Apr 16, 2020
How to Clean Tools to Prevent Spread of COVID-19
Although construction activities are considered essential in most areas of the country, what’s also essential is making sure you’re staying safe on the job. A big part of that involves cleaning tools to prevent the spread of disease.
Cleaning wipes can make this easy, but present a couple of problems. First, some of these wipes contain ingredients that could harm your tools. And secondly, they are in short supply in many stores around the country.
That’s why Milwaukee Tool has releases a helpful cleaning guide for power tools, subject to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control, OSHA, and those of State and Local health departments. Additionally, Milwaukee Tool urges everyone to please follow applicable guidelines of these agencies.
Here are 5 general rules for handling tools during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- People handling tools should wash their hands or use a proper hand sanitizer before and after use to help prevent contamination.
- People handling tools should be properly trained and protected using necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
- Clean tools with mild soap, a clean damp cloth, and, as needed, an approved diluted bleach solution only.Certain cleaning agents and solvents are harmful to plastics and other insulated parts and shouldn’t be used.
- Milwaukee® does not recommend cleaners that have conductive or corrosive materials, especially those with ammonia. Some of these include gasoline, turpentine, lacquer thinner, paint thinner, chlorinated cleaning solvents, ammonia and household detergents containing ammonia.
- Never use flammable or combustible solvents around tools.
How to Clean Your Tools
Milwaukee Tool states that tools can be cleaned with a mild soap and a damp cloth to remove fluids and then left to rest for 3 days. This recommendation, it continues, is based on the CDC’s statement that the virus may live on plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours. This is the recommended cleaning option for batteries.
Alternatively, tools can be cleaned with a mild soap and damp cloth to remove dirt and grease and then decontaminated with a diluted bleach solution. However, this option is not recommended for batteries. To follow this procedure properly, complete the following steps:
- Clean the product surface with mild soap and water to remove dirt and grease.
- Dip a clean cloth into the dilute bleach solution. A properly diluted bleach solution can be made by mixing 5 tablespoons bleach per gallon of water, or 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water.
- Wring out the cloth so it is not dripping wet.
- Gently wipe each handle, grasping surfaces, or outer surfaces with the cloth, using care to ensure liquids do not flow into tool.
- No other cleaning material should be used as the diluted bleach solution should never be mixed with ammonia or any other cleanser.
- Allow the surface to dry naturally.
- The cleaner should avoid touching their face with unwashed hands and should immediately wash their hands after this process.
If blood was on the tool, advanced cleaning procedures should be followed. Under OSHA requirements, anyone required to perform this type cleaning should be trained in Bloodborne Pathogens and the use of the necessary PPE for this work.