Disinfecting Surfaces? If You Don’t Let the Cleaner Sit, You’re Doing It Wrong

someone who is wearing green rubber gloves sprays cleanser on a surface and rubs it with a sponge
gorillaimages / Shutterstock

Disinfect the kitchen counter or bathtub? Just spray a little lysol or bleach – and boom does, right? Not so fast. In terms of disinfection, "contact time" is an essential element.

Disinfecting compounds, such as alcohol, bleach and other disinfectants, destroy all X biological substances on a surface during an extended period of time. The time required to kill microorganisms to the extent that the surface or material is considered disinfected or disinfected according to standards in force at organizations such as the one published by the EPA is called "contact time".

The majority of people involved in contact time are people working in restaurants, food production facilities, hospitals, retirement homes and other places where strict control of pathogens is essential. People who clean their homes should also be aware of this.

If you are trying to clean up your home after an episode of food poisoning or a stubborn skin infection (as your children have brought ringworm home after summer camp), it is essential to understand the contact time of the disinfectant. that you use. How do you know how long to leave it on the surface? If in doubt, as long as the product does not indicate that it needs to be removed, you can let it dry completely instead. However, if the product is labeled as a disinfectant, the contact time should also be indicated. Contact time is an essential part of the claims you see on products such as "Kill 99.9% of fungi, viruses, and bacteria." "" When used as directed. "

If you do not comply with the contact time rules of the cleaner you are using, you can not be sure that you are actually cleaning or disinfecting the surface.

For example, if you read the label on the back of the almost ubiquitous Lysol disinfectant spray or check out the company's website, you'll notice that they do not use the term "contact time", but they indicate expressly should leave it on:

Surfaces should remain wet for 3 minutes, then allow to air dry. For norovirus surfaces, the surfaces should remain wet for 10 minutes, then allow to air dry.

These kind of instructions are not a suggestion. They specify under what conditions their product is considered sanitizing or disinfecting according to the EPA / CDC guidelines to meet the similar claim of "99.9%" on the container.

So, the next time you use a machine to clean and you will seek to rid your home of the last stubborn stains of illness that have deprived your family of a commission for a week (or just trying to prevent an illness to do so), be sure to check the instructions of the cleaner you are using and leave it in place for the suggested duration.

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