The continued spread of the flu and new coronavirus (COVID-19) further demonstrates the need for workspaces to be clean and healthy. Luckily, the act of cleaning and then disinfecting a surface dramatically reduces the chances of infection spreading.

“Businesses need to step up their efforts to make sure their workplaces are disinfected regularly and properly,” says Afshin Cangarlu, CEO of Stratus Building Solutions. “There are specific cleaning tools and methods and a right and wrong way to tackle disinfection that could make or break the health of employees.”

Here are five tips on disinfecting an office, according to Stratus Building Solutions:

1. Use a one-way wipe down

Wipe down a surface in one direction and don’t go back over it in the opposite direction because it will deposit germs that were just cleaned up. Routinely wipe down all frequently touched surfaces such as workstations, countertops and doorknobs.

2. Practice color-coded cleaning

Color code cloths for specific spaces so janitorial and custodial staff doesn’t cross-contaminate — don't confuse kitchen cloths with the bathroom 

3. Know what chemicals can do

On the bottle, common household disinfectants tout their ability to kill 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses, including human coronavirus, flu strains, E.coli and salmonella, among others. But will they work against COVID-19? The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says these disinfectants are “thought” to be effective against the new coronavirus strain, but until tests confirm it, this has not been scientifically proven.  

4. Tech disinfect

Don’t forget to wipe down high tough surfaces on an employee's desk, such as their keyboard and phone.

5. Heavily promote handwashing 

Post handwashing and drying signs throughout the office – from the kitchen to the bathroom – to remind employees to clean their with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 to 95 percent alcohol or with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Dry hands thoroughly because germs spread with moisture.