Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Fixed Seating Products

2020-4-irwin-seating-clean-and-disinfect-fixed-seating

CDC and EPA Guidelines

The cleaning guidelines for all Irwin products align with the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Here are a few COVID-19 points:

  • Work with your Facilities and Environmental Health and Safety staff to determine how frequently your products should be cleaned.
  • CDC has advised that the most effective method for preventing the spread of viruses and germs is to follow handwashing protocols.
  • For the latest information on potential exposure pathways for COVID-19 infection, including contact with surfaces, please see the CDC website.

Beyond that, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a comprehensive list of all cleaners approved to prevent the spread of COVID-19, along with the surfaces they are intended for.  If you have a cleaning or disinfecting product but can't find it on the EPA's list, look at a your product's label to confirm it has an EPA registration number and that human coronavirus is listed as a target pathogen.

Please see our library of all Irwin Seating fabrics and finishes. If you have questions regarding the fabrics and finishes on your seating, please contact us.

Disinfecting Coated Fabric Surfaces - Vinyl and Polyurethane

Vinyl and polyurethane have always been easy to clean, making them popular in high-use areas. From the largest stadiums to the newest luxury cinemas,  this fabric choice is found where people gather.  Inherently bleach-cleanable, vinyl and polyurethane fabric can make it through COVID-19 and be there for your guests in brighter times. 

Our partners at Culp Contract recommend disinfecting their polyurethane with a water to bleach solution of 10:1, then rinsing the cleaned area with water and drying with a clean cloth.  For their vinyl products, CMI  also recommends a 10:1 water to bleach dilution, with a clean water rinse following the application, then towel dry.   

Disinfecting your seats is highly important to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Rinsing and wiping down the seats after you disinfect is a critical step to take to protect your vinyl or polyurethane from damage.  Gradual build-up of cleaning products can saturate polyurethane and lead to de-lamination, and it can dry out vinyl and lead to cracking.  

Before you disinfect, clean the surface with a detergent or general-purpose cleaner. Cleaning is an important first step to the process because it physically removes soil, organic matter, and many germs from the surface.  Rinse with clean water. 

Disinfection should always take place last, to ensure that any germs leftover after cleaning are destroyed. Disinfectants are not as effective when applied directly to dirty surfaces, because germs and viruses can hide under soils.

Use disinfectant in the proper concentration, following the manufacturer's recommendations on the label.  Do not over-saturate the fabric. 

  • Test the disinfectant first on an inconspicuous area of the surface.
  • Remove all residue with a clean, damp cloth to avoid damage to fabric.

Here are a few disinfectants that can be used to help combat lingering bacteria and virus pathogens. Irwin has conducted informal resistance testing for these products against a variety of fabric types.  

Also, keep in mind that antimicrobial textile treatments don't offer a defense against COVID-19.  Antimicrobial treatments protect the product from degradation by microbes and bacteria, but are not intended to limit infection among humans, and do not work against viruses.

Cleaning Woven Fabric

What we know about disinfectants and their use on woven fabric is evolving as we speak.  Historically, woven fabric was not developed to be disinfected, which is one reason why fabric finishes gained traction.  Fabric manufacturers are working quickly to test the most commonly used disinfectants on their products, and we will share both their recommendations and their cautions as we learn them.  Irwin is additionally conducting independent in-house testing of commonly used disinfectants on our most frequently-used patterns.  

For cleaning of woven fabric, please follow the Association for Contract Textiles (ACT) cleaning resources and considerations. Cleaning symbols or letters are used to identify the cleaning guidelines. These can be found on the fabric company’s website.  (Note - these guidelines are specific to cleaning, not disinfecting your fabric). 

  • Wet (W) cleaning means the use of steam cleaning or hot water extraction are acceptable means of cleaning. You can also use water-based cleaning agents and a clean towel to dab out some spots. It is best to use plain white towels when cleaning, so you do not transfer any color die onto the fabric.
  • Solvent (S) cleaning means that the fabric is sensitive to water and wetting it may leave permanent water rings or cause the material to shrink. In order to prevent these damages to the item, use solvent based cleaners. Solvents are used to break down soiled oily spots and leave the area dry. It is best to vacuum after these types of applications to remove the soil which has been separated from the fabric.
  • Wet cleaning and solvent cleaning (WS) fabrics use both types of cleaning methods on different spots. It is recommended that for oily areas, solvents are to be used, and for water-based spots, water-based cleaners are to be used. The best procedure for these types of fabrics is to first use wet cleaning methods. If that fails, try solvents.
  • No cleaning (X) is found when you furniture is not meant to be cleaned. This type of material is only meant to be vacuumed and brushed to remove dry soils. The reason is because shrinking, staining, or distortion of the surface pile may occur.

Irwin Seating standard woven fabric vendors include:

Abercrombie Textiles
Absecon Mills
Designtex
Gilford of Maine
KM Fabrics
Maharam
Mayer Fabrics
Momentum Textiles
CF Stinson 

Cleaning Hard Surfaces

Laminate, Painted Metal and Plastic

Consider one of the following commercial cleaning products. Always use in accordance with the manufacturer instructions.

  • Clorox Healthcare Bleach Germicidal Cleaner – EPA registration number 67619-12
  • Professional Lysol® Disinfectant Spray – EPA registration number 777-99
  • OXIVIR® TB – EPA registration number 70627-56
  • Virex II 256 – EPA registration number 70627-24
  • All-purpose hard-surface cleaner (examples include Formula 409, Fantastik or Mr. Clean)

Metal

Clean with a non-abrasive cleaner.

Wood

Use a cleaner or flax soap formulated especially for use on wood surfaces.

Let Customers Know

GettyImages-1126310757Communicating your cleaning and disinfecting protocol with customers will be key to making your guests feel safe again, and now is a great time to begin that dialog.  Customers want to understand the extra steps taken to sanitize all areas of your facility, and additional measures that will become the new normal, such as adding a new shift to sanitize after custodial crews finish cleaning venues post-events. Consider posting your COVID-19 cleaning and disinfecting procedures to your website, social media pages, blogs, newsletters, and other methods used to communicate with patrons.

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