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Dwell Time. One of the Most Important Factors in Disinfecting

Dwell Time. One of the Most Important Factors in Disinfecting

Posted by Bryan on 19th Mar 2020

With organizations scrambling to clean in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, now is more important than ever to make sure that you correctly use whatever disinfectant you have purchased.

On the label of all EPA registered disinfectants and/or on the manufacturers websites are lists of viruses, bacteria and other pathogens the product is effective against and, most importantly, the dwell time the product needs to kill the virus you are using it for.

Dwell time for a disinfectant is the time the product must remain wet on the surface to effectively reduce (sanitize) or kill (disinfect) the bacteria or viruses. Those dwell times, depending on the disinfectant and pathogen you are trying to kill can be as little as 15 seconds up to 10 minutes.

Every time there is an outbreak, schools and organizations send out their fleet of janitors to clean. The local news rushes out to show what these people are doing to protect you or your children.

They show these people on TV doing what I call “spray on, wipe off”. They spray the surface and immediately wipe it. Spray and wipe desks, phones, toys. While they think they are disinfecting, in actuality they have just rendered their disinfectant impotent.

Disinfectants do just that – disinfect. Unless the product is listed as a cleaner and disinfectant, the surface must be cleaned first, before disinfecting. Just the process of cleaning will reduce the germs on the surface. If the surface isn’t clean, the product cannot be effective and the dwell time becomes a moot point.

Whatever you purchase, read the label, develop a procedure taking into account the dwell time of the product and train your staff to follow that procedure. This is not the time for cutting corners and hurrying through the process just to get done.

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