While the importance of disinfecting is general knowledge, a surprising amount of people do not disinfect their spaces correctly
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the general public more conscientious of sanitising and disinfecting procedures than ever before. Schools, restaurants, and businesses cover their walls with signs reminding you to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
Organisations have new plans in place for routine cleaning of their facilities and emergency plans for shutdowns and deep cleanings if an employee tests positive. Disinfectant wipes and household cleaners disappear from the supermarket shelves as quickly as they are stocked as people strive to eliminate bacteria and viruses from their homes.
While the importance of disinfecting is general knowledge, a surprising amount of people do not disinfect their spaces correctly.
Timing is everything
When most people disinfect, they spray the area with the cleaning agent and then immediately wipe it down with a cloth or paper towel. Used this way, the cleaning agent will likely reduce the viral load on the surface, but it is not killing everything claimed on the label.
The instructions on the disinfectant’s label specify the amount of time the disinfectant must sit to kill the advertised number of microorganisms, and it’s longer than you might expect.
Most cleaners must sit on the surface anywhere from 30 seconds to up to ten minutes before they are fully effective.
Contact times are determined by the dilution of the disinfectant and its laboratory-tested mode of killing its advertised viruses and bacteria. In addition, the instructions may also set different time limits for sanitising versus disinfecting.
Sanitising v. disinfecting
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes, which are EPA approved to kill SARS-CoV-2, direct the user to keep the surface wet for ten seconds in order to sanitise. If the goal is to disinfect, the surface must remain wet for four minutes1. What is the difference between sanitising and disinfecting?
While sanitising reduces the bacteria on a surface, disinfecting kills and removes microorganisms and is meant to stop the spread of diseases and viruses2.
Lysol Disinfecting Wipes only kill harmful bacteria and viruses such as Influenza A Virus H1N1, E. coli, and Human Coronavirus when you follow the procedures for disinfection. Since that is likely the goal, it is important for any personnel in charge of cleaning a facility to follow the specific directions on the cleaning agent’s label.
Disinfecting best practices
Whether you are disinfecting your home or your laboratory’s cleanroom, the goal should always be safety and effectiveness. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends these six steps for disinfecting your space3:
- Use products that are EPA-approved.
- Read and follow the directions on the label for your specific disinfecting goals.
- Pre-clean surfaces with soap and water before disinfecting.
- Pay close attention to the contact time recommended for that cleaning agent. Remember that there are different contact times for sanitising v. disinfecting.
- Protect yourself from harsh chemicals by wearing gloves and washing your hands immediately after disinfecting.
- Store cleaning supplies appropriately.
Certified testing labs can help
The health and safety of your personnel are too important to leave to chance. A reliable, third-party laboratory like Sure-BioChem Laboratories can assist you with validating your cleaning processes and products. We offer microbiological effectiveness testing and ATP surface analysis to assess the cleanliness of your surfaces and the efficacy of your cleaning protocols.