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Don't sweep summer under the rug

October 11, 2013
by Sandra Hoban, Managing Editor
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In spring, it’s so refreshing to open the windows and scrub the remnants of winter out of our homes. The air is fresher and the sky is brighter and good feelings abound. Autumn really isn’t any different. So if you really love housecleaning, this is your time to shine.

The same is true for long-term care environments, even more so. How many people, pets, pollens, colds, dust and other contaminants have settled in the carpets, furniture and, yes, even the curtains and mattresses in resident rooms?

Before the windows slam shut to keep out the cold and the mud and snow leave tracks down the hall, get out the bleach, mop, sprays and other cleaning and disinfecting materials so your facility’s indoor environment is fresh and sanitized. It’s a positive for maintaining staff health, too.

Clean the drains and traps, and clean windows and screens that dust and pollen adhere to. Try to find every area that could use a little elbow grease. If your housekeeping staff doesn’t have the equipment and/or time to take on some of these issues, maybe an outside cleaning service could be contracted to do some of the heavier work like carpet cleaning, steam cleaning kitchen floors and countertops or duct cleaning. Clean refrigerators and ovens, too.

Along with cleaning the windows, fabrics, floors and walls, wipe down the residents’ beds, bed tables and nightstands. It’s also a great time to inspect and clean mattresses.

I know all this sounds like a lot of work—and it is. But if it helps your residents have fewer colds and asthma attacks, you’ll have happier families and staff might experience fewer sick days, too. That alone should make any of the associated costs pay for themselves in the long run.

Related articles: Beyond rubber gloves: Housekeeping’s infection control role

Contaminated mattresses: A new source of concern in infection control?

Better housekeeping tools in nursing homes




Sandra Hoban

Managing Editor

Sandra Hoban


Sandra Hoban has been on Long-Term Living’s editorial staff for 17 years. She is one of...