The Truth About Disinfecting the Workplace

Updated November 2, 2023

The Truth About Disinfecting the Workplace

The 2019-2021 corona virus pandemic elevated interest in the world of disinfection and sanitation. General cleaning and safety in public access buildings, spaces, hospitals, schools, nursing homes as well as personal spaces like bathrooms, showers, kitchens and eating surfaces has also become a point of interest even for non-professionals.

The biggest misconception about disinfection is that if you coat a surface with a disinfectant then wipe it away, then you have a disinfected surface. This is not true! In fact, there are no EPA registered products that claim <1 minute of dwell time will kill any bacteria; meaning the surface must remain wet for a full at least a full minute! Many, if not most disinfectants take a full 10 minutes for the application to definitively work as intended. This includes disinfectant sprays, and disinfecting towels & sanitation towels. When people use a disinfectant spray, they are not giving it the time to kill the germs, bacteria and viruses as described on the certified EPA label. You may come across instantaneous hand sanitizers (even spray hand sanitizers!) but they are not meant for surface disinfection which is where most of the cross contamination occurs.

It’s important to acknowledge that disinfectants, disinfectant sprays, sanitation towels, and disinfection towels, are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and are highly regulated. This assures that when you see an EPA registration or sub-registration, the product in the container has been laboratory certified with “kill claims” for extremely specific germs and viruses. If it doesn’t say “human coronavirus” it hasn’t been certified as a Covid killing disinfectant. The same applies to HIV, Herpes, Hepatitis, MRSA, Tuberculosis, C-diff, and many more. Once a label has been approved nothing about it can be changed including the wording, fonts or sizes. If a product sub-registered, it can only be modified with the name given by the sub-registrant.

Disinfecting and Deep-Cleaning: The Professional Strategy  

Our most popular office sanitation or workplace disinfectant is 4CQ Plus. It is a quaternary disinfectant which dilutes with water and has a kill claim for Covid and a variety of other infectious contaminants. 4CQ Plus is mostly used for diluting in floor scrubbers and mop buckets for general floor and restroom workplace sanitation. It also works great as a disinfecting spray by atomizing into the air which is essential for covering large areas like locker rooms, gymnasiums, auditoriums, classrooms, lobbies, and places where cross contamination is most likely to occur. By being diluted into a sprayer bottle, 4CQ Plus can be used on almost any hard surface. It is highly effective and dilutes with water - 2 parts 4CQ Plus to 1 gallon of water - making it quite an inexpensive product! The dwell time is a full 10 minutes so it’s important to thoroughly dampen the area to be disinfected and allow time for air drying.

HGDS is a hospital grade disinfecting spray that is a phenolic formulation. Phenolics have a solvency appearance and are effective against the strongest viruses and disease carrying microbes. The shiny appearance allows for longer dwell times. While people believe this creates a buildup that attracts dust, dirt, and grime - that’s not the case. This disinfecting spray dries in 10-15 minutes and requires no wiping. HGDS is also available in an orange fragrance which doesn’t make it any more effective but gives the users a choice of light lavender or a stronger orange-zest one! This product is frequently used in shoes skates, boots, tents and other wearable or outdoor gear to remove musty smells and the formation of mold. Since it is an aerosol people find HGDS extremely convenient as it can easily be stored in cabinets, on shelves, in glove compartments, in gear bags and small spaces.

A highly effective disinfecting towel called Countdown is also very popular if you prefer not to use disinfecting sprays! Countdown 2 Minute Disinfect Towels can cover about 10-12 square feet and leave the surface damp for just 2 minutes. The fast-acting formula has been EPA certified to kill a broad spectrum of bacteria, germs, and viruses. This includes human coronaviruses like Covid 19, multiple strains of hepatitis, herpes, HIV, and influenza including avian influenza. Countdown disinfecting wipes are also remarkably convenient to use and simple to dispose of as they can be thrown away and are biodegraded in landfills because they are made of paper.

Multi-Guard effectively kills germs with a convenient, ready-to-use quart spray bottle. This quart-based virucide will save you time and energy better used on other tasks. You don’t have to do any guesswork applying various products to treat the same area. With this disinfecting spray you can clean, disinfect, and deodorize all in one step. This simple but effective solution is excelling at preventing cross contamination and is especially popular for use in hospitals, nursing homes, patient rooms, operating rooms, ICU areas, public restrooms, food processing plants, & food service establishments! Multi-Guard is EPA registered and certified to kill COVID-19, MRSA, E-Coli, Hepatitis B, Tuberculosis, HIV-1, Canine Parvovirus, & more!

Spray All Disinfectant Foaming Cleaner is an EPA registered disinfectant in both aerosol and pump spray formats. Although Spray All is hospital-grade application making it a particularly useful disinfectant in hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, and other health care settings, it is ideal for cleaning and decontaminating almost any hard surface including ceramic, show stalls, walls, and painted woodwork.

Spray All aerosol sprays from the can with a rich textured lather that has both vertical hang time and a noteworthy cleaning punch among disinfecting sprays in healthcare and veterinary facilities. Spray All aerosol works by disinfecting hard surfaces as it cleans, controlling germs on treated surfaces. While decontaminating, Spray All also works to eliminate all malodors at their source, including odor causing bacteria.

If you are looking for speed, Wipe-It-All Germicidal Wipes is simply the fastest acting, lowest dwell time disinfectant you can purchase anywhere. Wipe-It-All is great for cleaning and disinfecting hard, non-porous surfaces. Although rapid, it manages to kill most bacteria and viruses, including HIV and MRSA. The benefits aren’t just in the speed, Wipe-It-All disinfecting towels are also disposable! By using Wipe-It-All you can eliminate the need to mix and spray chemicals into the air.

Personal Protection While Disinfecting the Facility

It’s important that maintenance professionals keep themselves safe during all tasks. While disinfecting a facility or workplace is easy with the right solutions, keeping yourself clean during the process is critical!

Little Buddy, Foam Up Berry, and Handy Dandy.

Little Buddy is a simple solution with effective results. This is a very popular instant hand sanitizing wipe that is great to keep on site.

Foam Up Berry is a lightly fragranced, rich lathered soap designed to remove dirt and contaminates that carry germs, bacteria, and viruses on minute particles from your hands! Foam Up Berry rinses contaminates from your hands when you wash with water.

Handy Dandy is a powerful solution which is commonly referred to as barrier cream. It protects your hands by preventing debris from sticking when you apply it before you get dirty. To remove the barrier, simply wash it from your hands when you are done. Handy Dandy is full of emollients and skin softeners that will leave your hands and callouses feeling smoother and silkier! It’s important to note that Handy Dandy is fragrance free!

Disinfectant tips for Industrial Maintenance Professionals

Remember, unless a solution is certified by the EPA to work as intended, you will be relying on guesswork! This doesn’t mean other products don’t work, it’s just that they are not certified nor are they specific to what type of contaminates they kill. A good soak with bleach may do what you hope it would, but hope is a poor comparison to EPA certification in the industrial world! Plus, bleach is highly alkali and will damage surfaces - particularly ones that have a sheen or shine on them. In fact, bleach acts similarly to a degreaser, essentially removing any of the surface components that keeps surfaces bright and reflective. It ranges from 11-13 on the pH scales with the harshest alkali being 14. Bleach is a particularly dangerous product when used undiluted & improperly.

There are a lot of disinfecting solutions. From disinfecting sprays to disinfectant towels and wipes, to concentrate and detergents, there's a lot of ways to improve your disinfecting procedures! To find out which solutions best fit your need, speak with an expert today!