Preventing Cross-Contamination


What Is Cross Contamination?

Cross-contamination is when germs, bacteria or other micro-organisms are unintentionally transferred from one object / space to another object / space that can cause harmful serious effects.  We take cross-contamination very seriously and we owe it to our customers to ensure that we are doing all that we can to safeguard the health of you and your family.  

From what I have read on line, there are regulatory standards to prevent cross-contamination for kitchens (using proper knife for chicken for example & how to clean the cutting board properly) but only what was considered to be high risk kitchens such as schools & nursing home facilities.  Outside the private home, wouldn't all kitchens be considered high risk?  Ideally, regulatory standards to prevent cross-contamination should be developed for other parts of the home and especially needed are standards in mandatory bathroom cleaning processes.  Just the simple implementation of a nationally recognized, accepted and followed practice with color coding cloths as it could easily follow in the guidelines set up by Great Britain in their effort to decrease cross-contamination.  In the late 1990's, The British Institute of Cleaning Science developed a universal cleaning code using four core colors and distinct guideline standards for each color.  Today, the system is nationally recognized and has been an influence outside of the UK as an established system defined by color that significantly can impact cases of cross-contamination. 

The risks of cross-contamination in the cleaning industry is high due to those who are not following procedures to prevent this serious risk from spreading.  

This is an extremely serious health issue and we believed that it is our responsibility to bring this issue to the attention of our customers.  Also we hope that this post will  help establish a greater voice for this issue in an effort to help bring a heightened awareness of the risks and dangers of cross-contamination to not only to our customers but in the hope that other cleaning companies will read this, take steps to be proactive and share on their website.  The risks of cross contamination in the cleaning industry is still one that has potential to pose a real risk due to those who may not have created procedures to prevent this serious risk from spreading.  Cross-contamination is very real if the company does have separate tools for after their first cleaning of the day and may use the same scrub brush that was used to clean the floor around the toilets of their first customer is now using the same tool around the toilet of their second customer.  

The Pequest Cleaning Team proactively developed their own mandatory preventative procedures to ensure  best practices are being followed in preventing cross-contamination in the home and offices of our customers.  These twelve best practices are mandatory for all team members to follow at all times:

1. Clean from Top to Bottom:  Cleaning from top to bottom so dust, dirt and germs that are not captured with the cleaning tool will fall to the the floors and will be collected during the floor cleaning process.   Using this method, is the best process to avoid missing any areas of the room.  Always clean the floor last.

2. Clean first - Disinfect second:  Disinfecting is a two-step process.  The area must be cleaned first before applying the disinfectant and allowing for proper dwell time.  If this step is not performed, it could possibly render the disinfectant useless and defeating this entire process.

3. Dwell time:  Dwell time is the contact time that the disinfectant needs to remain on the target surface to effectively kill bacteria an germs. You have to allow for the disinfectant to do it's job.  Each product will state its own dwell time.  Germ Buster that we use states to allow for several minutes before wiping.

4. Color coding Micro-fiber cloths:  We follow the British Institute of Cleaning Science's Color Chart for their guidance on specific colors that are to be used in the bathroom.   RED & DARK YELLOW ONLY

  • RED:  Toilets & bathroom floors only  
  • DARK YELLOW:  Other bathroom surfaces, including sinks, showers, tubs, towel dispensers, hand dryers, soap dispensers and walls  

Our other color coding for Micro-fiber cloths:

  • PURPLE , WHITE, PALE YELLOW: For kitchen use only
  • SHINY LIGHT BLUE: Windows & Mirrors (micro-fiber glass-only cloths)
  • PINK & BLUE:  All other areas for general cleaning, dusting, points of contact

5. Points of Contact:  All points of contact are sanitized including light switches, door knobs, railings, cabinet pulls, etc.

6. Separate Cleaning Tools:  All our customers have their own cleaned & sanitized cleaning tools.  If we have three jobs in one day, we will have three sets of cleaned sanitized tools, one for each clean.  At the end of business every day, all our tools are then cleaned and sanitized.

7.  Mop System: We use an electric steam mop that heats up to 212 degrees Fahrenheit which will disinfect 99.99% of bacteria.  All our mop heads are microfiber and we have a separate mop heads for each service on any given day.  Bathroom floors will have their own separate microfiber mop head.

8. One person to clean bathrooms: If there are two team members cleaning your home  or office, only one of us will clean the bathrooms.  

9. Hepa-Filter Vacuum is used to capture 99.97% of particles due to multiple levels of filtration.  We have three vacuum cleaners and at the close of business, every machine is completely cleaned.  All filters are removed weekly and sanitized.

10.  Training and more education:  We are always researching and educating ourselves on the newest and latest equipment and techniques to provide a higher quality of service.  Annie currently is enrolled in an Executive Housekeeping course and is always learning the newest techniques to providing professional elite cleaning for our customers. 

11. ALL bathroom floors will be thoroughly vacuumed and then steam cleaned with steam mop that reaches 212 degrees F.  

12.  Each bathroom must have it's own toilet brush that never leaves its own bathroom.  Toilet brushes are never to be removed from one bathroom of a home or office and taken to another bathroom to be used in a different toilet of the home or office.  Not only is it completely unsanitary to share toilet brushes, there is also the elevated risk of the toilet brush being moved out of the bathroom to another part of the home where possible leaks from the brush can occur and this poses a danger.   If we find that a home or office we are servicing does not have a designated toilet brush for each toilet and or bathroom, we will ask that proper service requires that the owner must purchase a separate toilet brush for each bathroom.   We will not be able to accommodate any request that any toilet brush is moved from one bathroom to another inside a home or office.


FYI:  Sanitizer - vs - Disinfectant :  

  • Unfortunately people refer to sanitizer and disinfectant to mean the same thing, however, although there are many similarities between the two, they are not equal
  • Disinfectant has a mandatory efficacy requirement that is much more difficult to meet than that of a sanitizer
  • EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) established criteria for a disinfectant:  A disinfectant must kill 99.9% of all specified bacteria (interestingly enough, a 100% kill rate does not exist) 
  • Sanitizer must have a kill rate of 99.4% and kill 3 specified bacteria within a specific time period
  • EPA does warn that one should never assume that a sanitizer or a disinfectant will eliminate all viruses and bacteria.   
  • Refer to all packaging instructions for listed dwell times and specific bacteria the product can kill