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What you need to know about COVID-19: August 13, 2020
As we all now know, or should, washing our hands frequently is one method to containing the COVID-19 virus from spreading, but it’s not enough.
It is just as vital to clean and disinfect surfaces in our homes, workplaces and personal vehicles.
One of the challenges with this is making sure people are cleaning properly.
Most commercial disinfectants claim to kill germs found on household surfaces, but the fine print to that claim is the ‘when used as directed’ notation on all disinfectants , says Dr. Lucas Pantaleon, from Ogena Solutions.
“The vast majority of people do not use them as directed. Due to this, it will be largely ineffective in stemming the spread of the virus,” says Dr. Pantaleon. “There are two common mistakes people make when using a disinfectant cleaner or wipe, and they are easily rectified.”
1: Clean it first: Household disinfectants virtually always have a ‘For use on Pre-Cleaned Surfaces’ statement on them, a statement that isn’t always shown in the directions of use instructions, but instead buried in other language on the label.
“That means that if your goal is to sanitize or disinfect, you normally have to wash the surface first with soap and water,” says Dr. Pantaleon. “Or, people can use a two-wipe process — the first to clean the surface, the second to disinfect it. Education is a key to get people to understand why, for most household disinfectants, it is so important to clean and to clean correctly prior to disinfecting.”
2: Keep the surface wet: All disinfectants have a contact time listed on the label that must be met or the product likely won’t kill the virus or bacteria.
“The contact time is the time the surface must remain totally wet in order to give the disinfectant time to destroy the outer shell of the virus to get inside and kill it,” says Dr. Pantaleon. “So, if a product shows a three-minute contact time, the user must make sure that the surface stays wet the entire time, which can mean that additional applications are needed. The above recommendation to use one wipe to clean and a second to disinfect can help with this as you’re more likely to leave a wetter surface.
“Whatever disinfectant people are using, not using it properly can mean that your efforts are largely wasted. It’s not that hard to do it better, and when it is done properly, it will make a significant difference on the outcome. Not doing so runs the risk of spreading pathogens to a wider area, or even areas that were not contaminated in the first place.”
Copyright Postmedia Network Inc., 2020