Cleaning & Disinfecting to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Learning Spaces

Cleaning & Disinfecting to Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 in Learning Spaces

As students, faculty, and staff return to school this fall and beyond, there is a new emphasis on the importance of cleaning and disinfecting surfaces throughout schools in order to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. While students and educators will be cautious during in-person school time––maintaining social distance, wearing masks, and washing hands regularly––it is crucial for school cleaning professionals to maintain clean and disinfected furniture pieces and work surfaces to promote healthy and functional learning spaces.

Although we may use the terms “cleaning” and “disinfecting” interchangeably in everyday conversation, they actually describe two different actions, both of which are equally important to maintaining healthy and safe facilities. Cleaning is the action of physically removing germs and dirt from a surface and prepares the surface for disinfection. Disinfecting refers to the action of chemically killing and destroying viruses and bacteria on a surface, which should only be done with an EPA-registered disinfectant.

We’ve discussed the role surface materials play in ease of cleaning and disinfection, but what products should you use to maintain safe and healthy learning spaces while still taking care of your investment in your school furniture? By using compatible products that still thoroughly clean and disinfect surfaces, you can extend the life of your school furniture––even during a pandemic when cleaning and disinfecting is happening more often than ever.

Laminate Surfaces

Surfaces that are designed for safety, efficiency, and learner comfort play a key role in creating a positive tone within learning environments. Laminate work surfaces are simple to clean and disinfect due to their non-porous surfaces, resistance to scratches and cracks, and absence of surface texture. Laminate surfaces effortlessly support critical performance requirements, provide durability of design and can be easily managed during regular periods of cleaning and disinfection.

MiEN understands the mission of every school community is to provide safe learner centered physical spaces. That’s why we offer a broad collection of laminate surfaces that address disinfection, durability, and design.

Everyday cleaning of laminate surfaces is as simple as a quick wipe with a recommended cleaner.

Recommended Cleaners:

  • Windex®
  • Glass Plus®
  • Fantastik®
  • Clean®
  • Formula 409®
  • Isopropyl Alcohol (Isopropanol) R
  • Clorox® Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Wipes
  • Bleach Free Wipes

Our Laminate Partners: Proper disinfection of laminate surfaces is also important to ensure durability after repeated disinfection. Check out Formica’s laminate cleaning and disinfection guide or Panolam’s care and maintenance recommendations to learn how to responsibly care for your furniture investment.

Fabrics

Soft seating has become more prevalent in school design, as learning spaces begin to mimic real world office spaces and environments. The upholstery materials preferred for school furniture applications have certain characteristics in common. In addition to being available in a broad palette of colors and offering a soft feel for comfort and warmth, materials must meet a high bar for performance and durability. Fabrics must have the capability to withstand the required protocols of good environmental cleaning and disinfection practices in education.

Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal Crypton® and vinyl textiles are inherently resistant to bacterial growth for several reasons:

  • Impermeable to moisture and provides a fluid barrier for the furniture’s inner cushion
  • Wear resistant and avoids the degradation of scuffs, scratches, and cracking
  • Minimally textured, if at all, promoting ease of cleaning and disinfection
  • Stain resistant and highly cleanable without aggressive scrubbing

All of these attributes in combination can simplify cleaning and disinfecting methods for school facilities.

Our Fabric Partners: Stinson Fabrics have modified their online search tool to show compatibility with EPA-Registered disinfectants for use against COVID-19 on their website, making it easy to specify fabric solutions. Gabriel has developed a fabric cleaning and viral and bacterial protection guide to help you maintain your soft seating and upholstered furniture pieces.

Properly cleaning and disinfecting learning spaces and commonly touched surfaces––including laminates and fabrics––helps prevent the spread of all contagious diseases, including COVID-19. By implementing these best practices into school routines, procedures can be implemented that will lessen the outbreak today and help reduce the spread of other seasonal diseases as we look to the future.