It’s fair to say that at this point in 2020, we collectively know more about hygiene than we ever did before. Routine disinfection used to be a task reserved for those working in specialised environments – mostly medical, scientific and manufacturing settings – but now it’s something every individual and organisation around the world has had to get to grips with.
As we battle a global pandemic, it’s very clear to all of us why we need to do things like washing our hands well and often, and disinfecting surfaces that are frequently exposed to physical contact or droplet contamination. But with so much information being thrown at us on a daily basis, it’s perhaps not surprising that there’s also a bit of confusion out there, including some persistent myths about surface hygiene that could be putting people at risk. Here are some of the ones we commonly encounter:
MYTH: Viruses die quickly on surfaces
Thankfully, this is one much-perpetuated myth that has begun to die out since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike bacteria, viruses are not living things so they need to latch onto living cells in order to replicate – but they can and do survive on surfaces for surprising periods of time while awaiting a new host. Studies show that norovirus, for example, can survive for weeks on hard and soft surfaces, while the SARS-Cov-2 virus is estimated to live for about three days on a hard surface.
MYTH: Cleaning and disinfecting are the same
The first rule of hygiene is ‘you can’t disinfect dirt’, which is why thorough cleaning of any surface is important for infection control. A simple combination of soap, hot water and elbow grease is a proven way to manually remove soiling, bacteria and viral particles from non-porous surfaces. However, since it’s almost impossible to eliminate all traces of germs in this way, we rely on disinfectants to kill any pathogens we aren’t able to physically remove.
MYTH: All disinfectants are the same
One of the most dangerous myths around is that all disinfectants do the same thing, which is patently untrue. All disinfectants must have some proven ability to kill bacteria but this is where the similarities end. Not all disinfectants are proven to kill viruses, and not all disinfectants are approved for use in food processing environments. When choosing a disinfectant, it’s important to check that it has been tested and approved to the relevant standards – in the UK that’s BS EN14776 for virucidal performance, and BS EN1650 for food processing.
MYTH: Disinfectants work instantaneously
It’s a very common myth that as soon as you spray a surface with disinfectant, all pathogens are immediately killed – but this is not the case. All disinfectants that are tested in a laboratory have a prescribed contact time. This is the length of time that the surface must stay wet in order for full efficacy to be achieved. If the product dries, is diluted or is wiped away within this time, its effectiveness will be significantly reduced. In laboratory tests, Ramsol achieved 99.999% germ kill in less than five seconds and in use, the product dries in minutes with no need to wipe down.
MYTH: Disinfectants can ‘protect’ surfaces against SARS-Cov-2
Some disinfectant manufacturers claim that their products offer residual protection against viruses – meaning that the products continue to kill germs for a period of time after application. BS EN approved products are proven to kill pathogens at the time that they are used. After use, if new viral particles come into contact with the surface, they will not be effective. Currently, there are no approved products on the market that offer residual protection against viruses. Therefore, we must put our trust in approved disinfectants that are designed for convenient, frequent application.
To find out more about how Ramsol can help your organisation to address surface hygiene effectively and efficiently, get in touch on email@example.com