Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, building managers and school administrators are hearing more and more about the need for disinfectants to kill the pathogens that can cause this and other types of diseases. However, disinfectants are only effective if they are used properly.
Because of this, we want to review with our readers some of the key issues they should be aware of. Make sure your cleaning contractor is also aware of these. Building managers/administrators must ensure all steps are being taken to protect the health of the people using their facilities.
So here is what we need to know about the use of disinfectants:
COVID-19 Killing Disinfectants
The CDC is verifying which disinfectants include the ingredients necessary to help fight the spread of COVID. This is list that is ever evolving. Make sure the disinfectants used in your facility are on this list. The list may be found here.
Read the Disinfectant’s Label
In today’s world, we like to just turn things on and figure out how to use them by working with them. While that might work with new software, that is definitely not recommended when using disinfectants. Reading the label is very important. For one thing, it will include “kill claims.” This is a list of the types of germs and bacteria the product can kill based on EPA assessments. Further, professional disinfectants are highly concentrated. They must be diluted properly in order to work effectively.
Disinfectants are very powerful cleaning solutions and, especially if they are not used properly, can be harmful to both the user and the building users. Because of this, many of our clients ask us to use “green” disinfectants. In the U.S., there are no green disinfectants. They come under the category of “pesticides” because of their killing ability. What we have in the U.S., are EPA-registered disinfectants. These disinfectants have been tested to verify their pathogen killing efficacy. While their impact on the environment may be a consideration, it is not the key consideration.
We have addressed this in other blogs. Surfaces must be cleaned first before they can be disinfected. Possibly defining these two terms can help:
- Cleaning removes unwanted soils from surfaces.
- Disinfecting kills pathogens on surfaces.
In order for the disinfectant to work most effectively, the unwanted soils must be removed.
Dwell Time and Staying “Wet”
Earlier we mentioned the importance of reading labels on disinfectants. The label will indicate how long the disinfectant must dwell on a surface before it can be wiped off. This can vary from two or three minutes to ten minutes. But here is something else we must remember. If the disinfectant dries on the surface, it must be reapplied, and the dwell time clock must be started again. The surface must be wiped clean before the disinfectant dries.
When to Use Disinfectants
Typically, our focus when we discuss disinfectants is where to use them, for instance on high-touch areas. But what is all too common is for cleaning professionals to use them where they are not needed. In some cases, the just pull the disinfectant out to clean a surface, whether it is needed or not. This is wrong for many reasons. First, its costly and wasteful. Plus, it can be potentially harmful to the user and the environment.
But here is the big concern, especially now with COVID-19. We know we are becoming resistant to many antibiotics due to overuse and prescription. Well, pathogens are becoming resistant to some disinfectants, due to overuse. To help prevent this, make sure your cleaning workers only use disinfectants when and where necessary.
Finally, a term we are hearing more and more due to COVID-19 is PPE – personal protection equipment. When using disinfectants, cleaning workers should always be wearing gloves. And while it is not recommended, if manually mixing and diluting disinfectants, they should be wearing gloves. As we mentioned earlier, these are powerful cleaning solutions. If they get in the eyes, they can cause serious problems.
The Secure Clean blog is designed to help building managers keep their facilities cleaner, healthier, greener, and safer, in the most cost-effective ways possible. To learn more about us, please take a few minutes to explore our website at www.securecleanbsi.com, contact us here, or at 888-609-1410.