With COVID-19, disinfection awareness is moving out of clinical/professional environments into more public spaces. And while it’s easy to maintain social distancing, put on personal protective equipment and wash hands, we’ve discovered that the general public is not as familiar with the proper use of disinfectants. That inexperience and lack of knowledge may compromise the efficacy of their use and lead to a false sense of security. Here are some of the most common misconceptions and misunderstandings we’re seeing encountered by the public everyday. Also, please have fun answering some interesting questions as you scroll.
Hospital disinfectants are registered by Health Canada or the EPA for use in healthcare facilities, veterinary practices, dental offices, spas, salons, clinics and other professional establishments where they are considered more effective against a broader group of pathogens including viruses, bacteria and fungi. While household disinfectants boast killing “99.9% of Germs”, this is insufficient for more heavily trafficked and higher risk environments where bacteria will multiply and potentially pose a risk of infection. A safe rule of thumb is to leave household disinfectants at home and use hospital disinfectants in commercial settings.
Unlike spilt milk, you can’t see pathogens, therefore it is hard to know if they have been removed by simply wiping. Instead, a contaminated surface must remain wet with the disinfectant for a prescribed amount of time indicated on the label—sometimes as long as 10 minutes! If it dries too quickly, it will not be effective. You may have to re-apply many times, so the shorter that wet contact time is, the better. Remember that bacteria left behind can multiply rapidly and re-contaminate a surface if not properly disinfected.
Not ALL disinfectants are created equal and can widely differ by what they kill (claims), how quickly they do so (contact time), personal safety precautions (e.g. need for PPE) and environmental impact. For a disinfectant to have efficacy against specific pathogens, it must be approved by federal regulatory bodies (such as Health Canada, the EPA or FDA).
— Randy Pilon, President and CEO, Virox® Technologies Inc.