The Correct Way to Sanitize and Disinfect - Again!

The Correct Way to Sanitize and Disinfect - Again!

Posted by Bryan on 14th Feb 2018

Another flu season.

I wanted to repeat this blog because I think it is important and because I see the same mistakes made in cleaning.

disinfecting and sanitizing

Again this year, I saw on two different newscasts school employees using the "spray and wipe" method of cleaning.  Spray the surface and immediately wipe.   This is NOT the way to disinfect or sanitize.

For a disinfectant or sanitizer to work, it must sit on the surface for a specified amount of time (the dwell time) to effectively reduce (sanitize) or kill (disinfect) bacteria and viruses.

Chlorine bleach is used in many facilities, and in some cases overused based on the smell and discoloration of their surfaces and furniture.  One brand of chlorine bleach is registered as a general disinfectant when it is diluted ½ cup per gallon of water with a five-minute dwell time.  In contrast, it is registered as a healthcare-environment disinfectant only when (at the same dilution) it is left on the surface for 10 minutes, because that is the dwell time needed to kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa - a bacteria that causes nasty infections.

(For more information on the differences between cleaners, disinfectants and sanitizers, see this previous blog article:

What is MOST important is the read the labels on the product to see how long it must sit wet on the surface to be effective and then establish a routine to allow that product to work before moving on.


For example, in a school you may want to spray the surface of all the desks, move to the next room, spray those desks and then return to the first room to wipe. Thus giving the product time to work.

Another way is to use disinfectant wipes, which are made to wipe a surface and dry with no follow up wiping.

Not following the mix ratios and dwell times listed on a product, even if doing general cleaning, will prove ineffective. More times than not claims of a product "not working" are not because the product is faulty, but because the person using the product is not using it correctly.

We Fight Dirty!... and help you disinfect too!