Skip links
Published on: Classic

Disinfecting in the age of COVID

During the height of the pandemic, you couldn’t even get Clorox from the grocery stores. Disinfectants everywhere were sold out. There was an insane demand for these products that, in the past, we had really only sold to professionals and institutions. We knew a lot of people, companies and institutions were buying disinfecting services and we knew there were a lot of people out there doing them that probably did not know how.

Things have leveled out a little since then. Some of the fly by night “sanitation” services have fallen to the wayside and some of them have stepped up their game, learned from their mistakes and managed to succeed. All in all, most of us have figured out what works and what doesn’t and with most everything back in stock these days it’s a lot easier. Here’s our two cents on how to get your job done right.

Clean first…

If you have any experience in disinfecting, then you know you must first clean the area. The instructions on the bottle of any disinfectant have very specific instructions that must be followed in order to say something has been disinfected. Surfaces must remain uniformly wet with the disinfectant for a prescribed amount of time in order to make the claims on the label i.e. “Kills Norovirus in 10 minutes” or “kills Coronavirus in 50 seconds”. We’ll use your kitchen counter as an example. Let’s say someone sick has been to your house and you want to disinfect the areas they were in. Your home is already pretty clean so you decide to use a grocery store disinfectant and wipe down all the hard surfaces. This should work very well. But what if the house wasn’t clean in the first place. What if it’s a hoarding situation and there are large amounts of dry and or wet debris on the hard surfaces. What if there’s been a natural disaster and there has been black water in the home? Pretty quickly we begin to see that environments needing disinfection vary wildly and for a professional, it is best to have a plan to follow. Removal of debris, so that you can actually access the surfaces needing disinfecting, is key.

We like peroxide cleaners. There are many benefits and few drawbacks. A good peroxide cleaner like Sentinel’s Envirowash 300 will foam up upon contact with organic debris. Envirowash is about 7.5% peroxide by volume, can be shipped UPS and breaks down into water and oxygen. Peroxide alone can neutralize many pathogens by itself, however you always need to follow the directions on the bottle of the cleaning solution you are using.

 

Once an area is properly cleaned, it can then be disinfected.

Then disinfect!

The disinfectant you use matters. The first thing to consider is yourself in this equation. There are many disinfectants on the market today and some of them are more dangerous to handle and require a lot of personal protective equipment or PPE. Luckily, science is really on our side here! In the past few decades, a few front runners in the chemical disinfection game have emerged. Those include the incredibly safe, botanically derived disinfectants that use a concentrated or synthetic form of thyme and oregano oil. These products do not require you to wear any PPE to apply them and they have a GRAS (generally recognized as safe) rating.  There are jobs for which the older disinfectants are more appropriate and knowing when to use each chemical is an important part of any remediation technician’s training. The WRT and AMRT classes introduce and expand upon the conditions for which these chemicals are called for.

 

Chlorine dioxide disinfectants are also gaining steam. Since they break down into water and oxygen, are super effective at killing microorganisms and the odor that comes with them and are relatively safe, they’ve definitely earned a spotlight here! Chlorine dioxide can be used in liquid or gas form. The latter is not appropriate for disinfecting but can be incredibly useful in removing mal odors when nothing else works particularly in cases of putrefaction. The liquid form however is inexpensive, disinfects quickly and for most products all that’s required is eye protection depending on the concentration of the product.

 

The industry continues to move toward safer technologies, quicker kill times and more effective practices that allow contractors to work smarter, not harder. You can be sure that when you shop at PCCS, you are choosing from the best, most advanced chemistry and tools on the market. While your eye is on the job and your customers, our eye is on you, your safety and your bottom line!

Leave a comment