The COVID-19 pandemic has generated increased awareness of the importance of regularly cleaning and disinfecting our homes and businesses. Business owners are seeking out advanced technologies for commercial cleaning as they reopen. Unfortunately, it can be quite confusing. Some commercial cleaning companies rely on enticing marketing messages, touting the latest and greatest tools. The truth is, many advanced technologies for commercial cleaning are not fully developed and proven yet.
In this blog, we will debunk the myths and help business owners understand which technologies for commercial cleaning and disinfections really work.
EPA List N Disinfectants
These are products approved by the EPA for use against SARS-CoV-2, the novel human coronavirus that causes COVID-19. These products are great to keep on hand to disinfect spaces throughout the day, especially high-touch areas like doorknobs and phones.
Steam cleaners can safely kill germs and viruses in hard-to-reach places or on porous surfaces like upholstered furniture. However, steam can damage some surfaces, like wood or marble. It’s also hard to know how long a surface needs to be steamed in order to complete disinfection because the time it takes to effectively kill germs is dependent on the temperature of the steam.
Ultraviolet Light Technology
Ultraviolet Light Technology is known by a few names, including Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation, UV-C Light, and LED Blue Light. UV-C is often used in combination with other procedures.
The downside of UV-C Technology is that most machines on the market are only safe to use in empty rooms, making it impractical for use in high-traffic areas like waiting rooms and other common spaces where people gather. This is because UV-C light can cause sunburn and the cell mutations that lead to skin cancer.
While the pandemic has caused many difficulties, it has also inspired innovation. UV-light-zapping germicidal robots and robots that spray disinfectant are being used in various sectors of public environments, from hospitals to hotels. This is an emerging technology for disinfection equipment and will be interesting to watch in the next year, but is not yet proven.
Electrostatic sprayers mix disinfectant solutions with air, then apply an electric charge to them through an electrode inside the sprayer nozzle. The disinfectant is then sprayed onto surfaces.
Any negatively charged surface bonds with the positively charged disinfectant, resulting in a more even and thorough coat of disinfectant, which aids in the killing of any pathogen.
Some of the benefits of this process are:
- Reduces the time it takes to cover and disinfect all surfaces and hard-to-reach places by 50% compared to conventional methods
- Applies chemicals in a more efficient, controlled manner
- Helps avoid liquid pooling often associated with trigger sprayers
- Keyboards, monitors, and desktop/laptop encasements can be treated electrostatically as long as they aren’t saturated in solution
The EPA considers electrostatic sprayers “low-pressure sprayers.” Any disinfectant labels that include the language “low-pressure sprayer” or “low-pressure coarse sprayer” indicate that the product can be used through an electrostatic sprayer.
Foggers and Misters
Foggers emit a mist that consists of tiny droplets of disinfectant. The particles in the “fog” are so small that they remain suspended in the air long enough to kill airborne viruses and bacteria. The disinfectant also eliminates pathogens on surfaces, including ceilings, walls, furniture, and floors.
Fogging is a rapid and efficient way to reach hard-to-get areas. In most cases, it’s not necessary to move furniture or equipment around before or during the cleaning process.
Foggers and misters are effective for:
- Killing airborne germs and bacteria
- Eliminating pathogens on surfaces like ceilings, walls, furniture, floors
- Reaching difficult-to-clean areas like behind or under furniture
Typically, the particles emitted in the fog or mist are so small and fine, they evaporate quickly and don’t require wipe-down. However, depending on the sensitivity of the surface you’re cleaning, you may still want to wipe down the surface after the dwell time elapses. It is also wise to remove any paper documents that could be saturated by the fog or mist.
EPA refers to fogging as “Fumigation” and wide-area spraying. Any EPA-approved disinfectant product indicated for use in fumigation can likely be used in a fogger.
Antimicrobial Surface Protection Products
Antimicrobial Surface Protection Products are applied by spraying or wiping on a surface and provide long-term (up to 90 days) protection. Once applied to a disinfected surface and allowed to dry, the solution creates a covalent bond that has a unique, spiked structure and a positive electrical charge. On contact, the spikes punch through the cell walls of the microbes.
Currently, there are no EPA-registered products that claim long-lasting disinfection. EPA-registered products that claim long-lasting effectiveness are limited to those that control odor-causing bacteria on hard, non-porous surfaces. EPA researchers hope to determine whether antimicrobial products can provide residual disinfection on surfaces over time and how durable the disinfection ability of the product is with normal use, including routine cleaning and natural weathering.
As you can see, cleaning and disinfecting a commercial space can be complicated. Working with a qualified commercial cleaning service relieves the stress of managing cleaning and disinfecting yourself and ensures every surface is properly treated.
For more information on post COVID-19 vaccine commercial cleaning best practices, download our free report or contact us today.