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Toolbox Talk: Housekeeping – How to Clean Tools

By April 21, 2020 September 14th, 2021 No Comments
Garco Construction, toolbox talk, building, gc cm, washington, idaho, oregon

Cleaning of Tools to Help Prevent Spread of Transmittable Diseases

 Should a tool need to be cleaned that does not have blood or visible bodily fluids on it, we recommend the following protocol. This protocol is subject to the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), OSHA, and those of state and local health departments. Please follow applicable guidelines of these agencies.

  • People handling tools should wash their hands or use a proper hand sanitizer before and after use to help prevent contamination.
  • People handling tools should be properly trained and protected using necessary Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
  • Clean tools with mild soap, a clean damp cloth, and, as needed, an approved diluted bleach solution only. Certain cleaning agents and solvents are harmful to plastics and other insulated parts and shouldn’t be used.
  • It is not recommend using cleaners that have conductive or corrosive materials, especially those with ammonia. Some of these include gasoline, turpentine, lacquer thinner, paint thinner, chlorinated cleaning solvents, ammonia and household detergents containing ammonia.
  • Never use flammable or combustible solvents around tools.


  • If no blood was present on the product, it can be cleaned with mild soap and a damp cloth to remove the fluids and then left to rest for 3 days. This is based on CDC advisement that the virus (such as COVID-19) may live on plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours, which suggest that the virus would no longer be harmful after the resting period. After this, the tool can be cleaned again.

*Recommended for batteries

  • If no blood was present on the product, it can be cleaned with a mild soap and damp cloth to remove dirt and grease and then decontaminated with a diluted bleach solution, which is consistent with CDC advice. The full diluted bleach cleaning procedure can be found below.

**Not recommended for batteries


  1. Clean the product surface with mild soap and water to remove dirt and grease.
  2. Dip a clean cloth into the dilute bleach solution.
  3. Wring out the cloth so it is not dripping wet.
  4. Gently wipe each handle, grasping surfaces, or outer surfaces with the cloth, using care to ensure liquids do not flow into tool.
  5. No other cleaning material should be used as the diluted bleach solution should never be mixed with ammonia or any other cleanser.
  6. Allow the surface to dry naturally.
  7. The cleaner should avoid touching their face with unwashed hands and should immediately wash their hands after this process.

A properly diluted bleach solution can be made by mixing:

  • 5 tablespoons (1/3rd cup) bleach per gallon of water; or
  • 4 teaspoons bleach per quart of water

NOTE: If blood was on the product, advanced cleaning is needed. Follow established Bloodborne Pathogen protocols.

Remember, safety is your best tool!

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