5 best practices for dental office cleaning

By Johnny Pallares, DrBicuspid.com contributing writer

July 14, 2022 -- Making sure that everyone is meeting the cleaning standards for the clinic is one of the many duties that the dental office administrator has. While patient and staff safety is always the No. 1 priority, you also want the clinic to be clean and welcoming for patients. Having an organized and clean environment makes the best first impression, and it signals to patients that you take all of their health needs into consideration.

In a highly competitive market, keeping your patients happy is more important than ever. You may be doing your best to keep the dental practice clean, but have you ever wondered if your cleaning regimen could be more effective?

Johnny Pallares
Johnny Pallares.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have defined industry standards for dental office maintenance. These research-based procedures ensure patient and staff safety, reduce cross-contamination, and lower the risks of healthcare-associated infections.

Below are the five main areas that dental office administrators should focus on when it comes to keeping the clinic clean for patients and staff.

1. Disinfect high-touch areas

Equipment, furniture, and other surfaces in high-use areas are more prone to collecting bacteria and other germs. Keep up with industry cleaning standards by regularly wiping down these areas with a disinfectant registered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In dental workspaces, these items include patient chairs, drawer handles, cabinets, faucets, and sinks. The same goes for the x-ray room. In the reception and waiting areas, focus on chairs, door handles, phones, computer equipment, reception counters, pens, and clipboards.

2. Dust all surfaces

Besides signaling that the rest of the office isn't clean, dust can aggravate respiratory conditions for some individuals, and it can carry bacteria that may contribute to the spread of illnesses. Regular dusting of all hard surfaces throughout the office keeps the space feeling fresh while eliminating microbes from becoming airborne.

For that reason, avoid using feather dusters. All they do is move the dust around without adequately picking it up. Use microfiber dusters, dampened soft cloths, or a small handheld vacuum.

Do not wait until dust is visible to you or your patients. The longer you wait to dust, the more likely it is that bacteria will accumulate around the office. For patients with allergies, dusting at least three times a week makes a big difference.

3. Clean the treatment rooms

All areas of the treatment room need a thorough cleaning after each use. These areas are ideal settings for cross-contamination between dentists and patients. Therefore, it needs special attention when cleaning. Clean the treatment chair, dental lamp, and countertops with the proper disinfectants.

Make sure that the cabinets, doorknobs, light switches, and other high-touch areas do not go uncleaned. These areas attract germs. Keeping these areas disinfected gives your patients peace of mind and allows you to keep them safe in a hygienic space.

4. Maintain the bathrooms

The state of the bathroom reflects your office's attitude toward cleanliness and patient care. Restroom checks must be a regular part of any dental office maintenance routine.

Set a schedule for disinfecting and cleaning the countertops, toilets, walls, sinks, and fixtures. Keep bathrooms stocked with toilet paper, soap, and paper towels.

5. Keep the reception area organized

Having an organized reception area doesn't mean it has to be sterile and cold. It is possible to maintain tidiness while conveying that warm, welcoming feeling you want when patients visit your dental office. The reception area is where patients will form their first impression of your practice, so keep it clutter-free.

Put files away that are not in use. Remove unnecessary paperwork and items from the reception window. Most importantly, regularly wipe down the surfaces where patients interact with the receptionist. Reception is also the last part of your clinic patients will see, so maintaining a tidy reception area leaves a lasting impression on the overall visit for a patient.

Summary

Your dental office is a reflection of your service and attention to detail. Having a clean office is not only beneficial for patients, but it shows you care about your work environment. Even if you are working with a professional cleaning service, don't leave these details to them alone to manage. Implement these cleaning techniques for an improved patient experience, and keep them coming back for future procedures.

Johnny Pallares is the owner of DLR Commercial Cleaning in Phoenix, which provides professional cleaning services to over 500 clients across the greater Phoenix area.

The comments and observations expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the opinions of DrBicuspid.com, nor should they be construed as an endorsement or admonishment of any particular idea, vendor, or organization.


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