Glenn Rasin

By: Glenn Rasin on October 1st, 2020

Print/Save as PDF

Where Are The Germiest Areas in Your Facility?

Germs are everywhere. They are a part of everyday life and are found in and on people, in the air, in the soil, and in water. Some germs are not harmful but others can lead to serious illness and infections, reiterating the importance of cleaning to reduce germs.

The germiest parts in any facility are the areas that are most frequently visited or surfaces that are most commonly touched by people. This is because people are carriers of millions of germs.

Germs can not travel and infect people on their own. They depend on people, the environment, or equipment to spread.

Three of the most common ways that germs are transmitted originate from people.

  • Person to person contact
  • Object and surface contact
  • Aerosolized droplets

The first is through person to person contact. The simple act of shaking hands is a primary method of germ transmission.

The second is when an infected person touches a surface or object and leaves germs behind, allowing the germs to spread to a susceptible person.

Germs Spread 1

The third way is when an infected person coughs or sneezes and releases droplets which are then suspended in the air and later inhaled, or they fall onto commonly touched objects and surfaces and picked up by a susceptible person when they touch that area.

In both of the second and third cases, germ transmission can be reduced with enhanced cleaning and disinfection.

To understand where your cleaning staff should focus, we’ll first review the areas and surfaces that likely have the most germs. Then, we’ll review how to lower the risk of germs spread from those areas.

What are the germiest areas of your facility?

High-risk areas or surfaces are the germiest areas and are most likely to lead to illness and infection.

These areas will require the most attention to limit germ spread and lower the risk of illness.

Fortunately, knowing which areas and surfaces pose the greatest risk for germ transmission in your building will allow you to focus on those areas, ultimately lowering the risk of an outbreak in your facility.

Some of the most common high-risk areas include:

  • Entryways
  • Elevators
  • Restrooms
  • Lobbies
  • Cafeterias
  • Breakrooms
  • Lounges

Download our FREE, Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility, designed to provide you with the 6 vital steps you need to keep your facility protected against a Coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility

Some of the most common high-touch surfaces and objects include:

  • Elevator Buttons
  • Handrails
  • Keyboards
  • Computer Mouse
  • Escalator Railings
  • Chair Arms
  • Remotes
  • Copier Machine Buttons
  • Light Switches
  • Soap Dispensers
  • Faucets
  • Tables in common spaces
  • Doorknobs
  • Light switches
  • Door handles
  • Bathroom stalls
  • Grab bars
  • Water fountains
  • Countertops
  • Breakroom Tables
  • Refrigerator Handles
  • Towel Dispensers
  • Sink handles
  • Phones

It’s impossible to avoid or eliminate germs entirely, however, there are ways to reduce the risk in these areas.

There are two key ways to lower the risk of germ spread in your facility, including:

  1. Reduce High Touch Points
  2. Perform More Frequent Cleaning and Disinfecting

Reduce High Touch Points

A key to lowering the risk of an outbreak in your facility is reducing the number of high touchpoints. As mentioned above, objects and surfaces easily facilitate the spread of germs.

The more objects in an area that your building occupants can touch, the more germs they are likely picking up and transferring.

Eliminating touchpoints is one of the best ways to stop the transfer of germs from people to objects or between two individuals.

There are a variety of touchless or touch-free solutions available on the market today that can help make your facility a safer, healthier place.

Touch-free solutions can be integrated into several areas of your facility including the restroom, cafeteria, lounge areas, and hallways.

Touchless solutions include:

  • Automatic Hand Soap Dispensers 

Automatic hand soap dispensers eliminate the need for occupants to touch soap dispensers in the restroom, breakrooms, or cafeterias.

  • Automatic Faucets

When paired with automatic hand soap dispensers, automatic faucets help make the hand washing system in a restroom touch-free. 

Touchless Sinks
  • Automatic Hand Sanitizer Dispensers

Similar to automatic soap dispensers, automatic hand sanitizer can be placed around the facility.

Placing freestanding units in high traffic areas like entryways and hallways, can help promote increased use and help lower germ spread.

  • Automatic Paper Towel Dispensers

We suggest replacing manually operated towel dispensers with automated, one-at-a-time dispensing systems. With automated systems, people touch only the paper towel they need, helping to prevent cross-contamination and the spread of germs.

  • Automatic Trash Bins

Automatic trash bins can be placed near the exit to compliment automatic paper towel dispensers.

This is a great opportunity to encourage people to use paper towels to avoid touching door handles. Once people use the paper towel to open the door they can be discarded without having to touch the trash can.

They can also be placed by the sinks to allow people to dispose of the paper towel after turning the faucet on/off.

  • Automatic Flush Valves
Autoflushers or automatic flush valves help provide a more hygienic restroom experience by eliminating the need to touch the handle on a toilet or urinal when ready to flush. In most cases, autoflushers are easy to install and can be retrofitted to your current toilet/urinals.

Perform More Frequent Cleaning and Disinfecting

In cases, where high touchpoints can not be eliminated or replaced with touch-free solutions, it will be Cleaning Touchpointsimportant to increase the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting.

In the past, it was recommended that high touch areas and surfaces were cleaned at least once a day.

Given the on-going Coronavirus situation, it is likely that your cleaning team will need to clean and disinfect these areas and objects more frequently.

Prioritize the high touch areas and have your staff focus on these areas.


Final Thoughts

Illness spreads quickly and easily thanks to the multiple high touch surfaces in your facility.

High-risk areas and surfaces should be your janitorial team’s number one cleaning priority.

Limit germ spread throughout your facility by integrating hands-free and touch-free solutions into your facility. Touchless alternatives reduce the number of touchpoints and the time your staff has to spend on cleaning them so they’re free to perform other high-value tasks.

If you are not able to add touchless devices or if you can not replace all high touchpoints, the next best thing is to prioritize and increase the frequency in which your janitorial staff is cleaning and disinfecting those areas.

Download our FREE, Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility, designed to provide you with the 6 vital steps you need to keep your facility protected against a Coronavirus outbreak.

Coronavirus Readiness Playbook: 6 Vital Steps to Protect Your Facility

Check Out These Related Articles:

About Glenn Rasin

Glenn Rasin is the Chemical Specialist for EBP Supply Solutions and Lead Trainer for the EBP Training Academy, which offers CMI-certified training courses for supervisory and front-line cleaning professionals throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. He is an ISSA CMI-certified trainer, with over 35 years of experience in the janitorial and sanitation industry.