Cleaning and Disinfecting Tips to eradicate the Coronavirus and avoid damaging Interior Surfaces

Washing hands and cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces are two of the best ways to defend against spreading the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

As COVID-19 spreads, you’ve probably already learned the proper technique for washing your hands and which cleaners can destroy a coronavirus.

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Following are some tips that will help prevent the spread of pathogens and diseases without damaging your interior surfaces:

·       Avoid the indiscriminant use of detergents and disinfectants on different types of surfaces. Read the labels to make sure the cleaning products are safe to use in the surfaces where they are being applied.

·       Alcohol solutions that contain at least 70 percent alcohol are effective against coronavirus, according to the CDC. For the most part, nearly every interior surface of a vessel can be cleaned and disinfected with isopropyl alcohol. Most surfaces like plastic trim to painted chrome to imitation leather—have been tested to ensure they don’t degrade when exposed to pure isopropyl alcohol. It’s even possible to rub the exterior surface of soft cloth upholstery with alcohol in order to clean it. Leathers and imitation leathers have urethane coatings for protection, which is safe to clean with alcohol. But over time, cleaning leather with alcohol can leave it susceptible to damage and discoloration.

·       Bleach (0.1%) and Hydrogen Peroxide (0.5%) should only be used on high resistance materials and fabrics. Make sure these chemicals are properly diluted in water and check the labels of the fabric or material to make sure they will not have an adverse effect on it.

·       Avoid ammonia-based cleaners on shiny surfaces, as they can damage their gloss, anti-glare and anti-fingerprint coatings.

·       Vigorous washing with soap and water can also destroy a coronavirus. Coronaviruses are surrounded by a protective envelope that helps them to infect other cells, and destroying that envelope can effectively disarm them. Soap and water are also safe for most interiors—especially fabrics and older leather that may have begun to crack. Just be sure not to scrub too hard, because friction from cleaning also participates in the destruction or deterioration of surfaces. Most leathers are dyed, and cleaning too vigorously can remove the dye, in some cases people believe their light-colored leathers are getting dirtier as they scrub it, which isn’t the case. “It’s not getting dirtier; you’re removing all the color on top.”

·       Take care of your leather upholstery after you clean it, by using a good leather cleaner, then a good leather conditioner to hydrate it.

·       Use warm water when cleaning surfaces, be sure to verify the ideal water temperature allowed on the label of the material. Avoid using vapor on soft furnishings as high temperatures can cause damage to fabric, vinyl and/or leather.

·       Rinse with water all surfaces where disinfectants and soaps have been used.

·       Make sure to ventilate and dry all of your soft surfaces after they have been washed, because humidity is a source for the growth and spread of pathogens, mildew and diseases.

·       Training your staff in cleaning procedures, material handling and reading the care labels on furniture will be of utmost importance in preserving the integrity of soft surfaces and guaranteeing a longer life span.

These tips will help ship owners preserve materials on soft surfaces and avoid the spread of diseases like the Coronavirus, but the new sanitary protocols that will be in place after cruise lines begin sailing will shorten the life of upholstery due to the effects of chemicals, friction from cleaning, discoloration, etc.

We all know that first impressions count, especially during these complicated times. The first thing guests see when they sit in your reception or public areas is the furniture and cruise and hotel operators will have to renew or refresh the upholstery when it has faded or deteriorated due to the new sanitary and cleaning protocols. Budgetary challenges will require competitive solutions like reupholstering instead of replacing furniture, as you can renew the looks of a room at a fraction of the cost.

Xaler Systems LLC is an expert reupholstery service provider for the Cruise Ship and Hospitality Industries. We can support you in selecting durable materials that can withstand the harsh conditions of the new cleaning protocols, while performing a superior and quality reupholstery service with the most competitive rates in the market.  

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