Infection Control & First Aid Blog

Misconceptions about disinfection

[fa icon="calendar"] 11/12/20 9:00 AM / by Megan Malke

Common Misconceptions about Disinfectant

There is a ton of information swirling around about cleaning and disinfection best practices amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. It's enough to make you dizzy! Furthermore, it's likely the surfaces in your home or facility are not as clean as you think they are.

As businesses struggle to reopen during the pandemic, cleaning procedures have become a top priority. Maintaining a clean, healthy environment is imperative to reducing the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the flu, and just about any other virus.

To take the guesswork and misinformation about disinfection and how it works out of the equation, we break down the most common misconceptions about cleaning and disinfecting to guide you on your way to a clean and germ-free facility.

Cleaning and disinfecting are the same.

Although commonly used interchangeably, cleaning, sanitizing, and disinfecting are three separate things. According to the CDC, cleaning removes any visible dirt, dust, and debris from a surface by washing and rinsing, typically with soap or detergent and water. This process doesn't  kill microorganisms, but washes some of them away, reducing their presence. Cleaning is primarily for preparing a surface for disinfection or low-risk surfaces such as floors and windows.

Sanitizing mitigates the risk of illness by reducing some of the bacteria on a surface.

If you want to be truly thorough, you need to disinfect. Disinfecting kills all of the pathogens listed on the product label (when used according to the label instructions).

Disinfecting products work instantaneously is a common misconception

Disinfecting products work instantaneously.

No matter the brand or type of disinfectant you use, none of them work immediately on contact. All disinfectants have various "dwell" or "contact" times, which is the length of time that the chemical must remain wet on a surface to kill germs. Times range considerably and  how long the disinfectant stays wet may depend on environmental factors such as how dry the air is. 

Disinfecting alone is powerful enough to protect you.

Disinfecting without cleaning first is like pressing the gas pedal with your car in park; it won't get you far. Disinfecting and cleaning should go hand and hand. Before you disinfect, you should always clean to remove surface dust, dirt, and grime. Surface dirt can react with the chemicals in disinfecting products and render them unable to kill germs effectively. The only situation in which you do not need to clean before disinfecting is if there is no visible soil on the surface, and you are using a one-step clean and disinfect product. 

Only high-touch surfaces need to be disinfected.

You should frequently disinfect high-touch surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches, handles, cabinets, and railings. However, you should also regularly disinfect all the common areas in your facility, including the bathroom, breakrooms, remote controls, etc. Reducing germs throughout the environment makes it safer for everyone.

All disinfectants are created equal.

There are thousands of registered disinfectant products for sale in the United States, each with distinctions in efficacy, contact times, concentrations, label language, personal protection needed for usage, and chemistries. It's important to consider what pathogens are relevant to your facility and focus on an effective disinfectant. To ensure you choose the correct disinfectant for your facility, check out our blog on Choosing the right disinfectant.


Reduce your risk.

Knowing how to disinfect a surface properly is the first step to a cleaner and healthier facility. Reading the product label and instructions for use is essential to ensure that the product is used correctly and safely, increasing disinfection compliance. Lastly, look for an EPA registered disinfectant to guarantee efficacy and safety.

Made in America, for America

At Safetec of America, we take a lot of pride in the fact that the products we work on end up helping people stay safe and lower infection risk. Our team follows exemplary quality control procedures when developing and manufacturing products, and complies with the FDA Code of Federal Regulations and EPA guidelines.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Safetec has increased production of products that are effective against the Novel Coronavirus or will help prevent the spread. Click Here to view our COVID-19 product page and check out our surface disinfectants effective against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

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Topics: Disinfectant, SaniZide Pro 1

Megan Malke

Written by Megan Malke

As the Digital Marketing Strategist, Megan works on developing and executing programs to improve Safetec's online engagement and user experience.

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