We all know by now that surface disinfection is one of the most important lines of defence against SARS-CoV-2. Like all coronaviruses, it can live for a period of several days on hard surfaces, just waiting for an unsuspecting host to come along and transfer it to their hands, and then to their mouth or nose where it can begin latching onto healthy cells and making that person sick.
In theory, disinfecting surfaces to eliminate SARS-CoV-2 and other bugs should be as simple as: obtain disinfectant, apply disinfectant, job done. But it isn’t always that simple. Disinfecting surfaces, especially large surfaces, by hand, in busy environments, with lots of different substrates, is a minefield littered with opportunities for human and other errors. And since every mistake we make in our disinfection protocols can have deadly consequences, it’s important to avoid these at all costs.
Here are some of the common drawbacks and mistakes people make when disinfecting surfaces:
1. Incorrect dosage
Many of the most popular virucidal disinfectants on the market – including those used in the NHS – are concentrated solutions that must be mixed with water before use. The potential for error is clear; make the solution too weak and it won’t kill the virus, but make it too strong and it could damage the surface being cleaned, or even cause harm to the user. In addition, these disinfectants are messy and inconvenient to mix up, which further increases the potential for error.
2. Not checking the label
Since March, we’ve been astonished by the number of times we’ve seen bactericidal products being actively marketed in the context of SARS-CoV-2. Without explicitly claiming that their product kills viruses, brands have taken advantage of people’s fears to try and sell any and all products that kill any kind of ‘germs’, without going into the specifics. The fact remains that if you wish to eliminate a virus, you must use a proven virucidal disinfectant – and that means checking the label to find out exactly what’s inside the bottle or canister, before you trust it to keep your family, customers, staff or patients safe.
3. Not observing the contact time
All disinfectants have a prescribed contact time, during which they are able to kill their target organisms – whether that’s bacteria, viruses, fungi, spores or all of the above. The contact time is the period that the surface remains wet with the disinfectant applied at the correct concentration. Once a disinfectant has dried or evaporated, its efficacy is greatly reduced. Therefore, if you rinse down or dry off a disinfected surface BEFORE the relevant contact time has elapsed, the product may not achieve the efficacy stated on the packaging – i.e. it may not eliminate all the bacteria or viral particles on that surface. In the case of Ramsol, laboratory test showed it was effective against both bacteria and viruses in a time of 5 minutes or less, and since the product takes between 5 and 7 minutes to dry, all that’s required is to ‘spray and leave’ for total disinfection.
4. Air quality / odour problems
Using disinfectants, especially sprays, in confined spaces can lead to problems with air quality. Some disinfectants, especially chlorine-based formulations, release fumes that at best, can cause an unpleasant smell, and at worst can cause respiratory distress or irritation to the eyes and mucous membranes – which can happen when the products are mixed at too-high concentrations, or used in spaces with poor ventilation. The use of fogging systems can also cause air quality problems even in well ventilated areas, because they release very fine disinfectant vapour that remains suspended in the air for a long time, sometimes up to 6 hours. When this happens, people must stay out of that room or environment until all the particles have dropped out of the air, and it’s safe to breathe. Using a higher micron spray density means that the spray particles are larger and heavier, so they drop out of suspension more quickly. In this case, it’s safe for people to re-enter the space much more quickly, without the fear of breathing in disinfectant vapour.
5. Damage to surfaces
Many of the commonly used disinfectant formulas rely on substances like alcohol or sodium hypochlorite (bleach) to kill bacteria and viruses. These compounds are highly effective, but they can also cause significant damage to the surfaces being cleaned, especially textiles and vinyl. This damage has two major implications. Firstly, it looks unsightly and can reduce the lifespan of vehicles, furniture and equipment, and secondly, it can cause pitting or cracking of the surface itself, which makes it harder and harder to effectively disinfect over time. Some manufacturer’s warranties – for instance, on medical mattresses – will be invalidated by the kind of damage caused by using the wrong disinfectant.
How can Ramsol help?
Ramsol removes much of the margin for error when disinfecting surfaces. Firstly, the product is ready mixed and supplied in easy-to-use spray canisters, so there’s no chance of incorrect dosage.
The formula has been tested and complies with key standards BS EN 1276, BS EN 14476, BS EN 13697 and BS EN 1650 which means it’s effective against viruses, bacteria, yeast and fungi. The contact time is less than the drying time, so as previously stated all you have to do is spray, allow to dry, and rest assured that the stated efficacy has been achieved. Furthermore, Ramsol is suitable for application to both hard and soft surfaces, and contains no alcohol or bleach so it’s 100% non-flammable, and won’t stain or fade internal finishes. Last but by no means least, Ramsol’s 20-micron spray density means the product drops out of suspension quickly and there’s no unpleasant odour, so environments are ready for reoccupation in as little as ten minutes.
For more information about Ramsol’s effective, convenient and completely portable disinfection performance, email email@example.com