5 Ways To Work Safe As A Self-Employed House Cleaner During The Corona Virus Epidemic
Self-employed house cleaners don’t have a “remote work” option. We have to be in our customer’s homes to provide value and get paid.
During this time of Corona Virus (COVID-19), working in our customer’s homes brings special risks to both us and our customers. However, there are ways to reduce the risks as we clean our customers homes.
What’s Covered In This Article
1 – Know How The Virus Spreads
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the main way Corona Virus (COVID-19) is spread is through coming in contact with droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs.
These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or be inhaled into the lungs of others.
A less common way to spread the virus is through touching virus contaminated surfaces and then touching your own mouth, nose or eyes.
That is why public health officials constantly remind us not to touch our faces with unwashed hands and to cover all coughs and sneezes.
2 – Cleaning, Sanitizing And Disinfecting
Some people use the terms “cleaning”, “sanitizing” and “disinfecting” as though they are the same.
However to the CDC, there is a clear difference between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting.
The CDC defines them as:
Cleaning, Sanitizing And Disinfecting Hard Surfaces
When cleaning and disinfecting hard surfaces like tables, chairs, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, handles, desks, toilets and sinks, wear gloves.
Be sure to toss disposable gloves after cleaning in each of your customers homes.
Also wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after removing disposable gloves.
Try to keep an extra bottle of hand sanitizer in your car, purse or backpack.
Dirty surfaces should be cleaned using your usual cleaning solutions and water before disinfecting.
Follow the cleaning step with the disinfectant liquid you already use for bathroom and kitchen cleaning.
Inexpensive Sanitizing and Disinfecting Solutions
You can also use diluted household bleach solutions and alcohol solutions with at least 70% alcohol.
Diluted bleach in a spray bottle is an inexpensive sanitizing standby for cleaning in childcare centers and restaurants.
Sanitizing solutions use less bleach than disinfecting solutions.
Caution: Do not mix bleach with other cleaning chemicals like ammonia, commercial disinfectants, rust removers and acids (like vinegar or grout cleaners).
Cleaning, Sanitizing And Disinfecting Soft Surfaces and Laundry
If you are cleaning and disinfecting soft or porous surfaces like rugs, carpets and drapes, first clean away visible dirt.
Then wash those items in the warmest water you can use for those surfaces.
If they can’t be washed, spray those soft surfaces with disinfectant spray (not bleach or bleach solution).
Safe Laundry Handling Around COVID-19
If you offer laundry care as part of your cleaning service:
3 – Personal Protection On The Job
Facial masks are most important when working around customers present in their homes while you are cleaning.
That goes double if they are over sixty or have underlying health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, cancer, asthma or weakened immune systems.
Keeping Your Hands Clean
Try to wash your hands when arriving at your customer’s home, prior to leaving their home and use hand sanitizer frequently during the cleaning.
Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Gloves Help Keep You Safe
While facial masks are crucial in preventing the spread of the virus, for working house cleaners, gloves are very important.
Disposable latex or nitrile gloves should be worn when you are making beds, dusting, cleaning mirrors (especially bathroom mirrors), shower doors and handling trash and recycling containers.
Be sure to toss disposable gloves after using them in each customer’s home.
I have been using two or more pairs of disposable gloves in each customer’s home since COVID-19 became a concern.
One pair for dry work like dusting. Another pair for wet work, like cleaning and sanitizing kitchen countertops and appliances.
That is in addition to the heavy duty reusable gloves I always wear when cleaning bathrooms and kitchens.
Disposable gloves can be found in any grocery store in the cleaning goods aisle, hardware stores or your favorite janitorial supply store.
4 – Pay Attention To Your Own Health
The most important person to take care of during this time is you. If you are sick, you can’t take care of your family or run your cleaning business.
Stay aware of how you feel day to day and do what you can to stay safe.
COVID-19 Symptoms And Emergency Warning Signs
Get medical attention immediately if you have any of the emergency warning signs.
Symptoms and emergency warning signs of COVID-19 include:
What To Do If You Get Sick
If you do get sick, slow down and call your healthcare provider.
Let them know about your symptoms.
Tell them that you have or may have COVID-19. This will help your doctor take care of you and keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
If you are not sick enough to be hospitalized, you can recover at home. Follow CDC instructions for how to take care of yourself at home.
Customers At Highest Risk
All of these tips are especially important if you have customers who are at higher risk for getting very ill from COVID-19. These higher risk persons include:
5 – Understand COVID-19 is a serious public health risk
As I write this, many countries throughout the world and states in the USA have closed schools, bars, restaurants and other public spaces.
Also, many private companies, from car manufacturers to banks have shut their doors to slow the spread of the virus.
As a self-employed house cleaner right now, it is important to do extra disinfecting and hand washing. Both will take extra time and effort.
Getting into those habits will be hard. Yet, taking the time to do those extra steps now may keep your customers and your family safe in the near future.
Most important is staying aware of your own health and your customers health.
You do the work. Your customers pay the bills.
Without you or your customers you don’t have a cleaning business.
Take care of yourself. We can get through this.
What are you doing to keep safe during this epidemic? Share your tips in the comments below. ⬇︎