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VIRUSES - Are you Killing Germs or just Spreading them Around?

The best method to prevent illness is reducing the spread of germs.

Like most companies, you probably have a few different types of cleaning products and disinfectants that you currently use. Like most things in life there are plenty of chemicals to choose from, but understanding what the ingredients are is confusing unless you're a chemist.

So what's the best criteria?

  • What chemicals are in the solution/s that you currently use?

  • Are they toxic to humans, animals or the environment?

  • Do they leave a residue?

  • Are they corrosive?

  • Are they expensive?

  • What is the shelf life?

  • Is there a better and healthier option available?

How many germs are on surfaces?

Office phones host around 25,000 germs per square inch. Office desks are more than 400 times dirtier than a toilet seat and the area on your desk where your hands rest has around 10,000 bacteria.

People often believe that simply applying a disinfectant product and wiping it off will get the job done and eliminate harmful bacteria from from surfaces. But disinfectants are often misused, resulting in dangerous bacterial growth such as E.Coli, Salmonella and more. And if you're only using wipes, your workforce and family may be facing even more health risks.

Cleaning and disinfecting is the best way to reduce and control the spread of germs throughout hard non-porous surfaces and porous surfaces in your workplace and home. Not sure if you should be using a cleaner or disinfectant in your facility? If you are disinfecting, you should be using both.

Most cleaners don't disinfect, and most disinfectants don't clean.

Understanding the distinction between cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting is important. While cleaning refers to the physical or mechanical removal of dirt and grime, as well as a portion of the germs on a given surface, sanitizing means reducing germ colonies down to a less dangerous level. Disinfecting means to "KILL" applicable bacteria and viruses on a surface to an EPA-designated, extremely low tolerance.

Always Clean Before you Disinfect

It is important to clean or remove any visible soils before disinfecting. Cleaning removes loose soils, preparing the surface or object to be disinfected.

Disinfecting kills germs on the surface, preventing them from spreading. If a surface is not cleaned first, germs can hide under soils and reduce the efficacy of the disinfectant.

Dwell time (Kill time) is critical

If you miss even an inch of surface or you have not let the disinfectant remain on the surface for the proper amount of time, you are allowing germs to reproduce and continue spreading.

All disinfecting products need to "stay wet" on the surface for a specific length of time to kill all bacteria and viruses. This can be referred to as "kill time, dwell time and/or contact time." While disinfecting wipes seem convenient, getting them to do their intended job is tougher than you'd expect. They're often used incorrectly, making them far less useful than one might think in the fight against illness-causing pathogens.

The kill time of a disinfectant varies by product, and can always be found on the product label. Disinfectant wipes typically instruct you to leave the cleaning surface visibly wet for 4-10 minutes, in order to eliminate dangerous illness-causing bacteria including Staph, E. Coli, Salmonella, MRSA, Norovirus, cold, flu and more.

If a disinfectant dries too quickly, EPA regulations (and often the product's label) dictate that it must be reapplied until the total kill time is reached.

As an alternative to wipes, a disinfectant spray cleaner may be the better option. It can apply more liquid to the surface, and as a result is more likely to leave a surface wet for the required time than a wipe, without the need for reapplication. It also allows you to reach crack and crevice areas that wipes can't penetrate.

To reduce time and improve disinfection outcomes, many companies are implementing a clean and mist, or a clean and fog process.

What Areas Should be Disinfected?

Depending on your facility and industry, different areas within your building will have different protocols on if they should be cleaned or cleaned and disinfected. High-touch points should always be disinfected. Depending on the surface and facility, you may have to disinfect high-touch surfaces several times a day. High-touch areas include:

  • Doorknobs & Door Push Points

  • Handrails, Light Switches

  • Countertops (Bathrooms, Reception, Front Desk)

  • Telephones, Remote Controls

  • Soap Dispensers, Bathrooms

  • Desks, Chair Handles, Keyboards & Mice

  • Room Keys, Elevator Buttons

  • Water Stations & Drinking Fountains

  • Restroom Faucets & Toilet Handles

  • Kiosks with Touch Screens

Best practices

  • Follow Proper Handwashing Procedures

  • Wash Hands Frequently

  • Have Hand Sanitizer Accessible

  • Provide Occupants with Facial Tissue

  • Avoid Close Contact with People who are or may be Sick

  • Encourage Sick Individuals to Stay Home if Showing Symptoms and to Remain at Home Until Completely Well

  • Clean and Disinfect to Prevent the Spread of germs

Some hand sanitizer chemicals are not good for y0ur health. People should scrub their hands with soap for at least 20 seconds before rinsing with running water. Remind people to wash their hands carefully and frequently, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and before touching their eyes, nose or mouth.

Final Thoughts

  • Implementing and encouraging preventative measures throughout your facility is critical to occupant health and infection prevention.

  • Perform a hazard assessment and update your plan.

  • Educate and train your workforce and family.

  • Utilize an anti-microbial, non-toxic disinfectant product to limit the spread of diseases.

  • Always check the product label to confirm efficacy against a virus and review the proper protocols for disinfection. Read the SDS.

  • Adhere to the manufacturer’s guidelines (or product label) for the recommended dwell time for disinfection.

As an injury and illness prevention company, Accurate Ergonomics and Xtreme Prevention (dba) are the west coast distributors of a "Best in Class" product.

Cleaning & Disinfection: Accurate Ergonomics offers a patented technology that costs less, works better, lasts longer, is non-toxic and biodegradable.

Visit our website to learn more about this great product, or contact us to learn more or purchase treatment compound solution at 1.866.950.3746, or email

Education & Training: Accurate Ergonomics offers employers custom training solutions designed to keep your workforce healthy, safe and injury-free. Our integrated health and wellness, ergonomics and musculoskeletal injury prevention training program will help your employees reduce illness, fatigue, discomfort, pain and costly injuries. Visit our website, contact Accurate Ergonomics at 1.866.950.3746, or email

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