Cleaning and Disinfecting Elevators: Recommendations & How To AdviceRolly Mechler
We don’t need to share the COVID-19 pandemic stats – I’m sure your newsfeed is full of them. We felt it was prudent, however, to share some tips on disinfecting your elevators during this critical time.
Elevators are critical transportation mediums during this time, often servicing those in greatest need and jeopardy. The obvious issue, however, is that riders are required to make contact with push buttons in the hallway, with those in the elevator car station, and in some cases keypads or touch screens. Elevator buttons are horrifically dirty even in the best of times “Level on Elevator Buttons 40 Times Higher Than on Public Toilet Seats”. However, the Coronavirus Disease 2019 has drastically increased the health risk. As an elevator owner/manager you want to keep your riders safe, but you also do not want to damage your elevator equipment and require premature replacement (which can be extremely expensive). So how do you accomplish this without compromising health and safety?
Ontario Elevator Cleaning Guide
Public Health Ontario has recommended cleaning frequently touched surfaces twice per day and they make some recommendations around cleaners (for full recommendation see: “Cleaning and Disinfection for Public Settings”). This is excellent health advice; however, their concern is purely for health and not the effect these cleaners may have on your elevators. As many critical components are plastics (polycarbonates), strong disinfectants can damage them (i.e. plastics can become tacky, stick to internal components, damage them, and result in extremely expensive repairs). You will want to find a cleaning agent that is effective yet does not damage the components.
Here are some tips:
- According to polycarbonate manufacturers, two well-known, and safe cleaning products are: Palmolive (Colgate Co.), and Joy (Proctor and Gamble)
- Do not use abrasive or highly alkaline cleaners (e.g.: Lysol which has Ammonium Compounds)
- Do not scrape with sharp tools to remove dirt
- Do not use solvents such as benzene, gasoline, acetone, or carbon tetrachloride
- Do not use cleaning agents at high temperatures
- Do not leave cleaning agents on surfaces for long periods
3 Steps on How to Clean You Elevator & Disinfect:
- Use cotton cloth and warm water to pre-clean the area
- Use safe and effective cleaning agents (as mentioned about); Note: you can check the MSDS sheets available on manufacturer’s websites to be sure.
- Dilute the cleaning product in warm water and apply using a wet cotton cloth
Questions From Our Clients:
Q: Is it safe to use pure bleach on the elevator buttons and car station
A: I received the attached from the button manufacturer. You will see that you are supposed to use “PH-neutral” or “slightly acid” products only. When I researched bleach, it said that bleach is “definitely not” PH-neutral (it is called PH-basic), so I would not recommend using it. Here is a link which explains that chlorine bleach is actually at the top of the alkaline level (https://www.amycleaning.co.uk/blog/2013/05/ph-level-of-house-cleaning-products/).
Q: Can we order some disinfectant for the elevator from you?
A: I’m sorry but we do not sell any cleaning supplies. I’m afraid you’ll have to reach out to office supply companies or retail stores. Here is an additional information sheet I received this week from a button manufacturer. It gives a few other suggestions.
Q: “Soap” seems sensible for cleaning. To disinfect would an alcohol-based baby wipe be OK?
A: Baby wipes appear to be OK, according to the attached document “PH-neutral or slightly acidic”.
Experts Conversation – Canadian Elevator Contractors Association:
We were recently introduced to the Microban Aegis5700 anti-microbial product and want to share with you. See the web link below.
This product has now been made available to us and is extremely effective in creating a long lasting severely inhospitable surface for germs and other encapsulated microbes. We are in the process of treating our offices and vehicles and offering application of this product to our clients.
The above site has information on this amazing product that is now becoming widely used to treat all surfaces in commercial and residential buildings, schools, churches and transit systems (literally planes, trains and automobiles) around the world. It’s not a sanitizer or disinfectant. It’s a long lasting anti-microbial product scientifically designed to bond to surfaces to provide exactly the kind of protection we need. Long term protection from harmful microbial elements. Once applied testing shows it to be effective for up to a full year.
Reach out to me directly if you have questions, need more info or feel it may be a good solution for your clients or your own business. You may call our office but best to email me personally or message here for a quick response. Stay Safe!
Thanks for sharing. Unfortunately Microban doesn’t offer any protection against viruses. We have a line of buttons using Microban; the component has only been proven effective in eliminating microbes, looking at the data published by the manufacturer.
George E. Foleanu
This is true. Microban registered this product as such, they can not and will not make any claims beyond that. That world has a very tricky and litigious landscape. However, if you look under the hood, so to speak, it’s effectiveness is quite evident. I’d be happy to help you out with additional info. for your due diligence or give me a call to chat about it as it is quite an interesting story.