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Routinely cleaning and disinfecting is the most important thing businesses can do to keep their facilities safe from COVID-19. Big Green is offering a free initial sanitizing to new customers with commercial facilities that sign up for recurring service. (Big Green photo)

There are many unknowns about the new coronavirus, but that doesn’t mean you should be nervous about returning to work when the time comes.

Instead, follow the guidance of experts, who have preventative measures you can take to protect your office from COVID-19.

Here are answers to some common questions.

How long does the virus last on surfaces?

A recent study showed the COVID-19 virus was more stable on plastic and stainless steel, where it was detected 72 hours after application, than on surfaces such as cardboard and copper, according to the New England Journal of Medicine.

While it’s unclear how long the virus lasts on all surfaces, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says you can contract COVID-19 if you touch surfaces with the virus and then touch your mouth, nose, or possibly eyes.

What should you do to keep your workplace safe? 

Routinely cleaning and disinfecting is the most important thing you can do.

You should clean dirty surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting with an Environmental Protection Agency registered household disinfectant to prevent viral spread.

“During the pandemic, the concern is the actual sustainability of human life, and it is the time for us to bring out the quaternary and chloride disinfectants that, in our normal procedures, are contained to bathrooms and medical areas,” says Allen Williams, president of Big Green Cleaning Company, the largest commercial janitorial business in Santa Barbara.

Those cleaning your workspace should wear disposable gloves, and other protective equipment.

What do you need to clean and disinfect? 

Frequently touched surfaces and spaces are the most important to disinfect: 

» Workstations

» Keyboards

» Telephones

» Handrails

» Bathrooms

» Common areas

» Doorknobs

» Touchscreens

» Remote controls

» ATMs or vending machines

Soft surfaces, like carpets, rugs, drapes, and couches should be cleaned with soap and water.

What if someone in your office has been sick?

If a colleague has recently been sick, the CDC advises waiting at least 24 hours before disinfecting the space and increasing ventilation and air flow while cleaning and disinfecting.

If it’s been over seven days since the sick person was in the facility, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting is unnecessary, according to the CDC.

Who should clean your workspace?

One way you can ensure your space is properly disinfected is to hire professionals.

“In normal situations, many people think of their cleaning service as a utility that is not noticed until something goes wrong — a missed trash can or an empty towel dispenser,” Williams said. “But when employees will be returning to their offices or work facilities, they will be scrutinizing how well their workspaces are cleaned and sanitized.”

That’s why Big Green is thorough when it cleans and disinfects, including using atomizing sprayers to apply a mist of disinfectant to all surfaces and wiping high touch surfaces by hand to ensure complete coverage. It also converts pump soap dispensers to touchless units and reviews sanitizing protocol.

To help companies that need janitorial service during the pandemic, Big Green is offering a free initial sanitizing to new customers with commercial facilities that sign up for recurring service.

“As a company, we are grateful that we are in a position to help with sanitizing services for medical facilities and government agencies who have had to ramp up special operations,” Williams said. “It is gratifying to be able to help the community by doing our part in this difficult time.”

Big Green serves the Santa Barbara, Goleta, Carpinteria, Ventura, Santa Maria, and San Luis Obispo areas. For more information, visit or call the company’s 24-hour hotline at 805.692.1000.