We have all become painfully aware, courtesy of the pandemic, that we need to battle the COVID-19 virus on many fronts. In fact, fighting bacteria and viruses in closed and at close quarters has been an ongoing issue for just about forever.
Basic cleaning and using household disinfectants can help, but you need to do much more to really get the job done.
In our rush to disinfect, many of us neglected to bone up on the “best practices” in dealing with COVID-19 and have misused products designed to help.
First, some basic facts about disinfectants that kill COVID-19.
#1. On the label of the product, there should be the EPA authorization and approval that ingredients in the bottle will kill COVID-19. If it is not there, it is not an approved product, no matter what advertising claims are make. Use only EPA approved products.
#2. Clean the surface first before using the disinfectant. On a dirty surface, a disinfectant will not disinfect. You will waste time and money.
#3. All disinfectants, to be effective, must stay wet on the surface for a period of time. The instruction should indicate how long “dwell” time is for your disinfectant to effectively kill the virus. Time ranges from a minute to 10 minutes. Wiping, mopping or spraying the disinfectant on and immediately wiping it up is a mistake. No dwell time, no results. Wet dwell time is essential for effective results.
#4. Determine what method to use in applying the disinfectant. Some can be sprayed, others need to be mopped on. Instructions should be on the label. Using the wrong method will result in negating the disinfectant’s usefulness.
#5. As soon as you open the bottle, mix with water (for concentrates) and put a mop into the bucket. Your disinfectant becomes less and less potent with each passing minute. The good news is that your high-end disinfectants start out having multiple times the potency that is needed. However, over time, usually in an hour or so, the disinfectant weakens to the point of not working. So, it is necessary to use a fresh batch every couple of hours. Get rid of the old batch and start over. Make sure all lids are shut tight between uses.
#6. After dwell time, all disinfectants leave a residue. If you do not deal with it, the buildup will make your surface tacky, attract dirt and make the disinfectant’s future applications useless. Therefore, it is important to clean up the residue. It can be dry mopped, but the best way to handle it is to rinse the surface.
#7. Please note that 99.9 percent effective is in fact not very effective. Millions of viruses can live on the head of a pin. Kill 99.9 percent of them, and you still have millions left. Imagine how many would still exist in a room. The gold standard is 99.999999 percent effective. There is no product that works at 100 perecent.
#8. The sad news is there is no product that sustains its ability to kill COVID-19 over time. No coating, treatment or technique known today is effective beyond its initial application. There are claims and some cloud the issue, by mentioning bacteria which can be treated over a sustained period. Bacteria are living cells which can be killed much like spraying insecticide which has residual properties. Viruses are bits of DNA. They need cells (human or any organic element) to replicate and cause disease. Disinfectants make viruses inert. The vaccines being used to combat COVID-19 do the same thing as disinfectants without harming the body. Under no circumstances ingest any disinfectant thinking it will prevent COVID-19. It is more likely to kill you.
Finally, there are no shortcuts. Spray applications are fast. Best practices must be followed so your efforts will have maximum effect. Effective dwell times are getting shorter and reduced residue disinfectants are on the way; the process should soon become less time-consuming.
A note of caution. The active ingredients in disinfectants are not compatible with cotton or cellulite wipes or sponges. The wipes currently available in stores should not be used with disinfectant. Micro or micron wipes should be used.
Stagestep offers ProClean D Plus, hospital-strength disinfectant that is registered with the EPA to kill the COVID virus and Micron Wipes for application on surfaces such as door handles, ballet barres and other surfaces that people come in contact with.
While vaccines are here, the pandemic will still be with us for a long time. We will forever be aware of viruses and infections. It is important to keep our guard up and continue to practice good hygiene and to clean and disinfect our facilities.
Stagestep is ready to help. COVID-19 products are available online at www.stagestep.com, or call for more information at 800-523-0960.
By Randy Swartz of Stagestep.