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Best Practices to Follow When Cleaning Medical Offices

Cleaning medical offices requires more than just regular cleaning practices. Medical facilities have a higher risk of exposure to harmful pathogens and bacteria, making it crucial for those offering medical office cleaning services to follow best practices.

On top of that, medical offices also have specific industry standards that require careful handling of hazardous materials during the cleaning process.

In this article, we will discuss some of the best practices for your cleaning business to follow when offering professional cleaning services to a medical facility.

The Importance of Cleaning Medical Offices

In the USA, approximately 2 million people are estimated to suffer from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs), with nearly 90,000 of them dying. It is estimated that HAIs will cost hospitals US$28 billion to US$45 billion in direct costs.

We can help prevent the spread of HAIs by following best practices when cleaning medical offices and ensuring a safe working environment for staff and patients alike.

What Are Some High-Risk Areas in Medical Offices?

  • High-touch areas: Medical offices have various high-touch areas that require frequent cleaning and disinfection, such as door handles, light switches, countertops, and medical equipment.
  • Medical equipment: Proper handling and cleaning of medical equipment (especially in surgical centers) is necessary to prevent the spread of infections.
  • Biohazardous waste: Medical offices generate hazardous and medical waste that requires proper disposal to prevent contamination. Cleaning professionals need to follow strict protocols for biohazardous waste disposal.
  • Patient rooms: Patient rooms are one of the most critical areas in a healthcare environment, as they require utmost cleanliness to prevent the spread of infections. This is why it’s crucial to thoroughly clean and disinfect the rooms after each patient.
  • Waiting and reception areas: These are high-traffic areas where many people come in contact with each other. Regular cleaning and disinfection of these areas are both necessary to reduce the risk of cross-contamination.

What Are Some Challenges with Cleaning Medical Offices?

  • Short cleaning time and high turnover rate: Medical facilities are often busy, and as a result, the cleaning staff has a limited amount of time to clean each area. This challenge can be addressed by creating a detailed cleaning schedule that prioritizes high-risk areas.
  • Strict regulations and standards: Medical offices must adhere to strict cleanliness standards set by regulatory bodies such as OSHA and the CDC. To ensure compliance, professional cleaners must stay updated with these standards and follow them to the letter.
  • Sensitivity to cleaning products: Many medical offices have patients who are sensitive to strong chemicals or cleaning agents. It's important to use mild, non-toxic cleaning products that effectively clean without causing adverse reactions in sensitive individuals.
  • Risk of cross-contamination: With the high risk of exposure to harmful pathogens, it's crucial to prevent cross-contamination during the entire cleaning process. This can be done by using color-coded microfiber cloths and disposable cleaning supplies for each area.

Preparing for Cleaning Tasks in Medical Offices

Before starting the cleaning process, you and your staff need to understand the specific requirements of each medical office.

Here's some guidance for a professional cleaning service like yours to note when taking on a medical office:

  • Obtain necessary training and certifications: Cleaning professionals should have proper training and certifications before working in a medical facility. This ensures that they understand the protocols and guidelines for cleaning and disinfecting medical offices.
  • Identify high-risk areas: Each medical office has unique features and requirements, so it's crucial to identify the unique high-risk areas that require extra attention during cleaning. This includes patient rooms, waiting and reception areas, restrooms, and nursing stations.
  • Prioritize cleaning tasks: Create a detailed cleaning schedule that prioritizes high-risk areas and tasks. This ensures that essential areas are cleaned thoroughly, even if there is limited time.
  • Use appropriate PPE: Personal protective equipment (PPE) is crucial when cleaning medical offices to protect against exposure to harmful pathogens and chemicals. Cleaning professionals should wear gloves, masks, and other necessary PPE according to the specific requirements of each area.

Necessary Equipment to Clean Medical Offices

Having the right equipment and supplies is crucial for effective and efficient cleaning of medical offices.

Here are some essential items all medical office cleaning services should have:

  • Microfiber cloths: These are versatile and effective in capturing dirt, dust, and bacteria from surfaces.
  • Disposable wipes: To reduce the risk of cross-contamination, it's important to use disposable wipes for high-touch areas and surfaces.
  • A vacuum cleaner with HEPA filter: A vacuum with a HEPA filter can effectively trap small particles that may contain viruses or bacteria, preventing them from being released into the air.
  • Cleaning solutions and disinfectants: It's important to use EPA-approved cleaning solutions and disinfectants that are effective against harmful pathogens.
  • Floor Scrubber: Use a high-quality floor scrubber for efficient and thorough cleaning of large areas, such as waiting and reception rooms.

Best Practices for Cleaning Medical Offices

Now that you've been prepped on everything you need to know before cleaning a medical office, let's look at some best practices to follow during the professional cleaning process:

Start by Dry Cleaning

Before using any cleaning solution or disinfectant, it's important to remove dust and debris from surfaces. This can be done by using a microfiber cloth or vacuum cleaner with a top-quality HEPA filter.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions

When cleaning medical equipment, it's crucial that you follow manufacturer instructions for proper handling, cleaning, and disinfection. Failure to do so may result in damage to the equipment or inadequate disinfection, leading to potential cross-contamination.

Use Appropriate Cleaning Solutions

Using EPA-approved cleaning solutions cleaners and disinfectants is essential for the effective cleaning and disinfection of medical offices.

Use Color-Coded Cleaning Supplies

Color-coded cleaning supplies can help prevent cross-contamination by designating specific colors for different areas or tasks. It's important to change clothes and wipes frequently to reduce the risk of spreading harmful pathogens.

Clean Top to Bottom, Left to Right

When cleaning surfaces, it's best to start at the top and work your way down. This ensures that any dust or debris falls to the floor and can be cleaned last. Following a left-to-right pattern also ensures that no areas are missed.


Focus on High-Touch Surfaces

High-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, and patient tables, should be given extra attention during cleaning. These areas harbor more bacteria and viruses and should be disinfected thoroughly.

Dispose of Cleaning Supplies Properly

After use, disposable wipes and other cleaning supplies should be disposed of properly to prevent cross-contamination. It's important to follow proper waste management protocols according to each medical office's guidelines.

Disinfect Regularly

Surfaces that are frequently touched should be disinfected at least twice a day or more if necessary, depending on the level of traffic in that area.

Practice Proper Waste Management

Proper disposal of used cleaning supplies and waste is essential to prevent the spread of germs. Dispose of all used disposable wipes, gloves, and other cleaning supplies according to the specific guidelines of each area.

Additional Tips for Cleaning Medical Offices

Certain areas in medical offices require specific disinfection techniques to ensure thorough cleaning and prevent the spread of germs.

Here are some best practices to follow when disinfecting high-risk areas in medical clinics, such as waiting rooms and exam rooms:

  • Waiting Rooms: As one of the most frequently used areas, waiting rooms should be cleaned and disinfected regularly. Pay extra attention to chairs, tables, magazines, and toys. To prevent cross-contamination, have a designated area for used reading materials and sanitize them before placing them back in the waiting room.
  • Exam Rooms: Exam rooms require extra attention, as they are the area where patients come into close contact with medical equipment and devices. Start by wiping down high-touch surfaces like exam tables, chairs, and counters with a disinfectant solution. Be sure to follow manufacturer instructions when cleaning and disinfecting medical equipment.
  • Restrooms: Restrooms should be disinfected at least twice a day (more if necessary), depending on the level of traffic. Pay extra attention to high-touch areas, such as faucets, doorknobs, and toilet handles. Use disposable wipes for surfaces and a disinfectant solution for the toilet bowl.

Medical Equipment and Device Cleaning

Proper cleaning and disinfection of medical equipment and devices are essential to prevent the spread of infections.

Here are some best practices to follow when cleaning and disinfecting this equipment:

  • Stethoscopes: Use a disinfectant solution and wipe down the entire stethoscope, including the earpieces and diaphragm. Be sure to follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning methods.
  • Blood pressure cuffs: Clean these with a disinfectant solution after each use. Allow it to air dry completely before using it again. Replace the cuffs if they become visibly soiled.
  • Thermometers: Use an alcohol-based wipe or a disinfectant solution to clean the thermometer after each use. Avoid submerging it in water.
  • Electronics (e.g. tablets, keyboards): Use a disinfectant wipe or spray specifically designed for electronics. Be sure to follow manufacturer instructions for cleaning and disinfection methods.

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Following these practices will ensure that medical offices are properly cleaned and disinfected to prevent the spread of infections. Regular cleaning, using appropriate solutions, and following manufacturer instructions for handling equipment are all key steps to maintaining a safe and healthy environment for both patients and healthcare staff.

Remember, cleanliness is key in medical environments, and proper cleaning techniques are crucial to preventing the spread of infections. By implementing these practices, you can help medical offices maintain a high standard of health and cleanliness and reduce the risk of cross-contamination, ultimately promoting a healthier and safer environment for all.