By Jim Flieler, VP of Sales Canada

Over the past year, we’ve seen the ubiquitous use of disinfecting wipes. They can be found everywhere from the front of every grocery store to the teacher’s desk in every classroom across North America. While these are a simple solution to challenges to public health during the global coronavirus pandemic, they can often be misused, leading to a waste of resources, or worse—unsafe conditions. In this blog, we’ll share some rules for using disinfecting wipes in your facility that will help ensure that your building is clean and safe for occupants. 

What Is a Disinfecting Wipe?

Disinfecting wipes are single-use wet wipes that can be used to disinfect surfaces quickly. Wipes that claim to disinfect surfaces contain a certain amount of active ingredients that are, by their nature, aggressive. That is because they need to support kill claims listed on the disinfecting product, which means they need to be strong enough to kill or inactivate bacteria and viruses. The active ingredients present in disinfectants often come with a negative impact on human health. They can trigger respiratory illnesses, or even in some cases cause asthma.  Wet wipes generally have a high rate of efficiency in killing viruses and bacteria on surfaces because they can be extremely aggressive. Follow these rules to ensure you protect the health and safety of your building and your people.

Don’t overuse.

Disinfectants, including disinfecting wipes, must be used sparingly. We recommend that disinfecting wipes be used only in designated, strategic places. Look at your building and identify high-touch surfaces that include things like light switches, door knobs, railings, elevator buttons and keyboards. These high-touch surfaces should be disinfected regularly. Some surfaces may be cleaned using a general purpose cleaner (or a cleaning wipe) rather than being disinfected.

Don’t allow children to use disinfecting wipes.

Some schools are now asking students to use disinfecting wipes in their personal spaces before and after mealtimes. A child should never be asked to use a disinfectant wipe. Children’s bodies are still developing, and they may be more susceptible to the health effects of the aggressive ingredients in disinfectants. Additionally, teachers are often using disinfecting wipes in the classroom. All adults should be provided the proper PPE and training needed to use disinfecting wipes safely. 

Do clean first, then disinfect.

Remove all soil from the surface before using your disinfecting wipes. Using a general purpose cleaner or a cleaning wipe will do the trick. A disinfectant’s effectiveness can be disrupted when soil and other contaminants are present on a surface. This is why we always recommend to clean a surface first, and then disinfect. 

Don’t reuse a wipe. 

After you’ve wiped your surface with your disinfecting wipe, you may consider turning it over and using the other side to get more out of one wipe. However, when you’ve used both sides, it will be time to dispose of the wipe. Do not save wipes and reuse them. This will increase the chance of cross contamination. Dispose of your used wipes in a trash container with a lid and a liner.

Do keep the surface wet.
All disinfectants, including disinfecting wipes, have a dwell time listed on the label. This is the amount of time the disinfectant will need to remain wet on a surface in order to achieve effectiveness. Make sure the surface stays wet for the amount of dwell time needed when you are using disinfecting wipes. This may mean you will need to use more wipes to make sure the area you are disinfecting has a higher saturation level. 

Do use for only one type of surface.

Avoid cross contamination by using one wipe for each type of surface. Do not use your wipe on a keyboard, for example, and then continue using it on a doorknob. This could potentially take a contaminant from the keyboard and transfer it to the doorknob.

Do rinse food contact surfaces.

For food contact surfaces or when used in preschools where surfaces may come into contact with children’s mouths, a sanitizer may be a safer choice than a disinfecting wipe. With either type of wipe, make sure to rinse with water or a wet wipe after you’ve applied the disinfecting wipe to remove harmful, aggressive ingredients that could be dangerous if ingested. Wait to rinse until after you have allowed the disinfectant to sit for the proper dwell time. 

Our ServClean Sanitizing Wipes are intended to be used to provide antiseptic cleaning for hands and hard surfaces. These wipes contain 70% isopropyl alcohol. They are effective in destroying harmful bacteria and are safe for use on hands and hard surfaces such as electronics, keyboards, phones, desks, etc. These are a safer alternative for use in schools, or on food contact surfaces.