Covid19 Safety Guidelines for Domestic Cleaners

Updated August 17 2020
In the UK, under current government guidelines, domestic cleaners are being encouraged to return to work. Despite this, the presence of cleaners in private homes requires careful management if it is to be done safely.
The purpose of these guidelines is to allow a cleaner to clean a private home with minimal transmission risk, both to the cleaner and the client.
They are designed to minimise the possible vectors of infection while travelling to a client, on-site with a client, and when returning home. Please remember that these guidelines will only be effective if followed exactly.

Do Not Work if Ill

If you are feeling ill, regardless of the symptoms, rearrange your clients for another day. It is better to be safe than sorry. Covid19 has a very wide range of symptoms, and as such you should exercise the principle that work will only go ahead if you are well and entirely symptom-free.
Please also take the time to check with your clients that all members of the household are well, prior to leaving for a job.

Vulnerable and At-Risk Individuals

Cleaners should avoid bookings (and clients should avoid making them) where the client is in an at-risk category, unless the visit is immediately necessary to the client’s welfare. This includes older clients and clients who are in an at-risk group due to underlying health conditions.

Traveling to Bookings

The biggest risk of exposure to Covid19 comes from the use of public transport. Even with safety measures in place, public transport is necessarily an indoor environment where people are in proximity to each other. It is therefore important to:
1. Avoid public transport if possible – could you walk or cycle instead?
2. Wear a set of gloves and a mask while on public transport
3. Avoid directly touching potentially contaminated surfaces (ticket machines, barriers, call buttons, bus stop request buttons, traffic light buttons, buzzers, external apartment door handles).
4. Maintain distance from others as far as possible.
5. Remember that protective items you wear may be contaminated – disinfect gloves after each use with hand-gel, and avoid touching the front of the mask for any reason when putting it on and taking it off.
6. If you are cleaning for private clients, try to schedule bookings for times when clients are less busy.
7. Avoid eating, drinking or smoking while traveling.

Arriving on Site

When arriving at a client’s location, or back home after a clean:
1. Have a separate set of protective gear (gloves / mask) that is not used while traveling.
2. Remove the set you used while traveling.
3. Wash your hands.
4. Put on the gloves and mask you reserve for cleaning.
5. Wash the gloves you are wearing with soap (as if you were washing your hands).

While On-Site

1. Open windows where possible.
2. Avoid being in the same room as the client.
3. Keep a mask or other face covering in place, and avoid touching the mask.
4. Do not accept food, drinks or physical gifts.
5. Minimise spoken interactions to those necessary to do the job.
6. Do not share cloths between different households without washing them in between.

Handling Clothes

To minimise the risk of infection, it is a good idea to avoid handling dirty clothes and bedding (e.g. doing laundry and making beds). If this service is necessary, please take extra care while doing it. Wear gloves, and avoid shaking or waving dirty items around.

On Leaving a Client Site

Before leaving, follow this procedure:
1. Wash your gloves as though you were washing your hands, with soap.
2. Take the gloves and mask off, again without touching the front of the mask.
3. Wash your hands with soap.
4. Put the mask and gloves used for traveling on.

Work Clothes

After working, it is good practice to change and wash your clothing immediately on arriving home. As usual, wash your hands as well.

Additional Important Points

Gloves and masks only improve safety if used correctly. Washing your gloves is a very important measure to take. If you do not do this, it is better not to wear gloves at all.
Masks should be washed daily or if using disposable masks, replaced daily.
The greatest safety comes from maintaining distance from other people at all times. Do not let protective equipment lull you into a false sense of security – maintain your distance.
These guidelines have been published to ensure the safety of cleaners and clients working on the Helpwiz platform. As a platform for independent cleaners, we do not have the power to enforce this, but we hope and expect that all listed cleaners are taking these issues seriously and that guidelines will be followed.