Important implications for your soft washing business – Covid-19 update (20.03.20)
In this Trade Tips post we outline the best practices we believe to be important for us all to implement, while continuing to run our soft washing and window cleaning businesses.
We’ve been asked by some of our customers if our biocidal products can be used for the disinfection and sanitation of surfaces to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
The simple answer is yes. Benz Lightning Cleanze (active ingredient: sodium hypochlorite), diluted 19-20:1 to give 0.5% available chlorine, will, according to the WHO (World Health Organisation) sanitise hard surfaces after an exposure to Covid-19. Rinse after leaving for 10 minutes to activate and before people or animals walk on the treated surface.
Benz Bio Cleanze will probably kill the Covid-19 virus because its active ingredient (ddac) kills similar coronaviruses and can be found in some hand sanitising products. But we’ve been unable to find hard scientific data to definitely confirm that it will kill Covid-19 and if so at what dilution.
Quick tip: There are numerous "coronaviruses" so to assume that all are the same and can be treated the same way could be dangerously misleading. Beware of the swamp of amateur opinions, hearsay, false facts, incorrect information, and generalisations floating around the Internet. All information we print is comes from official government and/or qualified medical sources.
What is Covid-19?
Covid-19 (Coronavirus disease 19) is a new strain of the coronavirus family, which includes those viruses that cause the common cold, as well as more serious illnesses such as the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). It is named “19” because it was discovered in 2019.
Can Covid-19 be contracted from contaminated external hard surfaces?
Because Covid-19 is a new, or “novel” virus, there's little test data available – so all anyone can do at the moment is make comparisons with the treatments found to be successful in the case of similar coronaviruses such as SARS and MERS.
The data we’ve been able to find so far from the WHO pertains to inside sanitation. And although the evidence suggests that the virus can remain alive, in optimal conditions, for between 2 hours to 9 days on internal hard surfaces, it seems likely that it will only remain6 alive for a short time on outside surfaces.
Therefore the majority of exterior surfaces probably do not need to be sanitised, with the important exceptions of doors, door handles, handrails and other surfaces likely to be frequently touched by humans.
An instance of where sanitising more of the external surfaces of a property may be justified would be if a customer was very concerned about contamination (perhaps they are old and/or have pre-existing medical conditions, or someone living in the property has been ill with Covid-19, or they have been visited by someone who was ill) and treating their property would both kill the virus and relieve some of the anxiety they may understandably be feeling.
When talking with customers it is important to bear in mind that our products are approved by the UK and Irish governments for the cleaning of exterior hard surfaces. They are not approved for use as indoor medical sanitation products.
How can you best protect yourself and your customers, while continuing to run your business?
By cross-referencing between multiple trusted sources we identified some basic guidelines to not getting infected ourselves and not infecting others. We’ve listed below the simple precautions we believe to be the best practices when continuing to run your business.
Put your customers at ease by letting them know that you are only taking precautions to protect everyone, and that the safeguards you are implementing don’t indicate any actual contamination.
Do not enter your customer’s home, even to wash your hands (we’ve suspended cleaning the insides of our customer’s windows until the epidemic is over) as the virus is primarily spread via breathing close to another person, or even just breathing in the same environment as an infected person.
Another reason for not entering your customer’s property is because symptoms can take up to 5 days to show up after contracting Covid-19. So if you happen to be infected, even though you may not yet be experiencing any symptoms, you could potentially infect your customers.
Communicate with your customers via phone, text, email and social media as much as possible, to minimise actual human contact.
Wear disposable surgical gloves while on your customer’s property.
Keep 1-2 metres distance from your customer. Do not shake hands.
Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, or if that is not possible, such as when working on site, use a commercial hand sanitiser before and after working on your customer’s property.
Do not touch your face before washing your hands. This is because the virus enters via our lungs and bringing contaminated hands close to your nose and mouth will increase the risk of inhaling the virus.
Self-isolate if you experience symptoms yourself.
The information we have is that the majority of people in good health who contract Covid-19 will only experience symptoms similar to mild flu, at the most. And, as with flu, the best treatment is to stop work for a few days, get plenty of rest, drink lots of warm water and generally enjoy plenty of tlc.
It is very important to not try to push on and work if you become ill, as that is a sure way to become more seriously ill and of course infect other people.
Self-isolation for 14 days before returning to work after an infection is recommended as the most responsible action to prevent the spread of the virus through our community.
By taking the above precautions there is no reason we are aware of as to why contractors cannot continue offering their soft washing and window cleaning services as normal.
General information – and a downloadable pdf – from the World Health Organisation: www.who.int/publications-detail/water-sanitation-hygiene-and-waste-management-for-covid-19
NHS information on self-isolation: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-advice
NHS online self-assessment test: https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19
Please read these Trade Tips posts to stay informed about Covid-19 and it's effect on your softwashing and window cleaning business:
- Covid-19 update: Can softwash contractors and window cleaners continue working?
- Covid-19 update: Important product distribution information
We are all heading into a situation that is previously unknown within our lifetimes, so please take good care of yourselves, your friends and family, and your customers. And do take heed of the precautions advised by our health services.
May we all stay safe and emerge from this situation wiser and perhaps a little kinder, both to ourselves and others,
Ben, Leo and Fiona
Please also do your own research and keep informed about the latest government and medical advice.
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