It goes without saying that a clean environment is one of the most effective ways to protect the health of students and colleagues within a school. This has been brought into sharp focus by the Covid-19 pandemic. In this article, Head of Cleaning at Vertas, Bill Farley, outlines how eco cleaning methods can protect colleagues and students, even during a global pandemic.
In October 2021 it was estimated that one in 14 secondary school age children in England had Covid-19, a sharp rise from one in 20 earlier in the year. This rise in cases made the cleanliness of schools more vital than ever and at Vertas we have seen our clients value our services even more. The pandemic has also highlighted that achieving and maintaining excellent levels of cleanliness using eco methods and products is completely achievable.
Pre-Covid much of the focus in cleaning schools was on output cleaning, meaning that professional cleaners were focussing on cleaning areas of schools that were dirty. But Covid-19 has shifted this focus to touchpoint cleaning and focussing on areas that people have most contact with, door handles, hand rails, medium level surfaces, toilets and switches to name a few.
It is vital that these are left spotless in order to protect students and staff from harmful bacteria and viruses and limit the spread of illness. As a result of Covid-19, advice from Public Health England and requests from schools, the Vertas team was quickly able to switch focus to these high traffic zones without compromising environmental considerations.
Two key considerations when trying to limit the environmental impact of cleaning practices are to minimise product and consumable use. As a leading provider within the FM sector we are committed to innovation and work closely with suppliers to bring practices to market that prioritise the reduction of product and consumable use.
To achieve this, schools can be cleaned to a level that meets stringent Covid-19 protocols by using concentrated cleaning solutions. Our highly trained operatives mix these to a concentration that effectively removes dirt, bacteria and virus particles from even the most high-contact surfaces, whilst ensuring that minimal amounts of product need to be shipped, transported and stored, reducing carbon output at each stage.
Recently this has gone even further with the introduction of chemical free cleaning products. Thoroughly tested and certified as effective, these products are at the forefront of eco cleaning and protecting staff and students. At their most basic level they are proven to effectively kill bacteria and viruses as well as remove dirt. But another hugely beneficial factor is the ingredients. Comprised of only water that has been put through our unit to turn it into Stabilised Aqueous Ozone, these cleaning solutions do not contain ingredients that can lead to diminished air quality, allergies or issues with exposure.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic Vertas has received increased requests for additional cleaning services. By using the eco cleaning methods outlined the business has been able to create safe learning environments, with schools reporting increased attendance numbers.
The cleaning specifications used by schools is often set out by consultants, but the effectiveness of eco cleaning methods has been proven. We would encourage all schools to consider environmental factors when devising tenders and appointing cleaning providers. Achieving excellent levels of cleanliness and protecting staff and students is entirely achievable and something to strive to normalise.
For more information on Vertas’ cleaning offer please visit contact us today on 0330 175 8553.