Church Cleaning During a Public Health Crisis: What You Need to Know

The recent health crisis caused by COVID-19 has forced churches and other places of worship to close their doors and switch to virtual worshipping services. Now, after several months of quarantining and attending services online, states have begun to lift restrictions on reopening some facilities, including churches and other places of worship.

Yet, the virus persists and so do the health risks associated with worshipping in person and in confined, indoor spaces. So, as the leader of your religious community, how can you assure your congregation that it is safe to return to in-person worshipping services?

One way is to enlist the help of a commercial cleaning company to perform cleaning and enhanced disinfection or, perform those tasks yourself while being transparent with your congregation about your efforts. Transparency about your efforts will increase confidence and peace of mind among your members.

Professional Church Cleaning Services

Church cleaning services from a commercial cleaning company is an ideal solution to opening your church quickly and safely. Churches looking for cleaning services should first understand their needs, including the level of cleaning and disinfection needed to create a safe environment for members to return.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outline the differences between cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting as they are not the same. It is vital to understand the differences between them, what order they should be performed in, and when to perform each one.

According to the CDC,

  • CLEANING: Removes germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces or objects. Cleaning works by using soap (or detergent) and water to physically remove germs from surfaces. This process does not necessarily kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.
  • SANITIZING: Lowers the number of germs on surfaces or objects to a safe level, as judged by public health standards or requirements. This process works by either cleaning or disinfecting surfaces or objects to lower the risk of spreading infection.
  • DISINFECTING: Kills germs on surfaces or objects. Disinfecting works by using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces or objects. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but by killing germs on a surface after cleaning, it can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

Clean Before You Disinfect

The main takeaway here is that cleaning must be done before disinfecting and in the age of COVID-19, disinfecting is the most important because it is the step that kills the highest number of bacteria, viruses, mold and spores, and other harmful pathogens (up to 99.9%). Before COVID-19, disinfection was typically done in a moderate fashion in specific locations like bathrooms and on certain “high-touch” surfaces, such as doorknobs and handrails.

Higher Frequency of Cleaning and Disinfecting High-Touch Areas

Given the current health crisis disinfecting needs to be done at a higher frequency and applied to more surfaces. Prior to COVID-19, high-touch surfaces meant objects like doorknobs, handrails, toilet seats, and elevator buttons to name a few. Now, the high-touch surfaces category has expanded dramatically to include more objects and surfaces. High-touch areas are defined as surfaces that have frequent contact with hands.

In the past, churches may have only been disinfecting bathrooms, kitchens, doorknobs, and handrails only a few times per week or month. Now, churches will need to disinfect more surfaces at a higher frequency.

In a church or place of worship those surfaces can include, pews, bibles and other religious texts, hymnals, podiums, microphones, chairs, desktops, and countertops. This is not an exhaustive list by any means but is meant to provide an idea of surfaces that will need more attention during a public health emergency.

These items and spaces will also need to be cleaned and disinfected at a higher frequency. For instance, if handrails were only being wiped down and disinfected two times per week, this will need to increase to after every service as well as throughout the service after they have been touched.

The new health crisis has encouraged people to consider new cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting practices that can help keep people safe and healthy.

New Methods of Cleaning and Disinfecting

New methods of cleaning and disinfecting involve enhanced disinfection. Enhanced disinfection means:

  • Upgrading chemicals and products.
  • Changing the PPE used while cleaning and disinfecting.
  • Increasing the use of disinfectants and focusing less on just dusting.
  • More surfaces and areas are included in high-touch category.
  • Frequency of disinfecting increases, sometimes significantly.
  • Time it takes to perform enhanced disinfecting increases.
  • Need for additional training for janitorial team, or those responsible for disinfecting.

Enhanced disinfection is important for a variety of reasons, including the following:

New health threats warrant new disinfection measures

  • Stronger pathogens require stronger disinfectants and increased frequency of cleanings.
  • Surfaces touched after disinfection are vulnerable to immediate recontamination.
  • New PPE protocols are needed to ensure safety of those performing cleaning.
  • Worshippers and visitors are at a greater risk of getting sick because of COVID-19.

Peace of mind for returning worshippers and visitors

  • Having an enhanced disinfection plan and being transparent about those efforts ease fears.
  • Increased focus on worship practices while in person.
  • Retain the trust of volunteers, staff, visitors, and worshippers.

We’ve also created a convenient and easy-to-use Church Cleaning Checklist that can be downloaded, printed out, and hung up for use by your cleaning staff. CLICK HERE to access the free checklist!

Change can be overwhelming and anxiety-provoking. However, adopting a new method of keeping your members safe and healthy does not have to be. Commercial Cleaning Corporation is here to support you in any way we can, whether that is helping your place of worship create an enhanced disinfecting plan for your staff to carry out or, to take that burden from you and have our team perform those functions in a professional manner.

Reach out to us today to discuss how we can help you reopen your place of worship safely and confidently by filling out the contact form on our Contact Us page.