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Eight specialist cleaning services to help reopen universities and colleges

React works with a number of UK universities to provide a one-stop-shop specialist cleaning service. We are keeping the UK university and college sector clean and healthy.

Students enjoying being back at university and college
Reliable expertise for every specialist university and college cleaning task.

Across the UK there are hundreds of universities and colleges – and they’re a diverse bunch of institutions. From some of the oldest academic institutions in the world such as Oxford and Cambridge, to a wave of new universities founded in the twenty-first century like Leeds Arts University and Ravensbourne University London. With this diversity comes a wide variety of cleaning tasks, from deep cleaning of teaching facilities to cleaning student accommodation, the scope is varied and requires specialist skills. Here are eight key areas where that skill is incredibly important.

1. Infection control and decontamination

Universities and colleges need to put in place an infection control protocol immediately if a confirmed Covid-19 case is identified. As part of this protocol, we recommend having a trusted and expert specialist cleaning partner on hand and ready to perform a suitable deep clean and decontamination of the areas potentially infected.

While the Covid-19 Coronavirus has dominated the news worldwide this year, that doesn’t mean that other pathogens have disappeared. MRSA, Swine Flu, C. difficile and Norovirus are all still present in society and can thrive in the types of facilities that exist in campuses, such as kitchen areas, gyms and shared social spaces.

It is essential to deploy rigorous protocols that both clean and then thoroughly decontaminate areas to reduce infection rates and the spread of contaminates. This is particularly critical in high-touch areas, such as door handles, lift buttons, washroom facilities and shared technical equipment. Cleaning, then disinfecting is vital, you can't disinfect a site that is still dirty.

To be sure that area has been cleaned and disinfected correctly, it is necessary to first test for the presence of pathogens and then test again to ensure they have been removed. The results of initial testing will determine which cleaning method needs to be applied; the final test will demonstrate that an area is safe for staff and students to use. Our tried and tested process:

  1. TEST to understand how active the surfaces are for growing organisms or pathogens.

  2. CLEAN to remove material that harbours pathogens.

  3. DISINFECT with an effective viricidal disinfectant and/or strong controlled UVC.

  4. TEST again to be certain no trace of biomaterial remains.

At React, we recommend testing surfaces for the presence of Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP). ATP is an indicator molecule for the existence of biological residues (commonly used in the healthcare and food sectors).

2. Student accommodation cleaning

A student accommodation survey for the academic year 2018-19 showed the importance of cleanliness for students in judging their accommodation. The study, published by Knight Frank in conjunction with UCAS, surveyed 70,000 applicants, new students and current students at universities across the UK. Understandably, value for money and overall cost came in as the top factors prompting decisions about where to live. But for first-year students, the cleanliness of the bedroom was the third most important influence in their decision-making. So accommodation providers must get the cleaning right, and for that, they need the right cleaning partner.

Whether the student accommodation has become vacant due to tenants moving on in an orderly fashion or following repossession or eviction, end-of-tenancy cleaning requires a specialist approach. Particularly when the facilities were misused. React’s team will provide a full-service property clearance, decontamination and cleaning service. Whatever type of property it is, we take the same rigorous approach. We start by quickly eliminating health hazards and removing all kinds of waste, including materials that require specialist handling such as discarded needles and syringes. We then go on to clean the property to the most exacting standards to get student accommodation ready for the next year’s intake.

3. Urgent incident cleaning

We’re available for emergency cleaning in a crisis too when handling a situation with sensitivity is a paramount concern. Inevitably there are occasions when sadly, accidents and fatalities occur. At these difficult times, you need a cleaning team with the highest credentials and experience. React's team are available 24/7 across the country and will provide a fast and respectful response in every situation.

4. Kitchen and catering air hygiene

Most educational institutions have full-service kitchens or cook-chill facilities. Regardless of the type, it's essential to think carefully about various elements of hygiene in kitchens, including air hygiene and extraction. And of course, for colleges with food technology teaching rooms, there are also similar issues with maintaining hygiene in ducting and extraction systems. (For the latter, the Department for Education publishes specific guidance).

One particular area of concern for kitchens and food tech classrooms is grease extractors. Failure to inspect and clean extract systems regularly can result in them becoming a fire risk. It is not uncommon for systems laden with grease to ignite. Buildings insurance may be invalidated if institutions fail to carry out regular inspections. Our team successfully inspect and clean all types of kitchen extract and ducting systems, helping clients remain compliant with HVCA TR19 standards. We will happily work with you to plan regular inspection and cleaning programmes, reducing your health and safety risk.

5. Fire dampers across campus

Fire dampers play a crucial role in a building's fire safety system, which is why they must operate correctly. A properly functioning, well-maintained fire damper could be the difference between life and death in the event of a fire on campus or in student accommodation. The BS 9999:2017 legislation on fire damper maintenance states that a competent person must test all fire dampers after they have been installed and at regular intervals not exceeding two years. For spring-operated fire dampers, tests must take place at least every 12 months. And they must occur even more frequently if they're installed in an area that is affected by high levels of dust or pollution. React's team are fully trained and qualified to conduct this essential work.

6. High-level cleaning

Undertaking effective cleaning or areas in hard to reach places at height, such as ducting, suspended ceilings, or reception areas requires specialist expertise and equipment with an absolute focus on ensuring safety at all times. Our specialist operators are available 24/7 to undertake cleaning while working at height both in and outside of buildings to the highest standard to ensure premises look professional, visually appealing and compliant to legislation.

React is compliant with the Work at Height Regulations 2005. We conduct a thorough risk assessment and ensure the correct deployment and use of specialist equipment, paying particular attention when working near fragile surfaces. We thoroughly inspect and maintain all equipment to the highest standards.

7. Sharps and needle search and removal

When areas are contaminated with used needles and syringes, it is vitally important to clear the space quickly and effectively. Our team are fully insured and vaccinated against blood-borne viruses such as Tetanus and Hepatitis, and they use robust procedures to clear the affected area. Collected sharps, needles and syringes are then disposed of in strict accordance to legislation, and we can provide a certificate of disposal.

8. Reliable expertise for every university and college specialist cleaning task

Our fully vetted and accredited staff are available to undertake both specialist cleaning and decontamination on a scheduled basis and for urgent incidents that may arise. Our focus is on ensuring the safety of students and teaching staff, with minimal disruption to their day-to-day activities.

Here are some of the critical aspects of our tried, tested and proven cleaning protocols.

  • All of our staff are vetted, highly trained, well equipped and medically fit and well.

  • For infection control cleaning and decontamination, we clean and then disinfect.

  • We use ATP testing before and after deep cleaning.

  • React are available 24/7/365 to respond to incidents nationwide.

Experienced professionals

We're proud of the specialist cleaning service we provide at a leading UK university based in the East Midlands. As part of the Russell Group of British research universities, it is among the top 100 ranked universities in the world. Find out more here >

Contact one of the team today to find out more about our specialist cleaning and decontamination services for colleges and universities.

Post by Shaun D. Doak

Shaun is the CEO of React Group plc., a business dedicated to specialist cleaning, hygiene and decontamination. He is deeply committed to making sure that every one of our company’s clients receives the highest possible level of service. An expert in HVAC and commercial and industrial cleaning methodologies, Shaun has extensive experience in the facilities management and renewable services sector.


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