eClean is collaboration of manufacturers, partners, and services to promote infection prevention
Seven Tips for disinfecting your facility or business
1- Cleaning, sanitizing or disinfecting – what’s the difference
There are differences in what a liquid product will do or how it will perform per the manufacturer guidelines. In general, cleaning or sanitizing words are used in casual conversation but disinfecting is the action and evidence-based process that should be occurring. The best efficacy occurs when the largest percentage of microbes is reduced as illustrated below. The type of cleaning, frequency, method and products should be considered based on your specific setting. The right solution combines the proper liquid or agent, applied correctly and at the ideal frequency to prevent infection.
2- Understand short-term cleaning vs. long-term protection.
Advanced disinfecting technology can now provide both short and long-term protection. Traditional cleaning eliminates bacteria, mold, and viruses upon contact with the cleaning solution. It kills it off immediately, but the next person can re-infect the surface minutes later. That’s why cleaning is traditionally repeated so often. Newer technology provides long-term antimicrobial protection. The treated surface discourages viruses from living on the surface for months after cleaning. True long-term protection is achieved by combining both methods.
3- The right disinfectant matters. They are not the same, choose wisely.
The EPA has an approved list for reducing microbes, including the coronavirus family. Some products are designed for commercial or healthcare use, others industrial applications, and even others for food contact surfaces without rinsing. Some cleaners are designed for hard surfaces and others for carpet and fabric. Even off the shelf liquids have different chemistries. The dwell time or “wet time” is an important factor for a disinfectant, and is often why hospital grade disinfects are preferred in many settings. They reduce the largest percentage of viruses or bacteria in the shortest dwell time.
4- Application techniques provide different types of protection.
How the correct disinfectants are used or applied also matters. Basic spray and wipe actions can clean high touch surfaces while professional electrostatic coating technology can cleans a higher percentage of the surface area. For COVID-19, there has been a focus on the treatment area remaining wet for at specified amount of time. A sprayer or mister may wet a surface too much, and not be appropriate for electronics or certain equipment. The molecule or droplet size from a sprayer is important. A routine that combines different methods provides the best protection.
5- Visitors and customers now prefer to witness staff cleaning commonly used surfaces.
In the recent past, cleaning was only done when visitors were not around or looking. Today, everyone wants to be assured that door knobs, hand rails, restrooms and high touch areas are being disinfected. Whether we are in a restaurant, gym, bank or lobby there is comfort and peace of mind in observing the process or evidence thereof. This activity can be promoted with social media, signage, marketing material, and other methods also.
6- Trust and confidence come with experience and results
The focus for many organizations is managing their business or operation while working thru challenges and obstacles that seem to change constantly. In the disinfecting process, there is a choice of an outside service company, or securing equipment and tools to perform your own cleaning. There are proven methods to test and validate the effectiveness of whatever your business has chosen. For peace of mind and a risk management component to your policy or routine, evidenced-based decisions and data can be utilized. Several examples include black light testing or ATP meters.
7- Choose a partner for your needs, whatever they are
Whether you need a service or equipment, liquids or advice, there are advocates and businesses that specialize in disinfecting. An established company or distributor in your local market is often invested in the community, and will support products sold for warranty and followup needs. The regulatory agencies that are often referenced are CDC, DOH, and EPA but industries also have specific association that may have recommendations or requirements. A school will follow a Department of Education guidelines, while an assisted living facility will be regulated with Dept of Human Services.