As the coronavirus continues to affect our daily lives, we’ve all had to make major changes. For all of us at Mergo, that means working from home as much as possible, conducting video tours of properties, and working with our tenants who have been financially affected by this crisis.
But as June 1st came closer, we soon realized there would be an even more important change we’d have to make involving how we clean our properties during turnovers. In the current climate, a simple vacuum and dusting job isn’t enough to ensure a property is free of COVID-19. So over the past few weeks, we’ve worked with our cleaners to totally revamp our turnover system to ensure that all of our properties are completely safe for our new tenants.
We thought we’d share a bit about what we’ve been doing to improve our cleaning process for both turnovers and common areas at all of our properties.
Getting up to code
The first thing we did when this pandemic hit was to work with our cleaners to verify that all of their cleaning products complied with the EPA’s criteria for use against COVID-19. According to current research, the virus can live on many hard surfaces for up to 72 hours—so it is extremely important to make sure you’re using the right chemicals and cleaning routinely touched surfaces. During turnovers and regular cleaning, our cleaners are equipped with N95 masks and gloves which are replaced between every home to ensure they are not spreading the virus between properties.
Our cleaners have also gone through training on how to disinfect for coronavirus and are following the CDC Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Community Facilities in our multifamily properties. All common spaces are cleaned and disinfected regularly, with special attention to doorknobs, keypads, buttons, and light switches.
When you have multiple people going in and out of a multifamily property and using common facilities, there is a high risk of contamination. Even if everyone is doing their best to be safe, there are still some little known situations where the virus can be spread without you even realizing it.
To combat this, we’ve placed notices in many of our common areas to help inform and remind our tenants of how they can limit the spread of coronavirus. In properties with shared laundry facilities, for example, we’ve put up notices to avoid shaking out laundry prior to putting it in the machine (which can spread coronavirus pathogens in the air) and to use the warmest possible water when cleaning clothes.
We also have general notices on many of our properties that cover the importance of:
- Handwashing frequently, and for at least 20 seconds.
- Washing produce after returning from the grocery store.
- Cleaning hard surfaces with an approved cleaner or 60% alcohol solution.
- Wearing masks and gloves whenever possible.
These notices also have phone numbers and contact information for various local facilities if a tenant does suspect they have coronavirus.
Deep cleaning during turnovers
Our biggest priority at the moment is to ensure that all of our properties are safe during turnovers, as old tenants leave and new tenants move in. Most of our turnovers have already occured in the first week of June, but we’ll be seeing many more properties turn over in September and sporadically throughout the next few months.
We’ve always used a thorough turnover process that includes maintenance checks, property walkthroughs, and a deep cleaning. But these days, “deep cleaning” has taken on another meaning. We’re now focused on sanitizing in addition to cleaning.
As a result, we’ve broken our cleaning procedure into two parts. First, we clean as we normally would—with soap, water, and other household cleaners—including cleaning carpets with a professional carpet cleaning company. We’re also making sure to clean deeper, going into all the hard-to-reach places where COVID could stay hidden like the tops of window fans, areas behind refrigerators and stoves, and window blinds.
Once the cleaning process is over, we disinfect. This is done by either using disinfectants from the EPA’s list of disinfectants or by using a 60% (or higher) alcohol solution. In many cases, we spray hard to reach areas with an alcohol solution to ensure that every square inch of the home is disinfected.
This is just one of many ways we’re working to make life easier for both our tenants and owners during these difficult times. Feel free to incorporate these cleaning tips into your own management process, or if you’d like to see what Mergo can do for you, just get in touch for a free proposal. As a full-service property management company, we can help with everything from finding tenants to cleaning, evictions, and more.