You probably clean your church regularly, but how often do you disinfect it? During the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), it’s important to properly disinfect every area of the church, especially high-contact areas like doorknobs, light switches, and hymnals. Here’s a brief guide to disinfecting a church.
The Difference Between Cleaning and Disinfecting
Although cleaning and disinfecting seem like synonyms, there is actually a key difference between the two. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cleaning removes germs from a surface, while disinfecting kills them. For best results, you should clean surfaces and then disinfect them. That way, you are removing as many germs as possible and then killing any remaining germs on the surface.
Areas to Disinfect in a Church
Before you start, create a checklist of areas that need to be cleaned, including areas you may not usually think about:
- Church chairs or pews
- Communion table, pulpit, and other sanctuary furniture
- Piano, organ, and other musical instruments
- Microphones and other audio equipment
- Light switches
Cleaners to Use
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a list of cleaners that effectively kill COVID-19. Depending on the surface, you’ll want to use different types of cleaners.
Bleach and Bleach-Based Products
Bleach is suitable for a variety of hard, non-porous surfaces such as tile floors and light switches. However, never use it on wood or other porous surfaces. Also avoid using it on metal since metal surfaces may become oxidized or even corroded from contact with bleach.
An isopropyl alcohol solution is appropriate for most metal surfaces. Stronger cleaning products may damage any protective coating present on the metal.
Some wood cleaning products contain isopropyl alcohol. Avoid using other harsh chemicals like bleach on wood surfaces because they can cause permanent damage to the wood.
You don’t want to damage electronics with harsh chemicals such as bleach. Use disinfecting wipes such as Clorox or Lysol wipes to clean microphones and other audio or visual equipment. Make sure you turn off and unplug all electronics before cleaning them.
Safety for Your Church Cleaning Staff
It’s important for your cleaning staff to be safe while they’re working to disinfect the church. Keep these tips in mind:
- Follow the instructions on the cleaning products label carefully. Make sure you let the product sit on the surface for the amount of time that is needed to fully disinfect.
- Wear appropriate protective equipment (gloves, mask, face shield, goggles, and/or long-sleeved shirt and long pants).
- Don’t spray cleaners onto surfaces – this can lift virus particles into the air. Instead, spray cleaner onto a cloth or paper towel.
How Often Should You Disinfect Your Church?
Each church will need to assess its own unique situation when deciding how often to disinfect. If your church is not currently holding any services due to COVID-19 and there are no people coming and going, then an occasional disinfection will probably be sufficient. Once services start to resume, aim to disinfect between each service. You could just focus on the pews or chairs, light switches, door knobs, and other surfaces people will have contact with rather than disinfecting the entire church.
Even once the COVID-19 outbreak has passed, you should still schedule regular disinfection for your church. This will ensure a clean, safe environment for all of your members.