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Common Misconceptions About Disinfection

Regularly disinfecting a high-touch area is one way to help protect you from germs.

All types of cleaning contribute favorably to the health of occupants in a building. However, as the nation and world continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, the commercial cleaning industry is battling misconceptions about disinfection and how it works to keep germs at bay. There is also quite a bit of confusion surrounding cleaning terms and what different cleaning methods are used for.

Here are some common misconceptions about disinfection – what it is and what it isn’t.

Cleaning is the same as disinfecting.

Cleaning usually involves soap and water and is done to remove dirt and debris. Disinfecting reduces the presence of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. Cleaning is necessary to prepare surfaces so disinfectants can do their job; disinfectants are not as effective when used without cleaning first. However, cleaning does not kill germs. Cleaning is best for low-risk surfaces such as floors and windows.

Sanitizing is the same as disinfecting.

Sanitizing a surface makes it “sanitary,” or free of dirt and contaminants that can negatively affect your health. The term is used frequently in the restaurant business to describe surfaces that are safe for food contact. Sanitizing does not kill viruses or fungi. This is an especially important distinction during the current coronavirus outbreak. Disinfection is recommended for high-touch areas to kill pathogens such as coronavirus, norovirus and influenza,which helps reduce the spread of disease.

Disinfectants work on contact.

All disinfectants are labeled with various “dwell times,” which is the length of time that the chemical must remain wet on a surface to kill germs. Times range from seconds to minutes. Depending on how dry the air is, sometimes the disinfectant will evaporate before the recommended dwell time, in which case it must be reapplied to ensure it does the job it is intended to do. Additionally, you should never wipe off or dry a surface that has been treated with disinfectant; it’s preferable to let it air dry.

Disinfecting a high-touch area completely protects you from germs.

Disinfectants can kill germs living on high-touch surfaces. As a matter of fact, the labels list all of the bacteria, viruses and fungi that a particular disinfectant kills. (Check out the fine print on the disinfectant wipes in your closet!) However, disinfecting does not last forever. And no matter how strong your disinfectant is, when one person walks by and touches the doorknob that was just disinfected, it is no longer germ-free. That’s why disinfection, even done regularly, is only part of the solution to keeping your office healthy.

Office Pride Commercial Cleaning Services provides high-quality cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting services to contribute to a healthy, clean environment for employees and customers. Check out Office Pride’s franchise locations or call 888-641-2310 to request a free custom quote for your cleaning and disinfecting needs.