COVID has raised many concerns for facility operators when it comes to cleaning, sanitizing or disinfecting their facilities. How do we really know we are providing a safe environment for our community? Many of the cleaning products and sanitizers that we have traditionally used to keep a facility clean would not necessarily provide the disinfecting power required in our new COVID environment.
How does one sort through the myriads of sanitizing or disinfecting options to arrive at a good decision? The first thing we suggest is to understand what is approved by the EPA against COVID-19. This can be done by visiting the EPA N list on their website (Link below). Next, ensure you understand the concept of Log Reduction which is the measurement by which a product will reduce pathogens on a surface. For example, a Log2 will reduce pathogens on a surface by 99% or 100 times vs a Log5 which is 99,999% or 100,000 times. Quite a difference, one will clean, the other will disinfect.
When assessing products always ask for the MSDS or SDS (Harmonized GHS version of the MSDS) which allows you to understand the exact composition and disinfection strength of the product. It is advisable to evaluate the toxicity levels of each product and decide on a product that is in line with your health and safety policy regarding toxicity. There are many disinfectants that are quite toxic and need PPE when applying and there are others that are safe around humans and don’t need PPE.
Lastly, when evaluating your products don’t lose sight of the fact there are also devices that allow you to manufacture your own disinfectant on site which can reduce your overall cleaning, sanitizing or disinfecting costs dramatically. You can find an example at this link.