Choosing The Right Medical Office & Healthcare Facility Cleaning Service  

It is well-documented that environmental contamination in healthcare settings plays a role in the transmission of Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), and environmental cleaning is a fundamental intervention for infection prevention and control (IPC). According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, HAIs kill more people than car accidents and breast and prostate cancer combined, while costing the U.S. healthcare system $96–$147 billion annually. 

HAIs occur in all types of healthcare settings, including acute care hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, dialysis facilities, outpatient care (e.g., physicians’ offices and health care clinics), and long-term care facilities (e.g., nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities). Frequent cleanings and the use of specific chemical disinfectants and sterilants are the most effective defense against HAIs contracted by way of airborne germs, bodily fluids, human contact, and surface transmission. 

 Every healthcare facility should develop cleaning schedules that include:

  • Identifying the person(s) responsible
  • Frequency of cleaning
  • The method of cleaning (product, process)
  • Detailed standard operating procedures for environmental cleaning of surfaces and noncritical equipment in every type of patient care area

Stringent cleaning and disinfection protocols help reduce the risk of healthcare-associated infections, and why it’s critical to hire a cleaning company that understands the unique cleaning concerns associated with healthcare settings.

Best practices for environmental cleaning in healthcare facilities

Cleaning frequency, method, and process in routine and contingency cleaning schedules for all patient care areas are based on the risk of pathogen transmission. This risk is a function of the probability of contamination; vulnerability of the patients to infection; and potential for exposure ((i.e., high-touch vs low-touch surfaces). These three elements combine to determine low, moderate, and high risk. More frequent and rigorous environmental cleaning is required in areas with high risk. 

  • Probability of contamination: Heavily contaminated surfaces and items require more frequent and thorough environmental cleaning than moderately contaminated surfaces, which in turn require more frequent and rigorous environmental cleaning than lightly or non-contaminated surfaces and items.
  • Vulnerability of patients to infection: Surfaces and items in care areas containing vulnerable patients (e.g., immunosuppressed) require more frequent and rigorous environmental cleaning than surface and items in areas with less vulnerable patients.
  • Potential for exposure to pathogens: High-touch surfaces (e.g., bed rails) require more frequent and rigorous environmental cleaning than low-touch surfaces (e.g., walls).

Disinfectants for the prevention of HAIs

The physical action of cleaning removes foreign material from environmental surfaces and HTOs (high touchpoints/objects). Disinfection is needed to eliminate many pathogens following the cleaning process. A wide variety of chemical disinfectants have been approved for use in hospital and healthcare settings and the right disinfectant should be carefully considered for the job. A meta-analysis published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality identifies the most effective environmental cleaning methods for the prevention of HAIs.

The most commonly used surface disinfectants used in hospitals and healthcare settings are quaternary ammonium compounds (QACs, often referred to as “quats”) and sodium hypochlorite (commonly known as bleach). Other agents used for surface disinfection include peracetic acid, accelerated liquid hydrogen peroxide, and phenolics.

  • Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QACs) – used broadly in routine healthcare facility cleaning. The CDC considers quaternary to be a low-level disinfectant effective against most bacteria, enveloped viruses, and some fungi. Compatible with most hard surfaces, Quaternary ammonium products are best used on non-critical surfaces such as floors, bed-rails, tray tables, blood pressure cuffs, walls, and partitions.
  • Hypochlorites – are the most commonly used chlorine disinfectants and effectively kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses.  Hypochlorites can be used for healthcare facility bathrooms, food prep zones, and blood spills. All areas must be pre-cleaned to remove organic matter before disinfection.  
  • Peracetic Acid – preparations are rapid-acting disinfectants. They are bactericidal, fungicidal, virucidal, mycobactericidal, and sporicidal. Peracetic acid can become unstable when diluted and can corrode some metals such as copper and brass. Hospitals used Peracetic acid in automated machines to sterilize medical instruments and to disinfect hemodialyzers.
  • Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP) is a more recent breakthrough in hospital disinfectants. AHP compounds are safe for the cleaning staff and the environment and are efficient with short dwell times. AHP kills bacteria, viruses, mycobacteria, pathogenic fungi, and blood-borne pathogens.
  • Phenolics – Phenol is commonly found in disinfectants used to sterilize medical equipment and best used for disinfection of non-porous surfaces and non-critical devices. Phenolic germicides are used to clean surfaces in hospitals such as bedside tables, laboratory surfaces, and bedrails.

The effectiveness of chemical disinfectants in the elimination of pathogens can depend upon both the antimicrobial activity of the disinfectant and appropriate application, including the adequacy of cleaning, contact time, and concentration of the disinfectant. An effective disinfection protocol should consider these five factors:

  • Targeted microbes (hepatitis, HIV, C. Difficile, etc.)
  • Surface type (cloth, metal, plastic, etc.)
  • Disinfectant compatibility with surfaces and materials
  • Cost and ease of use
  • Safety of staff and patients

Three types of cleaning are required for general patient areas 

General patient areas include general outpatient or ambulatory care wards (waiting areas, consultation areas, and minor procedural areas), and general inpatient wards (patients admitted for medical procedures, who are not receiving acute care (i.e., sudden, urgent or emergent episodes of injury and illness that require rapid intervention). There are three types of cleaning required for these areas, including:

  • Routine cleaning of inpatient wards – occurs while the patient is admitted, focuses on the patient zones, and aims to remove organic material and reduce microbial contamination to provide a visually clean environment.
  • Terminal cleaning services – occurs after the patient is discharged/transferred, includes the patient zone and the wider patient care area, and aims to remove organic material and significantly reduce and eliminate microbial contamination to ensure that there is no transfer of microorganisms to the next patient.
  • Scheduled cleaning – occurs concurrently with routine or terminal cleaning and aims to reduce dust and soiling on low touch items that are not at risk for soiling under normal circumstances, using neutral detergent and water.  

Cleaning operating rooms

Operating rooms are highly specialized areas with a mechanically controlled atmosphere where surgical procedures are performed. These require environmental cleaning at three distinct intervals: before the first procedure, between procedures, and after the last procedure (i.e., terminal cleaning)

Cleaning patient area floors

Floors generally have low patient exposure (i.e., are low-touch surfaces) and pose a low risk for pathogen transmission. Therefore, under normal circumstances, they should be cleaned daily, but the use of a disinfectant isn’t necessary. However, there are situations where there is a higher risk associated with floors (e.g., a high probability of contamination. Specialized patient area floors should also be disinfected, which include those wards or units that provide service to:

  • high-dependency patients, (e.g., ICUs)
  • immunosuppressed patients (e.g., bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy)
  • patients undergoing invasive procedures (e.g., operating theatres rooms)
  • patients who are regularly exposed to blood or body fluids (e.g., labor and delivery ward, burn units)

Efficacy and surface compatibility 

One of the big challenges related to the use of disinfectants in medical facilities and hospitals is achieving an appropriate balance between efficacy and surface compatibility. Effectiveness is critical to reducing the risk of infection, but appropriate care must also be taken to protect surfaces and equipment from damage. All disinfectants can cause surface compatibility issues if they are not used correctly and proper training in chemical use for healthcare facilities is essential. 

Quality Medical Office & Healthcare Cleaning Services

Call Cleanstart today for more information! 253-921-2593

Making the right choice with Cleanstart

Cleanstart has been providing medical office and healthcare facility cleaning services for over 25 years. Our experience, ongoing employee training, attention to detail, and high standards are what set us apart from other cleaning companies. The different types of healthcare facilities we service include but are not limited to: 

  • Medical offices  
  • Dental offices
  • Dermatology and cosmetic surgery offices  
  • Out-patient surgery centers
  • Hospitals /medical centers
  • Urgent care centers   
  • Health clinics  
  • Dialysis centers
  • Clinical and pathology labs
  • Sleep disorder clinics  
  • In-patient rehab centers
  • Outpatient physical therapy offices 
  • Nursing homes  

Medical office & healthcare facility cleaning services

Our comprehensive cleaning services include: 

  • Disinfecting handles, elevator buttons, telephones, and frequently touched surfaces
  • Horizontal surface disinfection and wipe downs
  • Hospital-grade disinfectants used to eliminate a wide range of pathogens  
  • Hospital-grade waste collection and proper disposal; soiled linens, sharps
  • Vent, duct, and air handler cleaning
  • Complete restroom cleaning and disinfection
  • Floorcare and polishing
  • Vacuuming
  • Carpet cleaning
  • Kitchen and break room cleaning
  • Reception and waiting area cleaning
  • Patient room cleaning
  • Terminal cleaning 
  • Specialized equipment cleaning
  • Spill and contaminant cleanup 
  • Window cleaning

At Cleanstart, our goal is to ensure that your medical office or healthcare facility not only looks clean but is also hygienic and safe for your patients and staff. Environmental cleaning procedures are performed according to best practices and facility policy. Our cleaning technicians adhere to the guidelines established by government agencies including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  

We proudly offer:

✓ Over 25 years of experience in the commercial cleaning and janitorial industry
✓ Commitment to the highest standard of clean
✓ Licensed, insured, & bonded
✓ Background checked and vetted cleaning technicians
✓ Ongoing employee training
✓ 24/7 cleaning options & support
✓ Customized cleaning solutions
✓ One-time and recurring cleanings
✓ FREE customized estimates
✓ 100% satisfaction guarantee
✓ OSHA, HIPAA, EPA, CDC, AORN compliant
✓  A+ BBB-rating

If you would more information about our medical office or healthcare facility cleaning services, or to schedule a cleaning, please give Cleanstart a call today at (253) 921-2593 or request a free online cleaning quote!

We service the following Greater Puget Sound locations:

Auburn, Bellevue, Bellingham, Bonney Lake, Bremerton, Factoria, Fife, Gig Harbor, Kent, Lakewood, Olympia, Puyallup, Renton, Seattle, Tacoma, Tukwila, University Place, King County, Kitsap County, Pierce County, and Thurston County.

5013 Pacific Hwy E unit 16 Fife, WA 98424 • Phone: 253.921.2593 • Email: Caleb @ thecleanstart.com