Cleaning and Sanitizing Your Workspace as a Professional Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

COVID has us all germ-conscious, and for good reason. I vividly remember round after round of sicknesses passing through my former workplaces, and I can only imagine COVID wreaking the same or worse havoc. But no matter the virus or bacteria threatening to bring us down, whether COVID, the flu, stomach bug, or even a common cold, let’s establish a battle-ready defense by maintaining a clean and hygienic workspace.  

According to Cleaning, hygiene and handwashing to make your workplace COVID-secure (hse.gov.uk), it’s important to accomplish the following at least once a day to help protect oneself against COVID: 

  • Clear off surfaces 
  • Sanitize the surface of your desk  
  • Disinfect equipment and technology which has been touched 
  • Disinfect shared objects such as handles, doorknobs, control panels, and phones 

And how does one do so efficiently and thoroughly when blind or visually impaired? Melanie Peskoe provides the following suggestions in Spring Cleaning with Low Vision – VisionAware

  • To ensure entire surface areas are washed, clean systematically. Thorough Wipe windows and other surfaces using a Z formation. Start in the top left corner, swipe to the right, and swipe diagonally to start the next “row” on the left side. The pattern is much like the pattern of reading braille. 
  • While cleaning, use an ungloved hand to verify dirt, dust, hair, and grime on baseboards, shelves, fixtures, and other surfaces have been removed. Confirming the grit is gone will help ensure the area has been thoroughly cleaned. 
  • Mix and label your own cleaners, so you are aware of ingredients. Click the above link to view Melanie’s recommended all-purpose cleaner, homemade disinfectant, and stovetop cleaner (helpful for the communal kitchen!). According to Healthline, a disinfectant, rather than a cleaner, is important to kill COVID—Melanie’s homemade disinfectant uses alcohol, which will do the trick.  

Maureen Duffy provides additional cleaning advice in Housecleaning Tips – VisionAware

  • Apply cleaning product (spray or fluid) directly to your cloth instead of on the surface which will be cleaned. 
  • Devise a cleaning schedule in order to keep on top of your workspace. [Perhaps spending the last five minutes disinfecting before the commute home will be a winning strategy.] 
  • Vacuum or sweep/mop regularly. [Floor cleaning will need to be more frequent if you have a dog guide.] In the Housecleaning Tips article, Maureen provides blindness-specific strategies for vacuuming, sweeping, and mopping. 

Lastly, opening a window could help you avoid COVID (medicalxpress.com). Increase ventilation in your workplace, if at all possible, by opening windows. 

While your workplace may provide weekly cleanings, sanitizing your workstation daily may increase your defense against COVID or another bug. So, arm yourself with the right tools and strategies; schedule and implement daily sanitizing; and breathe in the fresh outdoor air! Goodbye viruses, you’re not welcome here.