By Jeff Schwantes, VP of Sales for United States, Charlotte Products Ltd

As we begin to reopen here in North America and across the world, it is important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic rages on. This will continue to be our No. 1 priority for all of our cleaning and maintenance efforts going forward. Everywhere, facilities are opening with new rules to limit the spread of infection. It is our responsibility to adapt to those new rules and protect public health by continuing to keep spaces everywhere clean and healthy for the public. Our critical role is to focus on improving cleaning and disinfecting measures and elevating public health. That is our role as manufacturers, distributors and cleaning professionals. To that end, we are all first responders in the fight against the pandemic.

As we enter a new phase of reopening and public life with the constant presence of COVID-19, it is important to have the most up-to-date information available to successfully fill this role. Below, we provide a few refresher tips regarding cleaning facilities and the fight against COVID-19. Be sure to tune into our weekly webinar series every Friday at 1 pm where we discuss the latest developments in the pandemic, provide relevant tips and answer your questions. 

Buyer Beware

As is often the case in any industry, some companies are providing misleading information that takes advantage of concerns about COVID-19. Often you can spot a claim that is false because it will sound too good to be true. If you see a label that claims the product “kills COVID-19” then you should do research to confirm the validity that it has a claim specifically against SARS-COV-2 based on EPA & Health Canada registration. Saying the product has a kill claim against SARS-COV-2 specifically is very rare. We are also seeing claims that products will last on a surface for 30 or even up to 90 days, which is another alarming label. Our advice is to continue to surround yourself with manufacturers and distributors you can trust to give you accurate information regarding the proper products and equipment for combating COVID-19.  Additionally, always remember to check the lists provided by Health Canada and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to verify whether a product meets the requirements for use against SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. These lists confirm what products are expected to be effective in killing SARS-COV-2 based on demonstrated efficacy.

Clean First, Then Disinfect

Now is as good a time as any to remind frontline workers about the need to clean a surface before disinfecting it. Any soil or contaminants present on a surface, including dust or food particles, will disrupt a disinfectant’s ability to target the virus. You may choose any general cleaning detergent for the first step, which is cleaning the surface. This process will not necessarily kill any germs, but it will remove contaminants on the surface and some germs, lowering the number of germs on the surface. After cleaning according to your product label, it is time to disinfect. Disinfecting does not clean dirty surfaces or remove germs, but rather it kills germs on a surface after cleaning, thus lowering the risk of spreading infection. Disinfecting will not be effective if the surface has not first been cleaned.

Application Questions Answered

Many of our customers have come to us with questions about the best method to use to apply disinfectant. Specifically, they want to know whether we recommend fogging or spraying of disinfectants in the current pandemic atmosphere. Of course it is always important to read your product instructions and follow them perfectly, paying attention to protocol that includes cleaning first, following disinfectant dilution and dwell time and proper rinsing. However, you may be able to achieve increased efficacy and safety by applying your disinfectant using a sprayer. This is because when you are fogging, very small particles of the product are atomized. Because they are so small, they tend to float more in the air. This could mean that the disinfectant does not drop as quickly to the surface you are disinfecting, that the surface does not stay wet long enough to achieve the proper dwell time and that the particles of that disinfectant will linger in the air. Because the active ingredients in most disinfectants can be corrosive, this could pose a health risk to end users and building occupants. Proper PPE is essential when spraying a disinfectant. When you use a sprayer, you release larger particles of the disinfectant. Dwell time is always a critical component of achieving efficacy. With the larger droplet size from a proper sprayer, you are more likely to achieve that dwell time. At the end of the day, it has to be efficacious. 

In this ever-changing pandemic atmosphere, those of us in the cleaning industry are first responders. It is our obligation to provide our customers and all frontline workers with the knowledge and tools necessary to stop the spread of infection and create healthy, safe places for people everywhere. Continue to check back on our blog or tune into our weekly COVID-19 webinar series to stay up-to-date on the latest information related to the virus.