Cleaning FAQs - University of Houston
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Cleaning FAQs

University Buildings

UH has a trained and professional custodial staff that is responding to the needs of campus in regard to the COVID-19 outbreak on a daily basis. In addition to the standard custodial cleaning protocols, the university has implemented an enhanced cleaning frequency to clean common areas and commonly touched surfaces. The cleaning chemical used meets EPA criteria for use against COVID-19. Touch points such as entrance tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, handrails, elevator buttons, tables and restroom stall handles/doors, faucets, and toilets are being cleaned at least once daily, five days a week.

Facility maintainers are tasked with monitoring soap and hand sanitizer dispensers. The university has many hand sanitizer stations containing alcohol-based hand sanitizer placed throughout campus. These stations are routinely located in high-traffic building entrances.

Although hand sanitizer can help prevent the spread of the virus, practicing the CDC’s proper hand-washing technique is considered to be more effective.

Facilities Services has also placed buckets of cleaning wipes throughout each building. These wipes contain the same cleaning chemical used by facilities in their cleaning process and can be used by individuals to wipe down tables, desks and other surfaces. They should not be used on electronics.

In addition, departments may obtain individual hand sanitizer pumps, sprays from UH preferred vendors such as Tejas or PDEM/Fastenal.

Faculty, staff and students can also help by cleaning work areas. Work practices such as cleaning (several times per day) commonly touched surfaces such as lab benches, lab equipment, desks, phones, remote controls, printers, fax machines, computer mice and keyboards, help reduce the threat of disease transmission. The university recommends that departments or units purchase EPA-registered chemicals for use against COVID-19. Always use cleaning products as recommended on manufacturer labels, including wearing disposable gloves where directed. This may be done through Tejas, PDME/Fastenal or other commercial vendors.

Wash your hands thoroughly on a routine basis as well as after cleaning. Hand washing should include the use of regular soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds. If soap is not immediately available, use hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol content or greater.

More information on the university’s cleaning response to a positive case can be found on Cleaning After a Positive Case.

Laboratory Spaces and Adjoining Offices

Wear disposable gloves and eye protection when cleaning surfaces, and ensure the area has good ventilation. If the area does not have good ventilation, apply chemical and leave the area until the surfaces have dried. Discard gloves after each cleaning and wash hands immediately.

Using paper towels, first clean dirty surfaces with a detergent or soap and water, then carefully apply chemical and wipe to evenly distribute the chemical. Avoid spraying chemical on the surfaces to prevent the creation of aerosols. Allow surfaces to air dry. Discard paper towels and cleaning wipes into the regular trash.

The virus is effectively killed by using 10% freshly prepared bleach, 70% ethanol, or cleaning wipes. Virkon-S is a safe chemical for use around animal areas. Do not mix bleach with ammonia or other cleaners. The EPA has provided a helpful list of registered chemicals that are effective against the novel coronavirus, including ready-to-use Clorox and Lysol products.

Consult the product label for the contact time or dwell time. Wipes must remain wet to be effective. Be sure to tightly close the lid when not in use.

Due to the novel nature of this virus, it may not be listed on product labels at this time. The EPA has an accelerated process in place to allow for novel viruses to be added to product labels.

Cleaning frequency depends on the amount of activity in the lab and shared office areas. At the very least, cleaning should occur daily before closing for the day. Custodial services are providing stepped-up cleaning of cafeterias, breakrooms, bathrooms and other common areas nightly. Contact your building manager or work services for details regarding custodial services.

  • Highly touched surfaces such as chairs, desktops, computer keyboards, computer displays, remotes, light switches, elevator buttons, handrails, doorknobs, doors, door push plates, card readers, refrigerator/freezer handles and their doors
  • Equipment panels/switches and bench tops
  • Biosafety cabinet and fume hood sashes and their working surfaces
  • Bio-waste container lids
  • Commonly used hand tools and small objects (pipettors)
  • Shared PPE (safety glasses or goggles)

Be careful when cleaning sensitive equipment to prevent disruption of the equipment.

Teach Remotely

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