Change is Brewing: Cleaning vs. Disinfecting

As a part of the food service industry, it’s always been important for coffee shops to maintain a clean space for the health and safety of their guests. Now that we are in a pandemic, there is a new and very real health risk that requires us to actively fight against it.

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Pre-coronavirus, we were concerned with cleaning, maybe even tossing around the phrase “deep clean” now and again. We were thinking about cleaning in the sense of improving or maintaining the appearance of our shops. While this is still important, there is now an added layer to our “cleaning” regimen; disinfection.


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What is disinfection?

Disinfection refers to the use of chemicals to kill germs (bacteria, viruses, etc.) on a surface. The EPA has a list of disinfectants that are approved for use against COVID-19. It is not only the chemical agent that is important, it is also the application. Disinfection should follow cleaning a surface; you can think of it as a 2-step process.



Step 1: Cleaning 
  • Begin by sweeping, vacuuming or otherwise removing loose and visible debris from your surface
  • Continue by using a soap or detergent to clean any visible mess as well as remove harmful germs from your surface
  • Repeat on all desired surfaces
Step 2: Disinfection
  • Use your EPA-approved disinfectant by spraying your surface. Be sure to wipe your surface down with a clean, disposable towel. Reusable rags can harbor bacteria and viruses.
  • Repeat on all desired surfaces.
*Be sure to closely follow the label instructions of your chosen disinfectant.


What areas should be cleaned and disinfected often?blog-counter SQ

Your high traffic areas will need your new 2-step process throughout the day. Given each coffee shop has its own unique layout and operations, this will vary from business to business. Generally speaking, any surface your customers and employees are coming into contact with repetitively is a high traffic area. This can include; doors/door-knobs, counter tops, point of sale, pick up area, refrigeration, etc. 

Some businesses decide they want to clean and disinfect after every customer to some degree, and others put their regimen into a timed schedule (every 15 minutes as an example). This will be at your own discretion as to what is best for your shop, and what gives you peace of mind.


Keeping a log

Once you have all of the pieces of your cleaning and disinfection process in place, it is time to record it. Keep a written record of your 2-step protocols and your schedule. This will eliminate any subjectivity within your team, plus it’s a great training resource! In addition, we should be mindful of accountability; this is where your cleaning and disinfection log comes in. Replicate your schedule with a space for your team members to record their name, signing off on the fact that they successfully completed the 2-step process during the designated time.


Disinfection-blog-ad SQ 2 (1)Add an insurance layer: Step 3

For high traffic businesses, such as coffee shops it is becoming increasingly important to add in a professional disinfection service. This could look similar to how you schedule your preventative extermination service (most commonly on a monthly basis). It could also be utilized if you have had suspected or known exposure to the COVID-19 virus in your shop.




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Disinfection specialists come into your cafe at a scheduled time to treat your surfaces with an antimicrobial spray that immediately eradicates bacteria and viruses. These treatments are conducted by trained professionals with full personal protective equipment. The effects of this service are residual, lasting up to weeks after, meaning your surfaces are protected from future exposure for a period of time.