Disinfecting for Health by Skip Seal
The questions have been asked: Do we need to disinfect? Is it possible to over-disinfect? Do we disinfect, then clean?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when cleaning non-critical patient areas (including common areas in office buildings and schools), high-touch objects (HTOs) should be cleaned daily using an all-purpose cleaner. These surfaces should be cleaned with a one-step detergent disinfectant cleaner if they have been in contact with known or suspected persons with contagious disease. Think of a one-step disinfectant as an all-purpose cleaner that is also a disinfectant.
When disinfecting is required, and a one-step detergent disinfectant is not used, cleaning must be performed before applying the disinfectant, otherwise the soil remains as a barrier between the germs and the disinfectant. Disinfectants, even one-step disinfectants, should not be used as general cleaners; instead consider disinfecting for health.
One-step detergent disinfectants can be both excellent cleaners and effective disinfectants. These products can be diluted through a suitable dispenser providing great economy. All disinfectants require contact or dwell times to meet stated kill claims. A one-step detergent disinfectant may be an excellent cleaner but to disinfect for health, it may require the surface to remain wet for up to 10 minutes.
End of story?
Not quite. These answers do not address the everyday world of most building service contractors. There are several factors to consider when making the decision whether to use a disinfectant or not. What areas are included in the scope of work? Are they critical care areas in a healthcare environment or public HTOs in office buildings, schools, etc.? In non-healthcare buildings, is there a known outbreak of communicable disease? What are the customer’s expectations compared to the contract’s specifications?