Trade Secrets

Demystifying Disinfectants

By February 25, 2020 No Comments

It is important to understand how the process of disinfection works and what separates it from cleaning.

First and foremost, cleaning is simply the physical removal of soil from a surface, usually done with water and detergents. While it may not be as elaborate as disinfection or sanitation, cleaning is absolutely essential. You can’t disinfect a dirty surface.

Disinfection is the killing of germs, which is something that most will achieve using harsh chemicals. The issue with the chemical approach is that it’s vastly more complicated of a process than simply spraying a surface with a so-called 99.9% effective all-in-one solution. Claims made by manufacturers are based on unrealistic testing methods. Because of this, many conventional housekeeping and commercial cleaning companies will completely shy away from disinfection as a service, and may not even mention the word.

According to Health Canada, disinfecting commonly touched surfaces regularly can significantly decrease the chances of spreading viruses or harmful bacteria. The daunting task of eliminating germs and making a surface food-safe is most easily achieved by using the process of the three C’s. Chemicals, contact time, and coverage.

  1. Selecting the right chemical and concentration is the first step of the process. Everyone would love to use the bare minimum harshness and quantities, however different chemicals are not always effective against every dangerous pathogen. As an example, the active agent of ammonia can work well for salmonella and E. Coli, however it can prove completely ineffective against the deadly staph bacteria.
  2. Coverage is the second step of the process. Naturally you can only disinfect what you can cover. Most of the surfaces you need to disinfect will be smooth and waterproof to some extent, causing liquids on these surfaces to bead into droplets. The spotty coverage only gets worse with time because of evaporation. With very heavy applications, floors and counter-tops can be adequately covered for the appropriate amount of contact time… but what about vertical surfaces and overhangs like doorknobs, showers and toilets, or other hard to reach places?
  3. The final step of disinfecting is the contact time – how long the chemical needs to remain wet on a surface to be effective. Testing shows that in a normal indoor setting, household chemicals can evaporate in under seven minutes, while killing the germs may require a full ten minutes of exposure. This requires heavier initial applications or re-wetting of the surfaces. Research shows that not letting the chemicals take their course may actually cause the germs to mutate into being resistant to disinfectants and antibiotics.

Following the complicated process of chemical disinfection can be time consuming and is often not followed, by cleaning professionals and homeowners alike.

VapourClean takes the guess-work out, saving you headaches and time. First we remove all physical soil from the surface using non-toxic cleaning products.  Then we use our scientifically backed method of eliminating the germs with super-heated de-ionized water vapour to temperatures above 375F . This ensures effective coverage and reduces the contact time to seconds, all while leaving no chemical odours or residues.

 

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