Are You Disinfecting?
A Pathogen is anything that can produce a disease. This is why it is important to ensure germs, bacteria, and viruses are killed. Did you know that just because a surface is clean, it does not mean it is free of pathogens? Disinfecting surfaces will do that job. It is not always easy, however. Here are some common issues that can affect performance when it comes to disinfecting:
- Germs are invisible
Making sure a room is free of pathogens can be challenging, considering that germs are invisible. For this reason, disinfecting surfaces should be done thoroughly and regularly.
- Safety Concerns Affect Proper Use
Product choice will affect disinfecting performance because associates are less likely to use a product that can cause eye, skin, or respiratory irritations. Make sure the disinfectant you are providing is safe or provide PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
- Harsh on Surfaces and Assets
If a disinfectant is strong enough to kill pathogens, what effect does that have on surfaces and assets? The life-span of surfaces can definitely be affected by disinfectants.
- Disinfectant Dries Before Pathogens Die
Wet time is something that cannot be forgotten. If the disinfectant dries before the pathogen kill time, it essentially turns into a waste of product and time. Wet time has to be greater to or equal to the kill time listed on the product for the specific microorganism you are trying to kill.
- Poorly Laundered Reusable Cloths May Transmit Pathogens
Whether you do laundry in-house or not, there is a chance that cloths will carry pathogens after being washed if they were not handled or transported carefully. In addition, reusable cloths have a life expectancy that should be tracked, but is not always easy to do so.
- Compatible with Cleaning Tools
Efficacy diminishes when some disinfectants bind with cleaning tools. What type of tool are you using with your disinfectant? A microfiber cloth, a wipe, or even paper towel?
- Who? What? When? How?
To have a better control of who is disinfecting what and how, a chart schedule should be put in place. This will also help you see how often and how well areas are being disinfected. If there is no system in place, multiple surfaces can be missed. A chart is a great accountability tool.
- Inaccessible means Ineffective
Even if you are providing one of the best products for your associates to use, if the disinfectant is out of sight, it will more than likely be out of mind.
- Unpleasant to Use
Associates may find it difficult to use disinfectants that have a strong odor. They may be willing to use it for a short period of time – which may not be enough to kill pathogens.
- Incorrect Disinfection Dilution can be Dangerous
Using too much or too little disinfectant can harm associates and visitors. Too much can mean the chemicals will put you at risk. Too little can mean the lingering pathogens will put you at risk. Following instructions of dilutions is important.
To ensure an environment is safe to be in, surfaces should be disinfected so that germs, bacteria, and viruses are gone. Disinfecting is a process that takes time but that will definitely save lives. Taking into account the ten issues previously listed will help you make a difference. And remember, clean does not always mean pathogen-free.