GBAC Responds to Updated CDC Guidelines for Cleaning and Disinfecting Against COVID-19

New Coronavirus Strain - Covid-19

NORTHBROOK, Ill.—April 12, 2021—The CDC has updated its guidance on cleaning and disinfecting for COVID-19, relaxing some of its prior recommendations. The new guidelines acknowledge that although the risk of infection from touching a surface is low, cleaning and disinfecting surfaces does reduce the risk of infection. The CDC guidelines also state that enhanced cleaning and disinfection should still be practiced in certain circumstances, such as when there are high levels of transmission in a facility, a known exposure to COVID-19, or low mask use.

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC) released a statement responding to the revised CDC guidelines. GBAC emphasizes that the enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures many facilities have adopted during the pandemic work to lower the transmission risk of many infectious illnesses like influenza and noroviruses, in addition to COVID-19. GBAC also clarifies when specialized disinfection equipment may be appropriate and highlights benefits of facilities maintaining rigorous cleaning and disinfection protocols. Read the full release below:

The Global Biorisk Advisory Council™ (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, has released clarification around the revised guidelines from the CDC. The CDC’s latest guidance noted that “cleaning with products containing soap or detergent reduces germs on surfaces by removing contaminants and may also weaken or damage some of the virus particles, which decreases risk of infection from surfaces.” ISSA and GBAC wish to emphasize the critical importance that cleaning and disinfecting surfaces must not only reduce exposure to COVID-19, but to other pathogens as well.

“While there are still many uncertainties surrounding COVID-19, it is clear that facilities can better prepare for, respond to, and recover from outbreaks when they have a comprehensive program that starts with a risk assessment” said GBAC Executive Director Patricia Olinger. “There are many layers to this issue, but as authoritative leaders within the space, we feel it’s important to clarify that with the current pandemic, in addition to indoor air quality needs, cleaning professionals should continue their enhanced efforts in cleaning and disinfecting public facilities with added focus on high touch points. When used correctly by trained professionals, proven products and equipment are very effective against SARS-CoV-2 as well as other viruses and bacteria.”

The use of products approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and included on the EPA’s List N is preferable, as it ensures cleaning professionals are applying expert-reviewed formulations that have been approved for use against SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, cleaning for health is most effective at mitigating the spread of illnesses when it is a multi-step approach that involves first cleaning surfaces to remove or reduce soil loads and then disinfecting to kill bacteria, fungi, and inactivate viruses.

The CDC guidelines also stated that, “in most cases, fogging, fumigation, and wide-area or electrostatic spraying is not recommended as a primary method of surface disinfection and has several safety risks to consider.” While surface disinfection equipment is not necessary for every facility, ISSA and GBAC support the use of sprayers with the proper training, as these tools can be incredibly useful for high-traffic facilities and those with occupants with an increased risk of illness. When using chemicals and disinfection equipment, it is important to read the label and use products correctly to prevent unnecessary overuse and exposure.

“There is a continuum of risk during the pandemic as new SARS-CoV-2 variants emerge, and beyond it due to the fact that illnesses like influenza, norovirus, and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) can impact public health,” said ISSA Executive Director John Barrett. “When combined, cleaning and disinfecting of surfaces, air quality controls, the use of face masks, hand hygiene, and other measures can greatly reduce the risk of infection spread and give facility occupants and guests greater peace of mind that organizations are prioritizing their health and safety.”

For more information on proper facilities cleaning and disinfecting now and post pandemic, visit

Hear comments on the recent CDC guidance on cleaning and disinfecting directly from biorisk expert Patricia Olinger; Dr. Paul Meechan, formerly with the CDC; and Michael Diamond, Executive Director of The Infection Prevention Strategy (TIPS), in the latest Straight Talk! episode.

About GBAC, a Division of ISSA: Composed of international leaders in the field of microbial-pathogenic threat analysis, mitigation, response and recovery, the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC), a Division of ISSA, provides training, guidance, accreditation, certification, crisis management assistance and leadership to government, commercial and private entities looking to mitigate, quickly address and/or recover from biological threats and real-time crises. The organization’s services include biorisk management program assessment and training, Forensic Restoration® response and remediation, the GBAC STAR™ facility and service accreditation programs, training and certification of individuals and consulting for building owners and facility managers. For more information, visit

About ISSA: With more than 10,500 members—including distributors, manufacturers, manufacturer representatives, wholesalers, building service contractors, in-house service providers, residential cleaners, and associated service members—ISSA is the world’s leading trade association for the cleaning industry. The association is committed to changing the way the world views cleaning by providing its members with the business tools they need to promote cleaning as an investment in human health, the environment, and an improved bottom line. Headquartered in Northbrook, IL, USA, the association has regional offices in Mainz, Germany; Whitby, Canada; Parramatta, Australia; Seoul, South Korea; and Shanghai, China. For more information, visit

Cleanfax Staff

Cleanfax provides cleaning and restoration professionals with information designed to help them manage and grow their businesses.

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