer of protein surrounding the virus and make it deactivated. That said, alcohol-based disinfectants are ideal to use in cleaning your office furniture.

It’s important to read the label of the disinfectant to make sure that it’s suitable for that specific kind of use. Just because one of your household disinfectant bottles says it can kill 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, including human coronavirus, doesn’t mean that it’s suited for use against the prevailing strain of COVID-19. There are specific properties that are effective for the current coronavirus, and the only way to know if a product has been certified to be effective against COVID-19 is if there are labels and certifications to say so.

If a professional, well vetted, cleaning company is handling your cleaning for you then you might not need to worry as they will typically do the research and bring the right chemicals to clean each piece of furniture.

2. Have A Plan

Before you can clean your office, it’s important to have a plan carefully laid out on what you need to do and how. It’s good to have a checklist to help you track everything that has been cleaned out and disinfected.

Start by taking out any recyclables and trash in general and placing them in their specified bins. Next, check through the papers on your desk and throw out anything you no longer need.

Cleaning out your office during COVID is just like normal cleaning, except that you have to be ten times more thorough and careful.

To be able to disinfect every surface of your desk, make sure you remove everything that’s on the desk and place it in a pile nearby. Use your disinfectant to clean out your desk’s surface, then start wiping things as you return them back to the table.

Steam cleaning could also be a great alternative for soft surfaces that can’t be thrown into the washing machine, such as carpets and other soft furnishings.

3. Be safe

Don’t just power down the devices in your office before you start your thorough cleaning. Switch off and unplug everything instead. This is because even powered-down devices will have some current running through them, and you’d hate for accidents to happen while you clean with fluids.

Besides that, you’ll probably see how easier it will be to move stuff around if they are unplugged from power sources.

So, before starting your general cleaning, disconnect your monitors, mice, keyboards, desk fans, and other electrical devices before you start.

4. Vacuum Well Before Disinfecting

If your office has any upholstered surfaces, then it’s a good idea to start by vacuuming before you move on to disinfecting. Although this rule applies in general, you should start with normal cleaning before using a disinfectant most of the time, it’s especially important when dealing with furniture that’s made out of fabric or mesh.

If such surfaces aren’t cleaned properly, then it’s likely that your disinfectant will fail to have any significant effect on the virus. The disinfectant might just combine with the dirt on the upholstery fabric and leave a permanent spot on your furniture.

After vacuuming your surfaces, use something like a spray-on disinfectant that ideally has more than a 60% composition in alcohol. After spraying on the disinfectant, make sure the disinfectant sits on the surface for not less than a minute before you clean it out. This ‘dwelling times is how long it takes for your disinfectant to properly work against the virus on most surfaces.

5. Practice A One-Way Wipe Down

To be sure that you are removing coronavirus and bacteria from your furniture, it’s a good idea to wipe it down only instead of up and down movements.

Use this method of cleaning everything around your office for added security against placing germs on surfaces you might deem clean after cleaning.

Cleaning the wrong way is especially dangerous because, unlike uncleaned surfaces where everyone is likely to be on their guard, wrongly cleaned surfaces give people a false sense of safety while still carrying dangerous bacteria and viruses.

6. Enforce color-coded cleaning

Not all surfaces are the same. Some surfaces and rooms have higher contamination rates than others. Color code your cleaning cloth rags and assign them for their different uses around your office so that you don’t need to handle cross-contamination problems. 

This danger has always been there, but with the added risk that COVID-19 brought to the table, extra care and a more systematic approach is needed.

7. Post Reminders Around The Office

One of the best ways to keep the office clean is by making sure your high-traffic surface areas are always disinfected.

The areas around your office that almost everyone can’t avoid must be disinfected regularly to prevent the entire office from getting infected. So, take special care and remind people to clean their high traffic surfaces often to avoid contamination..

Besides just traffic, there are things around the office that you touch more often than other things, such as your keyboard and general work area, make sure you disinfect these often as well.

Additionally, keep signs posted around the office reminding people of simple things like washing their hands often and using the proper alcohol-based sanitizer.

8. Ensure Ventilation And Additional Precautions

To help you in your cleaning efforts, you can make use of the clean air and sunshine that ventilation will bring. You could even take some of your furniture outside to get rid of any foul smell. Plus, the ultraviolet rays from the sun will help kill some of the bacteria and gems.

Just take care not to leave your wooden furniture exposed to weather elements for too long as they might fade.

Your disinfectants should also be stored in a well-ventilated area and in opaque containers that can’t be affected by direct sunlight.

For the health of your staff, make sure that proper cleaning equipment is used in the cleaning process and that the cleaning staff is protected. So, make sure that while cleaning, the electric fans are turned on so that there is a constant circulation of fresh air. Also, remind the cleaning staff that they should wear their masks and gloves while cleaning, and wash their hands after finishing the job, to prevent bacteria from being transmitted.

Conclusion

To a certain degree, the office area is a very exposed place, and therefore, there’s a need to be extra vigilant when it comes to cleanliness and sanitation. The COVID-19 looks like it will be here for a while more and workplaces have to adjust their cleaning strategies to suit the times.

Cleaning your office furniture is not just about removing dirt and keeping it aesthetically clean, it’s now more than ever a health requirement. Failure to do so places you and your workmates in danger and eventually affects the general workplace productivity if you end up having to shut down your offices to contain the effects of the virus. For these reasons, it’s important that you follow the tips given in this article on how you can go about cleaning your office furniture.

Dragan Sutevski

Posted by Dragan Sutevski

Dragan Sutevski is a founder and CEO of Sutevski Consulting, creating business excellence through innovative thinking. Get more from Dragan on Twitter. Contact Dragan