It is essential to provide a hygienic environment for air travelers on each and every flight. Prevention of disease transmission is the number one priority, and the first step in making airplanes safer is to know the difference between cleaning and disinfecting.
Cleaning refers to removal of visible dirt or particles, while disinfection refers to measures taken to control, deactivate or kill infectious agents such as viruses and bacteria.
The cleaning phase is the stage at which the greatest number of microorganisms can be removed. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 90% of pathogens may be eliminated if the aircraft cleaning process is performed thoroughly. The proper use of disinfectants to remove any remaining organisms constitutes effective environmental management of contaminated agents.
A proper spill clean-up kit can aid in the prevention of disease transmission by targeting the source of the contaminant. The following materials should be preassembled on each flight as a ready spill clean-up kit:
- Biohazard bags & waste bags
- Disposable gloves (non-latex materials to avoid risk of allergic reaction should be considered)
- Eye protection
- Paper towels
- Cleaning solution
- Signs to isolate contaminated area
The agents that cause concerning communicable diseases are susceptible to elimination by a number of airline-approved chemicals readily available from the aircraft or equipment manufacturers. A thorough cleaning is an important first step in reducing these infectious agents, minimizing the chances of transferring them via contaminated hands.