What are the different stages of cleaning?
1. Pre-Clean - This stage begins with a visual inspection of what you’re going to clean. Look at it and take note of any physical contaminants that will need to be removed, such as crumbs, dust, or other items from the surrounding area.
You need to remove this debris before any of the other cleaning and disinfecting steps can take place. If it’s loose, then it can be disposed of at this stage.
2. Main Clean - This procedure targets any contaminants that you were unable to remove during the pre-clean stage. It involves trying to loosen any stubborn dirt, grease, or debris using water and/or specific detergents.
Depending on the nature of the substance, you may need to apply a detergent and then leave it for a while whilst it loosens or removes the contaminant. Some disinfectants are also more effective if they’re not immediately wiped away, so be sure to read and follow the instructions for whatever cleaning substance you’re using.
3. Rinse - The next step is to rinse the area you have cleaned. This removes the loosened debris and the substances used to get rid of any stubborn contaminants and ensures that it’s ready to be disinfected later on.
You can just use water to rinse, with hot water strongly recommended as it is more effective at loosening any lingering stains or substances. Depending on where you are cleaning, you can use a cloth or a mop to do this, again remembering to wear gloves and/or an apron if you run the risk of irritating your skin or damaging clothing with the products that have been used.
4. Disinfection - This stage is the most important. Now you have cleared the area you’re working on of visible debris, you need to remove any invisible contaminants such as harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. It can also help to remove any lingering odors.
Chemical disinfectants are the best thing to use at this stage, although some cleaning scenarios will require a special kind of physical disinfectant. The majority of cleaning processes however will just require a product such as an antibacterial spray or solution, which can be applied to the area either with a cloth or a mop.
Follow the instructions on the cleaning products you’re using to ensure that you effectively disinfect the area you’re cleaning.
5. Final Rinse - This stage removes any disinfectant product that was used previously. This may seem counterintuitive, but once the disinfectant has been applied the area will be clean, so rinsing it a little while later doesn't undo the effect of this.
Hot water is the best thing to use for a final rinse, using either a cloth or a mop to clean the area.
It’s important to rinse some disinfection substances off of surfaces as these chemical products could contaminate hands, clothing, equipment or even food products. If ingested, chemical disinfectants can potentially cause quite a lot of harm to the person affected, which is why the final rinsing stage is necessary.
5. Dry - The final step of the cleaning process is to dry the area that has been cleaned. Air drying is the method that is most recommended, as this reduces the likelihood that another product (like a cloth) will be used for drying and accidentally contaminate the surface again. Depending on the temperature of the area, this can take from a couple of minutes to half an hour.
Air drying may not be possible however in environments where clean surfaces or areas need to be used immediately, like in a kitchen or medical setting. In these cases, a clean and totally dry cloth should be used to dry any damp surfaces.