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How Airports Are Keeping Clean and Staying Open

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Airports are one of the most difficult structures to clean.
Their massive size alone makes them particularly challenging. Just imagine what it takes to clean a 300,000 square foot space with nothing but glass walls…and that is only in a single terminal! Add to it thousands upon thousands of people passing through 24 hours per day, and you have a very unique sanitization situation.
Fortunately, there are many things staff and cleaning crews can do to keep airports clean and safe to stay open. All it takes is a team of professional technicians who are experts at commercial cleaning jobs and who showcase an immaculate attention to detail, forward-thinking disinfecting services and adherence to safe protocols as recommended by the CDC.
Here is where you will see them at work, from checking in to your flight to boarding the plane.

Check In

The first place you are bound to see cleaning contractors perform their disinfection services is at the check in counters.
As you can imagine, self check in kiosks are some of the dirtiest mechanisms found in an airport due to excessive hand use. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, for example, you will find cleaning crews constantly wiping down these screens with microfiber cloths or Clorox disinfectant wipes after each individual use.
You will also see numerous cordless vacuums at work in order for staff to safely navigate around the foot traffic entering the building.


Some of the most troublesome areas of concern are the moving walkway and elevator handrails, door handles and bench armrests found in the arrival and departure gates. Numerous travelers touch and use these surfaces each day. Unfortunately, cleaning crews have a difficult time working around the sheer volume of passengers constantly using them.
To assist in better being able to clean these excessive germ habitats, airports crews in places such as Pittsburgh and Phoenix have employed automatic floor washing machines to free up additional time for the custodial crews to perform more sanitization tasks on high touch surfaces. These floor scrubbers typical run four or five hours during the evening hours when foot traffic is lower and provide some fun entertainment for those passing through in the middle of the night.
Some additional tactics you might see adopted in the terminal include steam cleaning of carpets and furnishings, hand sanitization stations and single-use disinfectant wipe availability for passengers to clean their own surfaces.


The public bathrooms in airports are without a doubt one the most intense areas of focus for cleaning staff.
Toilets, sinks, floors and even doorknobs have always received their due attention, but nowadays it is common to see further attention paid to hand dryer buttons and even bathroom stall doors, as it is common for people to open and close the doors from the top – not the handle.
There have been some really interesting technological advancements to assist in keeping bathrooms as clean as possible. Some airport bathrooms boast occupancy sensors that cue maintenance staff when to clean based on volume of visitors. Others even use smartwatches to coordinate staff schedules to clean based on peak usage rather than a set schedule.


Finally, there are the airplanes themselves.
Airplane crews have been hard at work intensifying their sanitization efforts to ensure flying is both safe and comfortable. Before each flight, crews wipe down upwards of 81 touch points on the plane, including seatbelts, tray tables, arm rests, air vents and call buttons.
If a plane stays grounded for more than eight hours, then the aircraft will undergo a deep clean whereby the carpet gets shampooed and the seats get vacuumed. Each plane also receives a full body spray down with an electrostatic cleaning agent each week.
Airports and airlines have really stepped up their cleaning and sanitization protocols in order to stay open and ensure an overall safer travel experience. In the end, airports that employ commercial cleaning technicians and a variety of new technology to assist in their disinfection efforts are seeing the most promising results and, therefore, the most satisfied passengers.

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