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HACCP – Color-Coding Brooms, Brushes and Mops 

Simply touching a contaminated surface and then coming into contact with another surface will quickly spread diseases around any facility. Cold and influenza viruses are found on 30 percent of surfaces in commercial offices. Pair this with the fact that people touch about 30 objects a minute (their keyboard keys, mouse, pens, phone buttons, etc.) and it’s easy to see why cross-contamination is a serious threat.

While these statistics are alarming enough, keep in mind this only pertains to office areas. Imagine how bad it would be if diseases from the restroom find their way into the office. Using color-coded mop heads, buckets, rags, microfiber cloths and other hand tools will help reduce the potential for cross-contamination by ensuring tools used to clean high-risk areas stay in those areas and that other tools don’t enter. There are typically four colours used and these are:

The industry standard color-coding system includes red for high-risk areas such as toilets and urinals; yellow for low-risk restroom areas including sinks and mirrors; blue for all-purpose cleaning (dusting, window cleaning, wiping desks, etc.) in other areas of a facility; and green for food-service areas. 

Transitioning to a color-coded system should be as simple as switching from one colored product to many, but unfortunately, things are never that easy. Proper training Change can be hard for cleaning crews who are used to doing things a certain way. Implementing color-coded products is not always a smooth process.

To some employees it seems silly, they may not grasp the full impact and dangers involved in cross-contamination because to them, ‘A mop is a mop, a towel is a towel.’”

To reach these employees, Viva Dealers need to do more than just train their staff on how to use the different colors to clean, they need to explain why this system matters. The most important thing is for workers to know about the germs they are spreading, some of these include:

Equipment used in the colour coding regime:  

Ideally all equipment within the different areas should be suitably colour coded and should include the following items:

  • Cleaning cloths, dish cloths and disposable cloths
  • Cleaning sponges and abrasive cleaning pads
  • Mop heads and mop handles
  • Wringer buckets and pales
  • Brooms
  • Hand brushes and dust pans
  • Lobby brushes and dish brushes
  • Protective neoprene gloves

Equipment Cleaning: 

Ideally, items used to cle

an a particular area should be securely stored within that area in a room that allows operatives to wash their equipment after use. However, in practice, this is not always possible, meaning that the way in which the equipment is cleaned and stored within a communal room is critical to ensuring that the items do not contaminate one another.

Another important thing to remember is that when different areas are cleaned, the operative should change gloves when changing areas. This will ensure that bacteria is not allowed to contaminate equipment used in other areas during the act of cleaning.

Care must be taken when cleaning equipment and operatives should ensure that items are not allowed to touch one another when drying or in general storage. Let us look at the way this should be approached in relation to the different items:

  • Cleaning cloths, buckets and pails: All reusable cleaning cloths of different colours should be cleaned and stored separately. After each use, the cloths should remain in the similarly coloured bucket or bowl and taken to the sluice separately. Once the cloths and bucket are at the sluice, the waste solution should be washed away and the inside of the bucket or bowl should be cleaned using the cloths and thoroughly rinsed using clean running water from the tap.

A separate bucket containing a solution of water and bactericidal cleaner should be prepared and used to thoroughly clean all cloths. The cloths should then be rinsed thoroughly using clean running water and wrung out well. They should then be hung to air dry in a designated area within the sluice room on a line or hook. The bactericidal solution should then be disposed of, the bucket or bowl cleaned and a fresh solution prepared to clean cloths of another colour.

  • Scrubbing brushes: The same process as used for cleaning cloths should be adopted.
  • Mops: Like cleaning cloths all mops should be thoroughly cleaned. After each use they should be thoroughly rinsed and wrung out. The wringer buckets should then rinsed clean. A solution of warm water and bactericidal cleaner can be prepared in the sluice and the mops thoroughly cleaned. They should be rinsed thoroughly and wrung out well.They should then be left to air dry with the head up in a designated area of the store room.They should be rinsed thoroughly and wrung out well.They should then be left to air dry with the head up in a designated area of the store room. The process should be repeated for each different coloured mop cleaned.
  • Cleaning sponges and abrasive pads: All cleaning sponges of the same colour should be rinsed and then placed in a bowl containing a solution of warm water and bactericidal cleaner and washed thoroughly, making sure that the solution is passed through the cellular structure numerous times. They should then be squeezed dry and left to air dry in a designated area of the store room.
  • Protective neoprene gloves: After washing the associated items, the gloves should be removed and washed thoroughly both inside and out. They should then be pulled inside out and left to air dry.

Implementing color-coded products isn’t always as simple as 1-2-3. However, with proper training that includes the “whys” of cleaning along with the “how-tos,” employees will better understand the new products and be able to protect their customers from the threat of cross-contamination.