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Why Disinfectants Fail to Kill Viruses and Bacteria

With the recent outbreak of the Corona Virus and the new emphasis on protecting workers, family, and the general public, we wanted to help train people on the proper use of disinfectants.

Lets review the basics of disinfect ratings and use.  The CDC determines the testing protocol for a product to be rated as a disinfectant, and the EPA Registers the disinfectant for use in the environment.  The CDC protocol usually says something like (in simple non technical form), "Product to be applied in ready to use form, on a pre-cleaned, non-porous surface, and remain wet for the required amount of time."  Do you do this?  If you don't follow this protocol, your surface may not be clean and pathogen free like you think.  Lets break this down.

Pre-cleaned surface: This is saying the surface has been cleaned of all the large amounts of soil.  For example, you removed all the blood you can from the surface before application of the disinfectant.   You're not just spraying the ready to use compound directly on the surface, but removed all you can from the area to be cleaned first.

Non-porous surface: The surface to be disinfected MUST BE HARD and smooth, not a soft surface like carpet, vinyl, leather, or clothing.  Counter tops, metal bathroom partitions, VCT floors, ceramic tile, etc are considered hard non-porous surfaces.  Using the disinfectant on any other type of surface removes the disinfection claim.  Thus you cannot disinfect carpet, clothing, furniture with coverings, or human body parts like hands.

Remain wet for the required time: This is the typical problem.  How many of us spray the surface and wipe the table clean right after spraying?  Did you know by doing that you are no longer disinfecting the surface and the virus or bacteria can live on?  IF YOU DO NOT LEAVE THE SURFACE WET FOR THE REQUIRED TIME STATED ON THE LABEL YOU ARE NOT ASSURED TO KILL THE VIRUS OR BACTERIA!   Please understand this is the number one reason disinfectants fail to kill and leave open the possibility of further infection.  Change your cleaning procedures to allow the dwell time required on the labeling.  Not all disinfectants have the same killing time.  Disinfectants range from 1-10 minutes contact wet dwell time.  FURTHER, some disinfectants have different contact times to kill different pathogens for which they are rated.  BOTTOM line: READ THE LABEL and follow the remain wet contact times.

If any of these criteria are not met when using a disinfectant, the best you can say about the procedure is that you have sanitized it.  This is why we have hand sanitizers, our hands do not meet the hard non-porous surface requirement.  You cannot claim the surface is disinfected unless the surface it rated for it, remains, wet for the required contact time, and was pre-cleaned before the application of the disinfection.

For our disinfection products, please visit our listing of disinfection cleaners.

Visit our Corona rated products for your facility for specific products.