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Campus hygiene

This page describes Stanford’s enhanced cleaning procedures, and provides instructions for cleaning surfaces to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus.

University buildings

Inside the Bing concert hall

How is the University cleaning and disinfecting buildings across campus?

Occupied Buildings: In addition to the routine custodial cleaning cadence, the university has implemented an enhanced cleaning frequency to clean and disinfect common areas and commonly touched surfaces in occupied buildings. Touchpoints such as entrance handles, handrails, elevator buttons, tables, restroom stall handles/doors are being cleaned at least once daily, five days a week, using EPA-registered disinfectantsSome areas of the campus, specific to the operation, clean to the standard of their department or unit’s operational needs.

Unoccupied Buildings: All unoccupied buildings will receive a one-time, detailed deep cleaning and disinfection, using EPA-registered disinfectants. Routine custodial cleaning cadence along with the enhanced cleaning frequency will resume once the buildings are occupied again.

Is the University planning to install dispenser stations containing hand sanitizer?

Dispenser stations containing alcohol-based hand sanitizer will be installed at building entrances, as supplies allow. 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.

How can I disinfect my workplace?

Clean commonly touched surfaces several times per day this includes lab benches, lab equipment, desks, phones, remote controls, printers, fax machines, computer mouses and keyboards. The University recommends that departments or units purchase EPA-registered disinfectants such as single-use disinfectant wipes and multi-surface spray cleaners. Always use cleaning products as recommended on manufacturer labels, including wearing disposable gloves where directed.

Wash hands thoroughly on a routine basis as well as after cleaning. Handwashing 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.

How will the University clean and disinfect an area exposed to COVID-19?

For a confirmed COVID-19 case within a building, the University arranges for prompt cleaning and disinfection by special cleaning crews as needed.  Assigned personnel are trained to follow the cleaning and disinfection standards established by the U.S. Center for Diseases Control (CDC).  More detail on the University’s positive case response is found here.


Stanford Marguerite bus

How often are Marguerite buses being cleaned and disinfected?

Each day, Marguerite buses are cleaned during daily servicing. Interiors and frequently touched surfaces are wiped down using EPA-registered disinfectants.

Laboratory spaces and adjoining offices

Laboratory space

Download PDF flyer on cleaning guidelines for laboratories & adjoining offices

What is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting?

Cleaning refers to the removal of germs, dirt, and impurities from surfaces. Cleaning does not kill germs, but by removing them, it lowers their numbers and the risk of spreading infection.

Disinfecting refers to using chemicals to kill germs on surfaces. This process does not necessarily clean dirty surfaces or remove germs. However, disinfecting a surface after cleaning can further lower the risk of spreading infection.

What is the recommended practice for disinfecting surfaces?

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

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

Which disinfectants kill the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?

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

How long does it take for a disinfectant to kill the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2)?

Consult the product label for the contact time or dwell time.  Cleaning wipes do not kill the virus, so be sure to use disinfecting wipes and follow the instructions carefully. Disinfecting 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.  If SARS-CoV-2 is not specifically listed on your product label, you may consult with the Stanford EHS office.

How frequently should disinfection occur? 

Disinfection frequency depends on the amount of activity in the lab and shared office areas. At the very least, disinfection should occur daily before closing for the day. Janitorial 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 janitorial services.

What surfaces need to be disinfected?

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, benchtops; biosafety cabinet and fume hood sashes and their working surfaces; biowaste container lids, commonly used hand tools and small objects (pipettors), shared PPE (laser goggles). Be careful when disinfecting sensitive equipment to prevent disruption of the equipment.

What are some recommended daily hygiene practices?

Limit touching your face (eyes, nose, mouth) and having close contact with others. Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer frequently. Keep a 6-foot distance from others to reduce potential person-to-person transmission. 

Sneeze into your arm to reduce the spread of the virus in respiratory droplets (the common transmission pathway for the virus). While the virus is not thought to transmit effectively by a person’s contact with surfaces, current evidence suggests that novel coronavirus may remain viable for hours to days on surfaces made from a variety of materials. Cleaning of visibly dirty surfaces followed by disinfection is a best practice measure for prevention of COVID-19 and other viral respiratory illnesses in our working and living spaces.

Do not share your personal phone, pen/pencil/computer mouse with others. If using shared laptops or keyboards, disinfect before each use (take care to prevent liquid from getting inside the computer).

How can we promote effective handwashing in our labs and offices?

Where available, use hand sanitizer stations. Ensure your break areas and lab sink areas have a mounted soap dispenser with soap.  Contact facilities management to obtain a mounted dispenser and refills.

Post handwashing signs in bathrooms and break areas.  The CDC has many signs available:

Tips on cleaning/disinfecting your personal/shared workspace

Click on above image to download flyer in PDF format

Social distancing

See what steps Stanford is taking to comply with the Social Distancing Protocol requirement